I’ve been coasting. Since I put Silas on his medication in the fall, I have to confess that I’ve done very, very little training with him. After our last behaviorist visit in December, my dog training collapsed. It was just such a relief that I didn’t have to be working through something every minute. I didn’t have to make visible improvement to show the doctor. I didn’t have to deal with Silas barking at something 30 times a day. (We’re down to somewhere between 2 and 6, I’d guess, depending on how noisy the neighborhood is.)
Mostly, I’ve been resting on Silas’s somewhat tenuous laurels as a pretty good dog as long as nothing bothers him. He’s a great companion around the house, and in all honesty it’s not hard to arrange my life so that very little crosses him. People will talk on the sidewalk and dogs will bark, but I don’t have to have people over, or take him to parks where he can see cars, or drive him anywhere that someone will walk up to our car while its stopped. (It the double-edged sword of reactive dog ownership–after a while, you don’t even realize how much you’re compensating.)
It’s time to get back to work.
To that end, April has three deceptively modest goals.
1) Work on Silas’s focus. I want to start moving some of his great indoor behaviors outdoors, but we’ve got to build a little better foundation first. Silas outside has the attention span of a squirrel. Maybe less. I don’t want him to gaze adoringly at me all the time, which I find creepy, but we can search for a happy medium.
2) Go to the park twice a week. I would say three times, but April here can be pretty wet. If it’s a total mud pit outside, I will cheat and substitute PetSmart, but if it’s actively raining I can’t risk traumatizing him.
3) Get back in the habit of daily training sessions.