3rd time is the charm — Spencer makes contact with Irène!

We had a lovely autum day for Spencer’s training session today.

28octo2012_spencerautumnlight

I have to admit that I was not very optimistic about how things would go. When we arrived in the Bois de Vincennes, in an area where Spencer had never been before, he was extremely agitated. (We realized just before leaving again that we had parked near the guide dog kennels, and all that agitated barking probably did not help…)

Anyway, we walked him towards the rendez-vous with Irène with him being incontrollable as he often is when stressed. In addition to the usual symptoms when we take him to a new place, he was showing lots of signs of stomach upset. Poor boy.

Irène had come with a secret weapon: her trainee had brought her dog. And the usual doggie magic worked. Spencer focused on the dog and figured the people with her couldn’t be all bad.

We went for a little walk together, and Spencer’s stress levels gradually diminished so that near the end of an hour, we could finally do something that resembled training.

At the very end, as a reward, Spencer and Tina (his new dog friend) got to run around together playing.

The contact with Irène was so successful that she was able to pet him and talk to him AND he even posed for a photo with her at the end of the session! (If she posts it online, I’ll add a link.)

My lesson for the day: when a dog pulls hard on the leash, it might be because of excitement, but it can also be from stress and a flight instinct that has the dog saying “Just get me the hell out of here!”

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