how far we’ve come

After I linked to Daisy Peel’s blog yesterday (and she actually replied, eep!), I started to think about how far we’ve come. And as a helicopter flew overhead, I thought: gee, she might not be a speed demon in agility training but we really have accomplished a lot in a year and a half. Some thoughts:

  • Lu used to be terrified of cars. I really struggled for a long time to walk her anywhere because if a car drove past she’d want to turn and bolt. I walked her past a part that she used to really get nervous about the other day and I could tell she was a little on edge but she coped. And she copes, and never bolts and really never looks concerned.
  • Similarly, loud noises like planes and helicopters used to illicit the same response – at school today, a helicopter flew past, low, and she didn’t even look up. Wow.
  • When she first started coming to school, she was a nightmare- there’s no way I would have let the kids walk her – she used to try and launch at any balls rolling past, the chooks would have been reduced to feathers, and running kids would have been way too exciting. Now, we get here and she hops out calmly, trundles to the office, goes to sleep in her crate, and when the kids come and get her she wanders around with them happy as larry – runs if they want to runs, tugs sticks for them, sits when they want her to sit, licks their faces if they’re on the ground… She might not be an intense, super excitable dog but hey, maybe that works better here at school.
  • When Lu was young, she was VERY anxious about being on things above the ground. I remember trying to reward her for being on a bench seat once – it wasn’t that narrow, but it was like a plank of wood, a seat. The idea of her flying along a DW at full height would have seemed near impossible at that point, and yet she can. That’s pretty amazing.
  • This girl has an amazing recall for everything except wild animals- I’ve never seen a dog with such a FAST recall. She seriously puts everything she has into getting back to me at full speed, even if there’s kids around or she’s playing with another dog. It’s pretty cool. (if only I could rely on her with rabbits and roos!)
  • Play: you all know I’ve had a lot of trouble getting her interested in playing. These days, she brings me toys, especially at bed time. That’s pretty impressive and pretty cool.
  • Sequencing: this girl can throw together a course pretty well, sometimes. Ok, she’s not the speediest, and ok sometimes it’s a fluke, but it’s pretty amazing what she knows after such a short period of time (relatively short!).
  • Sometimes when she’s on lead, I drape the lead over her back. Sounds pretty normal, but there was a time when, as a younger dog, this simple action would make her cringe right down like she had to get underneath something, crab-walk to the side to avoid it, or freeze altogether. It amazes me every time I can do that simple action and she doesn’t notice. What a weirdo.
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4 thoughts on “how far we’ve come

  1. Yep. I think you SERIOUSLY need to re-evaluate where you think you are as a dog trainer. These are REAL LIFE SKILLS you’ve created in your dog. And they will serve her well 24/7 (rather than for 52 seconds on an agility course). You should have no fear. You’re on it. You trust you!

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