Lara is doing so well here at The DogSmith Training Center.

Let’s talk about some of her accomplishments, they may seem very small in your world but in Lara’s world these are huge.

  1. In the morning Lara will now be standing up in her crate wagging and waiting for Rick to open her crate door, more importantly she dashes straight past him and through the door into the garden. Lara used to slink back and wait until every human had left the vicinity before she made her exit.
  2. Lara now responds to her name, when out and about around the training center if you call her name in a loud but happy voice she will appear and rush in a soft gait towards you. She still stops about 5 feet away but her body language is happy, fluid and soft.
  3. When going into the training field through a large gate we can now open the gate only 3 feet and stand two feet back and she will rush through with the other dogs. Not long ago you had to swing it completely open, walk on, and when she was through the gate you had to double back and close it. I have kept notes each day as to how wide open the gate was and how far away from the gate I was standing so we could gradually decrease both dimensions.
  4. When there are loud noises she now stops and waits and then moves towards the noise to investigate it. Lara used to run for the bushes, hide and not appear for several minutes.
  5. Rather than not move objects around we are now consciously moving things around in the garden so she gets used to change.  Furniture, equipment, you name it. We still get a bark and sometimes a howl when she notices something new, but she recovers really quickly and then proceeds very cautiously to investigate it. I am even moving her crate gradually around the room, two feet each day with a change in the orientation.
  6. In and out’s. Remember how painful they were for both of us. Waiting, watching, catching and carrying. Well I have now conditioned her to come back inside with the shake of her food packet. I am going to attach the cue ‘come’ so I can call her inside. So now I can get her in and out really easily. A much happier state of affairs for all concerned.
  7. I even realized yesterday that when I say ‘let’s go” she heads into the general direction I am walking in. This she has learnt by association. I verbally control my dogs this way around the farm and she has just followed the pack. Yesterday I walked past and away from her and slapped my left hand leg and said ‘let’s go” and she turned and followed.
  8. Lara now comes up onto the deck in the evening when we sit and watch over the donkeys as they graze in the pasture. She has gradually been getting closer and closer. This week she finally hopped onto the deck and lay down. We now have a pack of four! (and I promised my husband no more than 2)
  9. Last night I was out in the Agility Training Field spray painting the gate and realized that she was on the far side. It crossed my mind that she may not want to, or be unable to, cross back across the gate threshold as the paint had a very strong smell. It took her several minutes and wow was she brave when she finally took on the challenge, she sniffed and crept closer, barked and jumped back. This went on for a while and then she decided to run through the gate.