May 22nd 2010 9:37 pm
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A year ago, I couldn't go out in public without having a panic attack if I saw another dog... yesterday I competed in my very first rally trial, after working with our new trainer who taught us how to work on my issues with positive reinforcement and the clicker. Not only did I survive HOURS surrounded by other dogs, I did it without squeaking or having any panic attacks and managed to qualify. I would have done better, but mom dropped a few treats here and there, and we got a cue or two confused because we just started working on them for this trial. But over all I had a blast and mom says she is so proud of me and that I exceeded her expectations. And my sister did even better (but she always was the "good dog") and she placed 3rd in her group. I can't wait to get out to another trial so mom can get it right and earn me a pretty ribbon too :)
November 22nd 2009 8:56 am
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Gah, Blue just scaled the chain link fence to get to a goldren retreiver the
owner had no control over, he just let out of the house loose and it beelined
for our yard and immediately started fighting through the fence. Once they
actually met face to face they were fine and she started barking at the guy!
Basically, what happened. I just got back from a walk tht went really well. We
worked through a meltdown with a dog in the yard, and ending with a walk where
she was relaxed, actually sniffing around and just going along. We were in the
yard, and they were sitting near me when I hear a guy yelling for his dogs. The
girls noticed, I called them, and they looked at me, and I should have taken
them in right then and there, and I didn't react fast enough. The golden was on
the fence, the dogs broke and fence fighting ensued (I think Kaya actually was
the main reactive here to start actually, outside the golden coming in the first
place) But it sent Blue through the roof, and she was jumping by the fence. Just
as I was about to take hold of her she got a good jump and was over the fence.
She went right for the dog, who snapped at her, and Blue went into immediate
calming signal mode and the dogs made friends.
While I am pissed she jumped the fence, that wasn't so bad. As I was getting out
the gate (I would have jumped the fence had a dog fight ensued) I saw her jump
up to say hello to the guy, who got scared, understandably, she was super excited, and KNOCKED her down. Well, that set
her off and she started barking. I called her and she started to come but then
ran back and pecked him and barked, at which point I got a hold of her and led
her away, took her and Kaya to the front porch where I worked on having them lay
down until I got complete calm from both of them and released them for a few
minutes then brought them in because by THAT time I had to reheat my tea!
So, not a good moment, and I am a little concerned of the potential
reprocussions of that one :(
Why do people who know they don't have recall of their dogs insist on let them
out off lead? This dog (Dakota... I know because I hear the guy yelling it all
the time to no avail) has done this several times. But I have been good lately
about anticipating (when I hear the guy yelling his name) and gettign the dogs
inside. This time happened to quickly. Despite my huge sense of dissapointment there is a small part of me that is rather impressed with Blues athletecism! Hope she doesn't do it again, ever!
:( Chalk it up to ones of God's little challenges and just move on, I suppose...
November 21st 2009 5:27 am
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Time is not on my side these days. Getting to do formal sessions with the pups has been hard. Late hours at work and early hours of dark, and uncooperative weather. I did get the girls out to the park on Sunday. There is a nice trail in the preserve out by the energy company that runs along the river.
I got there and there were two people coming out with their greyhounds, so I left the girls in the car until they packed up and left. Got the girls out one at a time. I worked with Blue first and got her focus. I used the longer leash, about 8 foot. It's actually a lead rope, but it gives her a little freedom. She's too excited to keep short, so I work with her just learning the boundary of roming I want to allow, and getting attention at random times or if she is surging against the lead. Kaya I attach to a hands free. I don't give her as much lead, even though she is the better pup because it would be too easy to tangle, but she has plenty of lead to sniff and check things out.
It was a nice walk. Both girls were pretty good. (No surprise for Kaya LOL) Blue was excited, but who canblame her. It's been a while since we have been out on a trail. Our last experience with the ticks in the early summer kind of scared me away LOL. We have been doing most of our work on focus on the road. I wanted to giver her a chance to "let her haid down" and get her sniff on, but in a controlled manner. I have been practicing at the training center walking around the pond, but for it being the first time in the "wilds" since spring, she did great. If she surged ahead I would stop and wait, and she was giving me (fletting) focus whereas in the past this was not the case if she fixated. I had to wait her out, but she did return focus instead of freak out at squirrles so we could move on. With coaxing we got some recalls too (recalls are perfect at home and in the neighborhood immediately around my house such as the neighbors or when visiting people - but that is it!) and she was good. She was not interested in food and was actually working for gentle praise and or forward movement, not something she typically works for, but seemed to be be enough for her in this situation, so nice...
We made most of the trail without encountering anyone, but it was a beautiful day, so I wasn't surprised when we did come across someone else with a dog. There was another trail off to the side, so I moved down it to a distance where my dogs might not notice the other, or at least, shouldn't react. Unfortunately, the guy didn't go the way I was coming from originally, he followed me down the trail. I asked him if he could instead go past me on the original trail so I could get past him and get out of his way. So he did, but didn't realy move all that far, so I knew Blue was going to react, and she did. I still consider it a success though because although she did react, she did physically stay with me as we went by and returned her focus to me pretty quickly after we passed. She looked a few times, but let it go pretty quickly adn relaxed and moved on.
We were out for a couple of hours, and it was nice to really get some of that physical energy out of her. Hopefully, once we get past thenext few hectic weeks, I will be able to get them back on a better program again. In the mean time, classes are going well. Blue seems to be strugling a little with the adjustment in the time of day we go, but things will settle down again. Just makes me realize that she needs more variety of settings. I have to find some more places we can go, love to find more trails, but the tick thing is freaking me out... this past trail adventure left us ALL with ticks on us. Not as bad as the spring, but quite a few of them! Need to find some parks I can go and work them where maybe it isn't quite so wild !
Oh, and the point of the title. My neighbor came to let out the girls the other night because I had to stay at work from 6:30 am to 9 PM. I aske dhow they were (Blue can be a TERRIBLE greeter) and he said she was good. She tried to jump once but when he told her "off" she listened and behaved. He said he can see her getting better and calmer and that they were both really good. Listened, came in when called. So that was nice! He let them out twice, so it must not have been that big of a PITA. I am helping dog sit their dog next week and they told me they would help me out next July. I have two neighbors now that I could probably get to rotate times taking them out for me while I am on vacation. That would be awesome. Putting Blue (or Kaya for that matter, she can be pretty sensitive) in a kennel, I just can't do it to them.