Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Trainer came!

Good Morning all!

Greg was on his way up from KY up to MI, so he stopped here to work with us for a few hours. Boy that made a WORLD of difference! :)

We started out by going to Linens N Things first. He had bought a bag of doggie treats and explained that he doesn't normally like using treats, but to give positive reinforcement besides his voice, he would use them to help get her over the fear in this situation. So Greg explained that he would work her into the store and I was to follow behind watching and listening to what he did. So I harnessed her up and he took the handle.

We walked up to the store and she started to balk on him and he had her sit and gave her a treat. Then when he asked her to go forward, she kind of balked at going and he reached down and grabbed the leash and gently tugged forward and in a real positive voice called her and excitedly said to her Honey! Come on girl! She hopped forward and was bouncing by his side. So he walks on in and the blower is going, and he has her sit and gives her another treat, praising her highly with his voice. He calls her forward again and she moves forward for him, though kind of tugging a bit. Greg then stops and gives another treat, and explains to me that he wants to keep her moving nice and slow, let her get back into that relaxed state and hey, it's ok to be here. I'm being good, I get treats, it's ok here.

So Greg walks on around the store with me following behind watching what he's doing. We get on around the store to the back left corner (a WHOLE lot further than I had been able to get with her and making me feel quite like an idiot! LOL!) and another really loud blower there. Greg has here sit and another treat and lots of praise for being good. So then we start to move forward towards the Kiosk where we'd been standing when all of this mess started and I look up and realize now that we had been standing RIGHT underneath a blower when she freaked out on me that time. Seriously, the pole that the kiosk was attached to ran right up to the ceiling and the blower unit was attached to the pole. So that explains why she freaked out so bad. So another treat and standing here a few minutes and lots of praise.

Then we move on around to across the front of the store, keeping her nice and slow and round the corner to head to the back of the store again. We get back to the back left corner again and Greg sets a treat up on a shelf and hands the harness over to me and tells me to have her sit and treat her. Then to walk off to the front of the store. So I do so and we walk off. Gosh it was nice to have my dog back again! What a releif! So we walk up to the front, head out the front doors and she's tugging a bit there, but not like she had before. We stand there and I praise her good and give her another treat.

Greg then has me go back in the store to walk all around the store again and gives me 3-4 treats to put in my pocket and use when needed. So she kind of balks at going in but moreso because she was trying to follow Greg, since we'd been following him before. when walking out of the store. So we start on in and Greg stops me and shows me a different way to hold the leash.
He explains instead of holding the leash around my wrist and through the thumb and fore finger, he shows me to pul the leash up and just through my first and second fingers, where when she balks I can easily reach down and take the leash with my right hand without having to drop the harness and encourage her forward or gently turn her right if she's balking at going right. What a tool to use with Honey, works soooooo well! :)

So we go on around the store again and it wasn't until we got to the back left corner again that there was a blower going. I have her sit and give her a treat and she does great. Another HUGE sigh of relief, we can do this! :D So then we go on forward and I stop at the kiosk and have her sit and treat again, to reinforce that it was ok to be there. Then we move on to the front of the store and on out the doors. HUGE GRINS!

So once back outside, we talked for a bit, reviewing what Greg had just taught me and how to use my voice and encouraging her and letting her know it was ok to be there and so forth. Greg told me to have some treats on hand the next time I came to Linens N Things, but not necessarily use them, just have them for if we needed them to reinforce she was ok. Then we talked about where else we'd had problems and we talked about the hair cut place, but since I so very rarely go there and it was a very similar thing to the Linens N Things, we decided not to hit that place.

So we decide to go back to the church where she had reacted to the hand dryer a few weeks ago. We get there and there wasn't anyone else in the bathroom, so Greg came on in with us and as I stood there holding her, he started up the dryer. She was a little antsy but with the praise and such, it wasnt really bothering her. So SUCCESS! Greg said just be sure to try to keep her back from any dryers so she can see it coming, maybe get her attention before starting it if possible so she's not startled at it and with time she should be fine on it. I mentioned too that we had been in that very bathroom for a whole weekend with 70 other women for a whole weekend at our church and it didn't bother her then, but that it was after we'd been to Linens N Things that she reacted to it. Greg said that sometimes one bad reaction to something can trigger other startled reactions to and since she's ok with the store now, that I should probably see some improvement with the hand dryers too and knowing now how to work with her.

So then we headed out of there and Honey kind of clipped me close to a door as we were going out. So Greg had us come back and showed me how to try to work with her on making her watch the doors. He also mentioned too that he saw that I did the roll in, going into the bathroom since the door was hinged on the left. He asked how I was taught to bring the dog back to my side. I told him doing the big circle to the left and "Come to Heel". He then said ok, I'm all about showing you different tricks and you can use what works for you. He then showed me to just bring her around me to the right and back to the heel position. Then as we left the the building, he showed me that with the new leash holding position, that iw would make it easy to do the switch and then when switching back, it was easy and quick to bring the dog around from my right, to the left, put the leash in my left hand, pick up the harness and keep right on walking w/o having to stop. I was like COOOL!!!! LOL! Ok got that one to try!

I then explained to him too that I actually tended to avoid left hinged doors, since it was such a pain to do them with the roll in, and the switch wasn't easy with the leash around the wrist. So can't wait to work on that some more. :)

So we headed on back to the house and Greg chatted with my hubby, Mike, and I for a few minutes about how Honey has worked for our family and such and then he took off to go on his way up to Michigan. I feel a lot more confident now in working with her and how to work her through these situations now when we encounter them too. :) Yay!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yipee .... it is the secrets to the bags of tricks are what you and Honey were needing. Glad you are feeling better about this.

Grins .. Suzi