Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm starting to re-think that whole "reactive" thing...

On Saturday, Maisy and I headed over to my friend Megan’s house for an evening full of friends and fun. The car ride over was interesting; in addition to Maisy and I, we also somehow fit my husband Brian, my friend Elizabeth, and her greyhound, Beckett, into my Honda Fit.


Laura was already there with corgi Lance and toller Vito when we arrived. Maisy has met both Lance and Vito in the past, but only briefly. Also present was Megan’s springer, Buzz.


We spent a little time training (Laura is a master trick trainer, and talked me through the finer points of a few tricks with Maisy), and then Lauren and her boyfriend Ryan arrived. Despite the fact that he's a dude, Maisy likes Ryan.


Finally, Sara and her new dog, Dobby, arrived. Dobby is a profoundly neophobic Minnesota White-Toed Chipmunk Dog, so he stayed in the car until we were ready to go for a walk through the woods. Maisy had never met Dobby before. (Dobby did great, too, in case you were wondering.)


After our walk, we headed back inside for supper and movies. I was actually quite impressed by how well Maisy did. Despite having six dogs, one cat, and eight people all crowded into Megan’s house- where she’s never been before- she was fairly relaxed. She did have a few instances where she barked reactively at reflections in the windows, but overall, she was able to relax. She was social and spent time with everyone (especially Elizabeth), and even took a nap with me!

Photo by Sara.
Best yet, there were no lingering after-effects. Oh, sure, she was exhausted on Sunday, but so was I. But she wasn’t more anxious or vigilant around the house than usual on either Sunday or Monday, which is awesome, especially considering that last Thanksgiving, she took almost a week to recover.



I shared this video (the same one I put on Facebook on Sunday) with Maisy’s veterinary behaviorist, who called it a “breakthrough” for Maisy. I hadn’t thought of it as a breakthrough at a time, although I was very happy with how she did. After thinking about it, though, her behavior was a pretty big deal. That was a lot of chaos, and she was able to relax while we were there. She was able to recover quickly. And she was, dare I say it, happy pretty much the whole time. This is a far cry from the dog she used to be, and I’m beginning to wonder if that whole “reactive” thing is really true anymore…

10 comments:

trillium said...

Grats to you and maisy! It sounds like an awesome day. I have been giving your posts to a friend of mine that has a somewhat reactive dog so that someday we'll be able to have play dates that are fun and relaxing for us as well as wear out the dogs.

Megan said...

I'm so happy Maisy had a good time. Despite your name-calling regarding her lack of play style... she really did so well. Everyone did so well. I was so impressed! More impressed by the fact that the humans remained very calm throughout the night!

Good girl Maisy, now go ask Elizabeth for some cookies! :-)

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

Yay! We're so proud of you and Maisy!

jen said...

That is very cool! She looked like it was all a very enjoyable experience for her!

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

Go Maisy! I told you that you would have some explaining to do! And you left out the part about her bopping Lance awake wanting to play and then completely ignoring his sexy wiggles.

And yes I am the master trick trainer! I totally cured Maisy's rollover in 2 seconds. Actually zero seconds as she was perfect from the start. I am brilliant.

Katie, Maizey and Magnus said...

It's a testament to all the work, effort, energy and love you have put into Maisy that she could handle so much. I too am questioning the "once reactive always reactive" rule with my Maizey. She continues to surprise me in good ways. Don't know if you saw the pic of her wading into the "sea of Cavaliers" in our recent post about her upcoming Petite Pals class, but I was so shocked and proud of her on that walk.

I'm so glad you put your stories out there for us to celebrate these victories with you! Congratulations to you both!!

Crystal said...

Laura, I'd completely forgotten about that. Poor Lance- woken up for nothing. It's awfully cute that Maisy wanted to play but just wasn't sure how. As for the rollover... I'll consider it cured if we can replicate the success.

Katie- I love that picture of your Maizey. Isn't it awesome when our dogs can do something we'd never imagined possible?

WonderPupsMom said...

Thanks for this post and video! It gives those of us with 'still reactive' dogs hope and encouragement! While Gilda has come a long way, she still has considerable road to go...
WTG Maisy and Crystal!!!!
~Dee
www.agilitynovice.com

Sophie said...

That's fantastic! I'm so glad for you both :) Maisy really is coming along in leaps and bounds, isn't she?

Robin Sallie said...

I am very happy that you put on your big girl panties and TOOK HER WITH YOU! Nice job.