Time is the best healer. But for now: fake it till you make it. Closely watched by Lily, I pretend everything is fine. And it will be. I’m not going to regret wasting my time on dwelling on the past. Lily’s confused and went back to being timid and quiet. I am going to socialise her more (we have a park where all dog walkers from my area go, I know when it’s busier and we’ll teach Lily it’s fun to play with more dogs). She depended on Ardbeg quite a lot, she was really brave with him around so I can’t afford to waste the good job he’d done. I’m teaching her more tricks to stimulate her brain, we’re leaving her for some time on her own to avoid separation anxiety. She has toys to keep her occupied (Kong, if anyone knows something better, please let me know, I’m not promoting one brand on purpose). We use dognition.com for some games (and research). It’s not free, but if you do coursera Dog Emotion and Cognition Duke University course (which is free unless you want to pay for the certificate) you’ll find that adding: /mooc enables you to have free access to 2 sections.
Lily is a smart girl (I’m sure all dogs are) and she’s learning a new trick in about 30 to 60 seconds. Yes, I time us. I only ever use positive conditioning. Which means, if either of us gets bored or frustrated we end the exercise. A session is never longer than 5 minutes. I don’t care if she learns a trick or not, it’s more a bonding exercise, designed to give her attention and make her happy. The fact she learns so quickly is an added bonus.
We used our time wisely, me and Ardbeg, so there’s no ‘should have’-we spent every minute given to us being happy together, playing, learning, exploring. I’m going to carry on doing it with every single dog I will ever have. Because we all die. And it will be too late then.