Going Up? Rey vs Elevator
Updated: Apr 14
To preface, Rey loves dogs. She has so many dog besties. Dogs are her friends.
When I sold my house in May of 2021 I was on the hunt for a new home for me and Rey. I was looking for an apartment that was pet friendly (a-duh), but also that didn't discriminate against her breed. (Looking at you [insert name here] apartment in Clayton Park - I didn't like the wall colour anyway).
I got lucky getting into this place (I'll tell you about it over coffee). It's the most pet friendly building; doggos everywhere! They didn't even ask for her breed, or a photo, and when they finally did meet Rey, they of course fell in love with her - and her sweaters. They are a hit.
What's the issue?
So now I have about three weeks until I'm moving into this beeeeeautiful building, and my unit is on the fourteenth floor *gulp*. What's racing through my mind as I prepare for this new adventure: Will I have to take the stairs every time Rey needs to go outside??? If you're wondering why I'm thinking this, please refer to my post Wrestling Reactivity. Or, if you prefer the cliff notes:
Rey gets* over-excited when she sees other dogs
She barks and pulls like a crazy lady
I'm flustered, she's frustrated, people look at us funny
*She has come leaps and bounds with her reactivity, thanks to so much help from Ted at Mango dogs, and I'll also pat myself on the back for the work that I've done to help Rey. I'm so proud of her and where we are today.
Well, Cassidy, if you've come so far why are you still nervous. My dear, thank you for asking. The thing is, I know Rey's limits. She reactive, so we avoid leash greetings (side note: leash greetings aren't natural for dogs and it is A-OKAY if your dog doesn't like it). We keep our distance, I advocate for Rey by not putting her in situations where she feels over her threshold. Does this include boxing Rey into a tight 5'x7' space with other dogs? hahahahahahah no. That was definitely not a part of our training.
Ooooh, so she's aggressive?
Did I say that? Sorry. Didn't mean to snap.
No, Rey is not aggressive. Though she does like her space (who doesn't?), and sometimes if she's uncomfortable she might snap at another dog to say so. She is very good at telling them off and moving on. No aggression, no biting, no fights. Just talking to other dogs the only way that she knows how.
What will others think??
But truthfully, my biggest fear was what others would think when they saw Rey reacting. This is an apartment building filled with dogs and people that don't know us. They don't know Rey as the sweet little honey bun that she is. There is a one strike rule for aggressive dogs and it would be immediate eviction. SO my brain goes to worse case scenario and all that I can think of is:
"Rey and I are in the elevator, another dog comes in and Rey starts losing her mind. Perhaps even the dog gets in Rey's face and she growls or barks or snaps, but doesn't bite.
These people just see a dangerous 'Pitbull*' and immediately complain to management that she's aggressive and tried to attack their dog. No cameras in the elevator. Boom, we're homeless."
Isn't my brain fun :)
MMKay. So yea, that's what I'm thinking. Imagine my calves (et mon derriere *wink wink*) if I had to walk fourteen flights all day every day. But I was concerned. Lack-of-sleep, over-thinking, annoying-my-mom-constantly-talking-about-it, concerned.
The First Ride
So let me take you to Rey's first elevator experience. Take a deep breath.
My sister, Courtney, joins me for Rey's first visit to the apartment. I'm all moved in and we are about to spend our first night. We push the elevator button and the doors open and it's..... empty. Thank goodness. Alright, let's get in.
Rey: "......... Ya. no thanks."
I had to nearly drag the poor girl into the elevator. She was terrified. Once we were in she was sprawled out like a frog on the elevator floor. Claws stretched out, gripping the floor for dear life. Nobody else joined us for that ride. Rey officially hates the elevator.
Later in the evening, it's time to make a trip down for Rey to use the bathroom (I miss my fenced in backyard already). I yet again drag her into the elevator and she is sprawled out on the floor. We make it down a few flights and the elevators stop. Courtney and I exchange a look. This is it. The doors open and sure enough there is a man waiting there with his dog. He takes one look at Rey and asks in a tone that perhaps I misread as disgust (but Court heard it too) if he could come in.
- This man, nearly eight months later, still looks at Rey as if she is the most disgusting thing he's ever seen, but only once has let the door fall in my face lolol. -
From Rey's terrified position on the floor she didn't even look up. She paid no attention to the dog that came in, as she was too concerned with why the floor was moving. I was actually thrilled that Rey was so afraid of the elevator.... that was the absolute calmest she's ever been, being that close to a new dog. Am I horrible for wishing that her fear never went away???
Her fear went away.
As time passed of course Rey has become more comfortable in the elevator. She has really truly surprised me though. She does not react. She would whine sometimes or get mildly excited about another dog but nothing outlandish. I mean, hello, we've been working really hard. I shouldn't have been so surprised.
There are many small dogs in my building, and many small dog owners that fear for their small dog's lives around Rey. They scoop up their little floofers at the sight of Rey - this in fact makes Rey more excited. Sigh. Now she wants to jump and sniff them, I of course don't let her. But if she was quiet before, now she's making noises that in no way resemble that of a dog. A pig, perhaps? Some type of bird?
Advocating in the Elevator
I never let my guard down though, I won't take risks. Every time Rey and I get in the elevator I take the furthest side from the door and I tuck her between my leg and the wall. When other dogs come in, they usually keep their distance, but of course there are very friendly dogs there that want to say 'hi'. I try my best to prevent dogs from getting too close in the elevator and have put my leg between Rey and another dog before, so that Rey knew she didn't have to snap. I tell people that she likes her space. If people perceive her as a mean dog, so be it. But I will do everything I can to make Rey comfortable.
There was one occasion, as we were in the elevator heading down, that the doors open and at the end of a retractable leash (I couldn't even yet see the owner), a border collie pup jumps into the elevator, landing on Rey who is in the corner between the wall and my leg. I cannot even blame her for her reaction. She was stuck and panicking and she snapped. She didn't bite, but she made a lot of noise. The owner was very apologetic, but now every time Rey sees that dog she get a little tense.
We do have many many people in our building that adore Rey. And we have a few doggo friends in our building that Rey absolutely loves. Coco lives on our floor, she is a little Boston Terrier/Pug mix and oh so sweet. They get along really well.
Riley is a sweet little Poodle type that we met as a wee pup. Rey adores Riley, but still likes her space. Since Riley is so young, Rey had to deal with puppy Riley being excited and pawing at her face (absolutely adorable- but Rey wasn't a fan). She did snap once to say so.
Mocha is a sweet small breed puppy, who is so friendly but calm. Rey likes calm. She sometimes gets in Rey's face in the elevator and I just remind her owner that Rey likes her space. There have never been any issues.
Those are just a few of the wonderful furry friends in our building that we've had the pleasure of running into in our eight months here. It has truly been a much better experience than I thought it would be and I'm so proud of Rey for it.
Though, we have taken the stairs on a few occasions both ways. Rey is not happy about that. The elevator is now one of her favourite places. It leads to adventure and new friends (who often tell her she is beautiful and oh so fancy in her sweaters).
I hope that you found this elevator story.... uplifting.... Though it has it's.... ups and downs....
If your dog is scared of the elevator, there are certainly... steps that you can take.........
Sorry, those puns were bad on... so many levels.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this post. If you have any questions or comments, you can write those below or send me a message! If you'd like to hear more about a particular topic, please let me know :)