In Tuesday’s session with Lacey, we went to a local RONA store for distraction training and obstacle work. It was her first time in this type of location. She did try to sniff at people and various unfamiliar objects, and she did have to be told to sit almost every time we stopped moving. But on the whole, Lacey did a fantastic job throughout the entire session. She even remained calm when we were near a wood-cutting saw while it was in operation. Here is the highlight video showing Lacey in action:
Lacey still gets a bit vocal when she’s frustrated or tired, but this behavior is decreasing. I doubt that she will ever stop it completely, so I’m teaching Tanya how to understand what she’s trying to convey when she does get vocal. I’ve observed that Lacey only practices this behavior when she’s frustrated, tired, or not feeling well, so I’ve tailored her sessions to accommodate her limits. She can handle about an hour of hard, focused work before she tires out and starts to get vocal. The moment she vocalizes, she is corrected, and then, when she’s quiet again, she is released from the exercises and praised with calm, positive energy and lots of pets. This method has worked very well with her and it encourages her to put her best paw forward at every session.
Lacey is only 16 months old. She works hard all day, every day as a support dog for Jake, her autistic human boy. Tanya has done a phenomenal job with Lacey, working her in a variety of situations she will encounter once she gets her certification as a Therapy animal and can legally access more public places. We still have a lot of work to do with her before she’ll be ready to test for Therapy certification, but Lacey will get there. It’s just a matter of working with her instead of against her.
Have a great day, everyone, and remember to stay calm and lead on…