Wednesday, October 20, 2010


With all of Roxy's progress, I started taking her to the weekly walk-in agility class at Pawsitive experience in Rockaway.  This is the training facility that my local rescue uses.  Honestly, I'd never take a dog there to do any sort of actual training.  Although they have banned prong collars from use inside their facility, they still do a lot of correction based training (read: non-humane training) and I will not do that type of training with my dogs, or any dogs I foster or work with at the kennel.  But this place is 5 minutes away from home and has literally done wonders for Roxy's training.  Now that it's getting colder, there are fewer people to encounter on walks, and fewer dogs to practice ignoring, and fewer stimuli in general.  So this once a week course has been great.  Plus, I think it's important to mention that the instructor realizes Roxy's issues, respects what I choose to do to train her, and doesn't suggest that I give her a leash correction for barking.  She gets it, and we have a mutual respect for one another, despite the fact that I think their ways of training are, well... outdated and can be pretty barbaric.

We started a couple of weeks back and Roxy was pretty reactive the first couple of weeks.  The instructor said it's pretty normal for a new dog to act that way, because there is a lot going on, new smells, new dogs, lots of movement of said new dogs, new people, etc.

Anyway, this has become a great place to practice Roxy's self-control and do a lot of focus work.  Plus, she really seems to like agility.  The instructor was very impressed with Roxy's first class, especially being a fearful dog.  She struggled with the tunnel and the chute the first class, but did everything else without a problem.  At the second class, she was going through both the chute and the tunnel with ease.

The other great thing about this class is it's a "no-touch" class for the dogs.  No dogs are off-leash and no dogs are wandering around or getting in Roxy's face.  But I get the opportunity to mark and pay Roxy for calm behavior while there is a lot of stuff going on.  And there are tons of people there that think Roxy is just beautiful, so we get the opportunity to meet lots of dog-savvy people who ask before they give her treats and ask before they attempt to pet her.  We've been going through our "go say hi" protocol and it's been working great.  There are some people she likes almost immediately, and others it takes a little longer, but overall she's doing really, really well and I am so proud of her.

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