|Someday Emma will learn to walk like Max does|
next to a wheelchair with her handler.
At about 8:20 AM the kids began to gather and I took Emma out on the porch. The moment she saw them, right at the front door, she began barking. I spent the time until the bus arrived and left giving her treats for looking at the kids (currently, even with a bark) and rewarding her for looking back to me when I clicked my tongue. I had to move to partially block her view of them and let her primarily hear them, but by the time the bus arrived her arousal level had lowered and she was more focused on me and less on them.
It is my goal that by the time our mornings are warm and I can stand being outside more than a few minutes that Emma can be outside of the fence working on loose leash walking with the kids lined up a few feet away while they wait for the bus. I suspect it will take us that long to achieve this goal. She's in a major fear period and right now small humanoids are scary.
One thing I did notice is I will need to pick up something at Petsmart tomorrow. Attitude has barely left my porch all winter to relieve herself and my front porch by my door smells like a urinal. I will have to get some enzyme deodorizer to de-stink my front porch. The scent is extremely powerful with her kidneys not diluting her urine like they should and it's a very unpleasant odor.
Today is cold, but not slick and wet, so I intend to work loose leash outside of the fence with Emma for her lunch. For breakfast we worked on Target and "metal bowls are not scary" again. She won't put her nose in it yet, nor get near it to get kibble, but she's not skulking away when she sees the bowl any longer. To aid her in not being afraid of the bowl I leave it in the middle of the living room when we are not using it and will over time start dropping high value treats in it all the dogs can have. I may, for a bit, use it as a distance item also to have her go around it and really make it a nothing item in her world.
Since dropping the bowl scared her so badly, I am now sliding it a bit on the floor and tossing her treats and banging it softly and tossing her treats too. I also drop items, on purpose, a distance from her and then toss her treats. She'll be a full puppy, but hopefully the "sky is falling" reaction she's had to the bowl dropping or other loud sounds in the house will fade and she'll accept falling items in the house as part of everyday life.
I'll spend the rest of the winter and early spring working on getting her closer to the children at the bus stop without barking and then work on her Levels behaviors while strange children she's not met are nearby. When the weather is much better I'll start taking her to outside of playgrounds while school is in session and work on her watching without reacting while children play.
Her previous class had been very small and there had been a lot of extra space between each dog while class was held. This class is full near past capacity and each dog was nearly on top of each other during class. Carol, the owner and instructor, directed which dog was to sit where to prevent any fights and thus Emma and I were placed between a tiny Rough Fox Terrier cross and one of Emma's cousins!
When Emma was with the breeder she had been the last of her liter who hadn't been purchased. Her breeder included her into the liter she was raising, who was four weeks younger than Emma, and thus Emma lived with Pepper from 10 weeks to 14 weeks of age. Pepper is bigger than Emma and very bonded with her handler. What a lovely pup!
Emma was completely distracted and couldn't focus enough to learn anything in class. She was busy trying to visit with the people next to us or the dogs. She would give me brief boughts of focus and then turn her back and watch the world around us. With 9 dogs in the room, I was not terribly surprised by her sudden breakdown in focus. This was he busiest environment she's been in to date with me and I am simply boring.
My treat value was not good enough either. Though hungry and at first willing to work for kibble and soft treats, she quickly lost interest. Instead she was poking her nose in other dogs faces and putting her feet on other people and basically pulling on the lead as much as she could.
She went into "bucky dog" several times also. It's like having a wild horse on the end of the lead as she rears up, bucks and fights against the lead before sitting and keeping the lead taunt between her and I and just giving me the "I'm not talking to you" stance.
I was in more pain than normal and her jerking and pulling on the lead and high energy was enough to wear me out early in class. Though we tried to work on the in class lessons, she generally wasn't going to have it and wanted to play and interact with the other dogs. The outbreak of barking and even when the one dog got so over excited he stuck himself under a chair and panicked didn't bother her; she wanted to play with the four month old puppies that surrounded her.
By the end of class she was throwing play bows and nose nudges and generally engaging in full play mode with Pepper. If we had been able too, she and Pepper would have had a wonderful play session - but that wasn't in the cards with so many dogs in the room. By the time she decided she had to play with Pepper she also decided to not pay anymore attention to me. I was, at that point, in total management mode with her, since I didn't want her and Pepper to get every other dog in the room over-excited.
I will have to take super high value, over the top, can't believe you put that in my pouch, why haven't you given me that in the past, treats in her pouch for next weeks class. I will ask Carol to not place Emma and Pepper next to each other, since Emma is more interested in playing with a fellow "liter mate" than listening to instruction and will have to ensure I take extra pain killers before arriving at class so I can keep up with the high energy, fast paced learning techniques for this class.
Until then, Emma and I will work on Focus in more distracting locations and some of her class home work.
|Focus||Lazy Leash||Go To Mat||Crate||Distance|