Okay… So, Peach is doing better with some things, but the walk, as well as her intense excitement, are still big challenges. She’s still pulling hard and weaving a lot on the walk, and she’s still greeting at the door with far too much excitement. But, she’s also showing signs that she’s starting to realize that her choices matter and that there’s a reward or a consequence for them.
On the walk, Peach is reactive to people and other animals. She lunges, she barks, she strains at the leash. Yesterday [Day 8], my husband took her outside so she could play in the big snow “hills” in our front yard. Several of the neighbours were outside, and Peach made a new decision: She stopped playing and just watched them calmly and quietly until they left, several minutes later. She didn’t bark, she didn’t pull at the leash, nothing. She just stood there and watched them until they left. At one point, one neighbour was moving very quickly from his house to a vehicle that was waiting for him. Peach just watched calmly and quietly. It was a huge breakthrough for her. Afterwards, my husband took Peach for a walk using the short leash I recently bought. They made it all the way to the end of the block without Peach pulling and dropping her nose to the ground to smell everything that catches her interest. The non-reactive behaviour and being able to walk even a short distance with her was a massive breakthrough for Peach.
Today is Day 9, and we’re going to be doing more leash work outdoors. Peach is responding very well to the shorter leash, and she’s also responding – finally! – to the martingale collar. She’s starting to become better attuned to both collar and leash pressure, and she’s much quicker to correct herself and ease up. She’s also starting to look for direction when we’re outside, which is also a huge breakthrough.
While she is still bringing too much excitement and intensity to Glimmer, Peach is showing improvement in her greetings. She’s learning that as long as she’s gentle and she doesn’t force herself on Glimmer, she’s allowed to share space with her. With Violet, Peach still tries to get her to stay still so she can at least smell her, but she’s not fixating on Violet anymore and trying to follow her around. Now, when Violet hisses at her or moves away from her, Peach gives a proverbial shoulder shrug and she either finds something else to do, or she goes and lays down. There have even been a couple of times where Peach and Violet have touched noses. Violet hissed at her only when she realized that my husband and I were watching them. LOL 😀
At the start of Week 2, Peach is finally making some real progress in these two challenging areas. We’re still working on basic commands – that’s another very challenging area – but the two major issues are showing encouraging signs of progress.
Every dog has their own story. Owners provide me with their perceptions of what their dog needs, and the dog shows me what he or she actually needs. The dog’s story is what I focus on first. In Peach’s case, the walk, her hyper-excitement, and her reactivity are the top three issues she has that need to be addressed. If I can meet her owners’ wish list in the process… Great.
Today is Day 9. Today, we’re going to be working on the walk using the short leash. This tool has proven to be a life saver for controlling Peach’s pulling and teaching her to walk nicely. It’s also helping her learn to check in with me instead of pulling to smell everything that catches her nose.
It’s been difficult to impossible to take videos or photos of Peach during these exercises. I’m hoping today will be a breakthrough day on that front.
Have a great day, and remember to stay calm and lead on…