Good Wednesday. Lacey “Little” is with me on a week-long board-and-train adventure that’s going to be putting into practice every skill she’s been taught. Starting tomorrow morning, she will beexperiencing long-distance travel, experiencing new environments, practicing staying calm in large crowds, meeting new animals she’s never seen, and more. She will also be put into situations where the energy levels are high and very intense and the only energy she can give in return is calmness. Starting tomorrow morning, and over the next three days, her only choice will be to trust me and do what I ask of her – without vocalizing.
Lacey does not trust or respect her humans. She makes this very clear with her vocalizations when she’s asked to do something she doesn’t want to do. She has become very adept at manipulating her humans this way so they give in to her demands, which has effectively put her in the position of being the pack leader. Being a naturally dominant dog to begin with, Lacey has assumed this position rather easily, and her humans have been in a constant tug-of-war of wills with her as a result. She obeys when she has nothing better to do, but she makes it very clear that she’s not happy about it.
Since Lacey’s arrival, her vocalizing has slowly but steadily begun to decrease as she comes to accept her position – which, in our house, is at the bottom of the pack hierarchy. She is made to wait her turn with all forms of affection, including meals and play time, and she is not allowed to make any decisions unless she is given permission to do so. Disobedience is not tolerated no matter how vocal she gets, and she is slowly beginning to realize that. She is also learning that immediate, non-vocal compliance earns her pet and/or verbal praise, and to Lacey, that is the absolute highest possible reward. She would climb mountains and swim across oceans for pets and verbal praise.
Today is going to be busy preparing for the long trip ahead. Lacey has been allowed to rest and relax for the past couple of days, because she’s going to be working harder than she’s ever had to work in her 19 months of life. She is a Therapy Animal in training; it’s long overdue for her to put into actual practice the skills I’ve been able to teach her. Today, I will be putting her through her paces when I’m not preparing for the trip.
Have a great day, everyone, and remember to stay calm and lead on.