Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Learning to Stand Alone

Ferguson on the deck, tired from chasing his toy :)

We're still working, but progress is being made :).  Ferguson is still fine in the house, in another room, and now, when I leave outside the door for a minute.  I've been following a step by step guide from the book, "I'll Be Home Soon" which has been very helpful.  Mostly, it's focus is changing Ferguson's entire attitude about being left on his own, where hopefully he can maintain a calm demeanor and optimistic and positive attitude while I'm gone.  So far, it's doing great.  Our exercises go like this:
-Give stuffed kong (frozen yogurt with kibble these days)
-Close crate
-Put on coat
-Put on shoes
-Walk to door, open door, walk outside, stand for 10 seconds.
-Come back inside, take off coat, take off shoes, open crate, take away kong.

We started even earlier, with just jingling keys, putting on my purse or shoes randomly, so as to get him used to these events as not always meaning anything.  Now that he's not had the chance to fail in his "oasis kennel," he's doing great.  It's a slow process, but if we do it right, he should be set for life (though I expect we may have to practice more if/when I move).  I know it seems like I've written a zillion of these blogs about separation training, but it will be nice to see what works and what doesn't: Citronella colar = good for teaching dogs to chill when you're still home, not so much for actual anxiety problems...ultimately, perfect practice makes perfect, and that is exactly what we're doing :). 

On another note, Ferguson is LOVING this nice weather, and gets a lot of enjoyment from running and frolicking in the yard.  If I move to an apartment, this will certainly be something he'll miss : /. 

Tomorrow is the last day I have to work for the week, but from 11:30-7:30, which will at least give me a day to sleep in.  Then I'm off for four whole days!!!  Hurray vacation!  Too bad I'm not going anywhere : /....Oh well.  Lazy days with Ferg have yet to get old ^_^

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