January marks 6 months since I adopted my dog Sasha, which means that it is time for another update on her progress and how far she has come. For readers who may have just adopted a dog and think six months feels like a lifetime away, this milestone is much closer than you think! Even if you are frustrated now, it is crazy how much a dog can progress in just a few months. (I have written about some of Sasha’s struggles in my previous posts, which include leash reactivity, living peacefully with my cats, general hyperactivity, and pulling on leash.)
At this point, Sasha and the cats get along great. Apart from Sasha getting excited and trying to play with them, they live peacefully together and there are no issues. In the first few months that we had her she would sometimes guard her food against the cats, but she no longer does this. Whether it be because she has learned that they won’t actually steal her food, or that she doesn’t feel the need to protect her food now that she has forgotten her life as a stray and is getting regular meals, we don’t know. Regardless, we are happy that she has gotten over this and is completely trustworthy with them!
She has also calmed down a lot since we have adopted her. Part of this is due to her age (she is now closer to 18 months), but part of it is being comfortable in her environment. As long as she is well-exercised, she can be trusted in the house and has her favorite napping spots. We still keep her crated while we’re gone, which I think the cats probably appreciate.
As for her leash reactivity, her excitement upon seeing other dogs has gotten a bit better and easier to manage. We enrolled her in a training class called Get Focused and In Control, which helped a lot and was good practice for her being around other dogs. Just the other day we started a new training technique created by trainer Grisha Stewart called Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT for short- more on this later!) to help with the training “plateau” I felt we had hit. It continues to be an ongoing challenge, but with consistent training we are slowly seeing positive results.
Sasha is also crazy smart and has learned so many tricks, some of which I have posted about. Some of the tricks include:
- Sit (duh)
- Roll over
- Go to bed
- Sit pretty
- Jump up
- By me (circling around to sit at my side to get ready to walk)
- Weave (weaving through my legs as I walk)
All in all, it has been a great six months with Sasha. She has come a long way from the dog that she was when we first adopted her, and I’m sure she will continue to grow and transform in the months to come. If you recently adopted a dog, stick with it- the six month mark will come faster than you think, and you will wonder where the time has gone!