I was so tired I could barely see straight so I extracted a promise from the children to protect Dad from the Finna and went to bed. Dad and daughter sat down on the couch to watch a NOVA episode. Son was playing on the computer. Finna went to the couch, climbed up, walked across Dad to the empty space between him and our daughter, curled up and let them pet her! This was the first time my husband has been able to touch her since we adopted her November 4, 2011. After a few minutes she seemed to realize he was petting her and gave him a look that he interpreted as "stop, now" so he stopped at which point she growled softly and settled back down. A bit later she was wiggling and pushing and he interpreted that as her wanting a bit more room to stretch out so he moved over and she responded with frenzied barking. Then she got down and went away.
We may finally be on to something. If my hypothesis is right then Dad in motion is very scary and needs to be kept at bay but Dad not in motion is not a problem. It's not the full picture but maybe a corner piece in this puzzle that is Finna. At least with a hypothesis in place we can start looking for evidence to support or refute it. Next time she barks at him sitting on the couch he'll be able to take note of whether he just shifted his weight or something. I'm feeling much better about our ability to cope and rehabilitate with a hypothesis in place.
Having a real idea that feels like more than just a wild guess we're putting a management and treatment plan into action. Dad will spend more time sitting still and not walking around the house and when he does move around he'll be dropping a steady stream of kibbles and training treats. When he moves another "acceptable" family member will also move with him as often as we can. And whenever practical a ball will be tossed by Dad when he's moving around. I'm hoping that in a week or two I'll be able to report progress.
Sitting with Dad and letting him pet her is a major Finna milestone and the episode gave us more information about what sets her off where he is concerned. Finna is still a crazy scaredy dog but having a plan and a hypothesis is making me feel a lot better about our ability to rehabilitate her.
And because I don't have any new Finna photos here's simply one of my photos that I like.
It's a view of the Dale Chihuly Bridge of Glass in Tacoma, Washington.