I didn’t go into week three expecting much from Mara, and good thing because I wasn’t disappointed. Like last week she had a real tough time keeping focus. When we walk in all she seems to want to do is smell the mats. I get it, there’s a lot to smell. We were able pull her focus in and she would do a couple of the commands, then go back to sniffing. Once the other dogs started coming in though, that’s when we really lost her. She is just a total nosy-body and needs to see what everyone else is doing instead of doing what we tell her to do.
As the instructor assigned us new tricks and commands to try he could easily see us struggling with her. Each time he came over to us she would go bananas and jump all over him. Usually we swat her down and tell her no, but he said to try and ignore her instead. Reward the good and ignore the bad. It seemed to work pretty well, so at least we learned something useful this time.
We kept trying the different exercises with her but she would just stare across the room at the other dogs. If we were able to draw her attention back in she would just immediately get drawn away after one or two attempts. The last exercise of the night was to help train the dogs on loose leash walking. We were to have the dog by our side, talk a step and treat, take a step and treat. The trainer himself tried to do this with Mara and when she failed miserably he blamed our treats. Instead of the kibble we brought last week, this week we had soft blueberry treats and mozzarella cheese. We thought that was high value enough. The trainer told us it clearly wasn’t and said she needed higher value, like meat. He thought he would show us up and break out the hot dogs. Well, guess what? She made a fool of him. She could have cared less about the hot dogs. He still recommended more pungent treats for next week, like cheddar cheese and hot dogs. We shall try and see if it helps.
I’ve come to the conclusion that Mara just has a bad case of doggie ADD. We can’t hold her attention for more than one or two tricks before she checks out. I understand that the distractions in the room can be really bad at times but the other dogs seem to do pretty well for the most part. The trainer had us go back to square one and just play the name game. Call her name, she looks, she gets a treat. My dog is so bad that we are in week 2 of training and we were left back in week one. I know it may be a little too early to say this but I have come to terms with being a doggie obedience school failure. Josh would love for her to do better than Rosie, the show off Labradoodle, but he knows that won’t happen. No matter what, I still love her and we will try our best to work with her, but I understand she will probably never be the perfect, well trained dog I’ve always wanted.