After the first month Annie was beginning to show less hesitation when called. She was spending more time out of her crate and was watching me more when I was in the kitchen, but she still wouldn’t come in and join me. For anyone who has had large dogs in their life I don’t need to explain the “Newfie Lunge”. My last 2 dogs were always in the kitchen and Bailey was a huge obstacle. Once she settled into what she thought would be the most strategic spot to catch anything dropping to the floor, I was forced to lunge over her every time I needed to move about. I would grumble that I would train my next dogs to watch me from the doorway so that I could move around more easily but of course I didn’t do that with Maisie and now that Annie would only watch me from the doorway, I wanted her in the kitchen, under foot like my other happy dogs.
Maisie is the fussiest eater we have ever had so we started mixing in 1-2 tablespoons of meat with her dry food. I make it in batches and freeze small portions in cubes so it is easy to add when needed. The first time I made a batch when Annie was around (baked chicken thighs ground up in the blender) I called her when I was dividing it into servings. I was making a mess and had chicken all over my hands. Maisie knows this is an opportunity for tasting and I didn’t want Annie to miss out. She slowly approached me and once I offered my hand she gently licked the chicken off of my fingers. Her expression was priceless, there was a quick spark of delight in her eyes and I could tell that she considered this new experience a really good one. She stayed close by while I ground up the next batch and was eager when I offered my hand to her the next time.
A couple weeks later, I was doing this again and when I turned on the blender I heard her get out of her crate, sneak around the perimeter of the house and saw her peering around the kitchen door way. She was getting it! She stayed there and watched my progress and then came right away when I called her to clean up my hand. On a different occasion I felt a nudge at my hip. I turned and expected to see Maisie but it was Annie looking up at me hoping to get a nibble. She remembered the blender noise and the reward that followed and I was so excited that she was gaining the confidence to come in and wait for a treat. Pretty soon she started venturing in when she heard knife-chopping noises and of course we always found something appropriate to give her as a reward. I haven’t had to lunge over her yet, but she is spending more time standing near by and sometimes will lay down in the doorway and wait there till something else comes her way. I look forward to the day that she flops down in the middle of the floor and becomes an obstacle!