Sunday, October 27, 2013

More pick-ups, more socializing

Similar to our work a couple of days ago, today we had two training sessions, one focused on pick-up and delivery of birds, the second focused on Laddie once again getting along well with other dogs.

For the retrieve training, I used two assistants, throwing various combinations of a drake mallard, a hen mallard, and a rooster pheasant, all mostly thawed.

Laddie ran five doubles, then a triple with one of the gunners throwing a momma-poppa. Every pick-up and delivery was phenomenal. It's hard to believe the progress from our last event.

At the dog park, Laddie had no problems with any of the dogs who greeted him as we came in, including a Visla, a Golden, and a number of other dogs mostly around Laddie's size. Laddie also did fine as new dogs came in, with two exceptions: a large black male Shepherd, and a grey Chow whose sex I never did figure out.

In both cases, Laddie began to growl a little as the dog came in, and I immediately wrapped my arms around his neck, stoked his neck, face and shoulders and gently reminded him, "That's a nice doggy, that's a nice doggy." Then I slipped on his lead and walked around the park with him, repeatedly approaching the dog he'd had some problem with sometimes and letting the other dog approach Laddie sometimes. Each encounter was calm -- they'd sniff each other, then lose interest and head in different directions. After half a dozen such encounters, I slipped Laddie's lead off and followed him closely as he re-entered the mix of dog activities. Occasionally I'd throw his white puppy bumper for him.

Nothing close to a fight occurred at any time, even when other dogs growled at him, made contact with him, tried to steal his bumper, or made any other move that I feared might provoke aggression. It just didn't happen.

It's interesting that Laddie is learning, or re-learning, to play with other dogs again so easily. I had been led to expect that it would be difficult, perhaps impossible, for him to get over his fear and fear response after having twice been attacked. I'm hoping our progress continues until it ceases entirely to be an issue.


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