Weekly Training Update (Feb 12)
I have no Katie news to share because our little social event got postponed last Sunday due to weather. It snowed. Not snowpocalypse or snowmaggedon kind of snow, but enough snow to keep Katie’s new family from coming up the canyon. BUT, I did manage to take Lilly to class last week. It wasn’t ideal, but here is our report.
I believe it had more to do with all the ambient stress in our house in recent weeks and months, rather than day-of stimuli.
So, we took 1-3 steps, sat, ate. Repeat.
It was pretty sad, but she made it over to the group. She wasn’t much interested in working at first, so we mostly hung out and played LOOK PUPPY and other anti-reactive dog work.
I forgot my camera, so no photos to show the transition from shutdown to relative calm that we eventually achieved. Her faced relaxed. Her tail came out. She no longer scooted across the ground.
Possible New Friend
It was a class full of many young dogs we do not know, so we kept our distance. One new classmate — 9-month-old Irish Wolfhound — piqued Lilly’s interest, but the one time I tried walking somewhat close to this sweet puppy (about 5 feet), Lilly began some displacement sniffing and then snarked at Molly (that’s her name) when she showed interest in what Lilly was sniffing.
Gigi and I still think that they could be pals, if Lilly wasn’t over threshold. So, I mentioned to Molly’s mom that some day, when Lilly is having a better day I would like to let them meet. (I promise, Dog Geek, to ask for “help,” rather than frame it as an “invitation.”)
As we know from her friendship with Katie, Lilly does well with large, skinny, mellow dogs. I think Molly is a good candidate. We hope to see more of her.
Pass the Pup
Toward the end of class, we played Pass the Pup, where your dog works with someone else. It isn’t really about bossing someone else’s dog around. It’s more an exercise in rewarding default behaviors (like sitting or walking nicely on a leash). It’s good practice for dogs to learn that other “good” people reward them for things they know how to do.
Gigi offered to be Lilly’s person, but another longtime classmate who has 1 shy dog and 1 reactive dog in the family was willing. So, I took her shy girl. She took mine. It’s so sad that I know her dogs’ names, but I’m drawing a blank on hers. (Help, KB? It’s Kite and Daisy’s mom.)
Lilly did quite well, including everything she was asked to do, but kept her eye on me the entire time.
And, when we switched back, Lilly had a full-on, jumping, screaming, kissing fit. Everyone cracked up because she SO clearly was glad to see me. She even wrapped her arms around my leg and dove face first into my bait bag and jackpotted herself.
I shouldn’t have allowed that, I suppose, but I figured she was trying to eat her way calm or happy or whatever. She had had a rough day.
Gigi pointed out, however, that while funny, Lilly was showing a rather dysfunctional behavior that would not serve her well.
I don’t mind being the cautionary tale.
We hope to see Katie this Sunday, but it might snow again.
Word problem for the day: If a Great Dane and a Labrador Retriever are traveling west at a 1/2 mile per hour, what is the mathematical likelihood that you can get them home successfully using your new fuel-efficient car?
Answer: I walked them home.