Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Agility class 1.6, leash walking, making friends with Owen

Lots of review of skills we've been working on for the past few weeks: collar grab and releasing forward to a toy when the dog leans or pulls forward, lining up at our side, circle work, and stays. I barely did any training with Chimera over the past week because I was super duper busy, and that will probably continue for a couple more weeks.

At the end of class, we did the It's Yer Choice throwdown. Since we hadn't been practicing and Cai tends to move his paws a bit, I didn't think we'd last long. However we ended up holding our stand-stay longer than all the other students! I did lots of distracting things -- jump up and down, get down on the ground, twirl in a circle, shake out my jacket -- but I made sure to only do the things that I thought Cai could handle, and it worked. What a good boy. We won a new toy and a back issue of Clean Run.

Loose leash walking has greatly improved. Last week, something clicked in Cai's head and he started to come back to my side on his own after he would reach the end of the leash and I'd stop. Sometimes he does it quickly, and sometimes I have to wait a little bit, but he consistently comes back on his own. This definitely makes the walks more pleasant for me. If we're covering new ground, he still gets to the end of the leash frequently. However if we walk back home along the same route, he'll spend much more time walking nicely at my side.

Last Friday we met up with Sarah and her Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Owen, to do BAT. She picked a perfect spot -- wide open, grassy park, with very few people around. Cai started off doing very well. He got stiff and stared at Owen, but was calming down quickly when we would run away from him and sniff new patches of grass as a reward for looking away. After about ten minutes, he stopped to poop, and as I was tying off the poop bag, he lunged in Owen's direction and the leash slipped out of my hand! He made a beeline for Owen. I yelled and Sarah had time to pick Owen up. Cai started circling her and jumping up on her legs to say hello to Owen. He was not aggressive or reactive at this point at all; he was doing his usual over-exuberant greeting. However, the "damage" had been done -- even after this limited greeting, he no longer cared about being on leash with Owen nearby, so my "decoy" was ruined for BAT.

I was quite disappointed at first, but things took a turn for the better. Owen has a history of not liking intact puppies getting in his face, but he showed curious and friendly body language toward Chimera. We let them greet properly, and they became fast friends, zooming around and around the park.



Even though we'd intended to spend the hour doing reactivity work rather than a play session, in the end we had happy, tired dogs, and I can't be sad about that!

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