We made lots of progress with Skye since our first appointment. We have a closer relation with her. I think she is trusting us more. It helped that we stopped petting her when we wanted to, and let her come to us instead. She is way more relaxed with Peter, and started following us around more. She even started sleeping in our bedroom! She also is quite excited and engaged during our training sessions / games. We learned to read her body language better, and really ask for her consent in all the interactions.
During this third session, we discussed the road to having Skye wearing a collar and walking on leash. Our first goal is to get her to be comfortable with a collar here at home and walking on leash in the yard. To get to that huge milestone, here are the different slivers of training:
1) First we will be using a slip leash with the stop tab inside the loop to prevent any constriction around the neck. The loop will be wide open (12-16").
2) Do the "walk-yes-treat" game we've been doing but have a leash dangling from the other hand. Moving it to the other hand, closer to her when she is comfortable with the first exercise.
3) Get her used to seeing a loop around her head. Lay the leash on the ground and put treats in open loop. Use different type of hoops, rings... Use a plate with food/treats and put in loop. Then (once she is comfortable with the previous exercise) hold both the plate and loop on the ground. And then gradually change the orientation of the plate (and the hoop). Put plate closer to Skye, then move it slowly back, until the plate is behind the hoop. When Skye puts her head through the hoop and licks the plate, remove the hoop. It may seems easy, but this step may take a few months to reach. We have to get Skye to eat treats on a plate first! LOL
4) Feed treats with our hand reaching through the leash loop (leash held vertically). And slowly get the treat closer to the leash, and eventually get Skye to put her head through the loop to get the treats.
What is interesting about the whole process is that we are not going to put something around Skye's neck, but she will be the one putting her head through the leash. The result is the same of course, but the psychology is very different. She is the one in control at any time of the process, we are not doing anything to her. I really like that.
Now that we are moving to full training mode, the VB is handing us off to work with a behavior technician (dog trainer) from the clinic.