Running in place...

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Postby amalie79 » April 17th, 2010, 3:14 pm

Just feels like every time we make progress in one area, we take a step back somewhere else.

On a good note, Robin's trust in us seems to be increasing; when she first came to us, she hoarded her toys and ran away with them. Now, she brings them to me to play tug, to actively take the toy that's in her mouth. That's been exciting and fun. We're working to solidify "drop it" and "trade" commands and to reinforce "leave it." But it's nice! :)

And then on the other hand, the reactivity toward people continues to be frustrating. We've been going to the park and she gets a c/t when she looks at people on the jogging trail; her ears perk up, she's interested, but she can usually break her focus on the joggers to look at me for a treat. So far, that's been going pretty well.

However, today, a family friend was jogging along, saw us, and tried to walk over to say hi. Once he got a few feet from us, it clearly scared the crap out of her; she barked, growled and I think backed up. She wasn't really lunging-- so she wasn't too hard to control, but it's frustrating and embarrassing. Most of all, though, those incidents get her so upset and worked up that they set us back. Our friend left, so her barking "worked." After that, we never really got back on track. Before, she was able to watch people 10 or 20 feet away without barking. After, she was barking and grumbling at people 100 feet away. We managed to just barely watch a couple more people successfully and then called it a day. It seems to completely wear her out for the rest of the day.

I guess I should add that she's been pretty good with guests at our house; the only barking that has occurred there was when a friend walked in the front door without knocking while we were out back. :doh: And once we came in, and he handed her a treat it was ok. She's usually all wiggles. She was a stray that was loving on everyone in sight when we found her, so this seems very much leash or new environment related.

My question is, how far back do we need to step? I mean, I wonder if I'm moving too fast here. Should we just go to a quiet place in the park without people and work on relaxation for a while before we go back to LAT games? Just increase the distance? Go back to doing this on our porch? I don't want to contaminate these activities with any territorial concerns... It feels like we need to get her out in the world every day, but then I also want to make sure she doesn't go over the threshold every day.

We're in touch with a behaviorist; she's booked through July, but she's also opening a training facility that will feature reactive dog classes and TTouch for reactive dogs (aggressive/shy dogs are her specialty). Until then, I want to make sure I do what I can without making things worse...
"In these bodies, we will live; in these bodies we will die.
Where you invest your love, you invest your life." --Marcus Mumford

--Amalie
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Postby amazincc » April 17th, 2010, 3:30 pm

amalie79 wrote:
My question is, how far back do we need to step? I mean, I wonder if I'm moving too fast here. Should we just go to a quiet place in the park without people and work on relaxation for a while before we go back to LAT games? Just increase the distance? Go back to doing this on our porch?


Yes, yes, and yes. It took months (literally) for Mick to be able to stay calm when we saw people approach from a distance, and for every step forward we probably took two steps back on a regular basis... I know how frustrating that can become.
Time, patience, and tiny baby steps were the only thing that "worked' for us (him)... and he never became a social butterfly, but even the smallest progress was HUGE in his case.
Hang in there... start over. Don't take the next step unless you're absolutely sure that Robin is ready... :hug3:
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Postby amalie79 » April 17th, 2010, 5:29 pm

Thanks. That's kind of what I figured. :rolleyes2:

She had done so well on most occasions that I guess I got overly confident. And she does do well... until she doesn't, and then we're screwed!

I was hoping we could start taking some walks, as she's not much of a puller, especially with a no-pull harness on, but we have a relatively busy neighborhood. Luckily she'll play ball FOREVER in the yard, so short walks when the neighborhood's quiet and lots and lots of ball-- a good opportunity to work on her retrieve skills. Or currently, her lack of retrieve skills! :wink:

Back to square 1, I suppose!
"In these bodies, we will live; in these bodies we will die.
Where you invest your love, you invest your life." --Marcus Mumford

--Amalie
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