Sunday, July 10, 2011

Coco's Great Training Day!!!

Coco and I had THE BEST working/training session!! My trainer friend and I saw each other at the park and we had such a good time. He had helped me so much and been so kind the last time I saw him at the park that I gave him my book.

It's been so hot here that I have been walking Coco early most mornings before I paint so we haven't been to the park that often the past couple of weeks. He told me had read the book. Which was so cool. He told me it was good. Some of it was depressing. I had been really messed up. But the way it all worked out was good.

We walked our dogs and he again said he didn't see any aggression with Coco. He asked me questions, when did this first start happening. And I said, really, around the time when that police dog got out of its house and attacked or tried to attack Coco. And after that it's like she has been more on edge, wondering if something is going to suddenly happen. Especially, after those three off leash dogs swarmed us at the other park. And me. Well, he told me he didn't think Coco had a problem. He thought I had a mental problem. We both laughed and I said, certifiably! I knew it was my fear and anxiety that something would or could happen that was where most of the problem was coming from but I couldn't work through it alone.

The trainer now had a good idea of what my limitations were and why I had them and he very patiently explained a training exercise we were going to do. It was actually, very much like what Coco and I used to do when we were in training school. But this time I got it.

We stood about thirty feet or so from each other. And he had his perfect dog at heel and Coco was at heel and we walked at a regular pace toward each other. After a couple of not exactly graceful attempts he broke down what I needed to do even further and then I got it!!

All I needed to do was watch Coco. As soon as she looked at him I was to pivot, like a really close U-turn and walk in the opposite direction. I was turning into Coco before or pulling on her leash and going off to the left or right. But staying calm and not changing my pace or hesitating and then turning around like a U-turn stuck with me. He explained some training ideas clearly and everything made sense to me. Three passes and then Coco didn't look anywhere but up at me and directly in front of her. She looked MAGNIFICIENT!!!!! Of course she got lots of praise and we passed each other head on a couple of more times and then we stopped and put our dogs on sit, stay and we shook hands. Something else we also did in training school.

Coco was calm and focused and wonderful. His dog had been extremely dog reactive and aggressive when he adopted him. It is hard to believe it because he is so amazingly well behaved on and off leash and he obviously loves his human. At one point we were talking to another person who has a wonderfully trained spaniel, a Brittany maybe. And he has his dog whistle trained. And his dog can be off leash and comes to that whistle so beautifully. I have been whistle training Coco on a long leash too and we have all sorts of fun with the 33 foot leash at the park.

As we were talking I told him about my brain injury and how my trainer friend was helping me get over anxiety and the close calls we had with unleashed dogs and this man was so sweet. All three dogs were laying down and resting in the shade while we talked. It was great. Absolutely great!!

There was a woman there earlier who had two spaniels and she lets them run. They will come to her. Or at least they will if no other dogs are around. But this always makes me nervous. So I wait until she and her dogs are far away before Coco and I walk in the park.

I think there should be a rule of courtesy that dog owners should follow. If your dog comes to you and it is well trained let it run. But if you see people with a dog bring it back close to you. And if you are going to be sharing an area put it in back on a leash if you are not in a dog park. ESPECIALLY, if there is a service dog around. It is so selfish to assume that just because your dog is okay for you off leash, that it will be okay with some one else's dog. Or if someone who is disabled will be able to handle having an unnecessary problem while trying to get somewhere or walk their service dog.

My trainer friend recommended that I go to a park and when I see someone walking with a leashed dog from the parking area. And walk from the parking lot into the park at the same time. And when I want to go back to the car to see when people are walking with leashed dogs back to the parking area at the same time. He said he thought Coco and I just needed to have more exposure and that she was going to be just fine. He said if she was going to attack and bite she probably would have done that when we were going to be attacked before. So I needed to relax and just work her in more areas where she was going to be around other dogs. And then do a pivot when she looks at the other dogs and do a U-turn and then walk back in the direction of the other dogs and keep doing that when she gets distracted until she keeps her focus on where we are going and she is calm.

He also said it would be a good idea to get some kind of mace that I could hold in my hand if an unleashed dog or dogs come over to us. And he encouraged me to say loudly to a dog owner and let them know that I need my working dog to help me so they need to get their dog under control or back on a leash. He said most people listen. And that was okay to do. He also gets annoyed with people who have dogs off leash who aren't trained.

My trainer friend has been so incredibly helpful. He is just a person with a busy life and lots to do who has taken some time out to help me out. Coco is so perfect with people, kids, sudden things, sirens.... everything. I knew it was just a matter of us getting the right technique that would work for both of us. And she has responded excellently!! Being able to hold her collar is good if I need to but this other technique is more an obedience training process. And this is what we need to be working on right now.

I need to get to painting. I need to find my tri-pod so I can take some good pictures.

Oh, Coco now takes me to our car and when I say to her, "Take mama to the car." She always takes me right to our car, everytime. And she has figured out how to use both of her front paws to grasp the handle of the door and open it. My other akitas Bear and Angel also figured out how to turn door knobs to open doors. And Coco did something else great I was going to write about but a beautiful red bird ( I don't think it was a cardinal) just flew to my window and landed on the screen and was looking in and it was so exciting!! So this time I'm the one that got a little distracted.

What a wonderful day. Now I need to get back to painting!!

No comments:

Post a Comment