Thursday, March 3, 2016

I Only Have Eyes For You!

My favorite thing about Phoenix has been a thing from the very beginning with her. Once she got over her fear of me, she got very attached to me. She's the dog who is always cuddled up next time me while I blog, who is always willing and ready to play my games. Phoenix is my heart dog and I think she's truly amazing.

Phoenix is a dog who's had to overcome a lot of things in her life and I'm really proud of where she's at right now. It's only taken 3.5 years but I think we are actually there. I knew she was going to be a project dog and I think having patients is incredibly important when you take on a dog who needs more work than the average pet. (Click here to read her adoption story.) We've done a lot of training to get here but she's always been willing to meet me in the middle. She might not be perfect with other dogs and she might still be snarky if another dog runs up to her but we are at a point where I can trust her to make the right decisions when we are training and playing.

If you look at the photo above, you might only see the one guy to the right of me with an Italian Greyhound. There's so much more to this story, though than what you can see in the photo! What you can't see is to the left, there's a team of teenagers playing soccer and also a loose German Shepherd. To the right of me in the next field there were three loose labs (Phoenix HATES labs and could of easily charged off after them). Phoenix ignored all of these distractions and played with me. She was 100% focused on me and the games we were playing. It was wonderful.

Flying Felix toy from Major Dog, review is forthcoming!

Through my new job, one of the benefits is that we are allowed to take classes with any of the trainers as long as there's room. I have Phoenix signed up for an Impulse Control class at the end of March. I've already seen the curriculum for this class and Phoenix will already know all the behaviors that are taught. My goal for taking the class is to use the controlled situation to counter-condition her to other dogs and to use the opportunity to get her working around other dogs in more close quarters.  She can already do this at the park so I have high hopes that this is going to work well. Plus, Impulse Control is one of my favorite things to teach anyways and every dog can always use more training in that area, Phoenix is no exception.

I am still hopeful that she could one day be a Rally-O dog and I would really love to get into the Rally class that is taught where I work, too! The one thing about the Rally class is that dogs have to be comfortable working around other dogs on and off leash. So that class is my goal class. I'm really happy with where we are and I am so glad I have the opportunity to work on more things! I'm so excited for all of our upcoming adventures together!

What has your dog done recently to make you proud?


  1. You have worked so hard, it is inspiring! Hailey makes me proud every day she doesn't destroy something. We have had a very tough month weather wise and she isn't getting enough exercise, but she is holding it together!

  2. I'm very focused on my mom and a real mom's girl, but I do get distracted by critters or other dogs and forget to listen. Rally is fun, but with off leash thing makes it tough for us. Enjoy your classes.

  3. This was a fun post!! I love it and how she truly does have eyes for only you. We have recently started nose work with Teach and he seems to LOVE it.

  4. I'll have to go back and read the adoption story, but I know these basic feels -- congrats on the progress! I'll look forward to reading about her in rally class one of these days. :)

  5. That's so great! There's nothing quite like a heart dog. <3

  6. You saved her, that's what you did. You truly did. Excellent. I know she loves you for it and that's why she's your heart dog.

    Have a woof woof day you two. My best to your hard working mom. ♥♥♥

  7. This story should encourage everyone who has ever worked with a reactive dog. You've both done so well.

    My first three dogs also reacted to other dogs. So I knew what I DIDN'T want when I started working with Honey. But although Honey is absolutely comfortable with other dogs, including the dogs we fostered, she prefers humans to other dogs.

    I think most dogs are the same. And I wonder how much reactivity is caused when people are too insistent on introducing their dogs to other dogs.

    If you walk around a European city where dogs are allowed in more public places, you'll find that dogs mostly disregard each other. They learn to ignore them the way you're teaching Phee to ignore them.

  8. That's so awesome, you have done a wonderful job with her.

    Having a dog that needed extra TLC myself, I totally understand what an accomplishment this is. When Delilah seeks me out, looking for affection, that makes me so happy, because I know how long it took for her to be able to do that.

    Give yourself a pat on the back from me. :-)

  9. Crikey I don't think I've done anything to make my Mum proud lately, other than being me, but she's sure done lots to make me happy. She shared her icecream with me the other night. That made me VERY happy!! Oh ..... I s'pose happy isn't the same as proud, aye?? You and Phoenix were made for each other. You've both done so well. Mum's proud of you!!

  10. Phoenix is amazing. You two have come so far... and I'm so happy for you.

    What a wonderful benefit of your teaching! That's great!

  11. You have so much to be proud of, and you give so much hope to other people with reactive dogs!


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