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Moviedust
3rd October 2006, 04:16 AM
We just returned from Willow's second obedience class. Willow was a bit more anxious this evening. There are several reasons why. She went to the vet this afternoon for a regular physical (for insurance purposes) plus the temperature has been unusually warm today. On top of these possible reasons, we have a three day holiday here, so my family has been around a great deal. All of excellent reasons why Willow wasnt as relaxed as last week.

I also took treats this week, whereas last week I didnt. I'm considering not taking any next week. She's so food-motivated she hardly pays attention to me. She pays more heed to me without the food around. :S

Also, the unruly boxer, Lola, was there again this week. She's contributing to the class one of the things I want Willow to get out of it: chaos. Lola is a nice dog, she's just disobedience and her owners have some learning to do. Plus, she's a boxer, so she likes to paw. Willow has done exceptionally well with the dogs, and she was not afraid of Lola. Most of the time, she just sat and watched as Lola's owner tried to hold her leash tight enough to keep Lola from bolting. At one point, however, Lola got a bit close--close enough to box Willow's head. Of course, I watch both dogs very closely, and I know that I can yank Willow to safety if I need to. She was not hurt by Lola, but it definitely upset her. She started pacing a bit, and searching for a safe place to hide. During this period, I just let her cope and then when she sat down quietly next to me, I picked her up and held her, talking in calm tones. She quieted down and relaxed, and then I gave her some treats to make her happy.

Do you think this was an appropriate response from me? I do not want to encourage her skittishness, but at the same time I dont want her to get so anxious that she is emotionally scarred. She was shy of Lola right after the boxing incident, but we walked past her at the end of class and she didnt shy away. She didnt want to say hi, but she walked in front of her without pulling or anything.

I'm conscious of the fact that Willow has pre-existing skittishness to sudden movement, and I think that's what had her most upset, not really a fear of Lola, exactly. So I'm trying to desensitize her a bit, but without making new problems!

Cathy T
3rd October 2006, 04:18 AM
Perfect!! Let the moment pass, don't make a big deal of it, and then love on her! At least...that's what I would do!

judy
3rd October 2006, 06:57 AM
i agree, i think your instincts were right.

Jen
3rd October 2006, 12:36 PM
I think you did the right thing. I do the same with Abbey who is shy. Let her work it out as much as she can relative to her safety and then commend her when she's callmed down. Does she do the high pitch screaming when she's overwhelmed? That's always a crowd stopper :roll: , thankfully Abbey seems to have moved past that stage...when she'd do it, it was hard not to swoop in and grab her up!

Moviedust
3rd October 2006, 02:51 PM
I think you did the right thing. I do the same with Abbey who is shy. Let her work it out as much as she can relative to her safety and then commend her when she's callmed down. Does she do the high pitch screaming when she's overwhelmed? That's always a crowd stopper :roll: , thankfully Abbey seems to have moved past that stage...when she'd do it, it was hard not to swoop in and grab her up!

Goodness!! It can imagine how hard it must have been not to scoop Abbey up when she screamed like that! Fortunately, that is not one of Willow's traits. She jumps and then hunts for a place to run and hide.

Thank you all for the reassurance. Willow is doing quite well, and I am glad no one thinks I've made the situation worse! Cedar was never shy like Willow. In fact, I'm fairly confident that, if it had been Cedar who had been boxed in the head, she would have jumped back at Lola, accepting the invitation to play. :roll:

Chelle
3rd October 2006, 04:17 PM
I think you handled it great! Willow sounds like such a lovey :luv:

We went through extensive obedience training with our last dog (Bull Terrier), and found there was always at least one bully in the class. We were always taught to let them work things out in their own ways as much as possible, and intervene only if things got out of hand. They're developing coping skills they will use throughout life.

And, Boxers are pretty intimidating dogs, even for people! :lol:

Daisy's Mom
3rd October 2006, 10:29 PM
I'm afraid our little Daisy is probably the juvenile delinquent in the puppy kindergarten class we've been in for 4 weeks now. And like with Willow, she is sooooooo motivated by treats. She basically spazzes out whenever she knows I'm holding something to eat! She does great on sit and stay, but is hopelessly jumping and lunging on "heel." She knows I have a treat in my hand and that eventually she'll get it, but she's not sure what to do to earn it (after all, just walking in a calm manner can't be it, right?), so it just makes her hyper-excited. The result is kind of like having a piece of popcorn (in the act of popping) on the end of the leash. It seems like the other dogs like their treats but remain calm in their presence, while Daisy is neurotically, hopelessly obsessed with her treats, and can't contain herself in their presence!

She creates a lot of chaos in the class. The other dogs are so much calmer than her, it kind of worries me. She's definitely not aggressive, but she just gets so excited in the presence of the other dogs and all the people that she's just beside herself. She's always lunging toward the dogs or people wanting to play, so she gets them distracted. Last week, one of the ladies beside me with her Corgi said to her dog when he/she looked over at Daisy and started walking toward her: "Now, now, don't antagonize Daisy!" I thought it was pretty funny, like Daisy is the problem child and we all have to be careful not to set her off. (So true.)