whoo hoooo Liz, I am so proud of her....
I took her to Lowes and was walking around the store with a cart looking for materials for the next DIY project..
She was so awesome. The leash was loose the entire way around the store. Even going past people very closely she was focused more on me-in the past she feels it is her duty to say Hello to EVERYONE. While I was looking through the wood she held a stay, even with people walking right by her, that is so huge for her.
The most awesome part of the trip came at the end. We had been working for awhile and we both spied an employee that wanted to say HI to Liz. I stopped and Liz totally reoriented to me instead of launching into the lady-just automatically looked to me to see what I wanted. I indicated she could go and say HI, and Liz still sat looking at me, with her back to the lady until I clearly said BREAK-her release word. I could tell how much self control Liz was using, she got up and scooted to the lady and sat, she was wiggling with a lot of her body but I did not even have to tell her to stay seated, she popped into a sit and sat very nicely for her pets. She is really starting to understand and working so hard to do what I have asked her to do, my heart just swells to see how hard this dog is working.
Liz turns 4 in two days...and has her new agility class tomorrow. It is a class that is definitely above her level but the only one that would work, so I will have to fight off my impatience and keep the real goals in mind and be willing to break down the courses and stop when she needs rewards or things broken down for her, not when I would like to---I hope I am up for the challenge and will remember what the real goals are.
I have made a commitment to take her to the agility yard at least 5 days a week even if I have to get up early. I want to just work on her connecting with me, clicking for attention and doing just two or three obstacles and staying connected. I think even though that is the yard we use for class, the more used to paying attention and working with me without stressing out and without doing zoomies it will help so she can work in that yard and hopefully that will get her used to working like that at all times when she is doing agility and eventually working like that will carry over to other yards ;-). That is the plan.
Cricket has been going to a new location or store every day to work too, she is getting more ready for a little more distraction and new places. She had a HUGE breakthrough moment in a different Lowes earlier in the day--she was able to walk past some KIDS-her highest value people--and look to me without automatically lunging to jump on them-we walked right past them, yippie! It is really cool she wants to say Hi to everyone and wants to be such an ambassador but I would like her to start getting used to having to ask to go and say HI, so she does not feel like EVERYONE needs to say HI to her. Believe it or not, not everyone is happy when my dogs jump on them, imagine that!
Loose leash walking is actually going really well with both of these girls-Liz and Cricket. I am using a program from a book by Brenda Aloff called Getting Connected With your Dog. It has not been the easiest book for me to just sit and read in order...so I have read a little here and a little there and got some good ideas on teaching the loose leash walking-but I am looking forward to reading the full thing. One big light bulb moment is when she said that you should keep your leash a uniform length when the dog is on leash. If your leash is short sometimes and really long others then your dog HAS to pull to figure out how far they can go out, where if you keep your leash basically the same length then the dog knows how far away from you they can get and still keep the leash loose.