When Annie came home, she didn’t like doors, narrow hallways and small spaces. Over the past year she has overcome so many fears and she now walks freely through the house. She goes through doorways and hallways without hesitation but there was still one last threshold that she wouldn’t cross…my bathroom.
This is the same bathroom that Maisie has locked herself in, multiple times and maybe that contributes to her reticence. The first time Maisie did this Annie alerted me in the most fantastic way. I was recently out-of-town for a few weeks and my husband came home a couple of times to Annie barking at him and then looking at the stairs with an expression that said “she’s done it again”, leaving him to go upstairs and release Maisie from her trap.
The other day I was brushing my teeth and Maisie was right at my feet. I glanced over and saw Annie standing in the door way watching me and when I started talking to her she leaned in closer like she wanted to come in but was still unsure. I took a gamble and grabbed a bag of treats and went back in the bathroom. Annie loves treats and she immediately knew what I had in my hand. Gradually she approached me, getting a treat with each step until she was completely in the room. We stayed there for a few minutes and then she turned around and skittered out.
We’ve done this a couple of times and each time she comes in with less hesitation. I don’t really like the dogs in the bathroom with me, it’s a tight squeeze and sometimes it’s just really nice to have some privacy, but Annie not wanting to come in because of fear was a different thing. It’s just like the kitchen, I didn’t like having dogs underfoot until Annie wouldn’t come in, then it just seemed wrong to not have to lunge over a big body while moving about. I want them to be free to make their choice about joining me, and then leave the room when I ask.
Yesterday while taking my shower, I left the door open in hopes that Annie might come in. I sensed her standing in the doorway and then I caught a glimpse of her walking all of the way in and sniffing around the sink, looking for that bag of treats. She left and then returned a few minutes later and started barking at me to come out. Was she ordering me to give her a treat? I chose to ingnore the barking and she turned back around and plopped down outside the door and waited there for me. That’s so Annie, wanting to do something in her own time, with no one watching. It reminded me of when she was figuring out the stairs and the unknown frontier of the second floor. I’m still amazed that Annie continues to make progress with us when she’s been with us for over a year. This sweet, old girl deserves to be free of her past, and as long as she is willing, we will continue to navigate her path together.