Saturday, February 7, 2009

Long Week

Rugby and I were left this week watching Zena, a pug/JRT mix dog. I have to admitt that I really hated her when she came. Her owners had done her a huge disservice by not socializing her, teaching her any manner, exercising her, etc. She also didn't play very well and spent a lot of time pushing Rugby around (he taught her the ropes though and enjoys playing with her now). I also have to admitt that I did not work with her as much as I should have, but it was enough to make her much much much more liveable.

This is Zenas training log for the week:

The first order of business was teaching her to walk nicely on a leash, which would also get her to pay attention to me. This was sort of hard for her at first because not only did she not have any respect for people, but she was just a bundle of energy and packed full of nerves. On the fourth day she was spending most of her time in heel position because even though she was no very accepting of the fact she had to listen, she had so much energy she was desperate to deposit it into some formal work. This whole business of walking proved to me that she was not walked regularly because she was scared of just about every 'normal' thing you encounter while out on a walk: cars, trashcans, mailboxes, etc. The first day with the scary-dog-eating trashcan, we walked and walked and walked around it untill she would walk past it calmly without any tension on the leash. After that, she had a better outlook on all the scary things, which saved us from walking a lot of circles. haha. Today, which was our last walk untill her owner comes back to claim her tonight, she walked in a perfect heel position for 85% of the time, the rest she was just a tad bit ahead and was easily persuaded to come back into a heel.

Second order of business was house manners. That nervous energy that she had made for a dog that constantly bounced off the walls inside (and outside but...) and did not know how to settle down. It was tragic! For this we did Margot's sit on the dog. If I had more time we would have done this much more often, because I think it helped a lot! The first time we did it, she would not lay down for a whole hour and a half (probably the longest hour and a half of my life). The next morning, it amazingly only took her 20 minutes to get it. That night...another long hour, but then I think it clicked. She realized it was okay to lay down and settle and she really didn't have to always be in constant motion. She was getting plently of exercise and I KNOW she needed to rest more than she was.

With every sit on the dog, she would spend more of her free time (not working or constrained) settled and either sitting or laying somewhere which was certainly a relief. Today she had to stay home while Rugby and I went to our retrieve class, and when I came back I took her outside to potty and for a walk. We came back in, and both Zena and Rugby played a bit, then decided they were tired. For the past two hourse, Rugby layed at my feet while Zena layed beside me, flat out...asleep!!!!! She was unrestrained, no leash or crate or anything! It was her own free will that she layed down and relaxed with us!! :) I don't think I have seen her so still before! lol

We worked on her recall a bit too, since she would come when you called her (sort of) but would usually duck away before you could grab her. We practiced a lot, usually I did recalls when she started getting too rough playing with Rugby so that he could get a break and she would sort of see where to draw the line. We would also practice some when we went out for potty breaks.

Another thing we spent some time on was being picked up. I had to pick her up to get her over the baby gate we put up to keep her out of the living room, and also to put her in her crate while in the car. She was nervous about it and (had no manners) and wiggled so much...but she doesn't any more. She got picked up and put down a lot, and now she will come over to the baby gate and wait willingly to be picked up and carried over it.

She also rushed the door too. She doesn't do that any more either. For a while she would run up to the door and before I opened it I would say 'my door' and move both of them out of the way, and they 'got it' and eventually would just back away when I came up to the door. Today when we left for our walk, she walked calmly to the door and never passed me at all untill I opened the door and stepped out and told her 'ok.'

I never thought I would say this but I am sort of proud of her! :O *gasp* Since she made so much progress in such a short time, I know the person to blame is her owner and he is getting a little 'lesson' of sorts when he gets back so she can keep up her good manners.

Rugby wasn't forgoten though, and he had to work this week too. The other day when he tried to run over and 'meet' a pitt bull being walked with one of those stupid head halti things, I decided we need to spend lots and lots more time doing recalls untill he is absolutely solid with them. That really has been our focus, but we have been holding and fetching our dumbell in different places too. Dogs and people are our ultimate distractions (since he is so outgoing and friendly with everyone) so we have gone to the pet store to work on holding and recalls, and also to the dog park (which was a realll chalange for Rugby...he was too excited to focus for a good 35 minutes....we have to go back and keep working on it). He is getting better, but he isn't stupid and if he doesn't think coming to me is more rewarding that whatever he is doing than he just very politely refuses (lol...jerk). We also started playing with off leash heeling a little bit since we did that in class on thursday, but I don't think we are good enough to devote too much time to it. We are going to keep working and working untill we get it. :)

Rugby has decided to join us on the coach and now I am sandwiched between two crazy little dogs. :) :D Gotta love it! Time to go eat!

Oh...Rugby gets his baby teeth removed the 12th of this month, since he refuses to let them fall out. grrr...

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