Thursday, August 25, 2011

Skunked and Training

I noticed Coco had a couple of small areas on her nose that still smelled skunky. So I got out some laundry soap and distilled vinegar and dilluted it in water and got a wash cloth and sat next to Coco. She was laying down. I told her I wanted to help her and took her face in one hand and gently started to apply the soapy solution with the other. I was amazed at the way she laid the full weight of her head in my hand. I washed her nose area and all around her face and she just stayed there and let me clean her. I kept saying words she understands, like Mama's helping okay girl? Or feel better? And gave her little kisses on her nose.

So I have definitely discovered that soap alone only makes the smell worse. Adding vinegar makes a huge difference. Dilluting it is important because the smell of vinegar is pretty intense.

We had another wonderful walk today. There were quite a few people in the park. A man with a large, beautiful doberman was playing ball with him in a fenced in area. I used the opportunity to work on Coco's focus and to be a little more firm with her. I think the slight pull she does started at a time when I was weaker and I needed to address it and make sure she understood sit or down meant just that. The man saw I was working her and he waited to throw the ball and threw it in our direction so his beautifully behaved and focused doberman would run in our direction. I knew this would be a trigger for Coco so I was ready for it. She got it. And she responded quickly and with focus. I am now feeling more confident to walk closer to people with dogs that are on leashes.

I'm really loving the communication that occurs when we are using the long leash. It is very casual. Like, "Hey girl, let's go this way." Or I make a couple of clicking sounds and she'll look to see where I am. Every time, without any hesitation, she comes to me when I call her. It is so beautiful to watch her work. She has some freedom with the 33 foot leash and we can run together a little bit. And she gets this huge delighted smile on her face that fills my heart with joy just to be with her. I wish I could run more. But we are happy to be together.

Right now she is resting at my feet. Oh, and a neighbor I had just talked with about Coco getting skunked and how I got the smell off of her came over. Their dog got skunked tonight too. Guess it's that time of year.

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