My sleep has been really sucky lately, I just can’t fall asleep or stay asleep – yay residual manic symptoms!!
This means I need to nap whenever I can, and feel so exhausted I can’t move for long stretches of time.
That, combined with the fact it’s a Saturday, meant we avoided leaving the village today and just worked on some in-house training, some fun nearby off lead walks, and some training on the walks. It was a really fun day 🙂
I’m also having the best Saturday night ever. My partner is playing Rollercoaster Tycoon (ah the glory days of gaming bwahaha!) and I’m just chilling and watching, writing a blog, and snuggling a cloud girl ^__^
I’m still not 100% sure on if Sasha is right for a SD prospect.
She is really flighty around people. It’s easy for people to say ‘give her time’ or ‘she could get over it’, but the truth is she is going to be an assistance dog, and the one thing you really don’t want her to have ANY discomfort around is people.
She will need to be utterly bombproof with people – people calling to her, talking at her, reaching for her, petting her, tugging her tail etc. It’s really important I get this across, at her age she shouldn’t be showing any fear of people, and the fact that she is is a huge red flag. I am waiting to talk to my trainer, and a trainer who has experience training SD, and I’ve joined several owner-trained SD communities too.
At the end of the day she is going to play a very important role in my life – she could even save my life. I need a dog that is confident and focused no matter what, and ultimately she will be going places that are going to be busy…with training she could learn to tolerate people, but this anxiety is NOT what you want in a SD prospect, and I have to put that first.
On today’s walk she ducked away and was anxious of a woman about 8ft away, because the woman spoke to her. Didn’t even move towards us or reach for her, just spoke to her. And she was uncomfortable with another boy playing football because he also spoke to her.
Her fear is not extreme, but it’s very much there. I don’t like calling it fear, because she’s not trembling or cowering…but she is flighty. She will move away, back away, her body language will be unsure etc.
If the people ignore her, 99% of the time she is fine, she will just focus on me or maybe have a quick watch and then heel when I ask. She can sit next to me as we talk to a stranger, but if someone tries to interact she gets spooked.
Never mind, she’s a lovely girl no matter what happens, assistance dog or not. And of course there’s still a very large chance it could all work out, but this is something to be aware of!
We’re exposing her to a lot of different things and a lot of different people – not interacting with them, but every time she calmly watches someone or chooses to focus on me, she is rewarded. It’s also confusing because she has greeted some people wonderfully, but most times that is when she chooses to say hi.
I want to ask other SD handlers and my trainer if they think I should be working with her around people but refusing to let them interact with her at all (so she can get used to being around them), OR if I should be trying to push her through her fear a little more.
Again, it is annoying because she was sold as being a very confident puppy perfect for this line of work, yet from the get go she was much more nervous than expected. I’m not sure if her breeder hid the truth or if Sasha was flooded / not socialised in the 4 weeks she spent in the previous home.
She’s perfect other than this flightiness though. She’s calm, she has great focus, she’s fun to train and I love to play and snuggle with her…we’re just going to have to see where this journey takes us, and see what other trainers and handlers advise.
In other news Sasha learnt ‘down’ finally today – OMB FINALLY!!
I hadn’t worked on it since Tuesday at puppy class, so today I just decided to give it a bash and used the same method I’d been using since we first brought her home…well, it finally clicked and she was doing downs reliably within a minute XD
Six hours later she had forgotten, and was back to sitting and staring at me confused as I tried to lure her down, but she picked it up again. So relieved we finally cracked it, now to practise it a lot!!
And we popped both her ‘big girl’ harnesses on her today, just to make sure she continues to be comfortable having them put on and wearing them – she still has a lot of growing to do, but she’s going to look adorable in these 🙂
She got her first bed today too, she got so excited – as soon as we put it on the floor she started doing zoomies and play growling XD
Since then she has lay on it a lot – we couldn’t actually move it to where we wanted it to go because she was always on it!
Her first walk was hilarious today as she found a mud pool and was looning about playing in it. I expected her to be filthy but she actually wasn’t too bad.
I took more video footage on the walk – really need to edit and upload all this footage but it’s such a farce!
When we got back she was so tired she collapsed right away, and the fact she was sleeping upside down meant trimming her leg floof and wiping her paws down was very easy 😀
Her second walk was really late due to messed up sleep. She got to practice heeling, recall, and generally staying close as we let her off lead down a lane of houses because it was late, then we went onto the football field again and had some crazy play and training. Lots of fun 😉
I think we’re going to have another easy day tomorrow as it’s Sunday and town will be busier. I wish the roadworks didn’t mess up so many of our walks…they’re supposed to be finished in about a week and I CANNOT WAIT!