Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Evolution of Bonnie

Over the past couple of months while Brynn and Beth have been gone I have watched Bonnie transform.   She is  not as reactive and developing into a self assured dog. 

Well, not so little...with all the clicker training I have been doing with her she has developed a bit of a 'tummy' that we are trying to work off.   We are almost through with the Canine Good Citizen prep course we have been taking at Dog's World Training & Agility Center.  Bonnie has taken classes at this facility for 18 months.  She started there in Obedience as a reactive little mess that needed to be in very small classes to prevent her sudden outburst of barking at every movement.  She is now able to be in a large class full of many different breeds and sizes of dogs.  Last week she was able to hold her stay while the instructor dropped a metal chair on the floor next to her and I stood 20 feet away.  She shied a bit, but held her stay - YES!  No barking, no wigging out - no running back to me like the hounds of hell were on her tail.  A great deal of work went into getting Bonnie to this level.  Many trips to street fairs, malls, Lowes, Home Depot, pet stores, etc.  Getting her used to people, different sights, sounds and animals.  I am very proud of her.

We will be taking the CGC test on April 16th.  The next step is Therapy Dog.  She is such a loving, sweet dog with a gentle soul.  She loves everyone equally and will be perfect as a therapy dog.  Out of all of our dogs... she is the snuggler and most affectionate.

How could you not feel better when looking at this face? 

Another big change in Bonnie has been her new obsession with balls, toys and the Frisbee.  She is nuts for toys!  Her favorite is the ball.  Note: Non Abrasive Balls Only.    

When I first started working to get Bonnie to 'fetch' I had to work with her alone.  My goal was to get her focus on the movement of the toy instead of the other dogs - to do that I had to get her hooked on the ball without the distraction of the other dogs.  Also without having to compete with Beth, Brynn or Ranger to get the ball.  The objective of getting her hooked on ball is to stop her relentless herding and biting of Beth & Ranger.

I can happily say that now Bonnie will race for the ball and has stopped biting Ranger with such frequency and ferocity.

Unless he gets the ball first then he is fair game.

It is a process...that isn't quite finished yet.  The key is to redirect Bonnie to the ball when I see her going for one of the dogs.  It seems to have worked, thus far.

Perhaps we have created a ball crazed monster?  The other day she was leaping up and trying to snatch the ball out of my pocket and I actually had her 'air-snap' at my fingers a couple of times - trying to get me to throw the ball.  That surprised me a bit, but I corrected it...before I lost a finger or two.

She has been such a joy to watch, learning how to play.  Like a big overgrown puppy. 

The latest evolution?



If I look cute, will you throw the ball?  

She is a maniac about the ball.  I wish she felt the same about sheep.

Our lessons with Sue MacDonald have been going well.  Are we making progress?  Nope.

Bonnie likes to chase the sheep.  She likes to buzz them and race around.  Sure she is keen, but she still quits under pressure.  If the sheep are moving too quickly and fast, she quits then too.   I am accepting that Bonnie may never be able to do much other than small farm type chores.  Perhaps when she is older and has a little more maturity under her fur, she may improve...but really why stress over it?   So she never makes a sheepdog, so what.  I love her oodles and she makes me smile.

I wonder what Beth will think of the 'new' Bonnie when she comes home?


WannabeVirginia W. said...

Sheep herder or ball fetcher, she is beautiful.

Sweetpea said...

I lUV stopping by your blog! I don't comment very often but this evening I thought I'd tell you what a sweet post this is...just about Bonnie, her needs, her quirkiness and all that you are doing for her...warms the cockles in me ole heart since I have a similar dawg with similar needs...struck a chord.

Lean said...

Lovely pictures of you Bonnie...

Lynn said...

I think your overall attitude with Bonnie is great! It's wonderful to see how well she's doing. Is she still a "Freckled Monster"? You might want to change that to reflect the "new" Bonnie! :)

Pat A said...

I am delighted to hear that I am not the only one hearing " Throw the damn ball, mom"
Trax does not appreciate that mom makes him wait until he sits or lays down before the ball in thrown.
Bonnie is a winner, maybe not at herding but loving and helping people is very important so she is an imprortant winner.
Hugs to her from Auntie Pat

Kamie said...

As long as she is happy, whatever, right? Therapy dog sounds awesome, GO for it!