Last night I sat and tried to gather my thoughts. There is so much I want to say but don't even know where to begin. So I thought the best thing to do would be start at the beginning. It all began in the spring when I felt the need to improve. Improve myself. Improve my skills. Improve my dogs. So I registered in a clinic put on in Shaunavon Saskatchewan.
A little under 900 kms later I was there. It's funny how you never know how things are going to turn out. It turns out I learned so much from the people taking the clinic, as much as I learned from the clinician. Diva has been a challenging dog for me. She is extremely reactive. Reactive to the point of being scary and dangerous. And all the tools I had in my tool box weren't working very well. I had hit the point where I was seriously considering finding her a home better equipped to deal with her. At the clinic this fabulous lady from Utah, looked over at me and gave me the hand I so desperately needed. Without being harsh or cruel, we were able to start to turn Diva's behavior around. It was simple. When she gave a "negative" reaction, I calmly take her and lay her on her side. I keep my hand holding her neck and head down with a steady pressure. Whatever set her off is allowed to be around her. She is not allowed up until she is relaxed. And it's working!!!! The frequency is significantly reduced and the power of reaction is reducing! What a relief! I took her with me to the Working Cow Horse clinic and continued on with her desensitization. This is something I can consistently do and feel good about doing.
The clinic was amazing for Diva. I was given the help I needed to get a handle on her behavior. Plus, we were able to work her on stock and Faansie gave me some great strategies to help make her a better worker. I was able to improve my timing and ability to apply pressure to create the position needed on stock. I learned with Ryder to not be afraid of applying pressure. That I'm not going to wreck him. I have grown as a person and trainer. It was a valuable use of my time, energy and money. Plus there was the great time spent meeting new people, some of whom I'll hold close in my heart for their kindness, generosity, and willingness to bring me into their lives for a couple of days.