Tuesday, May 3, 2011

all-around update

Roxy's leash-walking skills are getting better and better.  We're now able to do most of our walk with minimal stopping.  We're actually down to walking in a heel position without any treats when there are minimal or no distractions -- and when she screws up, I can mark "oops" and she'll come back into a heel because she knows we don't go anywhere until she's next to me.

She still pulls when she sees something moving (a person, a dog, a leaf, another animal) but we're working on that.  It's tough because once she notices whatever it is moving, I mark "oops" and stop but she stays at the end of the leash, pulling. So I have to come up with a new strategy for handling that because it's not working.  She'll just keep pulling until the moving object is out of sight, or close enough for her to recognize. Then she'll come back into a heel position.  So, we need to work on heeling with distractions.  I need to up the ante with rewards for not pulling with distractions.  So I'll probably start in the house, then in the backyard, then the driveway.... all before working in the street.

Roxy's agility class is also going fairly well.  She still gets really excited when I ask her if she wants to go to school.  We've been learning left and right turns, rear crosses, and we've been working on the teeter, which Roxy is doing wonderfully on.  I thought she'd be spooked by it, but she's really doing great.  She'll jump up when it's at the highest height and pull it down, then climb on it with all fours.  We haven't worked up to walking across it yet, we're taking it slow to make sure it stays happy. I'm debating what we'll do after this class, though.  The class is really for competitive agility and although Roxy enjoys agility, she isn't as driven as I think she might need to be in order to actually compete.  I think I need to work on some crate games with her to build her drive a bit and see if that helps.

As far as Sonny goes, his behavior continues to fluctuate.  He came out of his crate once last week and zig-zagged his way towards Rob, who was laying on the couch.  He got close enough to sniff Rob's legs before retreating to his crate.  That's how he started interacting with me, so albeit it's slow progress, but it's progress nonetheless.

He's been playing with Roxy and Buster a lot more, and Roxy is becoming more tolerant of him.  He had been licking her muzzle feverishly and she let him know she didn't like it and he's getting better.... he's down to a drive-by-licking instead of a full-on make out session with her face.  Roxy's also been instigating play with him more, and her and Sonny tear through the backyard, running in circles after each other some days.

Sonny has also been playing and interacting with me more.  He has such personality; there is so much spunk and puppy in him.  He is really a goofy dog and he makes me laugh.  I'm fairly certain he learned to play fetch from Buster because he keeps coming up on the couch with the ball in his mouth, allowing me to take the ball and throw it for him, and then taking a flying leap over me after the ball...  When he comes out of his crate in the morning, he wags his tail feverishly while play bowing and grabbing toys to carry about.  It's nice to see him acting like a dog a little bit.

He is still pretty scared of men.  He's been sneaking about and snatching Rob's stuff and running to his crate with it, and that has helped me devise a plan.  I'm going to start desensitizing and counter-conditioning Sonny to smaller parts of Rob... i.e. his smell, his voice, etc. One piece of Rob at a time.

And Buster is, well, Buster.  He's wonderful.  This morning he was watching me do something on the counter in the kitchen and he turned around quickly to go elsewhere, and in the process he smacked the whole side of his face into the cabinet and then sat down with this pathetic look on his face.  I crouched down and he buried his face into my body and let out a big sigh.  He's a silly dog, but he's really such a sweet, sweet dog.  He loves to just climb right into my lap and snuggle. 

We spent a few hours at the park on Sunday and later on, I caught him sleeping on the couch with his tongue sticking out...

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