In an effort to help us all adjust better, I signed Bailey and I up for Reactive Dog Class. This is only the second type of class she's ever taken in her almost 12 years of life! (The reason for that is worth at least another blog post...)
I keep telling myself "I'm going to be a good student, that's the only way she'll get better and we'll make any progress, right?!" Truth be told, I've not been a very good student so far. I am still walking the dogs together in the morning and often-times in the afternoon as well. Before I can walk them separately, I need to work on each one being left in the bedroom while I take the other out without protest barking. I haven't found a way to safely feed out of a food toy yet (we live with another dog, Bailey guards ALL THE FOOD THINGS and things related to her crate) so they've only had a trachea one day and a frozen kong another. Kibble has been served in bowls like a bad owner! However, I AM carrying treats with me EVERYWHERE. I'm reinforcing our canine housemate for lots of appreciated behaviors, I'm reinforcing my dogs for good leash walking, responding to cues in a timely manner, and the three of them practice eating treats in an orderly fashion. A goal of mine and of the class is to be out working the dogs in public, under thresh-hold at least a couple times a week. Last night the dogs went for a car ride. I never took them out of the car so I suppose that outing doesn't count. However, tonight we went on a real outing!
Lauren and I took the dogs to Urbanimal to explore and walked around outside the store a bit. Bailey and I worked on loose leash walking, our "there's another dog" retreat (cue is a rear end tap), and sit/relax in new environments. The Saint Paul Urbanimal is TINY and there's a dog daycare attached so we didn't stay long as there were DOGS in close proximity and she still managed to keep her brain about her and work under thresh-hold. Chuck and Don's was the next stop on the list! While there she willingly worked on sit/relax in a corner of the store with very few distractions. My rate of reinforcement was high but we accomplished the task.
Tomorrow we will find a place to RUN as I know that physical exercise will help us out. My poor Bailey was used to running off leash 2-3 times a day for 10-30 minutes at a time before we moved. Now she gets some yard time, leash walk time, and sometimes we even go on a field trip. She's severely lacking in the physical activity department!
I even brushed their teeth tonight! We're getting back on track and establishing a new routine.