Thursday, April 21, 2011

Who Are You, and What Have You Done with My Dog?

Maisy has improved so much that sometimes I barely recognize her. Last Sunday was one of those times.


Over the weekend, the Minnesota Mixed Breed Club held their semi-annual APDT rally trial. No, I didn't enter Maisy, but I did take the opportunity to expose Maisy to a trial environment. This isn't anything new; I have been working on gradually exposing her to busier environments, with the key word being gradual. Maisy's veterinary behaviorist has cautioned that I need to take things slowly so that I don't accidentally cause her to have a setback. I agreed, and I had every intention of taking Maisy to the trial, hanging around for a half-hour or so, and then going home.


Perhaps you've guessed that's not exactly what happened. In the end, we spent over three hours at the trial site, and she was content to be there. In fact, there were several times where I took her outside in order to give her a break, and instead of sniffing around, she strained and pulled in the direction of the building, clearly eager to go back inside.

She was very flirty. She said hi to every person she could get near with full on grins and helicopter tails. She even tried to say hi to a couple dogs, to the point where she rudely got in another dog's face (total handler fail on my part; I didn't see the dog under the table). When that dog (appropriately) snarked at her, Maisy jumped back, shook herself off, and was like, "Oh. Terribly sorry," and carried on with the business of flirting with people.


Maisy has (had?) two huge triggers: shepherdy looking dogs, and dogs running and playing. She used to be so bad when we did restrained recalls in class that she would become frantic even when we were out of sight in a back room. Just the sound of a handler cheerfully calling "come!" would send her over the edge. So imagine my surprise when she sat in my lap ringside, calm as could be, while a laekenois was sent running over a jump! She didn't even bat an eye when that dog came out of the ring and played tug!

I fed her plenty of treats, of course, and I was surprised by how soft her mouth was. Over the course of three hours, she never once took treats roughly, frantically, or with her teeth! This is pretty impressive since the first sign of stress she shows is a hard mouth. In fact, this is the most "stressed" she looked all weekend (and it's not stress at all, simply interest):


Despite all of this amazingness, I went home feeling a bit apprehensive. Maisy doesn't exactly have a history of recovering from stress well. In the past, she's been edgy and hyper-vigilant for several days after a trial. I expected to see some of that this week and... I didn't. Even on Tuesday night, when we went to our reactive dog class, she was fine. I expected barking and lunging and over-the-top theatrics, but it was business as usual.

So, look out, Minnesota: Maisy and I are back in business. We're ready to enter that ring and kick your butts... or at least have fun trying! Because Q or no Q, I will always be proud of my girl. Maisy has overcome adversity, and in doing so, she has proven herself to be a true champion.

11 comments:

Sare said...

Yea! Maisy and Crystal - you know she wouldn't have gotten there without all your hard work and dedication. Congrats - So happy to read this:))

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

woo hoo! She was awesome at the trial!!! I can't wait to see her rocking out in July!

Annieke said...

Yay Maisy! What an amazing change Crystal! Congratulations!

Ninso said...

I'm so glad to hear she is doing so well!! Jun is officially on Dr. Duxbury's calendar for the end of May. Hopefully our results will be as good as yours!

Patty said...

Congrats! Sounds like things are going well. :-)

Sophie said...

That's fantastic! Go Maisy! I hope you have fun when you next attend a trial (hopefully 'for real', and for a Q). Maisy is an icon for me and my silly rat :)

Crystal Thompson said...

Thanks for the congrats, everyone! :)

Ninso- Has Jun seen Dr. Duxbury before? Have you?

Ninso said...

Neither of us has. But our progress has stalled and gone backwards a bit and Sara recommended we go to the U and maybe think about meds.

Raegan said...

Woo HOO! Go Maisy! Go You!

Also, I've been in that building XD

Anonymous said...

You may have to just get used to having a normal dog, Crystal :)

Nicky

Katie said...

What a tremendous distance the two of you have gone! Yay Maisy!