If you won't set up the crate, I'll figure out how to get in myself!
Maisy and I continue to work on the Relaxation Protocol. Although I haven’t been quite as consistent about it as before, we’re still doing it several times a week. Our progress has slowed down a lot, though: we’re still on Day 5. This is a hard one, especially the task where the dog remains calm while you walk to an entrance and touch the door knob. For the first three days, Maisy stood on her hind legs to peek out the top of the crate when I touched it. I celebrated mightily the day she finally remained lying down.
Despite the fact that she’s remaining lying down for the duration of the day’s protocol, she still doesn’t seem relaxed. Well, to be fair, she never really seems relaxed, but she isn’t even faking it right now, either: she’s not lying her chin on the ground, she’s not rolling onto her hip, and she’s not taking the treats gently. My big question right now is whether we should continue on the tasks of Day 5, or if we should work on an easier, earlier day for a bit… any thoughts from those experienced with the protocol?
The lack of relaxation during the protocol seems to be carrying over to the crate duration exercises. While we had been making rapid progress for awhile, we’ve currently stalled out. I do want relaxed behavior, not just patience. Currently, we’re working on 15 minutes’ duration, with a treat at every three minutes, but I think I need to either cut back on the duration, or increase the treats. Or both.
Well, Maisy definitely understands the poke behavior, but it’s coming out sideways and backwards. I should have seen that coming, I guess.
Last week, we were in the waiting room of the vet clinic when two large dogs suddenly came through the doorway. This surprise caused Maisy to lunge at them, growling and barking for a good 10 to 15 seconds. Although it’s rare that she actually goes over threshold, she did this day. Anyway, during the middle of this reactive episode, she suddenly rushed back over to me, poked me very hard, and then rushed back to bark once or twice more.
I guess that’s progress?
The other main thing we’ve been working on for the last couple of weeks is Treibball, which is a relatively new sport in which the dog herds large balls into a goal. Since Maisy’s heritage includes a herding breed, I was excited when I learned of a way she could use her natural instincts despite my lack of livestock. Even better, I’m taking a Sunday morning class with someone interested in Treibball, too!
This week, we’ve been working on the first step: sending Maisy to a target, where she automatically lies down. It’s going well so far, and she’s figured out what I want her to do. Now I need to start adding in distance. I’d like to be able to send her to a target 10-20 feet away in the next two weeks, but I’m not sure I have that kind of space in my house.