Abby: Day 1

It was an interesting first day. Abby showed me the fullness of her personality and her current state of being, as well as her feelings about the changes being implemented and reinforced. It was also a fairly productive day. Here is what we worked on throughout the day:

  • vehicle conditioning [open the door, reward if she doesn’t try to run away]
  • structured play time with new commands
  • short walks to encourage engagement, stop weaving, stop pulling
  • exposure to strangers to work on reactivity
  • impulse control [food, door, exiting the kennel]
  • exposure to husband [she is very reactive to him]

Current Challenges

Abby is a very demanding girl. She wants what she wants, when she wants it, and that’s that. She’s not above using her mouth to express her displeasure when she doesn’t get her way. She doesn’t like being restricted by a leash, so she bites at it when she gets frustrated, and she also jumps and tries to nip. She has no impulse control and no patience. She takes food frantically, not gently – which I know is a Lab trait, but it’s still uncomfortable when she uses her teeth to get it. When I hold it, she uses her mouth and her feet to try to force me to drop it. Her efforts fail, but she’s so used to getting what she wants, when she wants it, that she doesn’t think.

Abby also has a tendency to try to explode her way out of the kennel. From the minute she’s up until she goes down for a nap, Abby is pure, unlimited, very intense energy. She tries to be everywhere all at once; she tries to anticipate every move, and she gets frustrated and nippy if she fails. She uses her eyes and ears first to investigate her environment; the only time she really gets her nose going is when she’s sniffing the ground in search of anything that smells good.

Progress Report

But, while Abby is a serious handful with no impulse control and zero patience, she is learning. She’s learning to wait for her food, she’s learning to think about what she has to do to earn privileges, she’s learning to look to me for direction, and she’s learning to trust me to keep her safe in situations that scare her. Considering we’re only on Day 1, Abby actually did better than I hoped for. She’s just a puppy, and she’s processing a ton of big changes all at once; that she was able to make any progress at all is a big deal.

Have a great day, and remember to stay calm and lead on…


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