I’ve had a thought for a little while but haven’t said anything yet incase I was wrong, and I don’t like being wrong… But I don’t think I’m wrong.
Lu seems happier. Like, really really happy.
I started having her sleep in her crate at night, initially for my own sanity (you know how in the morning, just before your alarm goes off, you start to stir and roll over and stuff? She’d assume that meant you were awake and therefore needed to be either licked in the eyeball or pounced on for a joyful morning greeting. I didn’t necessarily appreciate this so much when it’s 5.30am on a weekend and I’m trying to tell my body to go back to sleep) but then I had her out one night a bit later and as I was falling asleep I felt her constantly jerk her head up to look around… settle down, look around, settle down, look around, get off the bed to go check to see if the cats were being naughty, pace around, lay down, get up, etc. She was constantly on alert. And I thought about how tired I would be if this was my state of being all night, and thought that surely the same must be true for dogs? You can’t be happy, enthusiastic, energetic, driven, of clear mind and willing to work if you’re just tired from a broken night’s sleep. So I’m crating her because in her crate she SLEEPS. She doesn’t even bark at the cats fighting unless they get particularly rowdy.
So there’s that. There’s all the recallers games we were playing before she wasn’t allowed to run around for a couple of weeks with her iliopsoas. There’s the expectation there that I am the only access to reinforcement in distracting situations… It’s amazing to see her now go: OOO RABBIT…. Ohhh… Ohh.. TREATS!!! Like how cool is that? The other day I tested her on kangaroos in a paddock (they weren’t moving, they were just there) but she lost her mind. Not quite there with the roos yet. But, getting there with soccer kids, and she could SMELL roos nearby (but didn’t see them, they blended in) on a walk the other day, and I had her walking with 100% focus at my side, looking up at me with her beautiful blue eyes, feet prancing along as they do. Gosh it was nice.
You know I used to say that she wasn’t a dog who got excited about things? Let me tell you a few things:
1. My arrival home now means an explosion of wiggling, jumping around, tail going crazy, nips and nibbles and a general tornado of Lumen happiness.
2. I was eating breakfast this morning in bed, and she starts going crazy – chasing her tail, yipping, pouncing around. It wasn’t her normal obnoxious “feed me or I pounce and bark at you” type behaviour, she just felt a bit silly and energetic. Very cute.
3. Before her dinner bowl (when she gets one) I get her to do a short bit of heeling as I figured it wouldn’t hurt her to train up for Rally-O while she couldn’t do agility. I put it up on a shelf but she knows it’s there. And she looses her brain. She barks and jumps around and can’t heel properly and can’t get into heel position and nips at me. And ok, this is all really BAD behaviour but I find it so, so funny, and can’t help but laugh because I’ve gone from a dog who didn’t care that much about food, to one who goes crazy at the prospect.
So I don’t know – maybe it’s a combination of: Lu actually sleeping, Lu being desexed and not having stupid hormones making her moody, and having to compete with Loki for attention (or not being the CENTER of attention, so being more ok to just ‘be’), but something is working, and I really like it. I love seeing her tail wagging and her eyes bright.