This is part four of a six part series called Our Story.
It was not exactly imprinting, but Michga did start following me around like a duckling.
Michga has a bit of a protectiveness issue. Plus she’s afraid of strangers and she has a mild separation problem (she doesn’t bark or whine when I’m gone, but my mother, who watches her sometimes when I go away, tells me that she mopes). I fear that I contributed to these issues with my coddling tendencies.
When she was a month or so old, I had her out in the yard. I’m not sure where her sisters were, we must have taken them out separately for some reason. The neighbor boy had a couple of friends over, and they came over and wanted to hold Michga.
But Michga wasn’t very keen on the idea. She shrunk away, trying to make herself smaller, obviously a little scared. So I went over and picked her up. I told the boys she was shy and carried her back inside, cradled in my arms.
That’s around the time Michga became especially attached to me. I’m no expert on dog training, but my guess is that this was not the correct way to handle the situation. I probably should have tried to encourage her to get over her fears, instead of unconsciously encouraging them. I don’t think this single event controlled her personality or anything, but I doubt my overprotective behavior helped.
I love my little princess, personality faults and all, but I do believe she would be happier if she didn’t have this fear of strangers, so I’m trying to work on it. But it’s slow going to reverse a trait she’s harbored for the past six years of her life.