Wow, so much has happened since I last wrote. I wish I would have actually blogged (create SHORT stories) about it. HA! I will see what I can do to capture the events, I really wanted to sort this out as it happened.
First, I have joined forces with three dog ladies. Pretty cool, as fitting in was always a bit of a difficult thing for me. I call our group “The Fantastic Four Dog Training Nerds”, but we have a new member, which makes five. So I now call us “The Fantastic’s”.
Kristin is an original Fantastic. She owns Skittles the tiny Italian Greyhound who has been reactive for 6 years. Kristin told me often, if you fix Jedi, Skittles is next! As soon as I was rockin’ and rollin’ with Jedi, we set to work on Skittles. I gave Kristin some things to work on at home.
After two weeks, we met at a park mid May. This would be Jedi’s first time at the park where I felt I could add in a dash of real life, meaning cars, bikes, running people, skateboards, dogs, you know free range style. I got Kristin started, giving her a few techniques to use with Skittles. Once she was really getting it, I went to work Jedi. We started on the other side of the park. I got him settled and then added “ALL MOVING THINGS”!
Jedi had only one huge outburst, I didn’t push much yet. It happened when we were walking towards Kristin and EJ (the non-reactive Italian Greyhound); they suddenly took off running. A response I would expect, since Jedi and I had just started really figuring each other out. I corrected Jedi and for the rest of the night, Kristin kept apologizing.
While I kept telling her thank you! You are helping me show Jedi that things move! Things move everywhere. The biggest take away that day, things even unexpectedly move and we don’t care about it!
Lucky for any of my friends who want to work their reactive dogs with me, there is a skateboard park at the this venue. Yes, indeed, what team doesn’t enjoy the challenge of staying connected, while skateboarders are flying through the air!
Not only was Kristin’s dog, dog reactive, but Skittles also hates skateboards. She did the same routine with the skateboarder’s and by the end of the session; she got about 15 feet away from the skate park. They were walking in perfect harmony! It was beautiful!
She left the park that night exclaiming, “I can take my dog to the park. I can take my dog to the park”. Yes, reactive dog owners everywhere, remember vividly the first time they left the park successful. She couldn’t believe it. It made me so happy for her! Hugs and many smiles were shared.
The next week we met at the park and Kristin got started right away. This was the first session with all four of us. I helped another friend Nancy and her mildly reactive dog Copper work on zen walking/state of mind training. I showed her what to do if he started reacting. This is the Nancy that competed with Copper in Rally in my last blog.
Like many of us, Nancy has a little trouble sharing meaningful consequences, but she is
really trying. I am attempting to be a sort of dog training life coach for the group. I try to share the things I learned along the way, I guess this they are finding that stuff useful.
At the park this day, I also suggested Nancy make an attempt at getting close to the skate park. They got in a good state of mind and started towards the skateboards. She was getting it, so I went to work Jedi.
After I got Jedi settled down, I looked over and there were all three Fantastic’s with their reactive or fearful dogs standing in a group, next to the skate park!!!!!!!!!!!! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
I was overjoyed and overwhelmed with sadness all at once. Jedi has some real anxiety issues, more so than the other reactive dogs that I was helping. Jedi will take a little longer, but we will get there. I know we will get there!
If you cannot wait for the next updates, check out the videos on my Twitter Account below. They are pretty cool!! I will post Jedi’s reactive video, after we successfully pack walk together.
P.S. Less than 800 words, does that count as an actual blog? 💖