After that everyone just sat down with their dogs and encouraged them to lay about calmly. We were on the outer edge and the nearest dog was 10 feet. I would have liked to have more space, but that would have put us sitting out in the hot sun. Gimme would do okay for short bursts, but then she would pop up again. She wasn't misbehaving... just couldn't get relaxed. In hindsight, there was another shady patch about 60 feet away and I should have moved over there. That was much more space than she needed, but it would have made it easier for her to relax and made it a more positive experience for her - next time.
After that they had us all move one-by-one to another dog. Gimme didn't do as well as she has in the past. I think it was too much at the end of class and with 7 other dogs in sight, to be left with a stranger. She didn't do badly, just never relaxed, even though Elizabeth was shaping her to lay down. The second stranger resorted to non-stop treats and that pretty much got her all amped up again.
Mary called later and we met to walk the kids around the lake. Gimme did pretty good with her "whazzat" work and got admired and petted by a lot of people. She also got petted by a number of small children. On a positive note, she was able to relax enough during some of our "whazzat" stops to lay down all stretched out. It was closer than she's done before and I'm thinking it probably seemed easy compared to class - at least she didn't appear to be trigger-stacking, so that's good. I do think that I need to improve my game and do the "lets-go" much sooner when she gets stuck... In the future I plan to count in my head during "whazzat" and when I get to three if she hasn't looked back to me, then we'll do the "lets-go" and increase our distance.
I sure wish there was going to be an opportunity to get Gimme and Grafton together out at the fort for an off leash romp before Sunday. That's our trial day (second NW2 attempt) and I'm sure she'd benefit from a good rousing play session. Its going to be a verrrrry long day, since its almost a 4 hour drive to/from where the trial is held, so we'll be leaving home at 4 a.m. Its a resort town and, being summer, all the hotels within a 2 hour drive are booked solid (and expensive to boot).
Dang hormones - I know I've mentioned that Gimme's dog-dog threshold has gotten significantly larger since her false pregnancy and we're working to recover lost ground. I've also noticed a couple other things that she's gotten "weird" about since then. Neither of these are huge, but I don't like it that she has these concerns in her own home. The one is an old issue, that I hadn't really worked through, since it was not that much concern to her, and easy to avoid. Of course, now it and the other have become a bigger deal, so they are moved to a front burner.
- One is that she's very concerned about the bathroom - that stems from something that happened a long time ago and it used to be just a very mild concern to her. Since the false pregnancy, she doesn't want to go in there at all. I'm letting her spend a minute or two once or twice a day licking peanut butter in there... and also tossing cheese in there when she isn't looking, so she can find it later. These I hope will desensitize her to the concern she feels. I'm thinking I may play the name game in there as well... I'm sure it won't take too long to resolve this.
- The other is that she's acting concerned every time I take a deep breath or make any blowing sound. She's the only dog I've ever known to notice my breathing. I first realized she was tuned into it because she picked up on the fact that I take a deeper breath when I'm about to get up from the computer (other dogs keyed in on me sliding the keyboard in), but she wasn't concerned about it. Well, during her false preggers, I think I must've taken a deep breath and then coughed or sneezed and startled her, because now she is more vigilant about it and actually concerned. I recently read something that said when a dog is pretty anxious about something, that your goal should be to work on it no more than every other or every third day. So I'm taking it slow with this and trying not to breath in the way I know concerns her (i.e. no blowing on a spoonful of hot soup, etc).