Archive for October 29th, 2012

Getting to Good

amywink October 29th, 2012

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October has been a difficult month. I haven’t been able to keep a regular schedule and accomplishing anything beyond the immediate emergency has proved very difficult. My own schedule has not coincided with any one else’s so I’ve had a rough time getting out to see Will for about the last 6 months. Blessing has all his driving stuff too so I can’t drive him at this moment. Lily needs work, Blessing needs work, Will needs work. The house needs work and yet everything seems to disrupt what I want to do and my motivation disappears into vapor. I admit to being stuck in the depressive mire of “this will never work!!”

As much as I have worked with Lily, she needs more work and I fret about how I will manage to create the dog I imagine she can be. She is currently having a few issues with “frustration management”, particularly when she can tell I am leaving to do something and that makes me a little frustrated, especially when she yanks up the new iris bulbs I planted and races around the yard playing keep-away. I have now built a heavy wire cage to surround the irises and am working on keeping her focused on other yard play. My own frustration management needs work too.

Of course, she’s just 6 months old and she is actually doing really well, as I can see when we go to dog class and compare her to other dogs. She’s quite sound sensitive but she’s not aggressive or barky and she does calm down when we do calming exercises–down, etc. So the problem really lies with me.

Dang it.

So this week, I have tried to do a few things differently. I’ve tried to give her new exciting things to try–thus keeping her mentally active as well as physically active. We’ve gone to the neighborhood park, where she has greeted children and parents very well and learned that playground equipment is fun and enjoyable, not frightening.
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She barked at the swinging babies the first time, but overcame her uncertainty with the second visit. She’s learned to love the slide–as her video attests–and this morning even actually *slid* down it on her belly, rather than run down it. She’s done a good job of “down/stay” for a few minutes on the basketball court too.
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Though we are having issues with breaking the stay after about 3 seconds.

But these are all pretty simple training sessions. I have been fretting and fretting about how to manage Lily at Taipan Station. How to manage her and the TS Pack? How to manage to get Will in the pasture and how to manage to deal with dog and horse at the same time. Fret, fret, fret….. (sounds like “can’t can’t can’t)…..

Sigh.

But the weather was nice yesterday and I decided there wasn’t any other way to get her trained to do what I wanted than to train her myself and it wasn’t going to happen unless I actually got started. Will is my best bet, of course, because he’s such a good horse, quiet and tolerant and already trained–unlike Blessing, he likes dogs and has always liked dogs– so, time for Uncle Will to train his canine niece how to act around horses.

We headed out to TS and started our work. Thankfully, Will came up when I whistled and so we were able to go into the pasture close to the barn. Lily did well with “with me” and both Will and Windy just looked curiously at Lily, who was pretty excited on her end of the leash. We got back to the Standing Tree with little issue, though Lily was a little unnerved by the clomping noise Will made behind her as we walked over the concrete pad by the stable.

Then came the hard part for Lily: tethering. I used the lead rope around the tree and her leash attached to the harness by the handy ring at the end of the lease.

Now, this was by no means cruel. I was about 2 or 3 feet from her but she needed to be stationary and controlled. She also has to work in “frustration management” but I think you can see her concern from this photo.

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Now this is not concern that there’s a very large animal near her. It’s concern that I am very near the large animal and not near her!! But eventually, after not getting what she wanted through a series of antics–whining, standing on her hind legs, whining, standing on her hind legs—she eventually decided that she could lie down while I brushed Will.
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and since it wasn’t really that exciting, she might could even sniff around a bit while I brushed him.
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She was rewarded with the discovery of horse hoof trimmings, a canine delicacy!!

Will was a very good boy and just watched her sleepily mostly of the time, and curiously some of the time.
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He even let her get really close and didn’t offer to move or anything, not a flinch, not a step, nothing. He’s going to be quite the helper in my training of Lily and it’s going to be him who I use on her first carriage ride in the driver’s seat.

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It looks like we’re on our way. Whew.

And Congratulations go out to Lily’s Aunt Alice (Avedonn’s Ruby Slippers) who finished her Championship this Saturday in Ohio!!