Week 12: Getting back to work after a vacation is stressful. Our department has recently taken on some new – I’ll call it “responsibilities.” I feel like I have more to do than time permits so work, and the literal headache that accompanies it, has been the focus of week 12.
We skipped agility, but did take several walks. During one walk, Liezel was worried about a woman walking parallel to us across the street. I let the woman get a few paces ahead of us so Liezel could see her. I purposely walked the same streets as the woman in hopes that Liezel would lose focus and just enjoy the walk. Her reaction was minimal: hackles up upon first sight, crossing over to be on my right (the woman was on my right), huffing, and vigilance. We worked on some basic obedience commands periodically and after a block or so, Liezel was able to calm enough to just keep track of the woman – looking in her direction every so often. When we turned a corner, the mailman was delivering so Liezel had the woman and the mailman to deal with. She just stared at me. For 2 – 3 house lengths she stared at me. There was a lot of praise and reward! By then I figured we could head home so we turned a different direction than the woman, we crossed paths with the mailman (he on the other side of the street) where Liezel showed interest but no concern, and went home.
On another walk, neighbors down the street were outside so I stopped to chat. They’re “dog-people” so I figured this would be good exposure for Liezel. The woman put her hand down, palm out and was talking to me as we approached. Liezel went right up and touched her hand. Someone else (I don’t know who this man was) was putting a baby in a car seat and Liezel sniffed him, too. I gave the woman some treats to give to Liezel and of course Liezel took them without issue. The husband came out while we were talking and he approached Liezel with some commands, “Sit” and “Down.” Liezel did both and I gave him some treats to give to her. Once his attention left her and he joined the conversation, Liezel began to posture and growl. He leaned down to pet her, she quickly backed away, but the leash ran across her butt so the force of her movement and the restriction of movement from the leash caused her to do a full body somersault. She looked scared and once she got up she ran to my side and stood with her body behind me and just her head peeking around. We continued our conversation for a couple more minutes, and figuring Liezel has had enough excitement for one day, we headed for home.
Obedience class on Saturday was another really good one. Liezel knows “place” with regard to putting her front paws on something and keeping them there even when her back paws are moving (picture her walking in a circle with front legs in the same place, rear legs circling). In Saturday’s class “place” was a 12″ box that she had to jump up on and then sit. Having never done this I was happy with how little effort it took to get her on it. A little luring and a lot of praise got her up and sitting in a matter of seconds. The trainer has begun working on the beginning stages of teaching food refusal. I’m intrigued and excited to see how this is taught and how well Liezel does. More to come on that.
I have every intention of getting back on track in week 13 with all other goals. At this point in time, I can only remember a single act of kindness – the “thank you” email I sent to DTE for the hard work put in to getting our power back on. I was surprised by how many people complained about “how terrible DTE is” when I thought they did a great job. And my power was out for 2 full days! Perception I suppose.