Today marks Roko’s 6th day in his 3-week program to becoming a happier, more well-behaved dog. Yesterday, for the first time, he was given freedom to move about the house without his movements being restricted. He did a really good job of controlling himself when he got near Glimmer and Violet; he was very gentle with both of them, sniffing politely and calmly and then walking away. I was so proud of him. He wasn’t able to maintain that when my husband got home from work early, but all things considered, he did an awesome job overall.
When he gets excited – e.g. when my husband gets home from work – Roko’s excitement is still very high, and he is still vocalizing loudly and jumping at or against whatever or whomever is between him and the source of his joy. This is taking longer to resolve, as redirecting him with food or toys doesn’t work. All he’s focused on is the source of his excitement – usually, Glimmer or my husband – and getting to that source. He wants to be part of things so badly that the only technique that has any effect is completely removing him from the situation and working to get him focused on something else until he calms down enough that we can try the approach again.
Roko had a bit of a rough day yesterday. He was whiny, stubborn, and not happy with anything. He asked to go on the treadmill, but when I got it set up for him, he complained quite loudly. He invited play with the toys, and then he complained when the invitation was accepted. When we tried to do some basics work [practicing sit, stay, focus, down, wait, place] and he was offered his favorite food treats as rewards, he complained. When he was put in his kennel so he could decompress, he threw a temper tantrum. He got himself so worked up that it turned into a massive panic attack, and he all but totaled one of his bed pillows. He wasn’t sick; he was just out of sorts and not having a good day. It happens; dogs have bad days just like humans do.
The plan for today is as follows:
— socialization to people and other animals
— leash manners
— basics practice, including “place” and proper door manners
— confidence-building with the car [he’s anxious about the car]
— confidence-building tricks just for fun
I’m also trying to arrange his first play date with another dog around the same age as Roko and with the same high energy. Roko needs to be with other dogs his age so they can help him learn correct social etiquette. I can take him so far, but other dogs will have to take him the rest of the way. Glimmer is helping him by teaching him to be calm, but she won’t play with him. So, I’m setting him up with a dog who will.
Have a great day and a great weekend, and remember: Stay calm and lead on.