Tuesday, February 22, 2011

So proud!

On Sundays, Maisy and I go to a shaping class. It's taught by my trainer friend, and the other students are friends as well. It's a fairly unstructured class- we each work on our own thing, and sometimes, when we're tired, we simply hang out. Oh, excuse me, we do "mat work."

This past Sunday was one of those relaxed classes, and we spent most of it lying on the ground, laughing and talking, while simultaneously rewarding our dogs for relaxed behavior. In the past, when I've done mat work with Maisy she's been what I termed operantly relaxed- that is, she's been coiled up, ready to spring, and in the words of my friend Elizabeth, "twitching like a crack addict in withdrawal." (No offense meant to any crack addicts, in withdrawal or otherwise. Considering how much I love Maisy, this should be construed as the highest compliment.)

However, this week was different. Although she was initially "on" and ready to play the game, when Maisy realized that I wasn't going to ask her to do anything, she rolled over onto one hip, curled into a ball, and put her chin down. Her muscles were smooth and loose. Her eyes were droopy, and her ears were at half-mast. In other words: she was actually relaxed.

My trainer called it a breakthrough. For my part, I was afraid to breathe. Or move. Or do anything that might wreck the spell... which means that I don't have a picture. But take my word: it was amazing!

10 comments:

Megan said...

All that mat work we do paid off, eh? :-)

She really looked great, it was pretty crazy to see her just relaxing.

Really, really, great job Crystal!

Dawn said...

whispers - yeah!!! (I would yell that but I dont want to disturb her)

Ettel, Charlie Poodle, and Emma Pitty said...

Woohoo!!!

Ninso said...

Sweet!! Go Maisy! Why is it that as soon as our dogs relax our first instinct is to tense up waiting for the shit to hit the fan? That's how it is with Jun . . . "don't move, she's being GOOD!!"

Sophie said...

That's great! It's fab that Maisy is/was feeling calm enough to just plain relax. With a more confident (and less reactive) dog, things like being able to stay calm in a stressful situation are often taken for granted. I know I appreciate Lola's focus more now I know about how stressful reactivity can be (for the dog as much as the handler).

Anonymous said...

That's wonderful, Crystal! Way to go Maisy!

We missed you in class last night. Shanoa actually *fell asleep* in class on her mat. Previously she's been fairly similar to Maisy, as you know. Although probably not quite as much like a crack addict in withdrawal as your girl :)

It's such a wonderful feeling to see them truly relax, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Sorry! That last comment was Nicky from the Tuesday class :)

Crystal said...

Thanks for celebrating with me, guys!

Nicky- I wish I could have celebrated with you last night (and I totally knew it was you, but thanks for signing anyway)... I saw the video Robin took, and it's AMAZING.

thelearningvet said...

Congrats! You should be proud! As I like to say, "Boring can be quite exciting!", especially in this kind of context!

Joanna said...

Woohoo! Good job Maisy. :D