18 June 2008

Off Leash Reliability

Molly has gotten so much more reliable with recalls and attentive to us that we've started taking her routinely on potty breaks without a leash. Despite being off-leash, Molly has still been doing able to potty on command within 2 minutes.

We've had a few incidents where the dog next door has started barking and she has ignored it and gone about her business. She used to react a lot to the dog next door, so this really shows the progress we've made on that front.

A few little things this morning made me want to write about her progress. She is really showing how far she has come in reliability and obedience.

Molly's main potty area is along the trees at the end of our yard. She prefers to go in the higher grasses and weeds a bit into the trees rather than in the yard itself. But right on the other side of the trees is our neighbor's driveway. The neighbor's with the very noisy golden retriever-looking dog that apparently has serious separation anxiety and other issues that make it bark at everything and pretty much constantly when its people aren't home. This is the dog that's she's been learning not to react to when it barks on walks.

Today it was also the people she was being good about. They were in their driveway messing around with cars and a trailer. Initially she ignored them but at one point she got a bit upset. Her hair stood on end and she started barking.

Very quickly I just said, "Molly, home." She immediately ran for home and stood waiting at the house door until I came. She didn't get to finish her potty outing, but I felt at that point it was more important to avert the barking and the risk of her doing more about her stress than just barking.

I was really proud of her for the prompt response to the command despite her concerns. When she got to the door, her hair relaxed and she just turned to look at me and watch me come. I didn't have to repeat anything. I opened the door and she hurried inside. We found something yummy for her.

A little later she again expressed her need to go out (no surprise there), so we went out again. She started out quickly then stopped to wait for me to get closer. When I got within the range she knows is acceptable, she continued on to the potty spot. Without even being told what to do, she squatted and did her business. Again waiting to stay within the appropriate range, she then turned and ran straight to the house door.

I was so proud of her that I did something I don't normally do. I took her into the fenced area for a little play session. She ran around with a case of the zoomies and I threw her bone and talked to her. Then I came in a filled her bone and her kong with some leftovers and kibble to make it yummy. I froze the kong and gave her the bone outside.

She stayed out chewing on it until she asked to come in. Now she is here by my side on the floor working on her partly frozen kong.

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