Friday, June 18

Blossom tries rally

Okay, it's been awhile... but I was planning a wedding, and then I got married, so there was the honeymoon, and then all the post-wedding wrap-up that goes on. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. :D

Last night, I tried my 14 year-old, deaf, dalmatian-border collie mix in a Rally-o workshop. The thing about Blossom is that she's not particularly eager to please. If her goals and your goals happen to overlap, then all is well. The problem with that, is it doesn't happen very often. Add into that some fairly severe leash aggression, and you've got yourself an interesting night.

The hardest part with Blossom was getting and keeping her attention. She has never done a formal class with me, although she knows all the obedience commands. I can't verbally connect with her because she is deaf, which limits trying to get her attention to shoving food right in front of her face (and she's not a foody dog - look how skinny she is!) or leash tugs. I don't like shoving food in her face because it startles her, you can see her recoil whenever something suddenly appears in front of her.

After a few rounds of Blossom trying to wander off wherever she wanted, it dawned on me that we brought the Gentle Leader. Blossom spent a lot of her time on the Gentle Leader the first few years I had her, and that seemed like a great way to get her attention, (and keep her from barking at the other dogs) so I slipped it on. Ohhhh, we did so much better! She couldn't lunge as far in front of me, so it was a LOT easier to get her attention. She did pretty well on the last exercise, which was a little "mini" course, putting together the signs we had practiced. She still refused to "down," but I was pretty happy with her last performance.

I mean heck, not bad for an ADD, 14 year-old deaf dog that's not interested in pleasing you in the slightest!

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