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Harper is a timid, little cardigan welsh corgi with a heart of gold. She seems conflicted between her desire to romp and by her fear of thresholds, people she doesn't know, things that move unexpectedly, loud noises, elevators, bicyclists, getting her harness put on, etc. Once I arrive at Harper's home, I find her penned up and waggling with excitement. The moment I open her cage, because she knows that the harness act looms near, she cowers and scurries out of reach. Since our first walk I've been working with this behavior: we do a series of unrelated tricks prior to putting her harness on. Though this doesn't dispel her fear completely, it does distract her enough to minimize the challenge.
After discussions with the owner, it seems clear that she is naturally timid or experienced something prior to her rehoming. She has a habit of squinting when she is frightened. Once we've got her harness in place she squints through the apartment's threshold, through the hallway, and onto the elevator and then, after disembarking, her fear disappears. Typically Harper and I walk to the park and chase birds, work on heeling, and play with sticks and balls. She'll romp like the best of them when we're out playing and working on tricks. On other occasions we interact with other dogs in the park or walk around Williamsburg to work on interaction skills, focus, and leash skills. With each walk her skills improve quite dramatically--she is a receptive pup after all!
During our last walk we ran into a dachshund puppy (only a few weeks old!) and Harper's behavior was absolutely incredible. She was gentle, curious, playful, and highly willing to share the pup's toy without any hesitation or aggression. Though willing to break from the surprise playtime with grace and ease, her interaction showed signs that she would have little issues with socialization during her further development.
After our walks, putting her back into her pen can sometimes be a challenge. She is as hesitant to have the harness removed as she is to have it put on. I usually leave her on the leash while I refill her water bowl, grab a handful of treats, and remove her harness near the cage. While doling out pieces of her favorite treat and petting her, I gently coax her into her cage. Once in, she quietly lays down.
Overall, Harper is a fantastic dog who will benefit from a steady and gentle training regiment. She's learning fast!