It's no secret that Lily's got some issues. She didn't make it as a service dog because she has a tendency to be reactive, she doesn't particularly care to be the center of attention, and she hated to wear her service dog vest while she was in training.
It's been easy to put her training on the back burner– all the medical problems with Lucky and Nemo have occupied a lot of my time since September are one good reason.
It's also been easy to let her training slip because she's really good around the house. She's no trouble at all, and in fact, is really fun to work with. She learns things with lightning speed. In fact, sometimes I think she impatient with me because I'm too slow!
For a number of reasons, I've decided to start trying to work through some of her issues. At the top of my list is her reactivity to other dogs. After witnessing her reaction to the dogs on the trail last weekend (she did really well, surprisingly!)
I usually take a dog or two with me to Smart Dog University orientations to demonstrate clicker training. I had an orientation last night and decided to take Lily with me because (1) she's really clicker-savvy and (2) I want to start getting her out a little more. The Orientations are after-hours in veterinary hospitals, so the chances of running into another dog are low. It's the perfect training opportunity… and an opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with her – something we almost never get the chance to do.
She did really well. She did see one dog and just gave him a quick woof and then settled down. I'm taking her to downtown Frederick tonight for an hour or so for some more practice. We'll see a few dogs, but there's ample room in the downtown area – I can keep Lily below her threshold for craziness and hopefully teach her a new skill (how to focus on me!) to cope with her reactivity.
And if it's a nice dog, and a willing owner, maybe I'll even be brave enough to let her meet and greet face to face (like my husband did). If I can control my nerves, I think she'll be fine. Both ends of the leash need some skill building!