Progress and then not
Last week I had to go to Seattle to start a new project with my favorite client. So the girls had to deal with Kaiser on their own. No problems were had. The big crybaby behaved himself and snuggled with the girls to console himself while I was gone.
On Saturday we went to obedience and Kaiser was great. There are two other young male 'puppies' in class with us. Past classes usually spent a fair amount of time with the puppies all barking and straining at their leashes trying to play with each other. Today Kaiser sat next to me and then eventually just laid down. I of course encourage this by clicking and treating him while he was calm.
Usually Kaiser likes to bark at other people and dogs until he gets to meet them. This time he didn't do that. He stayed pretty relax. Right up until one of the other men in the class stood up for a demonstration. This was toward the end of the class. He is taller than me (I'm 6'2") and when he stood up Kaiser started barking. I got him back and returned him to his calm state by first getting his attention back on me by letting him sniff at a treat in my fist. Once he had laid back down and stopped sniff at my hand I let him have the treat and I also began slowly petting him.
One thing I'm bad about is rapidly petting. This is great if you want to amp your pet up. Instead pet more like you're giving a massage. Go slow. Also talking with a slower cadence and a deeper voice also helps calm things down.
Anyway - class went great and I was really pleased with the progress we have made.
In the evening I took all 3 dogs on a walk with my older daughter helping out. Once we got to the park I let Kaiser run around without me holding his leash. He does good checking in with me, giving a quick look in my direction. Whenever he checks in I'll click and give him a treat if he comes over to get it.
Occasionally I'll either stop moving in the direction we are going and either stop or go in the opposite direction. When he checks in again he'll come trotting back to me. Again, click and treat.
We still need to work on 'come', but I can generally get him to return to me by calling his name and taking a knee. He'll come over to find out what is going on. click and treat. I want to amplify this behavior so that I can tell him to 'come here' and he'll run.
So this morning we went on our morning walk and he was doing great. Sparkles stayed home, her majesty didn't feel like leaving the house. So it was just Kaiser, Hawk and myself. Hawk is a fantastic role model b/c he is so easy going and just orbits around me sniffing and marking every mailbox we come across. He generally just needs to be reminded to catch up because he'll fall behind when something is really interesting or needs to be very well marked.
So things were great, Kaiser was doing a pretty good job staying near me with me having to hold the leash. We even had a jogger run right past us and he only gave him a good eyeballing, no barking or pulling at the leash (I picked it up when I heard him coming up behind us).
We continued on and were about to turn down the green belt behind my house but we were still out on the side walk. And this is where it blows up: I didn't notice a lady with two puff balls coming out on the other side of the street. I was stupid and was not holding Kaiser's leash and he was about 10 feet away from me. I'm not sure how exactly we screwed up (beyond me not having the leash and not noticing her). He didn't immediately run at them. I almost got to the leash but just as I got there he took off. I was watching the road and there were not any cars (thank god). He took off and I was charging after him. The lady says 'will he hurt them?' and I answered 'no, he just wants to meet'. Out of the blue Kaiser stopped about 10ft away and trotted back to me letting me get the leash. By this point Hawk was heading over to see what the fuss was so I collected him too.
Anyway, we got out of the street and finished the walk. I didn't bother yelling at Kaiser or anything. I screwed up. I usually don't let the dogs lose until we are in the green belt where we are channeled in 1 direction.
It's curious that he didn't really take off until I was running over. I wonder if I had be calmer and run deeper in to the green belt what would have happened.
That was a situation where I remote sit would have been useful.
Kaiser Von Crybaby Met Tsunami (GSD)
Hawk Nom Nom Nom (Boxer)
Sparkles That Is Your Majesty To You (Boxer)