Honey came to the Rescue Scheme with a background of being well socialised. If this means that she gets on well with people, cats and other dogs it is true. However it became obvious that she had little formal training, and was extremely difficult to lead walk . Honey's new owner shares some "training" moments with us
Thought I'd share a few updates with you.
We took her out to Chertsey Meads today - an area of meadow by the Thames. AND we let her off-lead!! AND we returned home with her!! You should have seen her run, Barbara. Several people told me how gorgeous she looked. When she was running, they were saying things like 'wow watch her go!' and 'doesn't she run fast!' At times it almost looked like she was flying across the top of the long meadow grass. I don't think she could believe her luck. She even managed to go into the water at a shallow stretch of the river and have a paddle. Her recall still needs a lot of work - but she had a great time and we were able to catch her. She does come running back sometimes - it's just that she then dodges you and runs straight past.
I am not so worried about her toileting now. She does still manage to 'hold on' for a very long time. I have taken your advice and we let her out into the garden first thing in the morning and last thing at night - if she goes she goes, if she doesn't she doesn't. She does 'scent mark' quite a bit when we are out in a new place and 'splashes and dashes' everywhere.
We had our first session with the trainer on Thursday. I think she is the right trainer for her. Lynda, the trainer thought she was gorgeous as well and very intelligent. She says there is definitely collie in her - and she has owned collies all her life and is a KC collie judge. She said it's her face shape and her coat type. She has shown me how to reduce her excitement when we go out so that she doesn't know WHEN i am going to take her out. I have to move the lead around, put my coat on and off and open and close the dog walk bag. I am also having some success with the 'wait' at the door or before going through the side gate. We managed a little heel walking within the confines of the training barn.
The lead walking is going to big a big project. Lynda noticed that when her lead is being put on she is very distressed and it's a combination of anxiety and excitement that's causing the problems. When you go to put her lead on she falls to the floor and pants. I originally thought it was just excitement, but Lynda says it's fear. I think this is what Diane had noticed as well. She has shown me how to work with this. However, even the trainer with all her experience couldn't get her attention or get control of her outside. She says that, by the way she lowers down and heaves with her legs splayed, it looks as though her previous owners might have used a full harness on her. She says people think that by getting one of those they have more control of the dog, but the dog still pulls - it's just that it doesn't feel so bad for the handler.
Lynda has advised that we get a Gencon as that should calm her and give me a lot more control, but she says not to rush it so as to avoid it being an unpleasant experience. We have to start just resting it on her nose, putting it on and off, and letting her eat with it before we use it for walking.
We had a funny experience in the garden this week. One of my cats loves chasing tennis balls and he got to it before she did. She just stopped and backed off - I wish I could bottle his vibe!! Hard to believe this was the same dog who used to grab balls from Diane's German Shepherd!!
Think that's all for now,
I'm glad you're enjoying my updates - feel free to share them.
I actually thought it would be a while before I had any more updates, but I have had a rather good day today.
I tried the Gencon for real today and it worked!!
I tried putting it on her in the garden this afternoon. I started with the neck part only and just let it stay on her while she ran around after her ball. I then managed to get the nose part on and kept her distracted with her ball and treats. She was wrestling with it a bit, so I wondered if actually taking her outside for a short walk around the Close would help her to see it as being associated with a walk. For the most part, that went well. A funny thing happened on the way back in through the side gate. I was so pleased with myself for managing to get her to walk on the Gencon that I let her go through the gate first - but she stepped back and looked at me as if to say 'I thought the idea was that you are meant to go first'!
It then came time for her proper evening walk and I wondered if I should risk the Gencon - faced with the prospect of some serious shoulder yanking, the Gencon won and, armed with what felt like a full bag of treats, we set off.
We hadn't got very far when we spotted a dog she hadn't met before coming the other way down the lane - a husky of all things. She's always been a bit 'in your face' with other dogs and lunges at them to get their attention, so I was fearing the worst. However, although she was keen to meet the other dog, there was no pulling. We hadn't got very far down the lane when we saw two young lads on a motorbike coming towards us - this was a first and I had no idea what to expect. 'Why did this have to happen today of all days?' I thought to myself, but to my utter amazement we were able to pass each other.
We ended up doing one of the longest walks we have done and she walked nicely on my left all the way.
Time now to focus on getting her to drop her ball........!!