Abby: Day 4

As we begin Day 4, here’s where we’re at so far:


  • starting to initiate sniffing husband from a distance
  • doing better with focusing and practicing exercises during meals
  • learning to control excitement at the kennel door
  • pulling less intensely on the leash during walks
  • observing more, reacting less to people and other animals when outside
  • gaining confidence to explore and try new things [e.g. treadmill]
  • taking food much more gently
  • starting to respond to leash pressure on walks
  • improving with “leave it”, “take it”, “sit”, “here”, “lay down”, “off”, and “out”
  • starting to make an effort to engage and check in when outside
  • making excellent progress with the “do nothing” exercise


  • explosive energy once outside the kennel, can’t settle down
  • still very mouthy and jumpy when she doesn’t get her own way
  • continues to be impatient and demanding
  • still reactive towards husband
  • still refusing to enter the car on her own
  • still too intense with Glimmer when inviting play: demands play by barking when play bows don’t work
  • still nosing the ground and trying to eat everything that interests her during walks

As we begin Day 4, the greatest of Abby’s challenges are her persistent hyper-excitement, and her ongoing reactivity towards my husband. Otherwise, she is showing varying degrees of improvement in all other areas. She is slowly beginning to gain confidence – the greatest indicator of this is that her tail is out more often than it’s tucked between her legs – and she’s starting to make an effort to check in and engage with me on walks. And, while she continues to be on high alert when faced with triggers, she has been making a genuine effort to observe and use her nose first rather than auto-reacting.

It must be noted that since Abby’s arrival – and, not including meal times – food rewards have not been offered. Instead, she is given verbal praise and gentle touch to encourage and reward her. She has been responding very well to this technique, and until she’s checking in and engaging with me consistently, food rewards will not be added to her reward system.

Despite all the obstacles and challenges, Abby is a sweet, loving girl who’s trying very hard to learn that her choices matter. She is very eager to please, and when she gets something right and she hears “yes”, “good job”, and “good girl”, she gets excited, her eyes sparkle, and she gets a huge grin on her face. Seeing the sparkle in her eyes… I don’t have words to express how that makes me feel.

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


%d bloggers like this: