Tuchena and I attended our very first dog class on Thursday. Taking a wolf dog any where unfamiliar is always a challenge and this was no exception. We arrived early to give me enough time to get her out of the truck and have a good walk and sniff around the car park before the rest of the class arrived. In an ideal world I would have taken her in to the hall where the class was being held before any one got there, but the earlier class was still taking place. When it was time for our class to begin, Tuchena decided that she wasn’t ready to enter the hall yet, she would get as far as the entrance porch and then she would get spooked and back away. Very gradually after lots of backing away and cautious approaches we managed to get in to the porch. We then had another door way to get through in to the main hall and this took just as long. The class was already in full flow by this stage, with 4 dogs and 7 people in the hall. The instructor, Shelley was very understanding and I didn’t feel under any pressure at all to push Tuchena beyond her comfort zone before she was ready. So, while Shelley continued with the class I finally managed to get Tuchena in to the hall by crawling in with her, reassuring her and the bribe of cheese.
We managed to observe the rest of the class from a seat in the corner of the room, and towards the end Tuchena was feeling braver and we even managed to get half way across the hall.
At the end of the class when everyone had left and Shelley was packing up she very kindly let Tuchena and I spend some time sussing out the hall at Tuchena’s pace with out any distractions. Shelley also gave us a print out of the instructions for ‘nose work’ for us to try at home.
So, although many dog owners wouldn’t view this as a successful outing, wolf dog owners will appreciate how tricky this situation is and Leon and I think it was a great success. I am looking forward to taking Tuchena to class again this Thursday and would be more than happy to sit with her each week and observe until she feels ready to do more.
We are using a ‘Ruff Wear’ harness on Tuchena when she is ‘working’ so she can establish the different level of concentration and focus required whilst she is wearing it.