Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bad day :(

Had a not so great walk yesterday. Both the dogs were high-strung from the beginning, stiff and with hackles up right out the door. I have no idea why-maybe a dog had just walked there? Anyway, Dottie barked at a neighbor and so did Gustav. Then later Gustav bark/lunged at a woman 15 feet away on the sidewalk. Disappointing.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What a summer!

Well, I just got back from my vacation in Berlin, which was amazing. Justin reported that the dogs had a few bad days, including Dottie charging a dog a few times while off leash. Sounds like extra caution is needed while she's off leash, because it sounds like she was pretty mean and intimidating, but was still able to be recalled and didn't cause any damage. However, that's exactly the type of behavior I hate from other dog owners and sets everyone's training back. I was sad to hear about it. She also had a few meltdowns at other dogs.

I took them out for a long rebonding walk yesterday and it was just lovely. They did great and using distance as a reinforcer for Dottie is still amazing me with it's effectiveness. I can literally see her decide when to look at me instead of barking and freaking out. She looks at a dog, purses her lips and raises her tail, then turns around to look at me. I say "yes!" and we literally sprint away from the dog and Dottie is just as happy as can be. Gustav is a bit slower on this because he is insecure about turning his back on something that worries him and I have to give him several extra seconds. During this time, I figure Dottie is learning duration. Otherwise, if Dottie is about to lose it, I just have to sort of drag Gustav away. Interesting to do BAT with two dogs at once, but I just sort of choose which dog to focus on each time we see a trigger and try to keep a lid on things in general.

I signed Gustav up for Reactive Rover this fall, so I'm really excited about that. He made a lot of progress when we did it last year, just in general responsiveness. I think the most useful thing about the class is having a completely controlled environment in which to build trust and basic focus.

Well, I didn't get as much training done this summer as I'd hoped, but I got a little overscheduled in general and fell short of many of my goals. Lesson from this summer: relax and don't expect so much from myself and my time. Now it's back to school and routine, my favorite things, and I think the dogs will benefit as well.