I am so excited to have the dogs in lots of classes this winter! Sundays we have an informal training group that I put together (with the ulterior motive of having people and dogs to work my reactive dogs around during the winter). Last weekend was our first session and it went pretty well for both Jun and Elo. Elo made it into the entry way of the building, which was more than I expected from him! He had a small outburst when a dog popped out from behind a wall closer than I expected, but recovered nicely and we did some LAT with a dog all the way across the building. The really cool part was, last winter we were in this same building and didn't even SEE any other dogs and Elo could not handle himself. Just the smell and sound of dogs were too much for him. On Sunday, even though there were at least 10 other dogs in the building that he could hear and smell, he was able to keep himself pretty well under control! We did about 5 minutes of work and then left.
Jun did some obedience work off leash with two decoy people sitting in the room. We started working with a toy and she was WILD. I wasn't being too strict on criteria. I just wanted her to have a good time and realize that when she's working, nobody's gonna come get her. We switched to food and she had a little more self control, though she was doing a bit more scanning--looking around before following cues. We didn't accomplish much obedience-wise, but that was not really the goal.
Last night Jun started nosework class. I was pretty nervous at first (I wish I could calm myself better when I'm taking her into situations that I think she will be nervous in). Turned out, she did great! Jun has been doing nosework since I took the class with Lok a year ago, so she knows the drill, but I wanted to keep it really easy for her and make her successful. The class is set up to be great for reactive dogs, as each dog and owner has their own space behind a barrier, the dogs come and go one at a time and take turns hunting. There were 4 other people in the room. Jun noticed them and gave a couple of sidelong glances, but didn't fixate and quickly turned back to me to continue the hunting game. I had her hunting for a toy, rather than food, so when she found it she would bring it to me and we would play a few seconds of tug. She is used to hunting for both, but she tends to relax more with play and I also liked that when she found the toy she immediately sought me out so she didn't have to think about what to do next. There was a lot of downtime while the other dogs were hunting and we worked on relaxing in her crate. She did a great job! She chilled in her crate with the door open while I sat in a chair next to her. At first she was near the door, pseudo-relaxing, but for the last half of class she was towards the back, truly relaxing vs. soliciting treats.
We also learned about a reactive dog class taught by the same instructor that would be great for Jun, so I'm going to get her into that in a few weeks. And I need to find a reactive dog class for Elo too.