Sometimes Luke does things that make me so proud of him! It’s the little things for us – small ways he shows how smart he is, or subtle ways he shows me that he’s overcoming some of his fears, at least at times.
It wasn’t that long ago that I decided to give Luke a bath; we have always done it in our walk-in shower here. It was one of the few things that Luke would actually let me do – there is no teeth brushing, ear cleaning, or nail trimming happening with him. Unfortunately, we added baths to that list, when he refused to come anywhere near the shower, even with treat bribes. Big sigh. It’s so hard not to get discouraged with him, and that’s one of the reasons we might make a big deal about things that are normal for other people’s dogs.
Here are a few things he’s done lately that have made us very happy and proud of him:
- Luke’s seasonal allergies are acting up again, just as they did late last summer. I was hoping the CBD/Hemp Oil we’ve been giving him would help with that, but it’s not doing as much as I thought it might. He licks his skin on his legs until the fur is not visible (his fur is very thin in those areas anyway), and his skin is red and splotchy. When that first happened, I tried to at least wipe him down with a cool wet cloth to soothe his skin, but he wouldn’t even have that. Then just the last couple of days he let me do it! He balks a little, especially when I get to his paws, but he’s been allowing it. I try not to do it for too long, and then he gets a treat!
- We take walks every day and I am diligent about putting bug spray on both of us. He doesn’t love getting sprayed, but he puts up with it. I switched to a different spray and the type of bottle produced a lot of overspray, which made our tile floor slippery. Therefore, I wanted to get him to stand on the rug so it would collect the spray. At first, he’d have nothing to do with going to the rug, knowing he’d get sprayed there. But I think he learned I was going to spray him anyway; and suddenly one day after I put his harness on, he went right to the rug and stood on it! Now he’s been doing that every morning before our walk!
- I give him Benadryl for his allergies as well. It also doesn’t work as well as I’d hoped but our vet has said it is pretty harmless, and I think it might help at least some. Now when I go to our bathroom to get the pill, he knows what I’m doing and follows me excitedly back from the bathroom and into the kitchen where I put it in a pill pocket. He just amazes me sometimes with how observant he is about things, and how quickly he picks up routines!
- We often work on cues when we go on walks. “with me”, “this way”, “let’s go” and “watch me” are our biggest ones. If we need to suddenly stop or switch directions these help a lot. I like him to stay in tune with me as well, so getting him to stop and come to me for a treat is important. We kind of got out of the habit of practicing those things though, and for a while he rarely came back to me for a treat. Just lately, however, he is stopping several times on a walk and sitting in front of me. He makes eye contact completely on his own without his cue!
- Last, but certainly not least, he definitely surprised me yesterday. We were walking along the road and I heard a car coming. I tried to speed him up and get him to our driveway and out of the way (he has a tendency to want to pull towards cars, so I try to get him as far off the road as we can). My heart sank a little when I noticed this car slowing down, and I knew the driver was going to stop and speak to me. Luke is very afraid of strangers and I completely expected him to bark and lunge at the car as soon as this man opened his mouth. I held onto his harness and waited for it. Except it didn’t happen! The man and I had a short conversation and though Luke was a bit fidgety, he never barked at all! I was simply amazed.
I am definitely crediting the CBD/Hemp oil we’ve been using with helping with these things. This gives me hope that maybe we can start working on a few things again…..very slowly of course. I am proud of what a quick learner and smart dog Luke is, and even if progress on his fears stalls again, we will always celebrate each little success like these.
Has your pet done anything special to surprise and please you lately – big or little?