Oreo had her last training session! We started off discussing how she has been doing, and discussed how her new medication may be causing irritation around her eyes. She has been itching them and they are red :(. This could also be allergies, but has been new since the new anxiety meds have kicked in. I hesitate to post the medication’s name because anxiety medicine is a tricky game. Some medicines work get to aide in training with one day, and horrible with another.
We practiced focusing on me while she got out of the car. Now the trainer had her dog more than 50 feet away and Oreo got out the first time and did wonderfully when I called her name she focused on me and did tricks. Then back in the car to celebrate! YAY! Next, the trainer had her dog walking around instead of having their back towards her. This proved harder. We tried 2 times, then decided on a new strategy. It worked!! The first time at least….
The second time she did look back at me quickly, did 1 trick, and in mid spin stopped, looked at the dog, then pulled to go into the training house. I don’t think she wanted to avoid the dog, I think she was thinking, “Geez can we stop this already?” We discussed what happened and went to do calming curves (taking a few steps toward the dog at a distance, then calling our dog’s name and hoping she turns). Well, she didn’t turn. She sat and watched the other dog…with interest???
The trainer asked if she should break protocol. I knew what that meant…bring the dog closer. She thought Oreo wanted to play. I agreed because she gave out little whiney sounds, which she does when she is excited to see another dog and wants to play. They neared each other and I became more nervous. Oreo went into her “stalking” pose, and I thought, “Uh oh,” although I shouldn’t have because she does this when she approaches her friends (dogs she plays with). The trainer turned her dog around to sniff and we let Oreo sniff for a few seconds, then called her to turn around (more like I had to pull her a little). The second time we did this, she wasn’t even interested, she just sniffed around and looked around (YAY!!!! For Oreo, she realizes she doesn’t have to go crazy or get too excited, or even be interested in another dog!!).
We proceeded and Oreo did have a little lunge/out of control outburst, but only lasted a second and was composed. The trainer said, “What was that? I don’t know what that was?” It was like a loud whiney type thing while lunging. Anyways, she was okay after that, and even let the dog sniff her butt and walk by her on the side where she was attacked (YAY!!!). Also, later as we were talking the dogs both were okay just relaxing near each other and Oreo didn’t even seem interested!! YAYYYYY This is a big deal for her because she has never been “not intereseted” in another dog. When she was younger it was lunging to play, wouldn’t stop wanting to play, can’t stop playing..then after she was bitten it was growl, lunge, bark..get away!!! She has never relaxed with another dog around. YAYYY for Oreo!!! She also layed down one foot away from the other dog who was standing near her!!! YAYYYY!! That is not the behavior of a reactive dog. Perhaps because she knew the owner??
I also noticed she walked away from a neighbor dog who she would sometimes interact with (yay!!!). Oreo is hopefully learned she can walk away instead of going crazy. So our training is not done, nor will it probably ever be done. It’s not easy, but it’s life! I am going to continue to work on some recalls, and one of them should help with her space issues (she stops a foot or more away from me), and work on getting out of the car & focusing with dogs around. Another thing I want to start is a routine when people come into the house. This will get Oreo used to people coming in, and know what to expect. Leaving her in a room when the doorbell rings, invite the guest in, get them comfortable. Do focus/trick exercises in the room, outside, have her leashed on a bed next to me with the person in the room or next room, and so on….I wasn’t pleased that she didn’t focus on me…but if she wanted to play with another dog…that’s okay with me!!!!!!!!