The munchkin is learning, but slowly.
I haven’t really blogged a lot about Daisy, mainly because we’re still in the not-fun part of training. Daisy has issues, primarily with the way she handles stress (both kinds of stress). Her terrier wiring means that she is predisposed to go into “kill mode” when she experiences stress anyway, but with her initial eight months involving little actual training, her wiring is now pretty jumbled up. It’s the only way I can describe it! She doesn’t try and actually kill anyone on experiencing stress anyway, but in the past she was simply given a tennis ball (or had one anyway?). This has meant that tennis ball = calming, and without her tennis ball*, she struggles to find a way to calm herself down.
*None of our dogs are allowed tennis balls; they’re a high value item which are awkward to control.
She also has issues with fear and being restrained/restricted. This means that managing her stress responses in the house is difficult, mainly because I only have so many hands and four dogs to juggle. Her stress responses are also making her confusing to the other dogs, who aren’t sure how to deal with her sometimes. 80% of the time she wants to play and relax and run zoomies with Dyl and Rio, the other 20% of the time she doesn’t want them near her because they’re big and stressful and scary. Dyl and Rio don’t understand why some times are different to other times.
Mainly, what it all means, is that we put her in high-stress situations like flyball without understanding how it would add to her confusion. She’s been pulled from flyball and is learning some low-key agility, because she needs something to occupy her brain. I honestly don’t know if she will ever flyball, because the atmosphere is incredibly amped. I don’t know if she will ever do competitive agility, because I don’t think she can be measured and I don’t know if I trust other people to keep their dogs out of her space and under control.
However, all this makes Daisy sound terrible, and she’s not. She’s a confused girly who is starting to get to grips with the world, and to learn appropriate social reactions. She is learning how to bring herself back under threshold, and eventually she’ll learn that she doesn’t need to get above threshold in the first place. She is sweet and clever and funny and she loves her frisbee. She is learning how to swap a ball for a tug and is doing great box turns, and she can do jumps and tunnels. We do lots of BAT and LAT and shaping, and she comes to small shows and walks around the car park. Last time she got to walk past the entrance and she stayed very calm and relaxed the whole time, and sniffed the walls before we headed back to the car. I’m proud of how far she has come, but she has a long way to go yet.