Monday, 23 August 2010

18 months to get to this

There are two new things going on here, the second I'll talk about at the end of the week, before I go and do it.
The first though has taken 18 months to get to. Those that have been reading for a while know about Trix my rescue German Shepherd.
When I got her back then she was impossible. She had been badly treated and was scared of her own shadow. No-one was allowed in the house without her wanting to attack them. In fact in her first few months of living with youngest and me she did bite a couple of people, not badly, but they felt it, especially my eldest on his first visit to meet her, when she bit him on the bum!
Walking her was an absolute nightmare, she needed a strong lead held close and a fairly radical face mask thing(!) to keep her mouth from getting at anyone.
Weirdly when we got her she knew the minute she got in the car to come home that I was her friend. We'd put her a sort of doggy seat belt on so she would be safe in the car. And she stood up and leaned over to me. I wasn't frightened it didn't occur to me to be so. And in leaning over me she just licked the top of my ear before settling down for the hours journey home.
So for the last 18 months I have worked very hard with her, both inside the house and out walking her. She has been well behaved with people in the house for a while now. No more so than when my 86 year old uncle came round after losing his wife and Trix who'd never met him before just went and sat close up beside him with her head under his hand and leaning onto him as he stood in the hall.
If she has known by our telling her that this is a friend visiting then she has been wonderful with them. And if I don't know who is at the door, then they'd think twice before entering with her barking at them.
Today though was a first,Monday is an early work day so I'm out walking her at 6.30. There are rarely any other people around then, so after weeks of letting her off the lead on a big playing field, I let her go for her whole walk today without a lead. And she behaved beautifully, waiting when told, crossing the road when told, catching me up after an interesting sniff. It was a real pleasure.
At the moment only happy to do it on the early walks, don't want to put her under too much pressure when there are other dogs about.
But it certainly made all my hard work feel worth it this morning.


Paula said...

Congrats to Trix and you. Both of you can be proud! Huge accomplishment.

Carol said...

what a heartlifting post! I don't understand how people can be so cruel but it's lovely to read about how her true nature is coming to the fore with your love and support!

Like Paula said, you should both be really proud of yourselves :-)

C x

Zan said...

Well done! I would never had had the courage to take on such a dog. But she is beautiful it shows that your work has truly paid off!


Merry ME said...

Woohoo! for you and Trix too.
If I knew how to bake them I'd send a homemade, liver and cheese and all things stinky kind of dog biscuit to your good dog.

I read Jon Katz's blog, Bedlam Farms, every day. He has his own technique of dog training and it seems to work. He had the same kind of success as you with his girlfriend's "junk yard" eat anything in sight dog. I think it starts with the dog knowing your heart. How that happens, I don't know. But from there, with a constant eye, a pocket full of treats, love and discipline these furry beasts can be trained to be delightful companions.

This is not just a success for Trix, but for you as well. What a patient woman you must be.

Blu said...

Lovely blog, and dog! came via Carol's blog.

Everton Terrace said...

Wonderful, really. My dog has been gone for a few months now and I miss him every day. I'm so glad Trix found you. You're both lucky.

nitebyrd said...

You've done an amazing job with her! She knows just how much you love her.

TALON said...

Trix is blessed to have you.

Marilyn said...

What a beautiful post Mandy, how lucky Trix is to have you to love and care for her, and she must feel very safe and happy with you to be responding so well. You certainly can be proud of all you are giving Trix.

Nicky S (Absolute Vanilla) said...

You've done a wonderful job with her! And she is totally gorgeous! Rescue dogs can respond so well to the love, attention and nurturing - makes it all the more worthwhile, doesn't it?! xx

Mel said...

Awwwww....she done good! And what a shining example of persevering in love.

On the rearend, huh? LOL
k....probably wasn't comical when it happened--

(((((( the byrdie ))))))

janis said...

Yay Trix! Good Girl! Bravo to you for your patient training! Now, when can you come to Indiana to train my dogs?

trousers said...

I've been able to see the progress made at first hand - it's lovely to know she's still getting further forward.

Angela said...

Great, Mandy, really! I know how low you felt in the beginning, and see where you both are now. Good job, my admiration to you!

Beatnheart said...

oh what a beautiful story Byrd. You must be so proud of your Trix. Faithful lovely companions the two of you..

Pam said...

I love you for this Mandy. Thank you for taking her on, particularly the physicality of such a big dog to train, when many go for small and cute for convenience and ease(not a value judgement, I'd be tempted to do the same!) Bless her German Shepherd heart, and your big open heart too.

bARE-eYED sUN said...


a very happy story, it reminds us of our own experience with pets.

alas we haven't had a dog in years.


one of these days, though . . .

your tale has cemented that our next dog will be a rescued dog.

thank you for sharing


karen said...

I've been away for so long, was so pleased to discover that FireByrd blog is still here! Wow, can hardly believe you've had beautiful Trix for 18 months already!! just catching up on your blog news.. :)

Jennifer said...

This was a heartwarming read. Thanks for sharing it, and way to go you for sticking with your pal Trix!