Thursday, June 4, 2015
Having an intact bitch can pose "interesting" training issues when she goes into season. And afterwards if she goes through a false pregnancy. You never know for sure what you're going to get until it actually happens. I will give Miley a lot of credit and say that she really hasn't been that bad. And if I hand't been doing much training at all with her before she went into season, I wouldn't have had a solid baseline to compare to and I probably would have thought that she handled herself really well over all. However, we had been training, and I did notice the gradual progression leading up to her actually going into season and the eventual false pregnancy that has followed.
About two or three weeks before going into season Miley's attention span started gradually getting shorter. I'll admit that I felt fairly spoiled and it wasn't uncommon for her to give me her undivided attention for a solid 20 or 30 min. without much of a break. She liked the interaction and she liked training. Gradually that attention span broke down. Exercises that she was doing easily before, she got distracted from then. I was looking at an attention span of a max of 5-10 minutes before she was ready to just walk away from it. She who is the attention whore, walking away???
Her stays were also breaking down horribly. I like to train my dogs loose, all together in the same room (depending on the exercise to a certain extent). While I'm working directly with one dog, the other dog(s) is working on a stay with a very tantalizing distraction right in front of them. I basically kill two birds with one stone and everyone is getting worked in one way or another, whether they're really thinking about it or not. Miley was having serious difficulties holding a down stay for more than a couple minutes while I was working Heffner. It was getting pretty frustrating.
She was also getting physically sensitive and a little flighty. She'd never been bothered by the overhead fan in the crate room where I normally train. But she suddenly was very worried about the fan whether it was on or not. She also became really flighty about her rear. If any drafts from the air ducts or the sliding glass door touched her rear, she got spooked by it. Which was also leading to stay issues that weren't there before.
Then we had issues with the texture of the floor in the living room. While she had never given it a second thought before, she was now incredibly concerned about walking on it. Slowly these little things were adding up in my head and I was really hoping that she was about to come into season. Either that or my little girl was losing her mind!
Thankfully she did come into season, and while she was a little needy and a little emotional, she was otherwise still her happy, playful, sassy and loving self. And I couldn't wait for her to be out of season so that her attention span and our training could get back to normal. Except it kind of didn't.
After Miley came out of season, she was still a little flighty, sensitive and her attention span wasn't any better. Okay, I'll just give it a little more time, I figured. Then it started becoming visually apparent that she was going through a false pregnancy. Complete with unpredictable eating patterns and nesting behaviors. Alrighty then. On the upside, I have an otherwise still hilarious and enjoyable dog to live with. She's just got the attention span of a gnat. ;)
Things are now starting to calm back down and I'm getting my puppy back. Equipment that she was squirrely about working with, she's now getting her normal confidence back on. We trained today with the overhead fan on and she didn't bat an eye. And best of all, her attention span is coming back!! Though I should probably be careful what I wish for...... ;)