Tonight we had puppy class and Brad was too ill to come, so it was just me and Felix. That means no great pictures, sorry!
Some of you might remember that before I got Hestia, I was too anxious to drive. Hestia sitting in the passenger seat next to me being all googley-eyed and happy plus me training myself using treats to reward myself for outings helped me be able to drive again. But normally if I am driving it is still nervous-making.
Today as I prepared to leave the house, I didn’t get the normal jitteriness and queasiness that I have before I’m going to be driving somewhere by myself. I popped Felix in the car, and off we went and I was fine! I was seriously totally fine! It did help that I had Felix in the passenger seat to glance at 🙂
It takes an hour in rush-hour traffic to get to the facility, and I did a fantastic job! I remembered all the lanes I should be in when, and when to take an alternate route to avoid a left turn without a light.
When we got to the place, I had to use the restroom so I got in my chair, turned it up to 4 and zipped in there! Dogs aren’t allowed in the building, so Felix had to stay in the car. He was a good boy and wasn’t even making any noise when I got back.
We arrived 30 minutes early, so we had time to sit and watch the kids on the playground for a while. Then I worked on heeling with him as we made our way over to the pavilion.
We sat in a different spot to give the dog that barks a lot more room. We ended up next to a 5-month-old Vizsla and an 8-week-old Golden.
During the first part of class we talked about how things were going with people and did some troubleshooting of demand barking and resource guarding. Most of the time, Felix was playing the watches game with me! He did it on his own, I didn’t prompt him to do it. He was doing watches so well that I started increasing duration! I couldn’t quite get “one one-thousand”, but I did make it to “one one-“. He did a good job of watching me for that duration of time, and then I’d click and treat.
He alternated between playing the watches game and chewing on his Himalayan Chew.
Then we showed how well our dogs did the up and down game, which is watches but the treat goes on the floor instead of from your hand. Our friend Erin came over to help us first, and Felix LOVED her! He was so excited to see her and wanted to play play play! She told us she’d been watching us do watches and that we were doing a good job. Then our other trainer Kelly came over, and Felix was so excited about Erin that he was not into looking at me LOL! Oh well.
Then we talked about how our sits were going, and I mentioned how Felix doesn’t enjoy the lure being pushed into him so I switched to capturing the sit. That’s when you wait for them to do the behavior you want, then click and treat for it. Felix knows sit on the couch, his mat, and his dog bed, but nowhere else. So we talked about Brad’s idea of moving the mat around and gradually folding it up smaller and smaller to get him to generalize the sit. Kelly liked that idea.
Next we started working on downs. They wanted us to teach downs by starting in a sit and luring into a down. But of course that wouldn’t work for us since Felix didn’t have a sit. Just as I was about to start the under the leg method of teaching down, Felix started scooching on his butt and acting very uncomfortable. I figured out that he had to poop, so we went on a walk in the grass. I was having a hard time walking steadily, but there was no way I could use my wheelchair to walk him in that situation, so we just went with it. I could tell he really had to poop, but he was just unsure about doing it in this new place. Eventually he finally pooped!
We went back to the pavilion and got some down practice in. I sat on the ground with my legs out in front of me and my knees bent. I lured Felix under my knees to get treats. To get all the treats, he had to lie down to scrunch under there, so I clicked and jackpotted! We were able to get two repetitions in before class was done.
After class, we went over to the enrichment area, and Felix did a really good job of walking next to my wheelchair. He liked exploring the enrichment things, and then we headed back to the van. It got too difficult to walk him next to my wheelchair as the CGC/next class people were arriving. So I picked him up and away we went.
Driving home wasn’t bad at all, either! It was only 40 minutes without traffic, and luckily it stayed light the whole time. It was just almost dark when we pulled in the driveway. And I wasn’t anxious at all driving again, yay!
Below are three pictures I managed to take before class started. Felix is a sable and white dog on a light blue quilt with golden snitches on it. In the first picture he’s looking at the camera while holding a Himalayan Chew. In the second, he’s chewing on the Chew. The third picture is a selfie of me in a lavender top holding Felix who is looking into the camera.