Daisy: The Progress of a Former Puppy Mill Dog
Last evening I was reflecting on Daisy and how far she has come in the 5 years she has been with me. I went back and re-read some of my old posts on her (from her “Daisy the Wonder Dog”). That’s when I came across one I had written back in December 31, 2009.
My how time has passed!
In that old post, I had written about Daisy’s 2009 goals and her progress (as told from her perspective):
1. Be able to eat and drink my water with my mom in the same room.
2. Continue to build up my confidence (my posture still indicates that I am not a fully confident dog yet).
3. To sit confidently and not run away in fear when Mom touches my collar.
4. Continue to be exposed to new situations so I can build my confidence.
5. Learn how to play like other dogs (with a ball or frisbee). Anything that has to be thrown scares me right now.
6. Learning the command “heel”.
7. Getting better at following the command “come”
8. Become more comfortable being left at home on my own for a few hours (I am much better than I used to be).
9. Be okay with having my picture taken (this one may take a while).
How funny it is to look back with some perspective and realize that some of the goals I had for her back then were ones I thought would make her a “normal” dog. How silly. What I’ve come to realize is that Daisy IS a “normal” dog – normal for her. And, you know what? I’m totally good with that.
She still eats in her kennel and prefers to drink her water when I am not in the room. If it makes her feel safe and secure, who am I to mess with that?
She no longer has to stay home alone because she has Jasper and Lady to keep her company.
She has long since learned how to respond to “come”, but I hardly ever have to use it since she rarely strays very far from me. Her preference is to still walk behind me, where she feels the most safe, but she is not afraid to venture away from me to explore her surroundings. Sometimes she will even go run with Jasper through the woods. I love that.
I could care less about “heel” anymore. Yes, it’s a nice command, but if Daisy feels safer behind me than beside me I am good with that too. I’ve come to think of it as Daisy’s version of “heel”.
Daisy has also learned “sit”, “down”, “stand”, “drop it”, “find it”, “Are you hungry?” “walk” and “belly rub”.
I very rarely see Daisy’s old body posture anymore (mostly just when she sees my camera come out). Now she stands and walks with more confidence and she very rarely (if ever) cowers away from me or others. In fact, she seeks out attention from adults more often than not and she has even approached children on occasion.
We’ve also made progress on her fear of her collar. Some time ago, I realized that if I took Daisy’s collar off and only put it on when we were going somewhere, like on a walk, she would begin to see having her collar on as a reward. It’s now a sign that there are good things to come.
Daisy loves water now too. She goes in the pool I set up for her, Jasper and Lady, and she has been known to jump in a lake and swim around, something she never would have done a few years ago.
Play was something Daisy had never had the chance to do, not until Jasper came along and taught her the game of tug. Now they play often and on occasion she will even play tug with me.
The one thing that we continue to work on is her fear of cameras. It is getting better, but it is a slow progress.
Looking back now I can’t help but be amazed by how far Daisy has come. From puppy mill dog to rescue dog to foster dog to adopted dog, who could have ever predicted that a dog with such a troubled past would become the perfect companion? She has made so much more progress than I ever expected. If she hasn’t found her Inner Lab then she is awfully darn close.