'Not only is punishment risky, but it also fails to teach the dog an acceptable alternate behaviour. The dog does not learn what to do the next time he is in the same situation. He only learns to fear the situation.' Emma Parsons, Click to Calm p73

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Christmas Fun, and Sledging Horror.


Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the girls didn't go on a walk. Lola came with us to my grandparents' house on Christmas Eve for a couple of hours, and was happy enough to sleep for the rest of the day when we returned after badgering their wimp of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to play. I was pleased to see Lola stick up for herself when Poppy growled at her--the spunky, confident attitude is why I love terriers, and my shy little pup is starting to mature into a more mature older pup, now she's three months old (as of the Eve!). Yesterday, I was just being lazy: I spent the day in nice soft pyjamas, as is my tradition, and the girls seemed happy enough tearing into their presents (assorted squeaky toys, a huge tennis ball that J can barely fit in her mouth, an amazingly strong tugger, etc) and playing with them and each other.

But oh god, I suffered for my laziness before I walked them today. Curse the idle bones. They were both hyper--three month old pup and nearly eleven year old bitch alike--and frantically wrestling and growl/barking at each other from waking for real at about eleven until I finally got round to walking them at about half two. And they were off! Lola usually bounces up and leaps at Jess' face for only a minute or so while on-lead when we first set off, but today she was leaping and bouncing (and Jess was pulling like a freight train) for about five minutes. God, that wasn't fun. We're definitely going to have to start loose-lead walking in earnest soon.

Both jetted off as soon as they were let off-lead, though Jess, being a pain as usual, decided that trying to get into someone's wheely bin was more fun than running about thirty seconds after being let off (while Lola was--really nicely!--greeting an absolutely HUGE black lab dog). They played, ran, etc, until Lola got tired about ten minutes in and just clung to my back leg, as usual.

Whilst Jess was sniffing an extremely exciting smell by a tree, we headed onto the snow-covered path on the park we go to. At the same time, a girl on a sledge was pelting down toward us. Lola took one look at her, backed away a step or so, and then whipped around and fled--down snowy stairs (that she would usually take at least twenty seconds to get down; she cleared them in about five), and across the arena. I managed to get her to stop by blowing my whistle, but she would not come back toward me while the younger girl was still stood beside me, even though the sledge was now not in use. The girl was laughing, and I was half amused and half exasperated. I had to crouch and call L with real enthusiasm to make her charge back in my direction.

I rewarded her for returning (and Jess, too, got a reward, as she'd come back to me at the sound of the whistle) and then again when we passed the sledge--she was showing much less stress, and that was better than nothing, so she got a tiny bit of doggy chocolate treat after we passed the scary sledge. Her stress was still there, though: ears back, head lowered, walking slower and in a curve around the Terrifying Sledge. Poor baby. There's not even much I can do to help with sledges: unless we have any more snow, there won't be any around in a week's time once the sun gets out, and I don't own a sledge. I might see if someone tomorrow will let me borrow their sledge for ten minutes while we're out, to c/t for Lola touching (or just calmly going near) the sledge so that it becomes less of an awful thing.

Jess' collar came on Christmas Eve, too. It's beautiful - and despite her stupidly sized neck, fits her fine once adjusted. I need to get a photo of it on her, but the collar itself can be seen on the Scrufts site here. (It's the Pink Inspire collar, at the bottom of the four.)

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