Opening the door

Another great session with no shutting down at all. She stayed engaged and was able to listen to cues right next to the car and I opened the front door without losing her.


Making progress

The progress is slow and sometimes we go backwards, but I am seeing improvements in her attitude around the car. Today she was wagging her tail as we left the house, normally she’s concerned because we might go in the car. She spent less time sniffing and was able to not only take treats near the car, she was able to sit and do hand touches right next to the back hatch. The only time she balked at taking food was when I fully opened the front door, I’ll spend more time reinforcing her while I touch the handle and then just pulling the handle. I am very happy with her attitude today and hope she’s starting to feel less trepidation about the car. I think the fact that we’ve stopped all car trips help too.

Back sliding

Tonight we seemed to go backwards. I put her leash and collar on and checked her emotional state at the door. Already nervous, wouldn’t take treats. I backed up and asked her for some behaviors until she was responding and taking treats, then we went outside. She was barely there, very worried about every little noise in the environment, worried about getting close to the car and doing tons of displacement sniffing. Maybe because we trained at night? Night time is when we would normally go to nosework class – so that may have added extra stress. Poor Fayde, we’ll keep working at it!

Working the back hatch

Last night we moved along to approaching the car with the back hatch open. Normally the back is where the dogs ride, so I knew it was going to be harder. She did fine, and I gave her treats for looking at or approaching the car. She only stopped taking treats when we stood so close that I was leaning inside the back. I backed up and gave her a ton of treats just for looking at it. She did quite a bit of displacement sniffing, so we will probably stay at the step for a few days.

Cars aren’t scary

Today’s lesson was short, mainly because its 98 degrees outside and probably 110 in my garage. I took Fayde out with some training treats and a clicker. First I walked out of the garage and around the yard. I waited until I had her attention and asked her to sit, jump and hand target – all good. Then we walked closer to my car. Every step we took closer, I clicked and treated. I opened the front door, click treat. Every time she deliberately looked at or sniffed the car, click treat. She only stopped taking treats once, when I sat in the front seat, so I backed off and we tried again. I was able to open the front and back doors and she checked them out without severe anxiety. I need to do the back door next, because thats where she rides, but I’ll probably do a few more sessions of the side doors until there’s zero anxiety before I move on to that.