|Phoenix helps with our Reactive Dog Class|
On Sunday Phoenix helped out with our Reactive Dog Class. Usually we get to do some of the same activities as the other dogs, we play a lot of the "look at that" game and she generally has a great time. She's usually pretty calm and she actually makes a great decoy dog to help the other dogs learn how to be calm around each other. She does not bark and lunge so having her around not only helps the other dogs but it also helps her. This past Sunday, I feel was her best day ever as a helper dog. She was loose and waggy throughout the whole class, even when one of the other dogs got upset and barked. She did not care at all. She was basically like, "more cheese, mom! This is fun!" Which is exactly how I want her to feel.
Yesterday was Phoenix's second full day in play group at my work! (She is going weekly on Mondays) We definitely saw some improvement from last week with her comfort level. She went outside right at 8am with our drive in dogs. (My boss has a few favorite clients that he picks up in the morning) At my work, when the dogs get there, they go immediately outside, which gives them a chance to potty, etc. Once everybody has arrived, we open the building up (or do slow introductions, depending on if we have a new dog, where one dog comes in at a time) and they are allowed free access to the indoor and outdoor areas.
Phoenix was outside when all of the "drive in" dogs arrived and she did not snark at a single incoming dog. She also did not snark at any of our "owner drop off" dogs or the new dog that started today. She is nervous of the bigger dogs and greetings with them are still a little stressful for her but she is able to move through the group easily without being grumpy.
We actually saw her playing more this week with some of our littler guys. Her favorite by far is Percy, a jack russell mix:
(I called Bruno, the brown one away so they could have a chance of playing)
We did see her do some tracking of the fast moving dogs and wanting to chase and nip (problematic herding behavior) but she was able to listen to us when we asked her to stop. She took food and listened to cues. She was a little more stressed this week when I left the room, my main job is in the front office but an employee called in sick so I was in the play group for a lot longer than I usually am. I feel like that might have impacted her ability to cope without me. My boss still isn't sure if she will be able to hang as a permanent member but we're not giving up yet. Her behavior doesn't seem to impact the group at all and she's very easily managed. We would really like her to be comfortable and have fun, though.
I'll keep everyone updated with how things go!