Sometimes it seems like we're making no progress and that Finna is going to be a crazy unsafe dog all her life. That's why it helps to take a look back at the end of each month with her and see that really there has been progress.
I was realizing last night when I got up to got to the bathroom just how far Finna has come. When we first brought her home she couldn't spend the night on her own, my son was sleeping downstairs with her every night and doing his best to reassure her when she panicked and panic was a nightly occurrence. Today Finna sleeps loose in the house usually outside my bedroom door but sometimes downstairs on the futon. Initially, if I got up in the night for any reason Finna would have a meltdown unless I came out of the bedroom and spent time with her. Today, if I get up in the night I can simply go back to bed.
Finna often peed in the house in the beginning and needed regular trips outside at least every three hours 24 hours a day. I can't remember the last time she peed indoors and she goes eight or nine hours at night without the need for a potty break. To start with she sometimes couldn't even make it off the porch before she had to go now it's go outside and wait for me to throw the ball, chase the ball down and stop about half way back to go. I laugh at her now as she can't seem to go potty without a ball in her teeth.
Finna who came to us as a dog with no idea how to play with humans and no concept of fetch is now a fetch fanatic and will chase the ball as long as I'll throw it. And when I lose track of the ball she understands that she needs to show me where it is. Thank heavens I've also taught her "Finished" so that I can stop throwing the ball sometimes.
Barking wildly at the neighbors was a regular occurrence at first. Today I can call her back before she starts to bark and call her off if she's barking. She's gone from being a dog that couldn't be left in the yard without human supervision to a dog that spends time outside with only Ranger for company.
Finna arrived with no self-control, no impulse control, and no idea what training was. She's got a ways to go before she's mastered self-control and impulse control but the foundation is there now. And as for training Finna now loves to train. The dog that bolted out the door the instant it was opened no matter who she had to run over to get out is now a dog that can be told "No, Finna" and will stay inside as I leave. She's learning to wait at the door and that she should wait to be released before going out.
She's come a long long way. The problem is that she has a long long long way still to go. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in looking at how far she still has to go and to forget to look back and see how far she's come. She still has issues with my husband but she's gone from barking, snarling and growling at him any time he moved to a dog that tolerates him moving around much of the time. We're still trying to figure out what he's doing differently sometimes that sets her off. The other night is a great example, he was in the kitchen loading the dishwasher and Finna was curled up on the futon sleeping. Then suddenly she sailed off the futon and flew into the kitchen barking ferociously. Since he'd been loading the dishwasher for several minutes without any reaction from Finna we have no idea what set her off, Something clearly did but it was outside our merely human ken.
She is learning and getting better. I keep telling myself that every day is another brick in building her new life and another chance for her to grow and develop. One things for sure I'm learning a whole lot on this journey.