The work with Tonka (Ben) is going very well. He was introduced to Glimmer last night, and the two dogs got along really well. Tonka got a bit too intense with his sniffing a few times, but he showed excellent sensitivity and quick response to her cues and gave her the space she asked for. He even invited her to play a few times.
I put the dogs together on a tether and walked them around the yard with the long line to see how Tonka walked with another dog. At one point, I dropped the line and let the dogs be. Tonka’s attention was caught by something outside of the pen; Glimmer showed a brief interest and then turned her back to him and just waited for him. These pictures aren’t the greatest because they were taken in the dark with a cell phone, but they give a fairly good idea of how the dogs were doing with each other:
Tonka is still pulling a little on the leash, and he still tries to chew it sometimes, but on the whole, he’s doing really well with that, too. I’m very happy with his progress. He needs to learn that he will get to investigate whatever has caught his attention, but he needs to be calm and patient instead of rushing headlong towards it.
How he deals with cats and children remains to be seen. He’s coming home with me tomorrow, so I’ll know soon enough what work needs to be done. During our training walks, I’ve taken him near the neighbor’s horses, who had no problem with us being near them. Tonka, however, became quite nervous and insecure about them, and started barking at them and straining at the leash to get closer to them. I gave him corrections and used my energy and body language to ask him to be calm. The horses were awesome; they did not give him eye contact or signal any kind of stress or nervousness about his presence. They just stood very still and gave Tonka calm energy until he started to use his nose. Once he started using his nose instead of trying to get to them, he was fine. Nose, eyes, ears – that’s the correct order….
I am taking Glimmer with me when I go to see Tonka later this morning. They did so well together during the initial meeting that I’d like them to get together again before he comes home. The better he knows her, the easier it will be for him when he makes the transition. I’m considering bringing her along when I pick him up tomorrow…
Have a great day, and remember to stay calm and lead on….