Week 2: Hooray for Halfway!

Wag your tail for Andi! She’s made it to the halfway point of the four-week Second Pawportunity Program. Through a curriculum created by Urban Tails, she continues to show major signs of improvement with her behavioral issues.

As seen in the video, walks with Andi continue to improve. She is being more attentive and learning “check in” (looking back at the handler) while on walks. This is a desired behavior as it shows she is choosing to ignore the surrounding environment and acknowledging the handler.

The Urban Tails trainers have also begun to work with Andi on “close” behavior. During “close” behavior, Andi walks at heel position (right shoulder in line with the trainers left leg) while keeping eye contact with the trainer; an advanced obedience behavior requiring a lot of focus from Andi. Currently, the trainers are practicing the “close” behavior in short bursts, 4-5 steps at a time indoors.

“Any time you’re teaching a dog a new behavior, you want to first work in short sessions with no distractions until the dog has mastered the behavior,” said Urban Tails Senior Trainer Monica Body.  

Andi has had very successful moments on walks encountering what would normally be “scary” situations for her. In one case, Andi walked by a man dressed in a thick, hooded jacket with no reaction at all. Also while walking with a trainer, she came across a construction site passing right by large men swinging shovels and axes. In the beginning of her training, these situations would have sent Andi in to an anxiety ridden barking, lunging fit, but now she’s able to stay fairly relaxed and focused on the trainer and walking forward.

Behavior cases like Andi’s can be a long process where you can only progress as fast as the dog will allow. However, we always focus and celebrate even the smallest successful step forward. Congratulations to Andi for taking several steps (and walks) forward this week.