Today we've got a Phoenix update! Phoenix goes to play group once a week on Mondays and she is doing pretty well with our established group. We don't see her playing very often yet but she's able to hang out with the other dogs and she does try to play with a few of her favorites. She's just not sure how it all works yet. "How do I get these dogs to play with me?" (That doesn't involve chasing and nipping or third wheeling.) Attending play group has also helped her with her dog interactions in the real world. She has been doing great when we go to the off leash hiking park. She's even solicited play from some random dogs we've come across out there!
With all the good stuff, Phee still struggles sometimes when she meets new big dogs. Greetings can be stressful and she gets scared. We had three new dogs start yesterday and she had trouble with one of them. I guess one out of three isn't ridiculously horrible but sigh... The greeting was not what we usually do with her, the dog showed up early (new dogs are supposed to come in last) we didn't control our antecedents very well and we had a snarky incident. Nobody was hurt but it wasn't pretty. Then the rest of the session, Phoenix struggled with that dog being in close proximity to her. Eventually everybody did settle down and everything was fine but it was not her best day.
Everyone at my work is very supportive and we think these are issues we can work through with her. There are other dogs that come who used to have way worse issues and they've been worked with and are doing great. I keep trying to remind myself that all dogs have good and bad days, just like us! Training takes time and she is only able to go once a week. My co-workers tell me that she is doing better each week and she also does better when I am not in the room with her.
When things go wrong, it's so much harder when it's your own dog. I can watch other dogs have their grumpy moments all day long but when it's my dog, it really gets me emotional. My boss has given me a mantra to repeat: "Conflict is normal". So I try to remember that shit happens, they're animals. We just do the best we can and that's all we can do.
So that's my Phee training update. She's a work in progress! Overall she's doing well so I'm trying to look at the bigger picture and not let an occasional off day get us down.
I also just wanted to let you guys know that I've been having technical difficulties with my computer and camera so it's been making it hard to blog and visit blogs. So this is why you guys haven't been seeing much of me.