Glimmer, my dog, is back in training, working towards her Intermediate Obedience certificate. Because we had Ben with us for seven months, her training fell behind to a point where I have to take her almost all the way back to beginner basics. On top of that, she has developed some anxiety about working outside, so I have to work her in our back yard, where she feels safer and more relaxed.
Compounding this is an acute anxiety about the car. Glimmer has not been able to relax in the car since her companion – our beloved cat, Charlie – passed away. Before he passed, we took Glimmer out for day trips quite often, and she was fine. But when we had to take Charlie that last time… She hasn’t been the same ever since. She wasn’t with us when we had to do that, of course. But she was still deeply – and, it seems, permanently – affected by that.
So, we have a very long road ahead of us.
Currently, we are working on off-leash and mat exercises. Learning and mastering off-leash commands is important and needs no elaboration. The mat exercise is important because she needs to associate it with calmness and relaxation during times of high excitement or stress. For example, when people come over, she gets intensely excited and tries to jump on them to greet them. The mat exercise is designed to teach her that she will only get affection if she sits calmly in one place and waits for those people to acknowledge her.
I am also working to rehabilitate her with the car. This is a very slow process that must be taken quite literally in baby steps. Her anxiety is triggered just by walking towards the car, so that’s our starting point.
On that note, I wish everyone a great day. Remember to stay calm and lead on.