Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First day of school

Today, Buster, Maggie and Asha had their first day of school. We had a dog trainer come to the house to work with us. She'll visit us once a week, probably forever, until we get things running more smoothly in our house.

Our petsitter recommending this trainer to us. Her name is Jamie and we really like her. She came to meet the dogs last week and then real training started today. I sent her a list of our goals and hoped that she would still show up today! She did show up and told us that our goals were realistic. That was a relief.

With three dogs, our lives can be mayhem. We walk all three of them together two times a day. Buster's biggest issue is the walk. Maggie's biggest issue is that she doesn't come when we call her and Asha's biggest issue is her anxiety.

We have alot to work on. Buster pulls on the leash when we walk him. It makes our walk time very unenjoyable some times. He just pulls and pulls ahead of us. We want him to walk with a loose leash and stay by us. We've tried different things on our own, but have never been able to make any sort of progress. Today we practiced walking for about 20 minutes. By the end of the 20 minutes, Buster was walking with a loose leash. We will need to practice this every day, but I was thrilled to see how fast he learned what we wanted him to do. And my little man was SO proud of himself for learning. He kept looking back at us as if to say "look at me, I'm not pulling!!!"

Then it was Asha's turn. Asha is blind and deaf and so any training we do with her needs to be done with hand signals/touch. We talked about what signals we wanted to use and started to work with her on her running and barking. Asha will run around the house in big circles and bark her little head off. We practiced relaxation with her, calming, soothing touches. And rewards - lots of rewards. She'll take far more work than the others, but that's okay. She has been steadily improving over the last week. She goes to sleep much easier at bed time and sleeps more calmly through the night. She has also started to lay with us while we watch TV in the morning or at night. What a difference that makes!

And finally, Maggie....Maggie does something that drives me NUTS. When you call her, she ignores you. In fact, sometimes I will call her to come in from outside - she will walk to the furthest corner of the yard, sit down and just look at me. When I called her for the trainer to see, she commented that she could totally see Maggie's "screw you" attitude! We did some exercises with Maggie and she was really starting to get it.

I felt so good after our hour with Jamie. It really gave me hope that we can see improvement. I do believe that the dogs will be happier when they are better behaved and we will certainly be happier. In the last week, I can tell that Asha is much happier. She is more calm and relaxed. There is nothing better than having all three dogs lay with me at the end of a long day. Before, she would run and bark and be anxious during that time of day and it was tough on us all. The other night, Asha was laying at my feet, Maggie was on the couch next to me and Buster was laying on my lap. I looked down at them all and thought "this is the life". I wanted to cry because I felt so much love.

I am really excited to see what kind of progress we can make. I know that the training is really for me and Trevor. The dogs already know it all!

All my friends take pictures of their kids on the first day of school, so I took pictures of mine...aren't they cute???

No comments: