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02/07/2011 / Julie

Eso day 5 – Fight or Flight

The morning began with a proper introduction to the clicker. He has a hard time making the link between the click and the treat. Really, more than any dog I’ve ever seen. On the other hand, he is a very bright dog. He has made other links very fast. One trip to the forest, and he knew that as soon as I took off the line in the backyard and walked up the stairs he could run straight for the path and jump over the fence. That took one trip.

The very first session was a simple click-treat session. In the second one I clicked for everything he did, except complete passivity. At the end of the two sessions he still didn’t show any definite signs of understanding the click.

After about 20 minutes in the forest were the dogs got to blow off some steam and relieve themselves, I went over to the neighbours with the flat coated, Emmy, and asked if it would be possible to bring Eso over.  I went back home, and loaded myself with treats. I brought the short leash and the collar. I don’t like introducing dogs on leash, and had only thought I’d use the leash as transport, as such. Which is what I did. I left Bajnok at home, and walked over.

What I hadn’t anticipated when I got there was that there were two dogs, and that they were quite territorial. They rushed towards Eso before I could unhook him. He panicked at they sight of the two dogs running towards him and went straight into flight mode, it didn’t help that I still had the leash firmly around my wrist. Emmy and Blackie put on the brakes when they got close, but they still moved towards Eso and were very interested in him. Luckily they are retrievers and I had treats. I put my hand in my pocket and threw some treats in the other direction. Emmy and Blackie went straight for them, and I had time to unhook Eso.

I used treats to get Emmy and Blackie further up the driveway, but now and again they would run towards Eso to say hi. They were very nice dogs, just a little too much for Eso. And suddenly he was gone. He was nowhere in sight. I found him outside my house. So the good boy had ran home.

I took him inside and calmed him down. I thought long and hard about what my next move was going to be. I really didn’t want this to be his last experience with dogs, however I didn’t want to force him into doing something he was to scared to do. After a considerable amount of pondering the dilemma, I decided to take Bajnok along as a buffer. I’d also put Eso in the harness with the 5 meter leash. This way he’d have room to move and I’d have the possibility to stop him if he tried to flee.

I walked over once again and met Blackie and Emmy. My plan worked perfectly. Bajnok was very happy to meet the girls and was the perfect buffer. Eso was not happy to be back and jumped about three meters back, cowering and growling, but when he saw that Bajnok enjoyed the attention he both calmed down and even got a bit curious. Bajnok actually seemed to make an effort to keep to girls away from Eso. Bajnok was at this time off leash and off harness (basically naked), while Eso was on a 5 meter line with harness.

When I saw that Eso was getting more comfortable and the dogs was taking little notice of him I dropped the line and moved over to the lawn. After a while Eso was moving closer and closer, he was even daring to sniff them. At this point I took off his harness and line, and focused instead on Emmy and Blackie. They were quite food crazy so if they got too close for comfort for Eso, I could just call them over and they’d come hoping for a treat. Which they’d get, of course.

Eso got to take everything in his own pace, and I’m so glad I went back. At the end of the meeting Eso was doing play bows left and right. I filmed the meeting and will making a movie that will be posted here later.

When the night arrived we walked the couple of km down to the store again. I needed some dinners for the weekend and Iwanted to do some more traffic work with Eso. After I was done shopping, I gathered the dogs and we sat down outside on the side of the entrance and we wathced people and traffic pass by. It took him some time, but eventually he calmed down and we had a lovely time watching the world pass us by. We walked home, and spent the rest of the day relaxing.

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