Last weekend we had our final training session. The training itself was helpful and we learned a lot, but we’re still a long way off with Layne. For our final lesson we met the instructor at a kennel run by a friend of his. This very nice woman helped us out and let us use her play yard and her (personal) dogs to work with Layne on a leash.
Layne gets boarded several times a year for multiple days at a time and during the time she is boarded she participates in day camp. Around 6 hours of play time per day she’s boarded. We’ve never had any complaints and we’ve even been allowed to walk back and observe her in the play area, not eating other dogs.
However, on her leash on a walk is a completely different story. If she sees another dog she puffs up and starts barking like she’s going to kill someone. It’s SO embarrassing. Through training though we were finally able to determine that it’s fear backing. She wants to look tough in front of the other dogs and when they walk on by her without attacking her she stops barking and unfortunately it reinforces her delusions of grandeur and she thinks her barking is what convinced the other dog to keep on walking.
So at the kennel, the dogs did not keep on walking. We were on one side of the fence (with Gouda just wander around off his leash) and the other dog was on the other side of the fence. Layne met three other dogs (one at a time) and once she realized that none of them were leaving she stopped barking at them. She also put her ears back and refused to make eye contact and participate in the meet and greet.
It was about the saddest doggie thing I’ve ever seen! She was SO nervous. I mean I felt bad for her but I can’t help but think about how much happier she’d be if she wasn’t afraid of the other dogs and could walk down the street without being on high alert. So by the end of the lesson she was reluctantly meeting with other dogs on her leash through the fence and in person without barking at them.
Then I took her on a walk on Sunday and it wasn’t as bad as it’s been in the past, but it just goes to show we still have a long way to go!
So I’m hoping to get her to a dog park this weekend so we can stand outside and bark at other dogs until she gets over the barking part, and then we can go in and meet some.
Baby steps with our baby doggie!
A funny aside – Gouda didn’t pay a bit of attention to the dogs Layne was meeting. He was just sort of there, which somehow made all of the dogs WAY more interested in sniffing and meeting with him than they were in meeting Layne. And Gouda continued to ignore them and generally pretend they didn’t exist.