First Solo Trip
Morning Obedience was good; my new partner responded well with only a few blips, which were amusing and not at all frustrating. It helps that the instructor has a great sense of humor and that the dog is a big goofball.
So, after this routine, we pack up, put on the harness and drive to downtown White Plains for training walks. It didn’t help that I woke up with a migraine and it took half the morning and some powerful medication to keep it at a level where I could work my dog. I did it, though, and the morning walk went as planned with the training lead and the afternoon walk went even better without the training lead. I like this dog’s pace, pull, and size. It felt wonderful to be out and walking again in a way that makes me feel like I’m flying, like I can see again. Altruistic, perhaps but this is how I feel when my dog is doing its job and we are in sync. We did have a few challenges other than the usual distractions but I think they will resolve themselves once we figure one another out. I can say he is more strong-willed than Verona. He is a different dog, after all.
As the bonding process progresses and I give over the trust and affection to him, he, too, is learning to accept me. How long this will take and the exact point in which I will know can’t be predicted but I will do my best to do everything in my power to encourage it.
Tonight we got to know one another a little better by some grooming time. He seemed to like it and became very happy when I brushed him and when we were done; he seemed to say, okay, you passed this test, too.
Tomorrow, more walks and more positive reinforcement like treats and praise, and also corrections. Each day the ratio of corrections and praise will shift and corrections will lessen until they are only necessary when there is an extreme circumstance occurring. An example would be, let’s say, a dog distraction or a temptation of food on the floor, etc. Practicing daily obedience will help reinforce positive outcomes, too.
The rest of the week will build the trust and routine and help us and the other students in class create a successful human/dog relationship. Not sure if it is an exact science but it doesn’t matter as long as I am getting the opportunity to work toward getting to know my dog better.