Friday, March 9, 2007

A Training Tale

So, what happened?
Well, Cody got out yesterday and I rigged up a tie out with harness, but he balked and going out, so I got the walker, clomped over and pushed him out. Greta didn't like that and I pushed her out. (Not violently, but my mind was not calm, I was worried about Cody, worried about falling off the porch while I dealt with the dogs and my foot hurt).

So this morning, I was not going to tie Cody out, we are walking/rolling down the hall, Greta smacked into the wall, hurt her hip, scared them both and they ran back in their crates.

From their point of view the entire world was upside down and they were going back to what they knew. So for part of the morning we practiced walking from the crate to the scary back door. Lots of praise, lots of rewards.

This evening we practiced sitting quietly in front of the wheelchair and UNDER the scary walker by the scary open back door. I had been tossing treats out the door to get them to go out and potty, so by that time walking through the door was no longer an issue.

With two feet and a leash I could have resolved the issue in about five minutes-but in a wheelchair (which contributes to their anxiety) it was a masterful (I felt) training trick.

The other thing was to get Greta to go out first-Cody was feeling so insecure he wanted to stay behind me, the pack leader. However, the leader can't make it down the steps, that's why I tried the walker yesterday with the tie out.

Sue is coming over tomorrow and I'll ask her to go block the hole in the fence and likely my anxiety will melt...

It was a challenging day because I had a work deadline too-but the dog issue forced me to calm my mind so that I could deal with the immediate problems-getting the dogs (who up until yesterday had been perfect) out the backdoor.

It just goes to show that with timid dogs, one moment's slip up can cause a days worth of damage. Fortunately, dogs stay in the moment and tomorrow will be another day for all of us. For our hard work we rewarded ourselves with a group snooze on the couch while listening to the Dog Whisperer.

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