Monday, August 30, 2010

Won a battle! ...still fighting the war!

Well I must talk about my proud victory... and my still going on seemingly never ending challenge with Charlie.

Good news first.. WE FOUND A NEW SHEEPY! Charlie's first ever toy was this little stuffed squeaker sheep. It's his favorite and makes a wonderful tug toy for him and Beau. However.. Sheepy has undergone countless surgeries...lost his squeaker... lost his ears... his tail.. and all of his stuffing. He had to go. So in the fashion of that Petco commercial I toted my pup and the dead sheep to the store and even held it up to the sales associate who definatly thought I was insane.. but none the less led us to the stuffed animal asile. There was ONE sheepy left!!!!! VICTORY!!!

However I am still battling the timid (understatement of the year) bit of Charlie :( I'm hoping that living without Beau until I move to Ithaca will allow him some alone time to come out of his shell. Last night a neighbor brought his 4 month old yellow lab pup to visit. Charlie loved Zoe of course, but was very afraid of her owner. By the end of the visit, Zoe's owner could get Charlie to sniff him but not much more... I was pretty darn happy though. Normally he bolts and barks from a distance. However our other neighbor (who is a larger man and looooves Charlie) still cant get within 5 feet of Charlie even with treats!!

Following the advice of countless 'googles' and my mini aussie buds (thanks you guys!) I bring a hot dog/cheese/chicken with me everywhere (ew!). Today we went to a park with my younger brother... Charlie was a mess! After half a hot dog he calmed down enough to walk around the playground. He was still terrified of the 13yr old boy who tried SO hard to entice my puppy closer. Later though he was able to be comfortable with a little 4 yr old girl who was feeding him hot dog and her mom, who was just sitting and offering a friendly hand. He wasn't overly excited but he relaxed and laid down and allowed them to pet him once or twice... thats all I want!!!!! So... we are making some progress.. small children are definatly easier for him to warm up to and women are... well they're easier than men!!

I just get so sad when people ask me over and over if he was abused??? :( I guess I just need to be more patient. Its frustrating when I can think of nothing that would have brought this behavior about though (he was an outgoing baby).

But I will trudge on with my trusty hot dog. I'm trying to think positive.. it only took about 5 minutes for him to take a treat from the tiny girl... be thankful for small victories!

Here is Charlie zonked from his hour of torture... maybe he is counting sheep?


  1. It sounds like you are doing everything right! He will come around. He may never be a dog that jumps all over everyone... but who wants that anyway, right? :) Keep up the great work!

  2. Glad to here he found another sheepy. As far as the other issue...our daughter had a dog with the same issues. It took time but he did come around. The more he saw her socializing the more he started to come out of his shell. Guess it was good in a way....if someone came in the house you knew it. With Noah, not the case...he loves everyone! Keep us posted on his progress.

  3. I think Charlie might be right at that stage of development when a fear of strangers can be magnified. It's pretty normal. I think you're doing all the right things - getting him out there and exposing him to social opportunities. It might take a little while but he'll come around.

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  5. Awww so happy you found a new sheepy! Charlie's sleepy face is so cute! Reuben isn't too fond of people either, but he isn't terrified of people. He is just shy and really won't approach people unless I'm right there next to them. But the treats really do help. And another thing was if Charlie likes to play tug, a great confidence builder is really working on tug. If there are people around Charlie, try to get him to play tug with you. He'll feel like a big boy! Once you do this often enough, have someone else he knows play tug, and then someone he knows, but doesn't know that well. And then maybe someone that he doesn't know but he isn't terrified of.

    Last week, Reuben went on a barking fit at a stranger walking up the sidewalk while I was walking him. It wasn't an aggressive bark. He was hiding behind me and very nervous. I couldn't break his concentration away. I brought up the issue to my trainer last weekend and she says there are a couple of "fear periods" that a puppy goes through. It usually lasts a week or two before he's back to normal. Not sure if that's what Charlie may be going through. If so, it's best to just keep him with things he's familiar and comfortable with until it's over. Don't push boundaries.

    Also, It's not necessarily a bad thing if Charlie isn't a people kind of guy. If he's not scared and he just doesn't like people, it's not a big deal. Aussies are known to be loyal to their masters. I was a little disappointed when Reuben let me know he's not a people kind of guy, too. But sometimes that's a good thing. I wouldn't want him running up to strangers to hang out all of the time. Being focused on me is a great thing. I've accepted it and I'm honored.

  6. Ryker goes nutso if I lay on the ground flat. He bounces all over me! What does Charlie do? Would he find that less threatening maybe? Just curious.
    I love that Sheep! Ryker has a sheep too but it is not nearly so cute.

  7. OMG too cute!! that reminds me of a commercial i've seen with the owner replacing the same stuffed toy over and over.

    we've gotten to the point where we're giving him old stuffed socks now. dash just destroys stuffed toys too fast! the toy lifespan to $ spent ratio is crazy


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