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I have written about my new 5 yo female who I adopted 8 weeks ago. We are getting to know each other and it seems to be going well. When she first came she was pretty skittery, obedient in a very submissive manner. I think she is feeling more comfortable and at ease and I’m seeing new behaviors including pacing, a new willfulness, and an awareness and tenseness of the world outside my house and yard. I’m not clear that means less anxiety or more and will appreciate thoughts or suggestions how to address.

One thought is I have had the flu for about 5 days with complications and only able to go outside to play for a couple of 30 minute sessions of ball on search games. We haven’t walked outside the yard in many days and I think she might be liking it more than she seems to. it has been hard to play inside because she doesn’t get ‘Games’ very easily. I’m also on an antibiotics, cough a lot and probably don’t smell like myself to her.

Here are some examples:
This is new. It seems very hard for her to let go of something, she locks in. She is trying lots of new behaviors and willfully tries again and again, after corrected and then goes back again —or paces and then goes back. I finally crate her and she eventually lets it go- but it takes 5-10 minutes. Examples: 1. tonight I found her on top of a couch, she hasn’t ever tried or looked like she would. Not something I want. Repeatedly correcting, crating, and recorrecting. 2. She went out the front door on leash with me one time last week, she has seen people come in, but never gone out. Now she fixated on going out front door, whether walking or not, she just knows now that it is an exit. We usually go out side gate from back. 3. She has learned to like ball games with chewable squeaky balls outside and a simple “Find it” game with treats. She will repeatedly try to get me to go out and play on her time table not mine. Again willfully, not accepting no and repeatedly trying to make it happen.

The pacing is very new. She seems anxious, her mouth slightly open in almost a pant. Including when going to bed. She sleeps on a bed in my room, she used to curl up and go to sleep. Now she paces for 15-20 minutes, wanting to pace all through the house, which I don’t allow. We make one loop, turn out lights and go in the suite and close door. I have to close off the bathroom to keep it out of her path. Finally she lays down and sleeps, sometimes in the bed sometimes not. I wonder if this new behavior comes from me being sick, going to bed earlier than usual?

I’m recovering and hope to walk her tomorrow and get back to our routine and maybe that will help the anxiety part of the behavior.
She’s a gem, willful or anxiety aren’t a problem to me if I can figure out how to connect well as be the One in charge. I’m also considering tethering her again to me in the house, now that she feels so much at home.
thx
 

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My guess would be that you being sick she is not getting enough exercise and mental stimulation. The trying to engage you in play, the pacing, looking to the door to go out. Life happens, getting sick happens. I would just keep up with teaching your timetable, working on behaviors you want and see what happens when you are feeling better and can get back to your normal routine of play and training. If the behaviors continue after you recover then you can revisit what might be happening with her. Hope you feel better soon and your girls setbacks are temporary.
 

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I also have a new 5 yr old girl I rescued in August and I too am looking for some guidance here. Mine was the same deal, skittish at first and now she feels comfortable I think. She barks at people when she sees them through the window, helps herself to the couch, etc.
 

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If you can’t exercise her until you are better, find some mind games to keep her busy. I like to get three similar size boxes, like a shoebox, with a lid. Put a treat or a special toy in one and leave the others empty. Tell her to Find or Seek or Search. The word you used does t matter but be consistent. She has to 1. Follow a command 2. Locate an item by scent 3. Figure out how to get the lid off.

I also hide things in easy to find places first, then harder places.

My dogs have also learned how to bounce a ball for themselves so they can entertain themselves indoors. I didn’t teach them. One figured it out and the other copied.
 
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