Our Saturday Growly Dog 2 class at Ahimsa Dog Training in Seattle has come to an end. Gypsy did really well and on the final class greeted one of the other reactive dogs in class. I have to admit that the other dog wasn’t over the top by any means. For the most part throughout class, the two of them couldn’t care less about each other. But still, they greeted and that was great.
The class wasn’t really what I had hoped. There were only 3 students of 6 spots. The one lower-reactive dog was the one we worked with the most. The other dog was reactive in a different way and barked a lot and kept his distance — a distance that was way below Gypsy’s threshold. When we started the class I told the instructor Gypsy is noise and motion reactive and we really didn’t work any of that. It was pretty much 6 weeks of BAT setups, which I modified to fit more into Dr. Yin’s protocol. We still went every week but I don’t think we got much out of it. As Dr. Yin told me, Gypsy is not the type of dog that turning and walking away is going to reduce her anxiety. Yes, it may help some other dogs but not Gypsy. So the class is ended. I think it did help lower her threshold in some arenas, like when the dog in class barked when he got over threshold, she didn’t seem to care. Perhaps a few months ago she would have. I think we’re going to spend some time over the next month working on CU games at home, at the park and even agility practice.
At home it’s a different story. She’s still reactive to my landlords upstairs and through windows. My Growly Dog instructor recommended a Calming Cap. I looked it up online –I am not sure that’s right for us. I don’t know. Perhaps it could work but it doesn’t solve the underlying problem and doesn’t really form a situation to work through — it’s just what I see as positive punishment — adding something to change a behavior. I tried to think of it like a Thundershirt, but I think it’s a little more intrusive than that. At least the Thundershirt gives a calming feeling with the wrap. The Calming Cap just makes it so they can’t see as much because it’s like looking through mesh. If any of you have tried it, please let me know what your experience is with it.
For my birthday I got a little money from my Grandma. I went on Amazon.com and bought Gypsy a cheap, but full size skateboard!! I don’t see her skating down the street or anything but I do think it will be fun to train to at least have her stand on it and me pull her. I think it could build her confidence and trust in me. We’ll see — we’re so far just clicking and treating for putting one or two paws on it!
Today I am thankful for my background check going through at work for an awesome promotion that will allow me more financial resources to spend on my dogs!