This weeks Training Challenge is a “reactive maymay” challenge. I find posts on reactivity very hard to compose probably because it is one of the rare things I can’t seem to find good enough language to describe. Usually, as is the case again here, I end up with these mile long posts that no one can slog through and understand. I apologize in advance.
Maizey was taken from her litter and Mom at seven weeks, I was not told this by her breeder until several months later and now believe it could have been even sooner. She was in a house with many other dogs, but I think that being taken away at such a formative period robbed her of valuable learning she needed to know in order to not only be confident around other dogs, but even know how to play and interact with them.
Of course knowing what I know now and looking back I can see so much that I missed as early warning signs.
Things like the slight fear she showed towards Meeka on the day she came home, the way she was so sensitive to her space and getting “trampled” even at nine weeks really mean more to me than I gave them credit for at the time. I knew nothing of reactivity and little of raising a puppy and feel I chocked too much up to, “well she is little and they are big, she is young and they are older” type of excuses.
What I See Now
Now with Mangus in the house it is as if Maizey is not only leaning how to play with another puppy, but how to play LIKE another puppy. She play with toys she was never interested in before, she entertains her self with them instead of needing me to entertain her. She is more content to be alone, granted for very short periods of time, but alone still. She plays chase and tug games, another difference.
I am so happy to see her enjoying regular dog things that way now and have hope that the things she is learning will continue to help her grow confident.
The Reactivity Progress/Non-progress
As for her Reactivity I am, as usual, stymied. In some ways it seems so much better. She will call off and return, or reorient to me when surprised by most things. Her matt work is getting stronger, in the moment of a trigger she seems to move on from it a little sooner, though I still see the after effects of the trigger lasting. She is responding to new operantly conditioned cues in an episode, not just in training.
However, In some ways I wonder if she isn’t moving to some new levels of reacting. This weekend she reacted to cows, goats, horses,and twice to men that were outside the car. In order to break it down in more detail, and hopefully get some insight from all of you, I included the pictures of this in the next post.
I am trying not to make too much of these things, as I see a generalized nervousness in her that I think is due to high levels of stress hormones from all the life changes she has experienced these last few months. At the same time I am trying to learn from missing the early signs when she was a puppy and help her work through these issues sooner than later.
As For Sticks
As for the sticks part of our challenge? Well really not a challenge at all for Magnus, as long as he can find one! Magnus attitude to life at this point seems to be, “Sweet! A stick! Oh cool, look a leaf! Wow! This stick is awesome, I think I’ll lay here and chew on it! Oh my Sisser? She’s freakin’ out over there, but I’m all good cause I got a stick!”