It's been a long time since I wrote about Oreo's fears.
I've been working real hard at avoiding stressors, to reduce his overall stress factor.
Honestly, I haven't seen much improvement in his fears, but he hasn't been getting worse either.
Oreo hasn't done any "public" agility, trials or classes, in about a year. I've toyed with the idea of entering him in adpt rally trials, since I hear they are very accommodating with dogs like Oreo (plus treats are allowed in the ring). However, I backed out each time. I didn't want to go, worrying that Oreo could end up in a bad state of mind.
My motto has been, "If Oreo had a choice, would he choose to do this?"
If his answer would be "no", then, I opted out.
Yesterday, at Chewy's agility class, Oreo opted, on his own, to leave the car. I put him in his playpen with some food, while I went out to the course with Chewy.
After a few runs with Chewy, Oreo started barking!
OK, many people might be annoyed that their dog was barking in their crate, but not me!
Not when the voice was Oreo's.
That was a good sign.
The barking continued.
I asked my teacher if I could bring Oreo out to do some agility. Of course, she said yes, kindly left the ring, and kept really, really quiet.
Oreo gave me lovely attention all the way from the crate to the ring. He even offered a "line up" on the start line. He did one long turn of his head to check out his surroundings, but then did the whole course beautifully.
I, of course, had walked the course with Chewy in mind, which threw both of us off a bit. I planned rear crosses for Chewy, where Oreo would need front crosses. But, we muddled our way around, and really, it wasn't about the course. It was about the fact that he chose to do it (although, maybe the meatballs helped a bit).
After class, I put both dogs in the car. I was feeding Oreo some treats thru the window, when my teacher walked up to the car. Normally, Oreo would have immediately jumped to another seat to get away, but this time, he stayed where he was, showing no signs of fear, and continued to eat.
Boy, what a great drive home we had. Such a brave, brave boy.