No photo of this, but I just had to share our exciting progress after my “car training” session with Rainer last night!
This was our first time working with our small hatchback (not the car he had the big, traumatic freakout with). I started treating him for looking at the car, moving toward it on his own volition, and he seemed pretty unconcerned. So I opened the side door.
Um. Guess who just got into the car ON HIS OWN?? Yeah. This dude:
I was astonished. I started throwing treats in his direction, gave him the whole “jackpot” of treats, then I stood back and just let him sniff everything. I didn’t shriek or make any big fuss (even though I wanted to); I quietly praised him and held back. I let him sniff around for as long as he wanted, and then he climbed out after perhaps a minute.
We ended that day’s car session there, because I didn’t want to push him, but I was floored.
All this calm, voluntary behavior from a dog who was in such a state of panic over getting into a car that he was ready to bite anyone who came near him.
Obviously, the difference in the car was probably huge for him. For one, this is a car that he could essentially walk into, instead of climbing up into. And this wasn’t the car that made him get muzzled and picked up and deposited in. He has fought me before on getting into this same car (he did a home visit with me two weekends ago), but there was none of the same fear.
So, we’ll still be doing daily car training, but wow. I was shocked. This little guy has a lot of potential. Like all shy dogs, he’ll still always have more reservations than “normal” dogs, but he shows tremendous potential for progress and confidence-building. Go, Rainer!