Thursday, July 16, 2009

Everyday Q's

As much as I enjoy the Q's and new titles that come along with trialing, they really don't compare to some of the other "everyday" successes that we've experienced in recent months. For those that don't know, Peyton can be extremely reactive. And by reactive, I mean varying degrees of barking, screaming, lunging, etc. to dogs, people, kids, and anything else that worries him. I'm pretty certain it's a fear issue, and while I've worked very hard with him over the past few years, it still requires a lot of management.

For quite some time I was convinced that we would never make it to an agility trial - not because of zoomies or any other training issue, but because I didn't think he would be able to cope in such a high-energy, stressful environment with *lots* of other dogs, strangers, kids etc. running around. And while I think we've still got a ways to go with regard to his overall comfort level at trials, he's made tremendous progress. 

Last week in Perry we only had a few cases of reactivity and each time it was after he saw one woman - not sure what it was about this person, but there was something about her that made Peyton very upset. At one point he was in his crate (which was completely closed) and he started screaming - I looked around and sure enough, there she was at a nearby photography booth. I know he couldn't see her so I'm not sure what exactly was setting him off - her voice? Her smell? Aside from those few instances, he was really pretty good. We even had a little girl hanging out in the section right in front of us all weekend - I don't think he barked at her once.

I think my proudest moment all weekend was when we were in the elevator at the hotel and when the doors opened to the lobby and we were greeted by 7-8 squealing kids! Not too long ago this would have given Peyton a heart attack for sure, but we managed to walk right out and past all of the kids with just the smallest little "woof". I almost cried. :) 

So while I'm sure it sounds like I get overly excited about every single run, it's only because I never thought we would get here. And since I've already been reminded by several that Excellent will not be easy, I can only respond by saying that I really don't care. As long as Peyton is having fun and playing the game *with* me, we'll continue to celebrate each and every run - no matter how ugly some might be. :)

Here are a few shots of my spotty boy who now thinks that hotels are fun *and* for sleeping (with a big hooray from me for the sleeping part!)...


BrittBeah said...

He looks so very sweet in the last photo.
Sometimes is it hard to really sit back and admire how far we have come with our pups in tow. It is nice every now and again to step back and really appreciate those sweet little furry faces for all they have worked for to make us happy.

Jenn said...

I totally understand!!!! :-) And I agree ... who cares how hard excellent is as long as you are both having fun! Steeler says woof!

Lisa said...

Hooray for small victories!! Sounds like Peyton has traveled a long way down a difficult road. While Tess is as easygoing as they come, Jazz has some similar issues to Peyton. She is not as reactive as you're describing, but she has a real fear of dogs she doesn't know getting in her face. I am always on alert, sometimes too much so. We also need to build more confidence, so believe me when I say that we know how to celebrate the little improvements and rejoice in the sheer joy of playing agility with our dogs. Yeah, someday a MACH or an ADCH or a C-ATCH would be nice, but we're happy spending time with our spotty girls and havin' fun! You've done a tremendous job with Peyton and we're all so proud of both of you. Power to the Spotties!!

Hoover said...

It is a lot of work to change a dogs spots (couldn't resist) but clearly love and patience go a long way.

What great photos. I think you could make me look good!

Hoover BPD (Battery Powered Dog)

Kim said...

Aw, guys always make me smile! :)

Lisa, I think confidence is definitely a factor - and I honestly think that Peyton is learning to trust that I will keep him safe (from all of those dalmatian eating children, of course!) Oh and I'm sure that it helps when every time we see something potentially worrisome, he gets a ton of treats stuffed in his face. :)

And Hoover, you are already one good looking BPD!!

Jenn said...

Hey Lisa -
Have you checked out any of the exercises in Control Unleashed? Steeler and I are working up to "there's a dog in your face" - mostly because I always make everything worse!!! Steeler is improving by leaps and bounds as i get more confident and trust more that he isn't going to go looking for trouble! :-) He has even sniffed noses with Solo the briard in our agility class - through the fence though. GO SPOTS!

Sherri said...

Every one of us with a spotty knows where you are coming from. That's what makes the successes all the more gratifying. You should be very, very proud of yourselves.

Kim said...

Thanks Sherri! I am a very proud spotty mom for sure! :)