Day 41 With Dora

Dora is resting now, and I thought I would talk a bit about her training process while it’s quiet here.

A major part of it is exposure to and desensitization of the widest possible array of stimuli. We go out to as many places as we can to see new sights, smell new smells, meet new people, and learn to behave consistently no matter what we encounter. Jerky on the bottom shelf? Too bad. Person sitting on the ground texting? Keep walking. 

We go to a couple of different parks, several stores, and as many public places as we can. I’m lucky that Dora doesn’t shed, or our car would just be a pile of black fur. Almost every day, we go somewhere for at least a half hour to walk and practice leash work.

Today, we went to a strip mall and walked the whole length twice. Dora needed practice with some new stimuli, and the weather was nice. All the way, we had to face automatic doors, shoppers, traffic, litter, carts, children, and more. At this point, Dora doesn’t like shopping carts yet (I think it’s the rattling sound); she loves children (because they’re both short and friendly); she avoids cars (but isn’t afraid of them); Dora sniffs a lot of litter (but she will leave it when I tell her to); she tries to enter all automatic doors (because the stores she’s been in have them); and she pulls gently towards shoppers (because every breathing human must want to pet Dora… right?). It went pretty well overall. She really is getting better at walking beside my husband and I.

{Aside: It’s getting to the point where I really need to pick monikers for the two of us. Hmm. 🤔 I might call him “The Flutenist,” because of the obsolete terms for flute players, it sounds the most like a C-rank superhero, which is pretty funny. I suppose I should use a name related to my blog’s title, so maybe I’ll be “Flicker” when I actually need to refer to myself in 3rd person.}

Over the hours of walking we have done together, Dora has usually pulled like a little freight train. It’s good to see her starting to walk at our sides, instead of always pulling ahead or swinging to the far ends of where her leash can reach. I guess that maybe all the hours of “leash work” that I’m recording in her training log are actually making a difference. We’re getting there. 

Slowly, perhaps, but it’s still progress.

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