Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Getting On

Ellie had her bath and her claws clipped on Sunday. This is really the first week where we can say that she was perfect. She didn't struggle in the bath at all, and let me wash her all over, including in her ears. She was more than happy for me to towel-dry her, and then dry her with the blow-dryer. The only part she didn't like was when she turned around and the blow-dryer caught her in the face. Then again, not sure I'd like that either! Then she went downstairs and I clipped her claws. Our routine is that Jan holds her while I clip. After each clip, I give her a treat. She sometimes flinches at the sound of the clippers but not this week. All was fine and dandy.

She went for a walk yesterday with Jan, the instructor from her weekly training class, and the instructor's adult retriever dog. This was done to help her get over her nervousness with other dogs. Jan tells me that it went really well, and they're going to repeat it weekly for a while, and the instructor will change dogs at random, as she has three very reliable dogs to choose from.

This week has seen her walk extended a little, more towards the main town area. This is to expose her to more traffic, more people, and more dogs. I started her yesterday, and the the only thing that made her panic was an ambulance that went screeching by with the sirens on. That said, it made me jump out of my skin too! However, she very quickly recovered and continued to walk with me. I don't believe in stopping and making an issue of such things. I believe that if the handler makes an issue out of them, then the dog surely will. Best to keep on moving and pretend it never happened.

Jan took her this morning, and she reported that she encountered about four other dogs. Ellie was, apparently perfectly fine with all of them. It seemed like one woman, a Border Collie owner, wanted to stop and talk, but at this stage, we'd rather Ellie just got used to meeting briefly and casually and then moving on. When she has better social skills, then we'll look at increasing the length of each exposure. We're really looking at the Canine Good Citizen objectives, where the dog has to be able to walk around people and other dogs without making an issue of it. The more we do that now, the better her chances will be when we submit her into the different stages of the Good Citizen tests.

She's still practising her sit, down, spin, and wait commands and I have a treat bag constantly attached to me so that we can practise them at random times throughout the day.

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