Thursday, April 14, 2011

Two weeks in: changing values and priorities

It's interesting: as I work through this course with Cohen I can see two things happening. The first is that Cohen is getting increasingly reliable off-lead and I have a much easier time competing with distractions. The second is that with the off-leash problems starting to improve I find myself focusing more on secondary behaviours that had taken a back seat due to me being so focused on my goals which revolved around casual walks.

I can trust Cohen much more easily around puppies, especially if just passing through (previously she would single them out for bullying). I can also call her off mid-chase if I feel like her play is getting too intense or inappropriate. I have a better handle on managing Cohen around food distractions while out at the park, but I feel like this will be challenged as the summer comes around and fruit falls from bushes and people picnic in the parks. A stranger with dog treats in their pocket is easy to handle (as long as they don't feed my dog without asking... this infuriates me).

So with some of the problems I felt I had going in under better control I find myself focusing on the niggling things that Cohen did but I didn't bother expending much energy on correcting. Things like sitting/downing more slowly than I'd like (Cohen has a messy down-on-recall). Slow responses for a sit/stay at a start line, and the occasional broken start line. I want to start really tackling her excitement for when the back door opens, and her extreme reaction for when the doorbell rings.

These are all pretty much non-issues. I just think it's a good sign that I'm starting to feel like focusing on them -- I feel like it's indicative of feeling less preoccupied with off-leash control.

The biggest downside, thus far, has been that as a result of eating so many awesome, tasty, first-rate treats, Cohen has had HORRIBLE gas. It's just a constant stream coming out of her rear end. I miss my almost-never-gassy dog.

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