Condo Blues: Project Me

Friday, May 10, 2013

Project Me

Our ongoing lesson with Lacey is to teach her Husband and I are her leaders to help build her confidence and help her with her fear issues.
The big difference between Dog World and Human World is to be happy, a dog needs a good leader. Not someone who leads by yelling or hitting but the type of leader who stays calm in a crisis, like an ER nurse. If a dog doesn't think you are doing the job, it is going to try to take over. Human World considers this bad behavior but Dog World considers this the way stuff gets done. 

Lacey is trying to be the boss of this pack. It is stressing her out because she knows she isn’t a strong leader. Unfortunately Lacey isn’t cluing in that I am her leader either.

The Dog World Leader always goes first. Lacey knows her humans walk through doors and up stairs first. She now knows sit, stay, down, and is pretty good on shake with both voice and hand signals. Husband and I use these tricks as a way for Lacey to earn positive things (for example she has to sit so I can put her leash on her for a walk) or to give her something positive to focus on (and the treat reward) when she thinks something is scary.

We are having a heck of a time teaching Lacey to walk by her human’s side and not pull on the leash! This is something we started working on as soon as Lacey came to live with us and before we started working with our behaviorist.

We are on Technique #3 to teach Lacey how to walk on a loose leash. *sigh*

I now understand why some people claim their dogs are dumb and can’t learn. I don’t think that is true with Lacey. Lacey walks well with our behaviorist. Lacey doesn’t yank Husband around (unless she sees a bird) with our new teaching technique but not with me. At all. Lacey, what is wrong with you?!


I saw an ad for Wicked (great show, if it comes to your city go see it!) before a walk with Lacey. I couldn't get the song Defying Gravity out of my head during our walk. I'm thinking about the song, the show, and imagining myself as Elphaba at the end of Act 1.

I looked down and realized Lacey was walking right by my side on a loose leash for the first time during the majority of our walk. 

Light bulb moment.

You can fake it until you make it but you can’t with a dog. One of the wonderful things about dogs is that since they communicate using body language and inflection. Dogs notice and pick up on in the tiniest changes in human body language humans often don't realize we are making. That's why it seems like your dog can read your mind. 

My dog. My therapist. The more I learn about rebabbing a fearful dog, the more I learn about myself. 

It is true that your energy, chi, attitude, emotion or whatever you want to call it, travels from you, down the leash and into your dog.  I've spent the last year putting everything but me first that I haven't even been on my own list. Sound familiar to anyone?

I need to get my head back in the game. I can’t expect Lacey to consistently confident if I don’t give her a good example to follow.

Welcome to Project Me! That's what I'm calling my self-improvement plan, program, whatever you want to call it.

I made a self improvement plan but the details will make this post way too long. To keep myself accountable and to give any of you ideas if you need a little shove in the right direction, I’m posting it on my food blog Lazy Budget Chef here.

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