I had three goals for April.
1) Work on Silas’s focus when we’re outside
2) Go to the park twice a week
and 3) Get back in the habit of daily training.
I’m going to grade us at a solid “Eh?”
Goal #2 completely fell apart on me when Silas started refusing to get in the car. And I mean, terrified crouching and huddling next to the door to the house, not just “I would prefer not to.”
Goal #2 basically took goal #1 down with it. I can’t work on focus when we’re outside if I can’t get, you know, outside.
Goal #3 was going extremely well until the last week or so, when I got slammed with both deadline knitting for a baby shower AND my husband’s major work event of the year. (Still ongoing; if I’m not around much this week, that’s why.)
Our training made some good progress this month. Silas has a pretty reliable foot-targeting behavior, with speed and accuracy. He’s making slow-but-steady progress on “Sit Pretty,” and he almost has bow on cue now that we’ve renamed it “stretch” to make the cue more distinct.
The surprise development of April is that Silas is now pretty reliably walking out of the garage, around the corner on the sidewalk, and then back in our front door. This sounds like a huge deal, which it both is and isn’t. What Silas really wants is to walk on the sidewalks inside our townhouse complex. The self-appointed HOA police scolded me for letting him play on the grass out there, so I’m very sensitive about taking him out the front door. If we come in from the street, though, I can tell evil HOA lady that we’re just on our way back from a walk.
Too-smart-for-his-own-good Silas very quickly learned that if he really wants to go out front, we need to go through the garage and down the street. It’s major progress, to the extent that he’s willing to go out next to the street at all. Not only is he willing to go out, I can say, “Do you want to go for a walk?” and he is excited. That’s the kind of regular-dog stuff that just doesn’t happen around here.
On the other hand, we scurry around the sidewalk as quickly as possible, short of actual running, and turn right back in as soon as we get to the gate. Because Silas sees the sidewalk as a means to an end, I’m not sure that we’ll ever build it up to anything else. The exposure is still good for him, though, especially since he would be in the house 24/7 otherwise.
Another surprise development is this:
That’s my upstairs bathroom with no baby gate. See that huge ragged place in my rug? Blame Silas, who subsequently couldn’t be trusted to leave the bathroom rugs alone. The door there doesn’t securely close, so for two years we’ve been stepping over a baby gate. (Before that, the gate was at the bottom of the stairs.)
Which leads us to: May Goals
1) Keep up with the daily training
2) See what I can do about getting Silas in the car. I haven’t been worrying too much about this, because my air conditioner is still broken. It’s too hot to put Silas in the car anyway. On Saturday he insisted that he ride with me on an errand (in my husband’s car with the AC), so maybe we’ll be okay.
3) Keep getting him out on the sidewalk. I would love to start having him turn the other direction sometimes, which gets him back inside equally fast, before he’s decided that he can only possibly turn left FOREVER. I’m not pushing it, though.
Do you have goals for May? How was your April?