Reinforcing the pen

We took Zoey to the hall yesterday and absolutely knackered her 🙂

We did a 50 minutes mix of intense exercise (frisbee, fetch, chase etc) and also a ton of training, including several new tricks.

After this she was extremely tired, so what better time to take her home and leave her in the pen?

We prepared a Kong, squirted cream into the chewed ends of her antler, then shut her in and left the house. We huddled under a nearby bus stop to avoid the rain and, after three minutes, returned home.

When we got back Zoey was lying down emptying her Kong, but she left it and stood at the pen door when we entered the house – absolutely no whining or anxiety. When I opened the pen she picked her Kong up and settled on the couch to continue emptying it – the couch that’s IN the pen!

I know I said I’d post pics today…either from Zoey’s off lead walk or of us reinforcing the pen…but instead I’m just going to post this video.

These clips are from the village hall yesterday. Zoey knows leg weaves well, the sort where you stand with your legs apart and the dog does figure 8’s between them, but we have NEVER done forward leg weaves.

At the village hall I thought we’d give ’em a try, and the most amazing thing happened – Zoey just completely understood what I wanted her to do!!

I didn’t have to give her a verbal cue or a hand signal, NOT ONCE, she just got it! It was so incredible, and by the time we left the hall she was doing six forward weaves easily 🙂

We did some other training too, and I’m teaching her to put her paws on the wall…eventually I hope to be able to send her to the wall at a distance, and have her hold the position.

Also please ignore me looking like a fool whilst working on her impulse control / heeling / manners… 🙂

One of the things I hate most about having Bipolar / whatever the hell is wrong with me, is that it’s invisible…and for some reason mental illnesses do not get the same credibility as physical ones.

I posted on a forum I’ve used for years, explaining the situation (ie. Zoey breaking out, me being ill, possibly having to rehome her due to not being well enough to cope with the training) and asking if they had any additional advice. I specifically said I’m not well enough to deal with a behaviourist / vet right now, hence why rehoming was even an option.

Most the replies I got were surprisingly nice and understanding, but there were a few of ‘couldn’t you just’ and ‘have you been to the vet to talk about anxiety meds?’…and it’s just, I said that isn’t a possibility now, and if you were talking to someone who had a very serious physical condition, I’m willing to bet people would treat it very differently.

They also seem convinced that Zoey has separation anxiety…and I’m just not seeing it yet.

She has been fine in her crate for three years, and the ONLY REASON she has an issue now is because one time we forgot to lock the door, and now she thinks she should be allowed out, so will try anything to get free.

She’s also not anxious going into the pen, being locked in, being left and hasn’t been anxious at all when we’ve returned. She will empty her Kong with no hesitation, whereas when Kasper had separation anxiety he refused food / treats. Zoey is showing no signs of being fearful or anxious, either when we leave or get back…no trembling, fearful body language, nothing.

I’m not saying it definitely isn’t SA, or that it might not develop into that…I’m saying I don’t see that right now.

I’m also not ruling out the fact she might need anti-anxiety medication, I’m saying right now I can’t cope with the vet appt / research, and for now are progressing well without any. If she did urgently need medication, that would probably be the point we would have to say we can’t cope with this right now, and she might need rehoming.

I guess as we try leave her for longer we’ll film her when she’s alone, but there doesn’t seem to be much point when we’re only leaving her for a few minutes right now, and we know she’s busy doing her Kong 🙂



One thought on “Reinforcing the pen

  1. Pingback: Puppy training | Scarlybobs' Blog

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