This has been the first full week of "Operation No Growl". On Saturday we had a chill day. My weekend aide was here and Bailey is not that comfortable around her yet so he just hung around out back and ignored her. The challenge came when it was time to take Bailey for a walk. He would not go near her and when she would try to get close to him to attach his leash he just ran away. So we made it his decision to come to her and just waited. My aide just ignored him but kept some peanut butter in her hand and pretty soon he came up to her and she was able to put the leash on him. He was totally fine after that and enjoyed his walk. Later that day my Mom's friends came over unexpectedly. Bailey didn't do much barking or growling and even was wagging his tail quite a bit, but at times still acted timid.
On Sunday I left Bailey in the house without me for the very first time. Because I'm giving Bailey a work break, I couldn't bring him to the market. My Dad said that he just slept the entire time. When I returned home he was super excited to see me and gave me lots of kisses. Then my Dad and I took Bailey for a walk. He growled (talked) to some dogs he saw and was unsure of a passing woman who was wearing a hat. He growled mildly but was quickly redirected.
On Monday we had a visit from the handyman. Bailey barked when he first came to the door but was really chill after that. He even hung around out back with him, but at a comfortable distance. When my physical therapist came Bailey was great with her and said hello. That day he also had a play date with his friend Lucy. They are a perfect pair. They play really nicely together. He play-bowed for the first time. My friend and I had two very tired dogs that night. Here's a video form their play date.
Bailey has also mastered the doggy door. He now runs through it back and forth with no hesitation.
Tuesday we worked on fetch and speak. He did well , he is such a pro at fetch and return. I also took him to the Occidental College campus again today. We just sat by the bookstore and eating area. I figured out one of his growling triggers...keys. I think Bailey associates the sound of keys with the sound of a dogs collar tags. Whenever he hears keys he seems to be looking around for another dog. Then we took Bailey to Petco. There he said Hi to another dog and overall did well.
Wednesday was a very interesting day. Since I figured out Bailey was reactive to keys I wanted to start working on desensitizing him to the noise. So I thought if I had my Mom jangle some keys and then my aide tell Bailey "leave it" that he would start to ignore the noise. Boy was I wrong. I had my Mom jangle the keys from the other side of the yard and Bailey went nuts. He kept barking and running back and forth around the yard even when all was quiet. I then tried to show him that it was a set of keys making the noise but he was so amped up that he couldn't even recognize that the noise was coming from the keys. After that Bailey was on edge all day and every little noise set him off. I thought it would be good to get him out of the house (and distracted from the incident) so we went down to the Rose Bowl for a walk. Bailey was a bit shy with the first person who tried to pet him, but after that was really calm, and never growled once. One woman who was petting Bailey told him that because she had a dog too that she was his "auntie". Ummmm...Okay?
After that I had some errands to run so I decided to leave Bailey at home with my Mom. Because of the key incident Bailey was really agitated and barked the whole time I was gone. When I got home I brought Bailey into my room and closed the door. That made Bailey calm down and he soon took a nap. What a day!
On Thursday Bailey was back to normal. We again went to the College for a walk. It was lunch time so the campus was full of people and noise. Bailey did awesome. At one point two dogs walked by. Bailey saw them but did not growl or bark at all. Yay!!! Later that day our pool man was in the backyard and Bailey didn't know it. When he saw him come around the corner he barked quickly to let us know but settled down right away.
Today we met up with one of my old professors from the College. Because we were meeting him in a campus building I decided to put a vest on Bailey just for a short time. Bailey was a bit shy during our visit but just settled down next to me without any growling or barking. Bailey did stand up and give out a bark a couple different times (not sure what he was barking at) but he was quick to settle down again. Later today we went on a fun walk (where we were not trying to get him to say hi just have fun). The drama of today was the discovery my Mom made...Bailey had a tick! Since this is a new occurrence for me as a dog owner, my aide and I took to the internet for advice. I'm happy to say we successfully exterminated the tick. I found this odd because I give Bailey a monthly dose of sentinel which is supposed to deter ticks from clamping on to him. The most ironic thing happened today. My family got a package of thank you gifts from a friend of ours and inside was a present for Bailey. Guess what it was a stuft animal Tick! Haha.
I think Operation No Growl is already starting to work. I'm excited to see how well he does next week.