Mar 19, 2012

Resolutions... in progress

I can't believe a 1/4 of 2012 is already gone!!!
So, time to revisit my resolutions, I'm doing pretty well! I bellydance 2 times a week for 30 minutes. I have been creative at least every weekend in one way or another. I've taken the time to cook new creations with Mom and we're thoroughly enjoying watching "Dead Zone" together, along with doing small home reno projects. The only resolution I'm slipping on is doing new things with Willow. We do a lot together, but nothing new that improves our relationship.

But we did share an amazing experience on Tuesday, March 6th. Ever since her thorn/paw injury in January 2011, it's been incredibly hard and dangerous to trim her nails; she has always struggled, always hated it but since that time she goes crazy, kicking and flaying about even with both of us holding her. I even wear safety goggles as once she scratched my cheek with a freshly cut nail right below my eye... a wee bit higher and things would have been very bad. Since November we've been taking her to a groomer to trim her nails, which is also very stressful.
When I was reading "Wesley the Owl" by Stacey O'Brien (have you read it?) I was in disbelief at how Stacey managed to trim Wesley's beak and claws towards the end of his years when this became a necessity. She set up an appointment with him, so to speak, a month in advance, and reminded him often. When she talked about it to him, she visualized what she would do and how Wesley could co-operate. She used the file in his presence on all sorts of things to get him used to it (and the sound, I imagine). Over and over for a month she would do these things, and when the appointed day arrived he let her file his beak!!! I couldn't believe it either, but I thought I'd give it a try. So I made an appointment with Willow, "Next Tuesday I'm going to cut your nails." She knows the words "cut your nails", as well as "clean your ears", "brush your teeth", etc... and I pictured in my mind her standing more or less still and letting me do her nails. After a few times, I handled her foot when I did this visualizing... and she didn't resist! That was odd already, usually she pulls her foot away. And that Tuesday after our walk I said "Now we're going to cut your nails" and holding her collar I was able to lead her to the kitchen without pulling or panic (as she usually tries to bolt under the coffee table). In the kitchen, I was able to open the drawer where the clipper lives (and her treats, by the way) and put them on the floor without her freaking out, although her tail was now between her legs and her ears had disappeared. And then I started clipping the back legs... with some wiggling and an attempt to escape but only once and not with a great deal of intensity and I held my ground talking calmly to her and saying, "We're going to do this today because it's time and we talked about it..." ... and then I started clipping and the back legs were done! I was in shock!

So I moved to the front, and here Mom had to step in to hold her back end, but only restraining her a little, not the full-out wrestler-type body hold normally necessary. She just held one leg in each hand, with very little force. And one front paw was done, and the second was done!!!! All 4 were done!!!! We both then bathed her in praise and wows!!! and you're amazing!!!, were thoroughly pounced on and then Willow went outside with the biggest, best cookie in the house! And I sat in wonder...
So what was it that actually worked? My calm, this-is-how-it-is attitude? My saying the dreaded words so many times to her over the week? Handling her feet? The visualizing? I'm at a loss to explain it, but I can hardly wait for her nails to grow long enough to try it again!!
I love my dog!!!!
PS I went to the Barkery and bought 4 huge cookies in anticipation of many more happy nail trimmings! Think positive!

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