Lambeau had his first Beginner Attention class last Monday. He was- Lambeau. He whined and cried at all the other dogs, kept trying to get to them and every person that came by, and was just his usual PITA self when he’s in a situation like that. I ended up working with him outside of the class area where he had some separation from the other dogs in the class. All of whom were much less obnoxious that he was! He did work with me on the exercises, but he was pretty distracted. Not that I expected anything else. It’s how he is when he gets with other dogs. He just thinks it’s okay to play all the time.
I got an email from the trainer asking about our progress with the homework, and what I thought about him getting anything out of the class. We are doing pretty well with the homework, but he is not distracted by other dogs here. I sent her an email response telling her about him and his issues, and what we have gone through in previous classes, including him getting suspended from his 2nd level obedience class, and the private lessons we did. We did graduate the 2nd level after those. I said I really think he needs a class environment, because what he needs to learn is some control and focus around other dogs. He doesn’t get a lot of that here. I told her what I would like to do with him going forward: get him to be able to stay calmer and more focused when around other dogs and people, mainly. I also said I would like to get him into agility at some point because I think that will help with his energy level. I do know he is not nearly ready for that right now. She responded and said she understands what we want and why he should stay in a class environment. So, we are going to go early tonight, and see if we can’t settle him into the class area before the other dogs get there, and she will have a visual barrier area for him to try and keep him from acting out when he sees the others. And we are going to work on slowly integrating him into the class proper.
I have work to do on myself, also. I know I get really frustrated with him when he is acting like an idiot, whining and yapping, jumping on people, and straining the leash to go play with another dog. It’s not a good thing on my part, because I am sure he just sees that as me getting excited, too. I really need to try and stay calm and focused, myself. I guess we are both a work in progress!
There was one thing that the trainer said that initially made me bristle a bit. When she was talking about all the dogs in the class, kind of introducing everyone, she said that Lambeau was “reactive”. She immediately added that he was friendly and not aggressive or mean. I think we are too used to hearing that word, reactive, referring to fearful and/or aggressive dogs that are possibly dangerous. My first thought was, “No, he’s not reactive! He’s friendly!” But, really, she was right.
Reactive is defined as “showing a response to a stimulus” or “acting in response to a situation rather than creating or controlling it”. There is no negative connotation to the word itself. It actually does describe Lambeau correctly. He responds to the stimulus of seeing other dogs, especially a group of them, and new people by acting out- whining, trying to get to them to say hello or play, jumping on people in greeting, etc. He gets into a situation like that and those are his automatic responses. So, he is reactive, just not negatively reactive. But I am so used to hearing reactive as a description in negative terms that I reacted, myself, to that stimulus. I found that interesting, and learned something in the process.
The thing with Lambeau is that he is a completely different dog at home. He behaves well (mostly), listens, isn’t whiny or loud. He is usually very good on walks, also. But we don’t run into groups of dogs, just one or two and I can usually get him to behave in those situations. I also have more space to get him at a distance if needed. Watch him here, and then at class, and you’d think I’d brought a different dog. He also still has all the energy of a puppy even though he will be four this year. I have decided he is part pit bull, part Tasmanian Devil, and part Energizer bunny!
Anyway, we go to class number two tonight. We will see how it goes. I hope he recognizes this as somewhere he’s been and is more willing to settle quickly and act like the good dog he can be.
♥Don’t forget– all my books will be either free or half price at Smashwords during the month of July. Take a look below and pick your favorite (or two or three!) and go to Smashwords starting July 1 to take advantage of the sale!
After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here
A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.
A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here
Demon hunters Johnny and Cerise travel to the small town of Carroll Fork where they find a demon-possessed thrift store, a sweet old lady who is more than she seems, and an army of underworld inhabitants. Can Johnny and his trusty yo-yo save the town from a devil of a problem?
Five and Daemon, the Yo-Yo Files #1, is a short novelette in an urban fantasy setting, with elements of the supernatural and humor. Learn more here
Things have been quiet. No demonic possessions, no otherworldly intrusions, nothing. And then Lucifer shows up in Johnny’s living room, claiming that two archangels are missing, and something is definitely not right in the heavenly- and other- realms. Saying he has nothing to do with it- this time- he asks Johnny and Cerise to help him find out what’s happening, and who is behind the disappearances. While they are trying to do just that, Lucifer is devilnapped by a larger-than-life serpent. He manages to get a clue to Johnny before he disappears. Johnny and Cerise are left to puzzle out the disappearances and try to find the missing angels. Oh, and stop what could mean the ultimate destruction of pretty much everything.
Snake’s Alive, the Yo-Yo Files #2 is an urban fantasy novelette with elements of the supernatural and humor. Learn more here.