Chloe was pulled from a shelter and brought into private rescue. When she was pulled from the shelter she was thin and her coat was in bad shape. That wasn't the worst of it though. Chloe was, and is, is a very frightened dog that has trouble trusting people.
As with most animals pulled from a shelter the details of their background remains a mystery.
When I work with dogs with an unknown background I try not to figure it out. It isn't important, really. What is important is how they are reacting now and what can I do to help.
Progress with Chloe has been slow and steady. Chloe is slow to trust so I met her where she was and went at her pace. Too slow for my liking but just the right pace for her. And THAT is what is important.
The first session Chloe barked and growled at me........even "air snapped" at me a couple times. Thankfully I had Butchy to work on and did touches and wraps on him so the owner could learn what to do for Chloe. From time to time I'd toss treats to Chloe.
Situations like this are where I really rely on the Calming Signals, the Language of Peace. I avoided eye contact with her, turned my head, yawned or blinked. All the things to let her know that I come in Peace and mean her no harm. By the end of the first session she was taking treats from my hand.
Session two was mostly about treats! That is what Chloe wanted. I was a treat dispenser but she had to come get them from my hand or a well balanced treat on my knee. Butchy was front and center for this appointment - as was another doggie that was visiting.
We did make some changes for Session 2. We worked on a sheet in the back yard. Chloe was able to come and go as she wanted to. Sometimes she placed herself rather close and other times she was far away. The decision was hers.
There was no barking or growling at me during Session 2.
During the week Chloe's person did wraps and touches on her. People at the dog park noticed a change in her.
Yesterday was Session 3. I know we aren't supposed to have an outcome in mind. But I'm human and I wanted to be able to touch Chloe before the end of the session. One change we made this week was after our initial greeting we but Butchy in another room where he could watch but the focus would be on Chloe.
Most of Session 3 was just me and her owner talking and giving her treats from time to time. As I started photographing her an opportunity opened for me to move closer - so I did.
At first I offered her some treats.......and she took them.
Then I decided to try to touch her........she accepted it.
One thing led to another and I ended up doing a full TTouch session on her!
By the time our session was over and it was time to leave I had a new friend. Chloe was quite affectionate with me. Such a lovely close to Session 3.
Another thing I learned was to keep your outcome open. That is why we aren't to fixate on an outcome. Had I fixated on the outcome of "I want to touch Chloe" that may well have been all I received. I left the outcome open and got so much more than I had dared imagine!
Thank you Chloe and Linda........and little Butchy for a wonderful opportunity.