Training… and more training!

Yesterday, Carol had a mid-morning appointment at the hospital for a physiotherapy assessment. All went well and they seemed pleased with her progress and targeted some exercises for her to do at home.

This appointment gave me a wonderful opportunity to work with Ray!

I wanted to give him every opportunity to have a long walk and, as I had a couple of things that needed to be dropped off at the Humane Society, that was my choice of destination. I subsequently put the “couple of things” in my backpack, along with two bottles of water and his collapsible water bowl and was prepared for anything!

I gave Ray half an hour to adjust to Carol not being around, and then got him ready to go for his walk. He was very cooperative and seemed quite enthusiastic as we went through the back door and onto our drive way. Taking him down the driveway was not a problem, so I thought that I would let him pick the direction at the sidewalk, and fully expected him to turn left which would take him to the park which often detours to downtown. He did … but we didn’t (make it to the park!).

We were just passing the second house down our street when the brakes went on. He stopped and looked at me with his “I’m pondering the situation” look! After a few moments of waiting (hoping that he would eventually continue), he decided that he was going in the wrong direction and turned right around.

I had no problem with the new direction because he could still go downtown and/or see Heather at the Humane Society, so we picked up the pace and off we went again. Once he was past our neighbor’s house in the opposite direction, we came to decisive stop as his rear went down and I was confronted with a sitting Ray!

No amount of cajoling was going to get him any further so I just stood and waited. After a few moments, we were back in our driveway and Ray was giving both vehicles a thorough check with his nose. Apparently satisfied that nothing of interest was there, he then headed for the back gate and into the house. After a quick tour of the house, he seemed to resign himself to the reality of Carol not being there, and settled down on a chair.

Not wanting to miss out on a golden opportunity, I decided that as he was not interested in walking, this was an excellent time to work on his separation anxiety training! I duly left by the back door and walked halfway to our “mainstreet” corner and back. Ray was waiting at the door when I returned, but he was quiet. About 10 minutes later I left once again and walked all the way to the corner and back (about 5 minutes total) and, once again, he was waiting for me at the door, but was still quiet.

It was now lunch time and, shortly after lunch, Carol returned much to Ray’s delight. He decided that he wanted to play Fetch so we obliged him and it was nice to see him charging after his “whirly thing” (not a frisbee per se) so he did manage to burn off some energy. He soon collapsed in a big lump on the grass seemingly totally exhausted.

Now we must keep “the program” going to allow him to adjust to us not being around for progressively longer periods of time, but life always seems to present conflicting priorities! We shall see!


19 thoughts on “Training… and more training!

    • Hi Pamela – Thank you so much. Ray, as you have presumably noticed, does “chip in” periodically with some comments. If you would like a much more detailed account of his thoughts, then you should get his book “Who said I was up for adoption?” Not only will he have no secrets when you reach the last page, but all profits are going to the Humane Society that rescued him and spent four months training him to become a feasible candidate for adoption (He had a lot of issues!). 🙂

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  1. Baby steps as they say… Hopefully one day Ray will be able to be alone for extended periods of time. Have you considered some type of monitor to watch Ray’s behavior while you take these short trips to help get him used to being alone? There are relatively inexpensive cameras that work with an ap for your phone that would allow you to see what Ray does while you are out of the house and he’s alone in the house. He likely sits by the door and just waits but as you extended the time he may exhibit some behaviors that could provide insights to what additional steps to take or changes to his environment when you are gone.

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  2. Glad to hear that Carol continues to progress well!! Hopefully Ray will continue to make progress as well with his training. That is great that he was quietly waiting when you came back both times. Ray has definitely taught you patience, hasn’t he! 🙂 You should be very skilled at it by now.

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