Friday, September 23, 2016

Improvements already!

I'll admit, since the last post, I haven't made much time for working specifically on Ida's noise issues, but the work that we did do and the changes I've made, small as they've been, have made a notable difference so far.  Hopefully it's not a fluke.

This week we... 

... Went to the local park to go on a group dog-walk that was apparently cancelled; one other person showed up with their 1 year old chihuahua friend and he and Ida were immediately good friends.  Us humans exchanged information and will hopefully get together on a semi-regular basis.

... Started playing fetch in the front yard, where things are scarier.  I used a long line; Ida was happy to chase and (mostly) bring the Flying Squirrel back, although she kept trying to take it in the front door.  Maybe just habit?  She was happy to play tug when she brought it back.

... Had a good "bad dog" class, Ida reacted a couple of times but recovered easily and was just hanging out being chill by the end.

... Spent some time doing open bar/closed bar in front of the house.  We moved about the same distance as usual, but Ida was much happier and more relaxed than she has been previously.

I noticed...

...  Ida won't take treats while the car is in transit (even if it's stopped at lights), but she recovers quickly and takes treats within 10 seconds of it stopping.

... Her shaking seems to correlate with car speed.  I suspect this is related to the oldness of my 1998 civic and the slight misalignment of my wheels which results in the vehicle shaking if I'm going above a certain speed.  Even without her thundershirt, Ida did not shake on trips for which I maintained speed under 110 km/h.

... Ida is much less stressed out around other dogs if I am actively engaging her.  I presume this applies to other stressful situations as well.  Right now, I don't really care if she can't focus/stare at a thing without being overwhelmed - I think that will come with time and practice - but the whole reason for this journey is to 

... Gaining confidence in things at home first goes a huge, huge way towards doing them (at all) in class.  

This week I plan to...

... Play more fetch in the front yard, gradually moving closer to the road.

... Ask to adjust my work schedule to 7:30 to 3:30 instead of 8:30 - 4:30, so I have more daylight when I get home.

... Actually take my agility jumps to the nearby open field to practice in a new location.