Saturday, April 2, 2011

bad start, good ending

I went to rally class today with high hopes.

Then, had them crushed the minute we pulled into the parking lot. I almost turned around and went back home.  Oreo was spazzing out.  I used every tool in my kit, but nothing was working.

Finally, I decided to walk Oreo in front of the cars, instead of behind, in a wide arc. We made it to the front door, Oreo peeked inside, looked up at me and seemed completely fine!

Inside, he gave me attention, checked out the people and other dogs. Did some nice sits, while looking up at me.

I was shocked.

We did two different full size courses.  For our first turn, the instructor had all the people (including shriners) sit at a table and carry on normal conversations, and told them to avoid looking at me and Oreo

Well, Oreo did so much better than last week.  A couple times, I turned us around to face the group when we were really supposed to have our backs to them, and then Oreo was able to do the tasks on the signs.  Overall though, Oreo was "with me" 85% of the time.

On our second turn, the people again ignored us, but the instructor stood in the ring, at a distance.  Her movements distracted Oreo a bit, but never did he seem panicked. 

Overall, once we got in the building, I felt Oreo was displaying way more confidence than fear. 

I think I may have to carry him through parking lots, until we can work through that issue on days when we're not heading to a class.


Reilly / Bree said...

I wonder if you are 'transmitting" some reservation to Oreo - getting yourself a little stressed about what Oreo will do when he gets into class or before he gets to class. Sometimes we are not even aware of it ourselves but those sensitive little doggies can pick up on it.

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Glad you figured out a way to get Oreo through the parking lot because it sounds like he did really well once he was in class! Your instructor must be very nice and supportive - that's good to know! Congratulations on what was ultimately such a great outing for Oreo!

Dawn said...

I'm glad it all turned out. I've carried Katie through parking lots when she was spazzing and I thought it was too dangerous for her to be walking. He might feel safer being carried.

Sophie said...

It sucks that Oreo had a freak out in the parking lot, but at least he recovered - and then performed well! Maybe there'd been something in the parking lot since the last time you were there that left a strange smell, like a fox?

If in doubt next time you might be better off carrying him through, as you thought; I've carried both of mine before, to keep them away from stuff that was dangerous or would cause a meltdown.

You could always try doing to the parking lot on a non-rally day and work on relaxing there! :) I'm glad you had such a good class though.

Diana said...

Im so glad you were able to work thur Oreo's fears. You instructor sounds great! Good job!

Kathy said...

What I think is really so cool and amazing is how Oreo might really have a bad reaction to someting but then his bounce back actually sounds great, like some dogs I would imagine once paniced in the parking lot would be done for the day, but I wonder if some of the work you have done is helping him to sort of leave that behind. I bet you are glad you decedied to go ahead and not call the night a wash out but try it inside, seems you got some great info and sounds like a really great class, AMAZING little Oreo, he always is good for a suprise

LauraK said...

Sara, I think it's awesome that you stuck with Oreo, got him through the scary parking lot, and did well in your class. You have so much patience with him, and it's really paying off- he's lucky to have a mom that doesn't give up on him or get too frustrated :) I really think that if given a chance, most dogs have that amazing will to work and can get over their fears, and you have proven that MANY times over!

Priscilla said...

I don't think you will have to carry him. Just do the same thing as you did, walking him in front of the cars, and tell us how it worked the next time!!

Oreo is so lucky to have such a wonderful mom as you!

Katie, Maizey and Magnus said...

Sara, you and Oreo give me so much hope for Maizey and I. You are so realistic with him and so successful. I hope one day to see half the success with Maizey that you have with Oreo.

I'm glad you didn't have to go home, but I'm also glad you are real enough to know that you would take him home to protect him. Yesterday was a really bad day for me and I decided to not take Maizey to class because she was already anxious and I knew I just couldn't give her the support she needed. It was a choice I struggled with but one that was the right choice in the end. Having a fearful dog gives you many choices that others never face and you always encourage me with your courage and compassion for Oreo. Thanks for sharing this!

Marie said...

Great job you two!!!

Jules said...

I am glad Oreo was able to work and have fun after the parking lot!