Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Out and About

Yesterday saw the first day of taking Ellie out in the car. We didn't need to go anywhere, but we have decided to take her out in the car at least twice a day, in order to help her get used to it.

The day before, I had carefully placed the mesh-guard in the car, to help prevent Ellie climbing about. How naive of me...

I walked Ellie out to the car on the leash, asked her to sit (starting as we mean to go on) before I lifted her into the car. Removed her leash, and set off. After only a few minutes of travelling, there she was, scrambling to get to us.

I, from the front seat, gave an ah-ah (our universal 'you got that wrong' sound) and placed her back onto the back seat. In true Ellie fashion, we only needed to do this twice, before she got it. There she sat for the rest of the journey, without trouble. In fact, she fell asleep.

When we got back, and unable to quite believe how good she was, we decided that we would take her out again later in the day, but when she was full of energy. Maybe she had fallen asleep and been so relaxed on the back seat because she was tired, we wondered.

We chose a time when she was really buzzing around the house. We knew she was full of beans. Once more, I placed her onto the leash, walked her to the car, asked her to sit, and lifted her into the car. Only this time I placed her on the back seat. I got into the car and we set off. I, of course, am in the passenger seat in case you're wondering.

Sure enough, Ellie lay there as good as gold. We only had to ah-ha once, and that was because she stretched and sort of ended up with her feet on the plastic segment between the foot seats. It certainly wasn't a deliberate attempt to move forward.

We'll be taking her out again later today, this time at night to see how she fares at night. The reason being that her training classes start next Wednesday at 20:30, and so it will be dark then. Between now and then, we're going to try a few fake runs so that she gets used to it.

Ellie seems to work at her best when she's not being excluded from things. In fact, so long as you include her, she'll do pretty much anything you want, almost quite naturally. It's when you force her out, like putting her behind the mesh guard, or inside a crate, that she seems to be the most offended.

So, we're going to work with her strengths and build upon her weaknesses. Our house-rules start today, and so she should start to naturally becomes less and less clingy, as Jan will be out all day and I will be at my desk quite a bit. She won't have as much one-on-one as she's been having for the past three days. Her weakness of being clingy will, I'm sure, slowly work itself out. Plus, I'm going to sit in the back garden, out of view, today for five minutes, so that she slowly gets used to being left alone. Not that she's likely to be but it's our responsibility to give her the skills to handle all situations.

Working to her strengths means that we take advantage of her being so clingy, as indeed many pups are let's not forget. Armed with small cheese cubes yesterday, I had her heeling to my left, for several lengths going up and down the garden. Having a dog that heels is of the utmost importance to me. For me it's more important than toilet training. She has two formal training sessions each day, with each one lasting only about five minutes, or until she gets bored. She seems to love them, and boy does she sleep well afterwards!

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