Friday, October 31, 2008

He's a big suck, but not that bright.

The past few weeks I've been putting Enzo through his paces. We've been to malls, the library, the movies, an agility & obedience fun match, church, downtown, class, restaurants, petstores, etc.

A few things that need work are:

Dog distractions. He gets overstimulated very quickly when he sees other dogs. Meeting with other puppy raisers in the malls for training really helps, as well as pet stores and working around my Schnauzers.

His thievery. He steals things off counters and tables, most often right in front of you. Once he has these things he usually drops them, or carries them around and brings them to you like he's doing you a favour. He hasn't eaten or destroyed anything and I don't see this as something that will continue for long.

His fear of confined spaces, more specifically his fear of public bathroom stalls, but this also includes tucking under tables so he doesn't get stepped on or trip anyone. It doesn't help that he's a very large, gangly, long dog with a massive tail.

As soon as I saw his hesitation in washrooms I took a step back and started from scratch. We started in the large stall. Once we were successful/comfortable entering that one we worked on taking the smaller ones, one step at a time, one trip to the mall at a time. Eventually we had great success! He entered comfortably and sat while I closed the door. Jackpot! That is until the automatic toilet flushed on it's own and he bolted - straight backwards under the door into some startled and unsuspecting person's legs.

Walking on leash... while paying attention. This is a hard one for him. Standing in line waiting to order a coffee? You'll tell him "forward", take one step and then stop. He'll literally keep walking and slam into the person standing in front of us. If I turn right he only knows through leash pressure. Turning left I walk into him as he keeps on walking straight. So right now I'm marking/rewarding eye contact and I make our walks interesting with changes of pace, lots of cornering and about turns just to keep him on his fuzzy toes. He is improving but we've still got work ahead of us.

Overall he's a nice dog, gentle, quite sensitive and willing to please. I'm having fun taking this dog around although everytime I go to the mall (and I go a lot) I'm asked "what is he?" by people who want one just like him. That is a topic I don't like to touch...

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