I may have to change Lara's name; not so adorable any more, LOL. She can now do a swimmer’s turn off my shoulders at 35 miles an hour. Chases and retrieves balls, barks and chases the lawn mower, demands affection by jumping on your lap, and the list goes on.
It sounds awful but is in fact wonderful. All these behaviors are 'behaviors.' They can be changed in frequency, intensity or duration. I am not going to complain as it has taken 5 months for her to come out of her shell. When I greet her in the morning now rather than it taking 5 minutes of shyness, she bolts into my body looking for hugs. Let the real training begin!
Out in the training field for my own safety I have had to teach her, on her recall with the ball, to drop in to a ‘down’ when she gets to me to prevent her from launching off my shoulders. She will chase any tennis ball but only chase and retrieve her plastic KONG™ ball that bounces and moves quickly.
When you pick up the chuckit™ she gets so excited, spins in mid air and lands on her feet. She would make somebody a fabulous frisbee dog. Her recall is about 60% reliable. If you are holding her KONG™ her recall is about 90% reliable. At 28 pounds and about 19 inches tall she can jump a 5 foot fence without breaking a sweat so keeping her focused and busy is important.
She now sleeps in her crate on her bed surrounded by all her toys, with the door open; the closed door comes next. Lara is very uncomfortable around the crate and I suspect it has something to do with the way she was caught by animal control. They had to use trap to catch her after several days of trying.. No damage has been done to anything for months now and she appears to be a very happy little dog.
I surprised Rick this morning by asking her to ‘down’ from about 5 feet and she dropped into a ‘down’. When you cannot touch a dog or get close to them it makes training at a distance critical. What Lara does show you is that it is so easy to train a dog using our methods even if you cannot touch them, restrain them or even get close to them. I remember the days when I shaped her to ‘sit’ and then ‘down’ from across a room.
The next big goal is to get her leash trained. Whenever you attach something to her collar she shuts down. Now she ‘likes me’ and will sit with me and on me I can begin to desensitize her collar and leash and then we will learn to stand still on a leash and then take some steps on her leash. This will be the final obstacle before she can go to a new home (mmmmMMM maybe I will wait a few weeks before we begin the leash training).
Note to self: Ask Beth to take some videos so our faithful blog followers can see the new Lara in action