So now you know who Gatsby is and that I feel we - K, Gatsby and I as a team - can do this. We can 'rehabilitate', as K casually called it, Gatsby to be less dependent on her person (that's K) and to be able to adapt to and thus better enjoy the world around her.
All right, who am I kidding? It's mainly so she and I can survive the couple of weeks next month that I'll have her at my place. Right now, she whines and barks when K is out of sight, much less away for a long period of time. (She's absolutely fine at home without K, though. She fusses when K leaves more than when she's gone. Not to mention the pawing at the bathroom door, even though she's perfectly comfortable at home. So my guess is, technically, it's more resource guarding her human than separation anxiety.)
So, time for The Plan:
6 weeks until K goes away.
3 goals to achieve before she turns up at my doorstep:
- a reliable recall "come"
- ability to leash her
- "speak" and "quiet"
Which leads me to the next point - 'ability to leash her': she's not easy to leash and unleash, a vital skill in my eyes.
The last point, 'speak and quiet', is the flexible one. That goal may change as our project progresses. I just needed something different and more fun (I've never taught a 'trick' before, only very basic living-with-human skills) to motivate me to keep working with her, and since she tends to have very long, loud conversations with the doggie next door to my house, the ability to quieten her when she gets too garrulous would be just lovely.
(If you're wondering how K manages without these things, she doesn't have to manage without them - she's reliable enough for K, because K is her person and the only thing in her world - just not anyone else right now.)
So to achieve these self-set goals, K and I have penciled in dates, about twice a week, for us to work with Gatsby. We originally included one overnight stay at my place, but we've upped it to two because K thinks that if she stays with Gatsby at my house first, Gatsby will feel it's safe and then be happy to stay alone with me. The following 'trial run' alone with me will still happen - to test to what extent she'll whine her little head off the entire time, and whether or not my family members can put up with it!
So, what do you think? What's vital for you to be able to dog-sit? How's our plan looking?
This is how I feel right now...
Under pressure but excited!