Sasha: 9 month update!

I’ve been kinda putting this off, because it’s gonna get lengthy, but I do want to write out all our successes and many, many frustrations 😀

Firstly, here are the cues Sasha knows at 9 months, with tasks in green:

  1. Sit
  2. Down
  3. Touch
  4. Wait
  5. Recall
  6. Leave it
  7. Up
  8. Off
  9. This way (turning)
  10. Let’s go
  11. Back up (too far ahead on lead)
  12. Stop (freeze when walking)
  13. Side (move to the curb and wait to cross the road)
  14. Cross
  15. ‘Tween (between my legs)
  16. Two (front paws on an object)
  17. See (look at me)
  18. Positive Interrupter (stop what you’re doing, come to me for a treat)
  19. Drop
  20. Hoop (sit from down)
  21. Head up (stop sniffing and look up when walking)
  22. Tall (stand on back legs)
  23. DPT
  24. Seizure alert
  25. Check (if you’ve done a seizure alert, do it again so I can be sure)
  26. Stim alert
  27. Panic alert
  28. Over
  29. Circle
  30. Go get daddy

I’ve probably missed a few, but never mind.

Sasha entered a teenage phase over a month ago, and she is AWFUL!! Although entering her teens meant she had some form of personality (and wasn’t just an overly timid, bland puppy) she turned from at least being an obedient little one into a giddy dog that’s testing the boundaries, leaps all over the place, nips bums and is just a gobshite XD

She’s hilariously funny, very spunky, and SO DAMN FRUSTRATING!

This means mainly we’ve been taking things back to basics, because she’s trying her hardest to forget all her training 😉

As a result training sessions are short (eg. on an hour long walk we might start with 10 minutes free time on lead, 10 minutes off lead free time, 10 minutes on lead working etc),  I’ve lowered my expectations, but am making sure Sasha knows she can’t get away with things.

Sasha is actually the worst teenager we’ve had, because before this she was so…beige HAHAHA. She’s honestly like a different dog, and whilst she’s way more fun now and I mostly enjoy the challenge, dealing with my frustration when she’s being a gobshite (eg. refusing to sit and just grinning at me wagging her tail) can be difficult!

Having to get her to do what I want, but without losing my patience, is hard for me.


Sometimes she seems so fantastically trained, and I’m so proud of her!

We continue to work on impulse control. Her “leave it” is awesome, but in other ways impulse control has taken a huge dive.  She’s started trying to approach people as we’re walking, her stays need building up basically from scratch, and for the first time EVER she blew off recall yesterday.

Ah, teenage dogs…

As a result of her teenage-ness, strict mummy has had to emerge. Any time I ask something of Sasha, I make sure she does it. If she breaks a stay, she’s told to get back into it. If she keeps breaking it, I make it easier for her – but she still has to do it.

Any situations she gets highly excited around, we train and train and train, until she’s able to focus and not act like a loon. Once she’s nailed it, I let her off duty so she can de-stress…she’s still not allowed to pull on lead or go wild, but she can sniff, move away etc.

A good example of this were sheep on the beach about a week ago. They were EVERYWHERE, and some surprisingly close. Sasha lost it when they all started running, and was bouncing about on the end of the lead after them. We spent 10 minutes learning we had to be calm around them; this meant heeling, holding stays even as they ran behind me, and focusing.



The same thing around cows


One of our biggest struggles is people.

Sasha is now more confident around people, and so she looks like she wants to say hi – if allowed she will pull hugely towards people. BUT the instant they try interact with her (lean over, reach out, try stroke her head etc) she becomes anxious & scuttles away. So that’s *really* annoying.

We have a two pronged attack; 1) Teach Sasha to stay close and completely ignore people, even when they try interact with her, and 2) COVER her new harness in patches telling people to stop, ignore her, she’s in training etc.

The ‘spoonie side’ of her training is going really well.

She’s nailed stim and anxiety alerts, and responds within seconds of me beginning, even if she’s off lead and distracted. Her seizure alerts are good, and we’re also adding a crying response.

Me having a seizure on the canal, then coming around and rewarding her

Seizure alert, and waiting to feel better


Deep pressure therapy

Something we’ve been working on are our stays. Sasha SUCKS at stays, she’s just about okay if there are no distractions…

…but any distraction and she’s dreadful.

If we’re stood about talking to someone, she will be looking about, turning, trying to walk fowards or back etc. If she’s doing a sit or down stay with distractions, she breaks super easily!

These are things we’ve been working hard on, which was why I was so proud of her doing this around new people and my partner opening gifts yesterday 🙂

And these were some really tough stays I put her through today!

First, me swinging



Focus around lots of tiny calves ❤


And finally we’re still trying to get in as much public access work as we can, in pet friendly places. But with a tripawd and foster pup, it’s tough!

I’m not too concerned about getting her everywhere though, because we don’t have the patches attached to her new harness yet anyway, but we checked out a new pet shop recently 🙂


So we have a good amount of positives. Mainly…

  • she has personality now, and is more fun!
  • she’s enjoying training more than when she was a puppy
  • she’s grown in confidence so much
  • she has loads of energy now, hikes are fun!
  • strict mummy is having a good effect on training 😉
  • her spoonie training is paying off big time

But we have things to work on too, obviously

  • bomb proof recall, seeing as she blew it yesterday!
  • focus, and the fact she has to focus around everything
  • forcing through the teenage gobshite-ness!!!
  • continue confidence building

Aaaand that’s our 9 month update 🙂


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