Roko: Day 10

Roko is working hard to maintain his off-leash time when we’re indoors. He loses that freedom for a few minutes if he chases Violet, harasses Glimmer, or tries to counter-surf. This method of teaching him rules and boundaries is very effective with him; he’s starting to learn that being with the family is a privilege, and that it’s a privilege he can only earn by practicing calmness and good manners.

Roko is making good progress with his leash manners. He still pulls a little on the walk, but the frequency and the force of that is decreasing. He still reverts to his past behaviors of jumping and mouthing when he’s overly excited, but overall, he’s doing much better. He is also checking in with his handler more frequently, and he’s becoming more responsive to the “yes”, “no”, and “okay” markers I’ve taught him. He is still getting distracted at times, but he’s also recovering more quickly.

Roko is also improving in the area of meeting new people in areas outside of the house [e.g. on the walk, in pet stores, etc.]. He’s still nervous and wary around men, but he’s become more open to meeting new women. He does become extremely excited around younger children [pre-school kids are a huge source of arousal for him], so he’s not being permitted to meet them until he gains more self control.

Roko is asking to be on the treadmill. Without any guidance from me, he’s found a way to signal me when he wants to be on it: He gets on it, and then he stares at me very intently. He’s now doing almost 10 full minutes on it, and with a small increase in speed. The ultimate goal is to have him lightly loping for at least 20 minutes.

Roko is still fighting being kenneled outside of his normal bedtime. When he is kenneled for even a couple of minutes – and regardless of whether we are with him or not – he becomes extremely vocal and very destructive. Removing his bed pillow, chew toy, and blanket does not deter him; he will attack and try to destroy the kennel itself. He has not injured himself so far with this behavior, but the risk is very high.

Meal times have improved dramatically. Roko is put into “place” position and given the “stay” command. He is released after a 10-second count, and he takes his meal calmly. Due to his tendency to get excited around food, he is still fed separately from Glimmer and Violet. However, he’s making good progress waiting his turn to receive small treats; he’s not trying to shove or drive Glimmer away from them anymore.

Roko’s ability to share affection is also improving. He still gets anxious that he’ll be left out, but he’s starting to figure out that if he’s calm and patient, he’ll get his turn with pets.

Greeting people coming in the door is still a huge problem for Roko. He is still unable to control his excitement. He tries to shove Glimmer and Violet away so he can get to the person or people first – regardless of being put in a “place” position and having food rewards on hand to help him stay focused on me – and the result is that he has to be removed from the situation. This causes him to become vocal, jumpy, and mouthy to the point of outright nipping.

Roko has just over 10 days left in his program. While he’s still having issues controlling his excitement under certain circumstances, he’s making good progress in other areas. With his triggers, he is being exposed to them more often and for longer periods so he can learn to become calmer and more relaxed.


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