Thursday, September 06, 2007

Pip update

I wish I had been smart enough to videotape Pip's interactions with my kids when we first brought her home. Actually, it would have been smart just to videotape her behavior, period. Because, I think she's making progress, but I'm not sure. I think she's less scared of my kids, I think she looks happier, I think she's less afraid of unexpected movements and people doing weird things (like kids standing on the sidewalk waiting for the bus at 6:30am), but I don't remember what she was like before, so it's really hard to measure.

I guess these memory issues are inevitable. The same things seem to happen with my kids - at the beginning of the summer I couldn't let either one of them swim in the "big" pool without me there, and by halfway through the summer they were both swimming on their own but I sort of took it for granted. I forgot what it was like having to be in the pool with them all the time. I think that's what's happening with Pip. Scott tells me that she's coming out of her shell, but it's tough for me to see.

Our biggest problem is that she still won't pee or poop in our yard - sometimes she holds it for 36 hours. She really only likes to go at the dog park. I just talked to Edward, one of the trainers at the prison where Pip came from, and he said he talked to her handler (the inmate who trained Pip) who said that Pip never had problems going to the bathroom in prison. Apparently, Pip was extremely skittish and scared when she first got to the prison and Edward said that in the eight weeks she was in prison, she turned into a completely different dog. It seems like introducing her to yet another new environment has caused a little backsliding, but I agree with Scott that she does seem to be getting better. Unfortunately, he's the one with some distance from the situation since he's not with her 24/7 like I am. I think the changes are easier for him to see.

Here's what's great about Pip. She loves to play ball and has been playing more and more often. She used to drop the ball before she got to me, but then at the dog park a few days ago she saw another Border Collie dropping the ball in the same place every time - next to one of the logs out in the field. Now that's what she does, so as long as I stand next to the log nobody but me knows that she's not actually bringing the ball back to me! She's just as sweet and loving with me as when we got her, but she does seem to be spreading some of that love to the girls now. Brynn has been pretty successful at getting Pip to let her pet her, and Pip is even starting to tolerate Callie.

The people at the Prison program have been so helpful - listening to our issues and giving advice. They've offered multiple times to "exchange" her for a more outgoing dog (while at the same time saying that they don't want to treat her like "a piece of furniture"). So, we'll give her some more time to adjust to life in our family and see how she does. If Scott would let me, I'd just get an outgoing dog in addition to Pip instead of getting one in exchange for Pip. Fat chance of that...besides, we don't have room for another crate in our house and I can only fit one dog at a time in my car. Guess it's time for a new car...?

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