Wednesday, October 3, 2012
I'll Be There.......
This was posted on G+ today and was a great lesson for me with regard to Malcolm. I hardly ever open videos on G+ unless they are agility videos, but I'm an old Sax player and I couldn't resist.
The reason it reminded me of my relationship with Malcolm is because of how he responded to my new techniques while at the Dog Club last night.
So with high hopes and expectations and new 'tools' just learned from our session with Tiffany, I loaded Malcolm in the Jeep and headed for Agility Class. And yes. I remembered to get the chunks of chicken out of the fridge.
We got to the school parking lot and everything was normal, so out jumped Malcolm and we headed over to the grassy area to take care of business before class. That's when we got our first opportunity/challenge. The lady with her big Golden was talking to me about Malcolm's previous eating habits and neither one of us were looking at our dogs. Her dog did something and Malcolm lunged. (He usually doesn't do this with large dogs, so of course, I was caught unaware) I did NOT correct him though. I stepped calmly between him and the Goldie and asked him to sit -- which he did right away and he also looked at my eyes right away as if to say, "OK. Mom. I see you've got this one." So I gave him a chunk of chicken.
Next up was the lady with the Chihuahua. She walked up and went by us. I again stepped between Malcolm and the Chihuahua and didn't even have to ask him to sit. He did so on his own and looked at me. More chicken. He also kept his focus on me, only glancing at the dog as it walked back by to go inside. Whoo Hoo! More chicken.
That was great! Two opportunities before we even went into the Dog Club! Malcolm passed both tests while his handler only got a 75% score. I get lots of points off for not noticing the dog language while I was trying to have a conversation with the Goldie's mom. So we went in and had our class without any further challenges. I will say, that Malcolm did better in his class than he has in about 6 months. He had slowed way down almost as though he really didn't like agility. In fact, I've been considering pulling him out of it and finding something else to do. But last night, he had a blast. He was strong and fast and paid attention and never once worried about what was going on outside the ring.
After a phone conversation with Tiffany this morning, she suggested that it might be that Malcolm has been so stressed out over the other dogs that he just couldn't relax and have fun in the ring. I think she may be right. I'll wait to see how he progresses this week before I decide that. In the mean time, Malcolm did have one more challenge as we left. Another lady with her weeny dog walked by us in extremely close proximity. I stepped in front of Malcolm again as if to say, "It's OK, buddy. I'll handle that dog. You don't have to worry." Malcolm simply sat there looking at me and he didn't worry at all. We didn't even have to move a further distance away. And it was only when the woman asked me why I stood there with my back to her, that I offered that Malcolm was terrified of little dogs and that's why he lunges. She commented that he was doing really well and that she didn't get any indication that she should worry about her dog being lunged at. We had a conversation and nothing happened between the big dog and the little dog. Yay! Malcolm!
I do hope that this is a first step on a road to full recovery and a normal balanced Lord Malcolm. You should have seen him flying around the agility ring last night. It made my heart so happy to see him have some fun.
Don't worry Buddy, ...I'll Be There
Posted by Brenda Haggai
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