Building Confidence

We are continuing to get back on track and lately I have been wanting to focus on a few specific areas with Settler: 1) agility weaves 2) loose leash walking 3) reactivity to other dogs/stress levels in new places. 

I cannot wait to get started back up with structured agility classes. We have been working six weave poles and today I started to add the remaining six. I was using a tennis ball as a reward (the highest reward for Settler), and he was too "high" to focus on each pole when the last six were added. I will try again tomorrow perhaps using a tug toy or food to see how it changes the result. I then need to add some movement from myself so he stays focused even with me running past him. I am pretty happy with him and cannot wait to see how he has improved since last being out on the course. 

Our loose leash experience has been frustrating because 1) I have not done enough practice 2) we need to work in the presence of new smells, areas, and distractions. I can only blame myself for this and certainly look forward to some more controlled walks in the future. Practice, practice, practice. 

Lastly, I made some errors during Settler's puppyhood which have caused some reactivity challenges - especially in the presence of a barrier or restriction. Therefore, it is a necessity to work him around other dogs and keep both his and my stress levels under control. It is always a primary goal to make it through any session without any reactive behaviors regardless of the class or session. I am also tossing around participating in an online Denise Fenzi course (I love her!) regarding managing techniques on reactivity. It is always nice to get multiple opinions and new ideas and techniques. 

 Settler waiting for his turn during a "leave it" exercise walking past food on the ground. 

Settler waiting for his turn during a "leave it" exercise walking past food on the ground. 

I also do not forget to have fun with my dogs and still let them be dogs. I took some time to interact with the horse and donkeys today and let Settler help me herd them. 

I am looking forward to continuing this very inspiring therapy journey with both Settler and Chesnee. We can learn so much from our dogs and it has been amazing appreciating both of them and how hard they work to please. 

Chesnee will be on her way to her Canine Good Citizen and I just want to get her on more public outings. I will plan to continue Chesnee on a similar therapy journey as I am with Settler. I cannot wait to serve others through use of dogs.