First Week

The word “Pis” in Turkish means “dirty”, “Pis su” means dirty water, so the idea of her being named Piskie was not attractive to me, I changed it to Whisky. It was close enough to her previous name for her to still recognise it if she had learned it before and it’s a fairly common name for a small dog or cat so, not odd, although I have been known to give pets odd names, like Olive, Wilfred, Roy (the cat) etc etc.

The first week was all about getting Whisky used to my place and me. She would not come close to me or allow me to stroke her, when we had a walk round my garden she was always at the full extent of her rope. My tasks were showing her the house and garden, getting her used to regular mealtimes and getting a daily routine started. I didn’t try to do anything else other than seeing how she reacted to my presence and that of my other four dogs and just sitting within her reach, (she was secured on a longish lead while outside) I didn’t try to do any more because she was too wound up to take anything in.

I had a wooden frame that used to support a water tank so I threw some old carpets and shading material over it to make a rough tent sort of thing that she could sleep in and use as a retreat when she wanted to feel safe. The weather wasn’t cold so she didn’t need a proper kennel yet, I put a folded up mat inside for something soft to sleep on.

Kennel 2

Yes it looks rough doesn’t it, she’ll have a real kennel soon. She used it a lot but also alternated with using the double kennel that I had made for Minnie and Molly, they didn’t seem to mind too much.

There were one or two little steps forward during the first week. I rejoiced if she came within a metre of me but then if I clumsily kicked a food bowl, moved quickly or allowed her rope to get caught while we were walking then the steps forward got cancelled out and we were back to square one. By the end of the first week, though, she started to recover from these setbacks a little more quickly each time so although it seemed never ending, the successes did in fact mount up.

This is not going to be a quick fix though, Whisky is going to take months to get to the stage of acting in a “normal” fashion when off the lead. I found a book online that shows the calming signals that dogs use amongst themselves and can be used by humans to instil calmness in a dog. In fact they seem to be used by a lot of animals, and even humans. I downloaded it to my Kindle and read it three or four times in quick succession then started to practice the signals.

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