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Monday, 11 October 2010

Twiggy a new approach

Well the workshops on Sunday were interesting. Twiggy didn't look really out of place among the other "posh" collies, and she gave us food for thought.
The positives.
The workshop was held in the indoor school, and a few months ago Twiggy found that pretty daunting. She wasn't really happy to play, and didn't really focus on anything, always jumpy and looking around at the slightest noise, but this time she settled pretty quickly. Played tuggy very well, i had her doing hand touches, standing on plastic barrels, an upturned paddling pool, and doing most of her new learnt behaviours fairly well. She also jumped a pin wheel (the first time we have done this) a few grids and managed quite a lot of the sequences with enthusiasm. At one point during an exercise, another young collie bitch got loose and chased her around the obstacles, and i thought this would freak her out but she didn't react so I was pleased.
The negatives.
A few times she decided to run around, ignore my calls, and went into her own world. I am not convinced that she is being "ignorant", although its a possibility, but more that she still has a flight mode where her focus goes and she looks for an escape route. Whether its because she feels pressured and cant cope, or whether it is to P*** me off and stick 2 fingers in my general direction, i really don't know, but it was a bit embarrassing and frustrating. So at the end of the session I had a brief chat to Karen as to her opinion. She has suggested that I try the "learn to earn" approach. Lets face it, I have spoilt Twiggy rotten since she arrived here, wanting to make her feel loved, secure and happy, because she is my first rescue dog I want to get it right. In a strange way she is very similar to Dave our aggressive, feisty terrier. He was spoilt as a puppy and started to take over the house, and the pack and we had to re think the whole approach with him too. Although Twiggy is not at all aggressive, she is maybe not sure of her position in the family, and being treated like a princess hasn't helped. So, learning to earn her food will hopefully build a new strength of bond between us, and hopefully a partnership. 
Today was day 1, and although her face was a picture when I fed the others in their bowls, and she didn't get any, half an hour later she was working beautifully on our walk. Heel work, sits, downs etc, all for her breakfast. Lunch time I spent 20 mins doing target work, name games, and again she was totally focused the whole time on me, and went away again to sleep peacefully while I worked in the office. Again tonight she worked so well and had such fun earning her tea she is snoring again now.
Its a long road, but an interesting one, and I have never professed to be an expert with dogs, but I do love all my dogs so much I will do whatever it takes to make them happy and secure in our family. 

1 comment:

Kirsty said...

Keep giving her lots of time, patience and love and she'll get there Dani. Sounds like she's doing v well already. If she's anything like Tim (& sounds like she may be) you could be right about her flipping into "flight"/diplacement mode when she feels a bit uncertain. It's taken almost a year with Tim but at last he's showing some fab sustained focus. It's so worth it when you see them slowly blossom. Hugs to Twiggy from me please x