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Dashee's Travels: Episode 11. Step by Step

Updated: Oct 16, 2019

After getting out of the sad fog of the past I knew I needed some Step by Step plan with Dashee. I need to change my approach, I gave us 6 months, I had to make commitments to do my best to make it work! I needed a fun plan, that will help us to jump the obstacles!

(Not Agility ones, yet! 😉 )

Step 1. We can have loads of fun!

I had to realise (fully!) that no matter what, we can always have loads of fun together! So I made a list of fun things we can do together and Dashee definitely enjoyed (even though it would not be my choice... 😉) and incorporated these in training:

1. Playing in the water - we both love it! but we needed to put more structure to it...

2. Going for walks - ditto!

3. Chasing thrown treats - cool, I can do that a lot during training! If you throw treats instead of giving them it takes a lot of body pressure away from the dog!

4. Racing after a ball thrown from a launcher - not my favourite thing, but I knew she loves it so can do 3-5 throws after/during little training sessions.

5. Chasing animals! (more about that below 😉)

And a small list of things she does not enjoy even though I do... and I need to be aware:

being close to me,

touch/ cuddles,

shaping behaviours;

Step 2. There's so much we can do!

Is there? Yes, there is! I decided we could take up some new actvities together and learn more about each other. Some activities I don't feel are 'my own trainer's responsibility'. I wanted to build up Dashee's confidence working with me as much as possible so I chose two: Bitework (with Alex) and Sheepherding (with my friend Kylie).

It turned out Dashee is very stylish when herding and it's a pleasure to watch her being so passionate about it! This sort of work can really empower a little sensitive border collie as it gives them feeling of control... plus at last she was able to chase some animals with my consent ;)

In bitework we were fighting the bad guy, Alex, together. I could support her when she was learning how to deal with little amounts of pressure without the risk of conflict or misunderstanding between me and her. After a period of regular sessions my little shy Dashee was able to bark at Alex!

Step 3. It's just you and me!

A very simple but important step! We definitely had to spend more time alone, just the two of us. Without anyone else, especially other dogs: sis Julie or her boyfriend Oz. She is not naturally good at generalising behaviours as well and I had to take that into consideration. Even Julie being next to her would make her unable to do a simple exercise. By spending time together my focus was fully on her and she really needed time to learn things without distractions first, and to start trusting me more. My aim was to find time just for us every day. EVERY SINLGE DAY.

Step 4. I can give you more!

Another thing I learnt to be aware of. If I was not responsible for the training as such (the plan of the exercises, what to do if something does not work, homework) I could give so much more! I had more emotional energy and ability to adjust to Dashee, observe her mood changes and help her as much as I could. When I was ready I chose some Agility and Obedience classes with the trainers I'd trust and could just go there, be with my dog and enjoy our time!

And note to myself - after implementing all the above Dashee was able to give me so much more as well!

Step 5. Don't you know that the time has arrived!

That should be the first point, shouldn't it? 😉 Basically, I just needed to put the plan into practice! (AH!)

And some old school tune for you all that helped me with names for the Steps! Have you recognised it?

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