Regress, Progress

Happy Wednesday. A few things going on, so let’s get to it.

Lacey is almost 6 months old, now. She is doing very well in some areas, but she needs work in other areas.  On the up-side, her sit/stay, down/stay, and recall is improving, and Tanya has been teaching her to ignore food distractions during recall exercises.  Lacey loves physical touch as a reward, but she is motivated more strongly by food, so ignoring her favorite treats on the floor and coming when called is an extraordinary achievement. On the down-side, Lacey is taking food off the table, taking food from the hands of the kids, barking and grumbling in protest during focused training sessions, mouthing hands to the point of nipping, jumping on people and mouthing them when they come in the door, nipping at the kids, and trying to bolt outside the second the door is opened. Twice, now, she has bolted out and taken herself for a walk around the neighborhood, refusing to come when called. Matt has stated that he is “done with all of it”, and that, at the rate she’s going, she’s never going to get her certification.

When I arrived for our scheduled training session, last night, Lacey jumped all over me, she put her mouth on me and then barked at me in a demand for affection, and then jumped all over me again. When I corrected her, she barked and grumbled at me and then tried to jump and mouth me again.  We went through this process at least three times before she finally accepted that I was not going to tolerate her unwanted behavior.  When I sat down on the edge of the couch, she invited herself up, got behind me, stood on her hind feet, put her front feet on my shoulders, and then she tried to nip at me. When I stood up and reached for her collar to invite her off the couch, she tried to correct me by mouthing my hand. I corrected her, but she made at least three more attempts before she accepted that I would not tolerate that behavior, either.  It was not good. Not good at all.

Lacey is not following. She does not have a follower mentality. Tanya is doing the best she can to correct this, but Matt needs a lot of help learning how to bring out his inner pack leader so he can help Tanya.  Lacey is a dominant dog; she needs strong, stable pack leaders to help her achieve balance and calmness. With her humans divided as they are, Lacey can’t trust them. Where there is no trust, there is also no respect – as was proven last night.

If he is open to trying, I will design some exercises for Matt that – if practiced properly and consistently – will help create and build trust between him and Lacey. If he is not open to trying again… Well, I guess we’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.

Remember:  Dogs can’t lie.  They mirror our true state of being through their behavior.  So, be aware of the energy you’re projecting, and adjust as needed. Have a great day!

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