Puppy Hachi seems to have felt a bit stressed out this week. Compared to our time in the desert, he's had a ton of everyday "stranger exposure" which may be a reason for it.
He also went to town multiple times this week, and the Runner did a fair bit of counter-conditioning while watching strangers and other scary things. That involves feeding Hachi treats when the scary things are in view. The counter-conditioning went super well, with Hachi gradually relaxing during the course of each session.
He came home from town wired each day. Some of it was pure teenage rambunctiousness and some was stress. Thankfully, R wanted to play with him most days which relaxed Hachi a lot.
Hachi looked at his brother with wide eyes while they played. What incredible faces they both make.
I could watch them play all day!
Hachi's general stress level led a few resource guarding episodes. Immediately after a service person was here to try to fix the internet, Hachi guarded unopened bags of food that Chewy had just delivered. Then, in a similar scenario, he'd just finished some slightly stressful training, and he "guarded" a treat in my hand from R. In both of these situations, the astounding thing is how little it takes to stress Hachi enough for him to resource guard.
I find it difficult to constantly be on our toes to avoid potential food guarding but it's what we need to do. In particular, we need to be especially vigilant if anything remotely stressful has happened to Hachi recently. I am going to redouble my efforts. I was a little too chill about it this week.
I am writing this so honestly because I want to be able to remember the ups and downs of rehabbing Hachi. I think that this view might help others as they rehab their fearful dogs. It also will be interesting for me to go back and read it later, when Hachi is a well-adjusted dog. (Do you like my optimism about the ultimate outcome here?).
As I know from my experiences with Shyla, rehabbing a fearful dog is not a smooth ride from point A to point B. Rather, it involves lots of ups and downs. The progress sometimes seems negligible but, then, the dog will suddenly make a big leap forward almost unexpectedly.