Real, Genuine Focus and Engagement (PLAY!!!!)
#1
We are taking Get Focused! in the Fenzi classes. This is my first class at Gold level, where we actually get to work with the instructor. And because it's online, it's all video based! So I have an actual video journal of everything we are working on (and held accountable to actually video everything).

We've done Rapid Fire Treating (RFT), Offered Focus, Captured Focus - each designed to relieve all pressure and tension from "work". And with each one, Ember changes that much more.

Today, we started our fourth assignment, which is "On and Off" for focus.

Play is extremely new to us. We tried it in Bogeyman course, as a form of therapy. But I didn't really understand how to play with her, and she didn't know how to play with me, so we ended up in a big melted down mess. I'm also in Engagement this session (bronze, so only reading everything and working on the side), and they posted two whole lectures on play last week.

I had been trying, and finding tiny pockets of engagement throughout the day (mainly before going for a walk) that Ember could handle me being focused on her. This stared about a week before classes started this time around (so three weeks ago). After that lesson, and after we've been working on the above lessons as well, things are finally starting to meld together.

This was last weeks huge win: Ember literally cut me off to get my attention. Most dogs do this naturally, throwing themselves in front of you. NEVER Ember. If she did, she immediately rolled to her back like she immediately regretted the decision. And she only has done that a handful of times (if that) since I have owned her.





And this is this weeks: PLAY!




I wanted SO BAD to love on that baby girl! But we do this throughout the day now and she gets undivided attention (not ALL "on and off" exercises), so I make up for it later Smile

We are now all three walking a mile a day (or 1 dog park visit a week, if it's nice, instead of a walk on that day). Everyone is in a better place. Kairo is more mellow, Ember is more energetic and getting braver, and I am feeling great. This has been an amazing month in our household!
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Gotcha Day: November 14, 2015
Vet-Listed Birthday: May 2, 2014
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#2
Bless you! And Yay! Great job all of you! Greenstars Ember looks so happy and her ears are so expensive. You two look like you're having great times! Snoopy
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Sometimes, the smallest things bring the greatest joy.
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#3
wow!! great to see the little differences in progress!! Makes me smile to watch the video's! Good job together, and a lot of fun Smile))
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#4
Thanks guys! It's been absolutely awesome Smile
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Gotcha Day: November 14, 2015
Vet-Listed Birthday: May 2, 2014
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#5
hihihi, we can already learn from your subject and vidoe's, actually, already with my walk just now...lol!! Awesome yes!! Smile
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#6
Great videos. I love seeing Ember so happy and engaged. So many times I have been working with Mattie and all of a sudden she decides what we are doing is scary and will shut down.

What is the goal with the "On and Off"? I'm always looking for something new to help Mattie become more confident.
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#7
OH MY!!! She is looking wonderful!
Gotta love 'em.
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#8
TMM - you might want to check out Fenzi classes. They have many different courses for fearful dogs as well as worked up dogs. I've learned so much - the biggest change I've had to learn is removing pressure. It was so hard to figure out, and I still can set her off if I'm not too careful. In the second video, you are seeing a mix of play from Engagement class and Bogeyman class (and there is an ENTIRE course on play alone, I just keep missing it), as well as focus.

On and Off is an exercise for teaching a "take a break" command (where the dog is free to do absolutely anything they want to). I am teaching Ember that she has a choice to disengage when I say so. Right now, it's "forced" (as in I have to completely ignore her, and she's free to check out the environment until we are "on" again"). But this is just step one. The Engagement class starts off with "offered engagement" which is where you turn the dog loose and reward them for continued engagement with more work (and therefore more cookies). It's a value building process. After the end of the two courses (Get Focused and Engagement), you have built the actual drive, enthusiasm, and confidence for "work", where you can turn a fearful dog "off" if needed to keep them from getting spooked by something you see and they don't, or offer an over-the-top dog a break, and then you get to see them choose "nah, you're more fun!".

The Focus exercises alone have taught me how to remove pressure. We still have days where Ember is just plain out of sorts, but those days are growing few and far between. We aren't doing any actual training beyond focus training so that all of our "work" time experiences are "free food for just focusing on Mom".

GM - my heart melts every time I watch both of those videos (and I may do so several times a day...). We have play sessions between that aren't "on and off" so she gets full attention, and I'm learning what to watch for to call it off before she gets overwhelmed. We have a system going now, and she is "almost" consistently dinner-time-happy when I pull out training treats.
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Gotcha Day: November 14, 2015
Vet-Listed Birthday: May 2, 2014
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#9
Every few weeks, go back and watch one of the early on videos. She has come leaps and bounds!!! I love seeing all the body language she is offering you, when before all se offered was fear and uncertainty. She is an amazing little girl and you have done wonders with her.
Gotta love 'em.
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#10
It is just amazing how much you invest into helping Ember be her best self. You cause me to realise how much I take for granted. It is a very different experience when you have a chance to nurture development during those early and critical times and to troubleshoot as you go. I am humbled by your determination to help her undo that which she struggles with and build a happier and more fulfilled future.
I am not saying that there aren't others who may have adopted her and met her physical needs and loved her but I think she is very lucky to have been adopted by someone with such a commitment to her emotional needs. Great job !
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