Monday, May 08, 2006

Day 291

It was just a little too wet for this person to be willing to work outside today. So we were back working in the training studio. Sanity actually worked 4 taboo and one correct article with very little problem today. Makes me wonder if the problem is one of being outside more than anything else. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, I discovered that I am going to have to go back and re-do the stand exercise. I went to set her up to do the drop from a stand that is a part of the being drop on recall drill, only to discover she turned into a pretzels every single time I tried to stand her. DUH? And just where did that come from, I wonder.

I was asked why I didn't use a "jolly routine" when I discovered Sanity was having a problem when we went into the dim, noisy and somewhat smelly fish department at Petco. The reason is actually quite simple. I see the "jolly routine" as demeaning, belittling and totally unbeneficial to any self-respecting dog. I did not belittle her fears, I simply insisted that she needed to focus more on the task as hand and less on the thing that was worrying her.

My approach to solving the problem of the "killer fish" meant I gave her the time and support necessary for her to come to terms with what was bothering her. I didn't feed into her fears or make light of them and actually it is easy to see and feel when a fearful dog has finally gotten a handle on the fear. You can see and feel them relax. It is pretty easy to do with a dog who knows a sit/stay since you can insist they are responsible for sitting is a very specific manner and location and holding that position for a, to them, unknown length of time.

When I realized what the problem was I was fully prepared to stay in the fish department for several hours if necessary. There was simply no way I was going to leave there until I could see and feel her muscles relax into a long term sit position. To do any less would just have made things worse rather than better. In the end I was able to whisper a soft word of praise for a job well done and we were then able to go on about our shopping without any fuss at all. Personally, I think the whole jolly routine idea is demeaning and harmful to the poor dogs who have to deal with it as well as whatever is troubling them. Not something I want to do.

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