Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Isaac, Learning to Trust Me

Yesterday I wrote about learning to trust Isaac.

Isaac, I think has learned to trust me, probably more than I trust him.  What can I say?  I have trust issues.  And I do think it's more about me than it is about him, the times I don't fully trust him.  And I think his trust in me is probably more about him than it is about me, because it's certainly not like I've been a perfect service dog handler.  I've been inconsistent at times, lazy at times, had trouble explaining what I wanted to him at times, etc.

But I see various instances of Isaac really trusting me and relying on me.

There was the time last summer, when he chased a deer into the woods and his leash got all tangled up and he couldn't get back to me.  He barked to let me know he was stuck and where he was and then he just waited patiently for me to get to him and get him loose.  He didn't panic at being trapped or anything.  He trusted me to help him.

There was the time last winter when he got a bit of rock salt stuck between his toe pads and he just leaned against me and lifted his foot for me to fix it.  His foot hurt and he didn't hesitate to let me mess with it.  He trusted me to help him.

Last week at the dog park, someone failed to close one of the gates properly.  It looked closed but it wasn't latched.  Isaac pushed it with his nose, it opened and he ran out.  And where did he go?  Around the dog park to the gate on the other side.  Where he waited for me to come and let him back in.  He wasn't worried he'd get in trouble for getting out of the fence.  I've never yelled or scolded him for getting loose, because his trainer told me not to, that that only makes dogs not want to come back to you  next time.  Sure, it's frustrating when your dog gets away from you, but you want to praise him for coming back, when he does.  And I've always done that.  So there is one thing I actually have been consistent about.  Isaac trusted me to let him back into the park and not to be mad at him.

Last night I asked Isaac to get my meds for me.  The end table I keep them on usually sits right next to my couch, but in anticipation of my new couch being delivered (which has yet to happen, grrr), I moved it.  At the moment, it's in the corner of the living room.  Isaac knew right where it was and went to get the meds, but a chair and my vacuum cleaner were in the way and he couldn't reach them.  In the past, he would have gotten excited about this, tried bringing me something else instead, or tried turning on the light instead, or something, trying to please me but not knowing what to do.  Last night, when he realized he couldn't get to the meds, he turned around and looked at me like, "Well, what should I do now?"  He trusted me to understand he problem and to tell him what to do about it.  It was nice.

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