OK so this week we added lots of new stuff, worked on some of our every week stuff and hopefully learned to just chill out from time to time…

  • We started Doggy Daycare with a facility I have known and trusted for almost 10 years
  • We did 2 play dates with our friends Eliza and Petrie
  • Visited an apartment leasing office and said hello to the folks there
  • Did 3 walks in parking lots, to work on Luna’s fear of cars
  • Visited my mom and left her for a couple of hours while I ran some errands
  • Updated and worked our socialization list

This week instead of going into detail on our work (I have talked about most of this stuff in detail already) I want to talk about frustration and the speed in which fearful dogs progress… Trust me I get frustrated with Luna but when you start your life off as poorly as this little girl… Well things are going to take months not days…. In some cases, it might even be years not months and there is nothing we as the humans/trainers can do to change that…. The only answer is consistent and frequent work that is as much as possible under threshold (not eliciting a fear response) … The other thing is to make sure the work is fast and short!!! 10-3-minute sessions are better than 1-30-minute session….

The other thing to keep in mind is a dog like Luna is pretty much scared of everything ☹ except for dogs and now us here at home (that alone is progress) … We as trainers must socialize the world and show Luna that the world is safe, accommodating and rewarding… The mere fact that every day we introduce something new, ends up making the process take longer! We MUST be patient. The scope of the fear is so wide, that alone is the reason these changes will take so much time!

If you have kids you no doubt have had grandma or grandpa comment on how much little Johnny has grown, right? Well just because you don’t see the change (because you live with little Johnny) does not mean the changes are not happening! Keep the faith, be consistent (do work every day) and trust me you will succeed in the end!

Some of the changes we are seeing ????

  • Luna loves my mom and now after just 3 visits, she loves hanging with her
  • Can now for the most part walk around parking lots and is even starting to take food on these walks
  • In the leasing office, she would not take treats from hands but would take them if put in front of her and was willing to lay down in the office and just keep an eye on everyone vs. running or hiding
  • She has learned to love Petrie (her doggy friend) and is becoming more and more comfortable with Eliza (the human end of the leash)
  • Doggy Daycare will be a work in progress, since we only have been once but she did play in the yards… It will just take some time to get used to the people and noise of the kennel…. I will update this process more…
  • Finally, I am about a 3rd the way through the socialization list and have notes of stuff to focus on as I go forward… Organization and a plan is the key to helping dogs like Luna!!!!

The goal of this article is to show that even a “professional” trainer like me must spend
time, deal with frustration, plan and work as hard as you do… The only difference is I know it will work! So, when you doubt yourself, come back and read this blog series and we will work together until we both succeed!!!

For me the finish line is Luna getting her Canine Good Citizen Certification and becoming my next demo dog for classes… Join us on this journey to help a fearful dog become a Rock Star, and hopefully we can help you do the same!!!!!

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