For the last few days I've been writing a post in my head about how frustrated I was with Gatsby this weekend. Sunday was our last Petsmart class before the test, and Gatz was a mess. It was the worst I've ever seen him. Every. single. thing. was a distraction. Another owner would shift their weight or a dog would twitch their tail and he'd be dancing around, growling and barking. He popped up eighty times during stays. Paid no attention to me or treats during loose leash walking and heeling. The worst was when we started "Go to bed" when someone knocks on the door. Admittedly, I thought our trainer rushed that portion a little, but Gatsby was by far the worst. He threw an absolute fit. Thankfully his recall did not fall apart as well, or I very well may have gone home without a dog. I was so mad at him. We did make up later that day, but I spent a good deal of time sulking about his performance.
Now that I've had a little distance from the event, I've been able to think about it a little more critically. I've been loathe to attach the label to him, but I think Gatsby may be "reactive," especially to other dogs. He was wayyyy over threshold on Sunday and I really think we should have left as soon as I noticed it. I don't know how to get him out of that, since he gets so focused on whatever it is that has his attention that he doesn't see me as anything other than an obstacle to his target.
I didn't even go to the last day of the trial because I was so bummed out. It was really hard to see awesome dogs so focused on their handlers and just not get that from mine.
We've been working on watch me. He's up to three seconds reliably; our longest stretch is seven. I have a three-day weekend with the apartment to myself. Gatsby doesn't know it yet, but he's going through the ringer this weekend. Watch me, crate training, and impulse control. Foundation, foundation, foundation. He's a young, small dog. We have years to do the sexy stuff. (Does it sound like I'm trying to convince myself? I am.) We can do this.