First off, want to share the slideshows of all the zoo pics, as there were others there:
Slide show 1: The Oceans and Deserts
Slide show 2: The Plains
Today was busy as I worked with Honey some more on this fear of AC units. Our friend Julie came with her girls and took Alex, Honey, and I back to Linen's N Things. We got there and she dropped Honey and I off and took the kids and went down to Target. Honey and I got out and went up to the sidewalk and walked down one way and back and when passing the door, she actually kind of pulled me into the store.
We went to the right and got to about the first bed display and the blower kicked in, which she immediately turned and high tailed it out of there. She wasn't shaking or panting so we walked back and forth outside the main doors and she kind of didn't want to do this, so I dropped the harness and walked her with just the leash which she did ok. She wasnt happy about it but she did it.Then we worked to inside the first set of doors doors and came back out, walking to the left. I tried picking up the harness and doing an about, to see if she'd work for me from there, since she seemed ok with things, but I couldn't get her to even turn towards the door holding the harness handle, but with the leash she'd walk back and forth and so forth.
So we did that, worked our way into the store and she wasn't happy, but wasnt panting, or panicky. Stood around a bit and talked with the manager that came up, explaining what I was doing. Which she was fine with us and said to do whatever we needed to. Then moved back outside. Came in again and back out. Then tried moving back a little further, going up the main aisle and then back outside, but the more we went in and out, the more she was balking at going in to where she was really balking- planting her feet and not budging balk, unless I put my hand down to her nose level and said come on girl, you can do it.
So I backed up and started outside the doors again, where I kneeled down and petted her a good long time and just let her look around. Then we moved to inside the first set of doors, and did the same thing, petting and praise for being calm and patient. She even laid down for a few for me and yawned as we were sitting for a while at each place. Then we moved just inside the doors and did the same thing, and she then started to show some uneasiness but was ok yet. Willing to do what I asked her. Then we moved on in to the "outdoors" area, just across the main aisle from the doors. It was just about under the blower in the front of the store that wasn't as loud and big as the main one in the middle of the store, but could still be loud. She was fine as the pre-cycle was going, blowing out some air but not full blast. She was still willing and actually fairly calm. I pulled out a lawn chair that was at a table and chairs set and sat down and was petting and praising her for being good. She sat there fine, not thrilled but was ok with things so I had her lay down and she was still ok through the precycle, even yawning and put her head down on the floor as she does when relaxed.
Then the blower made a loud thunk and came on full blast and she shot up, freaked, shook uncontrollably and I tried to pet/calm her down and she was spinning around at the end of the leash and trying to pace, so I let her go on outside. We went back out to the bench outside and she didn't take as long to calm down though, as she has in the past when she's been trembling and such. I figured it'd been enough for one day and I'm calling the school and asking them to send someone out. I dont feel like I'm capable of retraining her through this on my own, as I debated whether to force the issue and make her stay put, or to let her go back outside when she freaked but I honestly didn't know what would be better. I've trained animals how to do things, not trained them through fears and I'm not an animal behaviourist, so feel like this is over my head. We sat for a few minutes on the bench, where she quickly calmed down, and then walked down the sidewalk towards the Target and Julie and the kids were coming towards us as well. The further we walked, the more she went back to her normal self and good behaviours.
Man this is frustrating for me and stressful. I have to say I fear the school telling me they need to take her from me or in other words retire her, bacause of it, but I need to be able to go places and know that she'll work for me consistantly. *sigh*
We came on home and put Alex down for a nap, which I tried to catch up on emails. My shoulder is sore from the pulling and I'm exhausted mentally. I called the school and left a message with my trainer, requesting a call back. We'll see where it goes from here, as Julie plans to come back Wednesday to go back again. I know for sure I'm going to take the camera and try to get a video of Honey's reaction and at least get a video of the AC unit and hopefully it'll pick up the sound too.
This evening the kids and I celebrated Cinco De Mayo by having a Mexican Chicken bake meal that Mike had picked up at the store a while back. Then we all curled up on the couch together in the play room and watched Three Caballeros, which Alex got down pretty quickly and got out some of his Thomas trains and played on the floor with those. Honey has been crashed out all afternoon and evening from her long morning. Then I got the kids to bed, after a fit from Katie though. :( Mike is at work again, as it should be the last night for the cut over of stuff to the outsourcing companies, but it's already 11pm and he's not home yet, so things must not be going as expected. :( I'm really getting sleepy, so probably going to head to bed here in a few.