Back to Monday

What an amazing week last we had!  Well, actually it took a few days to really get into a groove, but the walks have gotten so much better and on Sunday something slightly amazing happened.
We were walking around the block when a little black fluffy-dog-thing came rushing up to us, barking and full out annoying.  It stayed out of reach, thankfully, and Ray was straining at the leash, jumping and wanting to play.  Finally the owner sauntered over and started calling her dog.  It went like this: she stood about five feet away, called her dog and then turned her back to walk away.  Rinse and repeat three times.  My heart was pounding and I was trying to get Ray to walk away while she finally got her dog to leave, giggled a “sorry.”  Then when they finally left, Ray and I went a few more feet and then … I believe he settled himself.  We walked to the other side of a parked car and Ray sat.  I got him into “down” and gave him a couple of treats and lavishly praised him for the time out before we set off again.  A similar type of settling also happened later that evening which is great.

The problem is settling and not jumping are huge obstacles for us and though this was a step in the right direction we still deal with it too often.  There’s a point at which Ray gets too wound up and though I try to avoid getting to that point, it still happens and it is disheartening.  There’s a mixture of too much puppiness still with some attitude and topped off with a dash of stubbornness and when that happens, it is upsetting.  I want to make sure he doesn’t jump and nip and sometimes he is very sensitive and eager to please and other times he is the Honey Badger and he just don’t give a shit.  I’m thinking about some individualized classes but the mindset is almost that I’d have to get him wound up just to teach him to settle.  Seems counterproductive. 

Do you have or have you encountered similar issues?  How did you deal with them?

2 thoughts on “Back to Monday

  1. The mom here – I have a feeling it's the whole concept of individual classes that would be counter-productive – sounds like Ray needs the socialization that a regular class would bring. Altho with private classes the focus is entirely on Ray and you ONLY but I still tend to think he needs to be around more animals. I currently have that problem with my youngest, Shasta altho she will be 6 in October and we have been through 3 classes with others, we have all been restricted to the house quite a bit over the last couple of years due to my own medical issues. Both dogs are registered therapy dogs and Shiloh is okay in almost any setting but he is 9 and has more experience whereas Shasta was just starting out when my problems started. But walking in the neighborhood is good – it brings that element of surprise. But you gotta love that moment where everything just sort of falls into place – the moment when that seems sort of elusive but all of a sudden, the dog's mind just sort of clicks – he gets it and everything is right with the world … that is until the next challenge. My Shiloh thinks he is the biggest dog there ever was – he's very bull-headed and strong willed and he thinks he is Gods gift to the hunter (he's a Beagle and that hunting instinct is almost impossible to handle sometimes). But when he “gets it” he can be a true angel to be with.

    I gotta get back to work now.

  2. Thanks, Kim! I was kind of whiney yesterday but I do realize you are right about when they “get it” which Ray does a large percentage of the time. He actually went to puppy class for 9 weeks but it was really for me to learn. He grew more and more distracted and unfocused during class but picked up the proper behaviors quickly. I'll just keep plugging away…

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