My stats tell me that the last time I posted anything – Hiring a Professional to be descriptive – was 10 days ago! I don’t know where the time has gone.
In those 10 days we attended a “drop-in” agility class and one obedience class.
The agility class wasn’t great. Liezel did well with the people and other dogs but on the course she was not listening! I actually had to put her leash on her and run the course like when she was a puppy. We haven’t used a leash in a very long time. I understand there are so many great smells out there, but when I call, “Come,” she must come. Off course Liezel was really good. There were about 8 people / dog teams there and we did not know any of them. Liezel approached strangers (human) and smelled legs and hands. She quickly looked to me for reward – which she received. To be honest, I was more concerned with Liezel reacting to the other dogs (leash aggression) that I kind of (momentarily) forgot that she doesn’t like strangers. At one point a woman did start walking toward us while we were cornered in a fenced in area. Liezel reacted to her, but the woman was really good about it and just sat in the chair she was headed for. Liezel got a mild correction and she was fine after that.
The obedience class was completely unexpected. The trainer asked me to help teach a puppy class at 7pm. I anticipated going alone (sans Liezel). Early in the day he called me to say “Come out at 6 if you want to work Liezel.” Which of course I did. When we arrived it was already dark, there was very little lighting, and a few dogs were barking from other vehicles. Liezel got out of the truck like a champ. No barking, growling, lunging, or hackles. We walked around the grassy area to let her go potty and then as we approached the door the class before ours was letting out. She gave a couple of huffs but looked to me for direction and was rewarded for not reacting. The class was awesome! Just basic heeling and distance stays, but she never broke position, she followed commands and was calm and relaxed.
When the puppy class started at 7, my husband took Liezel out to the truck to wait the hour while I helped with the puppies. She was her happy self when I got back in the truck. We had to stop at a fairly busy McDonalds so my husband could use the restroom. Liezel watched people and only gave one single huff the entire time he was gone.
The last thing of any significance this past 10 days is the walk we took last Saturday morning. Two blocks from our house a man came out of the woods in a motorized chair. He said “Good morning,” as he turned toward us. I walked Liezel into the grass and said, “Good morning. She is afraid of people so I’m just going to avoid you.” We carried on a conversation with him, explained Liezel’s behavior and recent progress, all the while she sat next to me being rewarded. It wasn’t until he started to roll away that she reacted. I corrected her, got her in heel and I announced, “A year ago she would have been doing this through our entire conversation.” He was super easy going about it and wished us a good day.
Naturally I would have preferred no reaction from her at his departure but I was not disappointed. Quite the opposite. I was pleased that she sat next to me while we carried on a conversation with a stranger, that she had no reaction to the motorized chair coming out of the woods and at us, and the we continued the rest of our walk with her calm and relaxed.
Progress. It’s wonderful!