one step forward, two steps back

One step forward, two steps back. This is how Skye's training feels like... Every time we meet with our VB trainer, it seems that the level of our assignments are getting lower and lower.

For example, after Skye walked out of our training sessions a few times, we are going to pause the nose targeting (which is the station where she bails out) and any indoors exercises. Instead, I am now going to do a game where I place treats on the ground while counting aloud (in French! as we don't want to confuse her with the 1-2-3 pattern game Peter is doing), and when Skye comes over and eat them, I move further away and repeat for about 5-7 times, and end by the session by playing with her. We did one session and sure enough, Skye loved that new game! ;)

Another example is the greeting our cleaning crew. Skye has been relatively good with them since the beginning, barking when they ring the bell but stopping when they come inside, and then taking treats from their hands as we all greet each other. But after videotaping her interactions, we clearly saw that she was conflicted and our narrow entryway is not the ideal place to meet strangers. So to remove some stress, we first left the kitchen gate closed (so Skye can see the visitors but not be physically with them) and asked them to toss treats to Skye over the gate. Since she was still aroused for a relatively long time, at their next visit, I went with Skye in the kitchen and it seems that she was a bit more comfortable. For next visit, I will still hangout in the kitchen with Skye but they won't be tossing any treats. Actually we will try to shorten our greetings.

I understand why we are doing all what we do. We don't want to push her, we want her to have control on her environment, we don't want to put her in stressful situations, etc. But it does feel at times that we are going backwards, and I am not seeing a future when she will be wearing a collar and we will go for a walk.

Patience and love they say, right?


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