Well, as you might know, I go back and forth about bringing Muffit with to flyball practice or not. Sometimes I think he just has to go, to get over his frantic reactions to the other dogs. And sometimes I think I should just leave him home and work on him more slowly with other dogs.
Well, I’m not really all that good at working slowly with a dog… I don’t have that much patience, unfortunately. And so he doesn’t get worked in the control unleashed manner like, probably, I should. But I still don’t really get it, and the book wasn’t an easy read for me. So we are just going along with my regular trainer, taking her advice, and working as we can.
I do, however, think he is getting a little bit better at flyball practice. Finally my obedience instructor gave me the word I was looking for, about how Muffit acts at tournaments as opposed to practice. White Noise. There is so much going on at a tournament, so many dogs and activity, that it all turns into white noise and he just deals with it. When we go to flyball practice, it’s very concentrated in one area. The flyball practice area. And that’s what he focuses on and he has a hard time focusing on anything else.
I am doing some work with him on his gentle leader, which I think helps. Rewarding him for looking at me and paying attention to me. I think this is just going to be a long slow road and Muffit is not going to be quickly fixed anytime soon. I’m very glad he’s not being aggressive towards dogs. He just wants to meet them and say hi.. to the point where he will hardly even look at me.
At the dog park, however, is he great. He loves to run off leash and play with other dogs and he acts exactly like a normal socialized dog. It’s just when he’s on a leash and he sees another dog when he gets frantic. And wanting him to focus on a job, or on me, that he has trouble doing. He keeps me active, for sure, so I don’t need a appetite suppressant pill, my adrenaline keeps me from eating!
I’ve been meeting my captain at practice a half hour early and we work Muffit while it’s still quiet. And he’s doing so good! His box turn is nice and high and consistent. And we are starting to put the ball in now too. He kinda doesn’t understand that the ball is pushing out at him, but when it does, he gets excited and goes and grabs it. He does like balls, although not as much as other dogs or just being with me. But it’s a start. He has a ton of potential. I just hope with time his frantic-ness will calm down and he’ll realize that playing flyball is fun, too. Even more so than obsessing about other dogs. And I’ll work with him, reward him for looking at me, and keep bringing him to practice and tournaments, and see if, over time, he relaxes more!