Monday, May 25, 2009

Teddy graduates!

Teddy is set to graduate from beginner obedience class tomorrow. I wish I could say that he was graduating with honors, but I think he is one of the students that is being moved up only because the teacher doesn't want him to repeat another year with her! There is only 1 other dog in his class, and neither Teddy or the other dog has made much progress. At the end of each class, the instructor visibly sighs in relief. The only thing Teddy has learned is to lie down, which took about 5 weeks. He will only stay if he can see me. If I walk behind him or out of sight, he tries to find me. In class, when I call him to me, he walks as slowly as he can. For the first few classes, the teacher thought that he had a physical disability, because he never ran. He doesn't like the other dog in class, so he won't go anywhere near him. The instructor tried to walk both dogs together, and she had to drag Teddy around the room with her. It's hard for dog lovers to be around a dog that doesn't like them, and I feel for the instructor. I don't think she takes it personally, but it must be hard to try to work with a dog that won't have anything to do with you. So I haven't decided if we will repeat the beginner class, or move to the next level. At class last week, the instructor pulled me aside and said that she didn't think Teddy would do well in a class with more dogs. Maybe that was her subtle hint for us to just call it a day!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Teddy's new fear

Teddy now seems to be afraid of rain and thunder. I don't remember him having this fear before, but for the last 2 weeks, whenever we have rain or thunder, his tail goes down, he paces, pants, and follows me even more closely than he normally does. It doesn't help that I have sky lights in 3 rooms, which amplifies the sound of rain. His obedience trainer suggested getting sound effects of thunder and rain, and using them to desensitize him to the sounds. I checked out some CDs from my local library, and played them one day. It had an immediate effect on Teddy - he didn't like it one bit. I tried to play with him, and give him treats, but he kept focusing on the sounds coming from the speaker. Over time, as he reacts less, I will turn up the volume, and hopefully I will be able to have a violent thunderstorm in my living room and Teddy will not react. It is very disconcerting to hear a thunderstorm in my house, while outside it is bright and sunny! We've had so much rain this season that it is very hard for me to put the sound effects on when it is nice out. I'm so tired of the sound of rain!