New posting days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Ju. suggests that again Isis is allowed to just ‘be’ while the greyhounds do their training tasks. She thinks that we tried to push her too fast too soon and that’s why she froze three weeks ago.
And the volatile one behaves beautifully. She calmly walks through the main door and the hall door and into her bed which I position before bringing her in. We stay for an hour. She displays no anxiety, no irritability. She virtually sprouts a halo.
Later, at home, we continue practising walking to heel on the lead up and down the hall. Her food fixation is, of course, very useful for training purposes. But it is also very problematic because she becomes extremely angry if she feels food is being withheld. She has, for example, become accustomed to being rewarded for ‘sit’ and ‘down’ so she begins to spin with rage when required to move forward for her treats. Today, she suddenly twigs that in addition to receiving treats for ‘sit’ and ‘down’ we can get them on the move. Progress indeed.
Polymath is convinced that Hairy One’s sit-in, or, more accurately, lie-in on the field on Thursday was a response to my moving her away from Gra. who had been giving her treats.
The lying down with both legs stretched out stiffly in front of her, argues Polymath, is the ‘down’ which she does on cue in anticipation of a treat. I think about it and decide that she may well be right as Isis has never behaved in this way before. I decide to ask Gra. to give the ‘finished’ signal.
This signal is working very well at meal times. And holding Hairy One’s dish while she eats is bringing about a transformation. Meal times have now become quiet, calm affairs. And post meal rage spins are rare. When I feed her, I keep back three or four small bits of her meal in my right hand so that as soon as she’s cleaned her dish she looks for these ‘extras’. I signal ‘sit’ and feed them to her one at a time. When she’s eaten the last one, I give her my hand to lick to show her that there is no more. She accepts this and goes off for a drink. Phew!
Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dogwatchuk.com