'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

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Not Such A Great Day.

I had a pretty awful walk today with Lola, particularly at the beginning.

Yesterday, when we saw my friend and her husky, Sky, Lola spent most of the hour and a half walk just loping around - it was too hot for her to fetch. She reacted once to a spaniel cross that was running in circles and barking, lunging after it, which was irritating... but on the plus side after she got over herself (half an hour or so of barking and lunging at Sky, and then reducing that to postering and glaring, and then she was pretty happy to walk near her generally) pretty quickly with the husky, and she's never seen such a big/fluffy dog before. Pictures will come tomorrow of the walk!

Today though, because of her excessive energy (wandering around rather than running), she was much more barky and alert when we set off. She yapped and leaped up at me, trying to get me to throw or give her the ball; she barked at a woman and her dog in the distance (but then continued barking--at me--when they passed out of sight, so I think that was more general excitement and frustration rather than aggression); and then she barked at a man that we passed by about 3-4 metres who was facing away from us, crouched down trimming a hedge. Poor man.

The bowling green at the edge of the park we go to was bursting with children, so I had to go a different way into the park itself. Whilst Lola was off-lead, and waiting desperately for me to throw the ball, a hyperactive spaniel (she does seem to have an especially bad problem with spaniels, so I'll start taking that more into consideration now) came running up, and she flew after it, snarling and ignoring my recalls/orders to 'LEAVE IT!' She came back after a minute or two, and I grabbed her and cued her into a sit-stay. She sat perfectly and gave me full attention... until the spaniel (which I'd thought had been put on lead after its owners had grabbed it, else I'd have put Lola on - lesson learned though, if in doubt leash her up) came running up again, and charged into her. She was knocked out of her stay and flew after it again before I could grab her.

She was good after that, but I was fuming. I had a headache already, and her barking and my shouting hadn't made it any better, urgh. Thankfully I managed to avoid shouting at her for no reason, but we did have a conversation about breaking stays (penalty-walking her back to where she'd been cued to stay after she broke it, later in the walk), and How To Leave Things (a 'leave it' as I threw the ball, sharp 'no' as she moved after it, and praise and release when she immediately stopped and looked at me for further instruction).

It was just a frustrating day all round, though. In future, if she seems too over-hyped to walk, I'll give her an hour or so of playing with the boomer ball (indoors) or flirt pole (outdoors) a couple of hours before we go for the walk, to just take the edge off. I really wish she was old enough to take jogging, which I'll be starting with her as soon as she hits a year old--lightly at first, of course--because I think she'd love it, and it'd help just take the edge of her excitement/stress/frustration away.


Sara said...

I'm sorry you had a rough day. Seems like you learned a bit from it.

Dogs~always keeping us on our toes.

Jen said...

I feel for ya- I constantly feel like it's a two steps forward, one step backwards with my sophie too. :( But, keep plugging away and at least you learned something from it.

Hang in there, this too shall pass!

Jen and the Black Dog Crew

2dogcrazy said...

Ugh, I'm sorry you had a bad day!

I'm waiting for a day that's not so hot to take Kane biking for the first time; I got the all clear from the vet when he was 16-months for growth plate reasons, but haven't been able to get him out because it's either been too cold or too hot. :(

Sophie said...

Thanks everyone, Lola was a little uppity with another dog today but she was on-lead so not too bad! She's very vocal about things anyway, which doesn't help :)

Ricky the Sheltie said...

I have had many bad walks with Ricky too in the past four years and you just keep going and keep working with Lola and things will get better!