Saturday, April 16, 2011

BREAKTHROUGH! (Well, maybe!)

I swear there is a little switch in a puppy's brain that sometimes gets stuck in the 'off' position and then for no apparent reason **click*** gets flipped on.

That happened yesterday with Jessie. We headed out in the morning on our 'gotta get over your fear of the leash/cars/new smells walk around the neighbourhood - which at last attempt was a twenty minute struggle for both of us around a half block (using a back lane). She didn't want to go. She lay down and pretended to be dead when I put on her harness and leashes.

She cowered at the back yard gate.

She slunk down the side of the house and passed the cars.

She was not a happy camper.

No, I won't 'watch' you!

Then - ZOMG! - she suddenly began trotting along nicely. Right by my side. Head up, tail up. No pulling or weaving or trembling. Just a nice, brisk, happy trot.

Oh! this isn't so bad!

We reached the end of the block, where we have been turning right to return via the back lane, and she wanted to turn left. So we did.

And she trotted right down to the park. And on to the seawalk. Over the metal grid, and along the boards above the sand and sea.

And down to the beach. Where we met some friends and their dogs and chatted for a while. Then she and I sat on a rock under the edge of the wharf and took a few photographs.

Then we returned via the looooong flight of steps, with open spaces and metal grids. No hesitation.

Through a new (to her)neighbourhood and back on home.

And she was happy and proud of herself.

Later in the day, I tried taking her out again, and the switch was back in the 'off position' so that even passing a parked car in front of my neighbour's house was a challenge for her. It didn't help that a bus came down the crossroad (albeit a half block away) shortly after that and totally terrifed her. She was determined to bolt back in the direction we came. I put her into a sit - she has an excellent 'sit'! - waited for it to pass and we continued. She never stopped trembling and yanking and trying to bolt, however, so at the park we sat on a bench for a while and then I walked her home. Once we got back to our block, she eased up and more or less walked nicely back to the house. We shall see how she does today.


Irene said...

Dogs are funny (ie, strange) creatures at times; often like teenage girls in their mood swings!!!

Cora said...

Two steps forward and one step back, I know that routine! But now we know Jessie has the potential to do it and that's huge!

Dom said...

Good dog! Glad she has moments when the switch is 'on'.

georgia little pea said...

What an excellent walk! There'll be more more soon, I'm sure. This dog is a learner.

Patience-please said...

Oh I've missed so much. It's wonderful to 'hear' your voice again! Is Jessie food motivated? A pocket full of really yummy treats - small bits of boiled (and thoroughly blotted on paper towels) beef liver is what we use in the show ring - might make the walk less stressful for Jessie and easier on your back.

Congrats on your new 'puppy'. I love Beardies!!!

Jean said...

Hi Patience! Good to see you back! Jessie is VERY food motivated in the house and yard, but is so overly stimulated in new environments that she has zero focus even on the best, smelliest, tastiest food. As she becomes familiar with the area, though, I hope I will be able to use food to shape her leash behaviour.