Roko had an adventurous, energy-draining day. I took him to our favorite pet store to have him fitted for a proper no-pull harness, and to start the process of exposing him to social situations so he could learn how to be more polite. He met two dogs and many people, and though he did tend to pull ahead, his recall was better and he was calmer when meeting people. I also took him for a walk around our neighborhood after supper, and he did a really good job of staying calm instead of lunging and barking at people we saw walking by or standing on the sidewalk talking with their friends.
Roko is still pulling, but the intensity has decreased greatly thanks to the new harness, he’s learning to restrain himself when he’s told “nicely”, and he’s recalling a little more quickly. He’s also continuing to keep his nose to the ground on walks instead of holding his head up or checking in with me, but I’m hopeful this will soon start to change. It’s only been three days, and dealing with a dog who’s as nervous and anxious as Roko is does take a bit more time to sort out.
On the more challenging side of the coin, Roko continues to demand what he wants, and he offers no patience or willingness to wait for it. When he doesn’t get what he wants, when he wants it, he throws temper tantrums and becomes so loud in his vocalizations that it can sometimes be difficult to ignore his behavior and wait him out. Roko’s owners are going to have to put their feet down with him and show him they’re stronger-willed than he is, that’s for sure.
Roko is doing better with learning how to approach and be near Glimmer. He’s able to restrain himself for a few seconds longer before his excitement gets the better of him and he begins play-bowing and barking at her to play with him. The second he starts to become over-aroused, I remove him, we wait a minute, and then we try again. We do this exercise several times a day to teach him how to pay attention to her signals, read them correctly, and respond appropriately. It’s very slow going, but he is making a genuine effort to become friends with her.
Violet the cat has also been teaching Roko manners by cuffing him across the nose when he tries to force her to play with him. He’s not understanding that he’s being rejected – and soundly corrected – because he’s too intense. Once he starts learning to control his impulses, the relationship between the two of them should start to improve. Violet actually enjoys playing with dogs, but not when they’re hyper, demanding, and intense like Roko is right now.
Overall, Day 3 was pretty good. Roko is still struggling to trust me, but our visit to the pet store provided many opportunities for me to prove to him that he can trust me. I have no doubt that, as his journey continues, young Roko will become more confident and trusting.
Have a great day, and remember to stay calm and lead on.