It’s a great feeling when you know your dog has anxiety of something and looks at you for leadership! That’s our goal and that’s what happened today at the park.
Backing up to this morning, first I finished a table and dog walk plank I was working on for agility training. It’s been fun and I’m glad we’ve had 2 sunny weekends. Otherwise this project would take weeks due to the painting.
She still had some reactive barking today in the house, but the landlords upstairs were gone a lot so it was more quiet than yesterday. I had her tethered to me much of the day so I was able to reward a lot more than yesterday.
This afternoon we went to the park along the river where there is a wide walking path. So as I mentioned she looked at me when she felt anxious. This is in relation to bicycles. It’s not the most anxious thing she has reactions to, but it’s something I know she fears. She doesn’t like them. She cowers and tries to hide. She doesn’t respond like she does to other things. Today there were a lot of bikes because it was such a nice day. Instead of cowering today, she walked nicely and looked back at me or didn’t respond at all to the bikes! This is huge progress. I’ve worked on bikes with click and treats and that didn’t work. This was the first time she really handled her anxiety well! She got tons of treats.
There were some dogs on the walk too that she ignored. If Apollo barked (because the other dog barked first), Gypsy responded by barking too. I wasn’t too happy with that but she also didn’t respond first. It was in reaction to Apollo’s bark which was in reaction to the other dog’s bark. So I will work through that but I’m not holding it against her. Still, I was really proud when we walked by other dogs that no one had a reaction and she didn’t even notice the dog or care.
The first part of the walk she pulled me some. I stopped, she had to come back and sit before we walked again. We had to do this for at least 1/4 mile. But then she started really paying attention and looking at me. I treated quite often and while we were in motion. I also had her sit for treats. She looked very relaxed and happy when we walked so nicely.
Tomorrow starts week 5. Hard to believe.
Today I am thankful for such a nice weekend and a great walk in the park with the dogs.