Since this is Jacques’ adventure as well as mine, I thought I should include some of the very few snapshots I have taken so far. Have not taken any time to crop or otherwise alter them, so here they are straight from the camera:
For those who know about Jacques’ dog reactivity issues these next two are quite remarkable. This is one of two dogs he has managed to be very comfortable with, and is his first doggie friend in Sweden. We hope to get some better snaps of the two of them together – we have already missed some really lovely ones – timing is everything!
Jacques sleeps on his mat under the table during lecture/discussion periods, and Pista is usually two or three seats down, but for some reason Pista decided to curl up right next to us on this day, and as you can see, Jacques is completely relaxed and comfy – quite remarkable. Jacques is still pretty reactive with most of the other dogs here (quite understandable in some cases!), but this gives me hope that with more training he will become increasingly comfortable around other dogs.
For anyone who is curious, to work on Jacques’ reactivity I have been using Control Unleashed games for quite some time, and have been through a couple of different CU-based reactive dog classes with him ( at four weeks’ length they are always too short, and too “beginner” to get very far, unfortunately). Recently I began using Grisha Stewart’s BAT (Behavior Adjustment Training) approach at a very basic level. One of my problems is that I really cannot set up the kind of structured environment that is ideal for this kind of work, so have to opportunistically use real-life situations, which can be unpredictable. Recently I found a real-life situation where I can pretty reliably predict where the dogs are going, and nearly always have an escape route if necessary, so can keep the distance Jacques needs while doing the work. I have seen really major progress in the last month and a half. The situation here was perfect last week, but this week there are too many dogs here, some of whom are reactive or aggressive themselves, and not as well-controlled by their handlers as the ones last week, and I cannot always get and keep the distance we need, but Jacques is also better at coping for the most part, so we will get by and hopefully continue to make progress.