The lesson with Blue yesterday was… Well, it was amazing, to say the very least. The difference in her behaviour in just one week totally blew me away. She still has a very long way to go, but finally, she is on her way to success.
Her owners told me they’ve been working very hard with her, keeping her on a leash in their back yard and working slowly and methodically with her when they walk her. They also told me that she gets excited to go on walks, now – and, that she’s walking much more nicely. They say she’s still pulling a bit on the walk back to the home, but not with the same intensity or panic she was before. They also told me they can now get her all the way to the end of their block before she starts to panic again. Baby steps, baby steps…
Blue surprised me several times during the lesson. The family has been instructed to no longer allow her on the sofas, as she is using them to raise her position in the dynamic. She attempted to practice this several times during the lesson, and to my surprise, when she was told “off”, she gave her handler eye contact and did as she was told almost right away.
Blue is doing much better with her male handler – she is responding more quickly and paying attention more often – but she is still trying to bully and dominate her mom. The mom is hesitant and uncertain when she’s giving Blue direction, and Blue responds by mouthing and biting at her. Assertiveness training would be very beneficial to mom so that Blue takes her more seriously. The son has better command of Blue; he gives her calm but assertive energy, he doesn’t allow her to bully him, and he’s less hesitant than mom. As a result, he is able to get Blue’s attention, hold it, and bring her into compliance much more quickly.
Overall, the lesson was a huge success – and a huge change from last week. Blue is doing better in several areas, and seeing her finally taking her owners more seriously is a huge leap of progress. For their part, the family needs to work on talking less to her, waiting her out, and being assertive with her. For her part, she needs to practice focusing on her handler, complying more quickly with commands, and being respectful by not mouthing or biting when she gets frustrated. I am continuing to work with the family on these things; I have no doubt that our next lesson will show even more improvement.
Have a great day, and remember to stay calm and lead on.