There’s something about the busy-ness of the holidays, and the settling in of winter that always throws off my routines. I allow myself to slack through that time, because I want to give myself a break and not overdo and end up sick like I did often in the past.
I had decided we’d take a break from the dogs’ nose works, and I focused a bit more on training Luke to his crate in the hopes that could help us when we had holiday company. We didn’t end up getting quite far enough by then, but we did get to try it out just a couple weeks ago when Auntie Sheryl visited, and it went well!
Usually once we get through the holidays I can get back to routines, even though they tend to be different because of the shorter days and inclement weather. Even though Sheba did well through that time and even into the new year, we knew her time with us was winding down, and I feel that is what held me back from getting back into things like I normally would.
That was followed by grief and an inability to focus. We did get outside as much as possible, in spite of the frustrating icy conditions, in the midst of all of this. We even played with some treat toys and got the tunnel out. But training got set aside.
We’re still working through things here. Again, I go easy on myself. If sitting on the couch reading or crying is all I feel like doing, then I give into it. Luke thinks that’s the next best thing to playing anyway. In fact, he encourages me to join him on the couch in the evening after he’s had his dinner (by whining at me until I do)!
I know we all need more though, and it’s getting to be time to get back on track. I needed to get jump started with a little motivation though, and that came in two ways:
First: You might know we often participate in the monthly blog hop for Positive Pet Training. I like to do it because it helps me to be accountable to myself; and often evaluate where we’re at with our training. Plus I enjoy bragging when Luke is doing well! One of the co-hosts recently left that hop; and the other, April from Tenacious Little Terrier, contacted me to ask me if I would like to be a co-host.
It was exactly the positive distraction I need at the time, so I’m excited to announce that we are new Positive Pet Training co-hosts along with Beth from Travels with Barley! I am really looking forward to the motivation and education that being more closely involved with this hop will provide.
Second: We need some fresh training to work on though! Other than reviewing and practicing our current work and tricks, I knew we either needed to move forward with our nose works training, or I should work with Luke some more with his reactivity issues.
I decided on the latter – we’ll certainly get back into the sports in the spring – because Luke still has a lot of issues we need to work on (mainly his fear of strangers). I signed us up for the “Management for Reactive Dogs” online course at Fenzi Dog Sports Academy. This is something that Cricket could use some work on as well. Cricket is leash reactive, and she also barks at strangers that come to the house. The only difference is that she will back down and I know she would never bite anyone; with Luke we can’t be as certain of that.
When we recently had a new refrigerator installed, I kept both dogs down in the bedroom with me, safely out of the way. You can see in the photo below that Cricket, while somewhat relaxed, is on alert for noises; she barked just as much as Luke when she heard any.
I feel that calming her down when people come to the house (or even just walk by) could be key to helping Luke be calmer as well. Even though I will probably focus on Luke more with this class, just as I did with nose works, I will work with Cricket as well. Cricket is not as trainable as Luke – she doesn’t have that Labrador retriever’s desire to please – but treats can be a big motivator for her. I want to at least try.
I’m giving myself a bit of a break for a few more days. Our class technically starts today, but that’s the joy of the Fenzi classes, I can do them on my own time. I have a visit to an out of state friend this weekend, and after that I think I’ll be ready to get back into the swing of things.
We’ll be kicking it off with the blog hop on Monday, and get back to work from there. I will only let myself mope around for so long, and then I know getting back into things will be better for me, and for Cricket and Luke as well. I also think Sheba would want us to get back to life, even if we do have to find a new normal.
If you are a blogger who writes about positive pet training, please join us in our hop! Contact me or click here to join our Facebook group for more details! February’s theme is “Training Tools”, but you can write on any positive pet training topic.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of BlogPaws. The opinions and text are all mine.