(I dedicate this post to my dear, dear friend, Trudy-not her real name but she knows who she is and she knows how highly I think of her so don’t worry about the title of this post and it being dedicated to her) ūüôā

A girl friend of mine and I were having dinner last night at Barolo (a wonderful restaurant in downtown Seattle). We were talking and having a great time and she brought something up that I found quite interesting.  Now, just so you know, she is amazing. She and I met in 9th grade and have been good friends since then. She went to college on the East Coast, works from home, is intelligent, independent, inspiring, and fits in perfectly with Seattle culture. She travels a lot to New York, Los Angeles, etc.  She is a hipster (Go to  http://www.urbandictionary.com and look up hipster-according to it they are the cool people that cool people consider cool.)

There are wanna-be hipsters. She is not a wanna-be. ¬†She knows the music scene and goes to more shows in a week than most people do in a year. She knows people. She’s gone out with more men this year than you and I combined. She hangs out with people, builds relationships and is not a scaredy-cat when it comes to people. (Convinced yet? Good).

A guy friend of hers said in the midst of a recent conversation that regarding her dating life, she is like a “skittish dog”. The moment she said that, I flipped. ¬†Her? ¬†A Skittish Dog? Are you kidding me? This woman who goes to shows by herself just because she likes the band and can get in free? ¬†This woman who has gone on zillions of dates in the last 10 years (and some of them very bad dates, like the guy had to stop at his house and smoke a bowl before wanting to take her home after a lunch date)? ¬†I’m talking like, if someone had a reason to not trust the male species, she does. ¬†And yet, she is currently in a relationship of 6 weeks with a great guy. ¬†She isn’t jaded-she’s not innocent, but she certainly isn’t jaded. Cautious at times? ¬†Yes. ¬†Intelligent enough to get to know you before handing over her heart and soul? ¬†Yes. ¬†She wasn’t born yesterday. ¬†She’s been around the block a few times. ¬†She’s seen some things that hurt. ¬†She’s felt every emotion under the sun.

I was wondering what “skittish as a dog” meant so I Googled it for fun. The first website you get is http://www.ehow.com and they tell you what to do with a skittish dog. And I copy and pasted the following from their website—this is their information about healing skittish dogs. Not mine.

Things you will need: Patience, Ability to give up what is not working, Compassion, Open Heart, Ability to find humor in every day.

Start with a Clean Slate: It is important to have no pre-conceived ideas. If you are wrong, your efforts will do more harm than good. You may or may not know how the dog ended up this way. Some dogs are left in crates for years to breed and produce puppies.  An abused that was dog beaten, kicked or neglected may act the same as one who was only isolated from human contact. The dog may have come from a perfect home whose owner dumped it at the pound because it ate their expensive shoes and now the dog now has abandonment issues.  You need to realize you may never know, especially since many owners lie when giving a dog up for adoption at the pound. The dogs behavior in the pound or shelter may also not be their behavior in your home. Try not to be too rigid in your expectations or need for explanations.

Step Back:Dog bonding- Allow the dog to get the feel of their new home and if you have other dogs, allow the dogs to socialize without too much input from you. Too much attention or protection could cause jealousy. Watch carefully from the sidelines, try to not show favoritism.  Your dogs should establish their family first. They have pack rules and structures to establish. You may see your dogs will assist in training the new dog and teach it the house rules. If you have no other dogs, just minimize your influence. Allow the new dog to explore, find a favorite place and learn what is what in your home.

Count to 10: Don’t over-react to accidents or odd behavior. Don’t respond to anything too quickly. Your dogs may respond well to a sharp “No!” but this could adversely effect the new dog, if it has issues. You may even have to let a few things slide. If you yell at one dog, the new skittish one may run, cower and shake uncontrollably. Rescues may exhibit nervous peeing or defecating, try to be calm, clean up and move on… if you don’t see it as a catastrophe, she will get over it faster. ¬†Sadly, the only attention some dogs ever get from their owners is punishment. Dogs are social, they will do what it takes for some human interaction. Your new dog may have learned that accidents mean attention, you need to show her that she only gets attention from good behavior.

Know A Dog’s Body Language: Yawning and licking lips can be signs of nervousness. Little Miss Skittish might sit off to the side while you read the paper, keeping an eye on you while yawning and licking her lips. Ignore her, after a few weeks, would smile at her and say her name in a soothing voice. Calming her and helping her feel safe is important. She will eventually reach a point where she is able to sleep without fear of what might happen to her.

Make A Little Us Time: Give her space- This is important! You may need to examine your dog for injuries or ticks, so you need to show her that you will not hurt her! It is vital that she learns to trust you. After the morning walk, spend some ‘us’ time with Little Miss Skittish. ¬†A small space feels safer to a dog who spent years in a crate, sort of like a den a dog would dig in the wild. Keep the leash on and take her into the bathroom. Start with simply sitting with her on the floor, on her level, as soon as she is comfortable at this level, stroke her head and say her name,¬†work up to a gentle body massage and tummy scratching. Be patient and don’t take it personally when she acts like you are repulsive -giver her time.

Ignore that Pee or Poo: Take the dog out on a leash several times a day, praise her and act pleased when she does her business. Give her a treat, many dogs like Siberians, respond well to treats. Sliced hot dogs make irresistible treats for even the most jaded dog. Do not react to an accident, simply clean it up and ignore the culprit. Dogs love positive reinforcement, even the most damaged dog looks forward to pleasing you -after all, you are giver of treats, food and attention.

Welcome The Courtship: There will come a time when she attempts to bond with you. You may notice her standing in the doorway watching you. Smile and say her name and give her a treat. She may sit in the kitchen while you cook supper, give her a treat. Go with your intuition, this is a courtship, be gentle and patient.

Be Forgiving: There will be setbacks, many, in fact. You will make mistakes. Stepping in something with your bare feet could cause you to swear or yell at the dog. Seeing a favorite keepsake broken or discovering someone stole a loaf of bread, can make you snap. Allow the dog to witness you calming down, sigh deeply and when you are calm, say you are sorry. Then get over it. Get past it. Move on. Dogs understand, watch them, they have arguments and ten minutes later are best friends. Forgive your dog easily and forgive yourself with as much compassion

Be patient: Rome wasn’t built in a year. You are building a family and all families are dysfunctional. Nobody is perfect. One day at a time. All clich√©s, but all too true with dogs.

Visualize yourself as a Turtle Dog Trainer, slow but you win the race.

(Read more: How to Heal a Skittish Rescue Dog | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_5263956_heal-skittish-rescue-dog.html#ixzz13ahYCHBD )

I am not saying skittish people are like dogs and I already voiced that I don’t think Trudy is skittish at all. I just thought this interesting, common sense website about skittish dogs had some interesting “relationship” points. You do what you want. ¬†But when it comes to people, there is more than meets the eye. ¬†This person has come through hell and high water to get to you. ¬†Give her a break. ¬†A Skittish Dog? ¬†Maybe. ¬†But not without reason and not without hope.

There’s hope. ¬†There’s always hope.

So, my dear “skittish dog” friend, you will find love. ¬†I know you will. ¬†And you will be so happy, you will forget this time of “skittish-ness”…

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