It seems we've skipped spring here in New York. We had spring-like temperatures for about one week before skipping right on to summer! The temperature has been between 75 and 80 for the past week and Ellie has been enjoying every last minute of it. We've been going out for daily walks and she loves meeting new people every day (though she wonders why none of them stop to pet her!) She has become quite fond of a really tiny park near us and gets very excited once she notices we're walking in that direction.
Ellie at the park - just look at that happy grin!
With all of this walking, however, we've encountered a bit of a problem. I've previously blogged about the off-leash dog issue in our area and it has created a different problem this time. While out for a walk the other day, a Weimaraner came charging (and barking) out of his yard and headed straight for Ellie. He was just interested in saying hello, but Ellie, being so much smaller, tried to run and then turned defensive. She air snapped at the dog when he wouldn't stop trying to sniff her and then, thankfully, his owner came out and retrieved him. The problem is that she is now terrified of other dogs. If she hears a dog bark then she instantly tries to run and position me between her and the source of the barking. She also tries to run and hide if another dog walks by us.
Unfortunately, there aren't any dogs around here that I know and trust to be calm around her so I'm unable to work on her problem that way. We still go for our daily walks and I try to encourage her to not react when a dog barks. I'm also brushing up on my clicker training knowledge so that I can start using that to help her. Once I get the dogs signed up at the dog park, I hope to meet a couple of smaller dogs that might be able to help. I'll take just Yuki, at first, so that I can meet other dogs and their owners without stressing Ellie.
"I might be afraid of big dogs right now, but I'm still a happy girl!"
Despite Ellie's doggy problem, I'm still very pleased with how she's developing. She's still the happy, sweet little girl that I brought home from the airport and I look forward to getting her into obedience class this summer. Yuki starts class in April (and it ends in May), so Ellie will be signed up for the next round of lessons. Given her love of people, I just know she'll make a good therapy dog. I'm looking forward to all of the fun adventures we'll have over the years and hopefully her fear of strange dogs will be just a brief issue.
The best part of morning walks - licking dew off of the grass!