Wednesday, July 10, 2013

9 Months, 3 Weeks: Training - Days 126-128

A new play yard for the dogs.

Monday - Wednesday

Emma is always excited to arrive and check out what has changed and what is the same in my yard and home.  This week Maura, who left on Friday to a new foster, was gone and it was just her, Max and Dieter.  Dieter, who had been released just over a week ago from full crate rest has become more active and Emma found that fascinating and a little frustrating.

Emma has, since her knee injury, been tethered to me whenever we go outside.  She has been contained to much from play and exercise that she was having issues with stress, even minor stress, in general.  Puppies need to play, but her normally calm behavior in the house and zero freedom outside left her without the level play she needed for emotional and mental health.  Asking her to deal with high stress situations, like going to a new location for training or even training, became impossible because she simply couldn't handle it.

On Monday I had appointments and Emma spent some time crated when I had to be out, but otherwise, spent a majority of her time in the new play yard with Max and Dieter quietly working on a chew by my side while Max played fetch and Dieter moved from one sun spot to another.  She desperately wanted to play with them both, but couldn't and thus her frustration levels increased.

On Tuesday she had an appointment with her vet to see if she could finally be freed from my hip.  I had been walking her as much as possible around my yard when I could and her owners were taking her on walks when they had her, but it still wasn't what she really needed.

I arranged to drop her off at the vet while I went to another appointment.  They examined her while I was away and laughed about her escape from her crate (they door hadn't properly latched, so Emma went on walk-about in the vet office) when I returned.  She was in high spirits when I returned, since the entire vet staff adore her and every one of them visited with her and she got to play with Dr. S in the examine room and totally loved that.

The good news is, she's been released to play, as long as she doesn't go hog wild and doesn't jump off of high points.  I brought her home and released her in my yard and she lit up and ran around for a few minutes and then settled to exploring the entire yard with her nose.  She spent the rest of the evening in the yard, free from my hip and quietly played with toys, sniffed every inch of the yard and went to check out the fence line to peer at people in the neighborhood.  I could see a huge improvement in her mood and her happy dog face returned.

On Wednesday she rode in the car quietly to the groomers.  When we arrived she didn't, for the first time, bark at the dogs behind the fence in the play yard at the groomers and walked on a loose lead into the building!  What a huge advancement on her leash behaviors.  She was happy to see the groomer and left with them without issue.

I plan on testing her off and on to see if she's come out of the "stress is too much" mode she's in over the next week and see if she can't get back to formal training.  Her downsized training program has helped her a lot, she's been using her known skills and doing well with them and is starting to recover from the stress of an injury that caused long term recovery.  Hopefully it won't be long before we can pick up and move forward, but I don't want to increase her stress just to meet a goal - I want her to succeed and if that means I work with a dog who needs slower forward momentum, then that is what I'll do.

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