I never realized Simon was sooo Soft.
I haven't seen it before, and I don't think I missed it, but right now he is a very very very soft dog. It doesn't take anything for him to become a tortoise and go into his shell.
I've had him at class twice and at two agility trials, and although he is getting better and more comfortable I have to manage the situation very carefully as he begins to get frightened and shut down.
The good thing is that he still wants to play at home, and that he still loves his crate, and that he will play with me when we are at home. The behaviors he had while at trials and at class have mostly vanished, although they are improving.
An example is that two weeks ago at a trial, long after everyone had gone, I brought out his crate and took him to the practice jump and asked him to take the jump from the crate and then return to the crate. He bolted from the crate and ignored the jump and blew off my recall, so I had to go fetch him. He was not excited and it seemed he wanted to ignore the game. I eventually got him working for me, but I had to be very careful not to push, and ask more than he felt he could give me.
Last week at class he played a few crate games with me, and was in the building less than 10 minutes total in several small visits. When one particular person began to work her dog, he couldn't have been clearer, that he wanted nothing to do with the place. I took him out and he spent the rest of the class out in the car.
This weekend more improvement, and he was ringside with me at a trial, and happy to play crate games with me and be with me. On the Saturday evening I was able to do single jump work with him and the crate, but he was only about 75%, which in this case is good, as the weekend before he was 0%.
At class again on Tuesday he was happy to go into the building and be in his crate and play crate games of going in and out of the crate, doing lefts and rights, and sits, and tucks, and backing up. He went in and out of the building a bunch of times, and each time he was happier outside, but not as frightened inside. I just have to be very careful with him now until he works through this.
At home he's getting fed his meals near the teeter and as he eats I'm on the end that is up in the air, and I'm moving it up and down right beside his head as he is in his bowl. He is wary of the teeter, but every day he seems to be more accustomed to it moving, and the speed that it moves is being increased gradually. I'm letting it free fall down towards him as he eats and catching it just before it hits the ground, and he seems to be OK with that. I'm also lifting his end up pretty quickly and he has pretty much stopped shying away from it. So that is a good sign. I haven't asked him to go over it again, although he sat on it yesterday and today as he arrived out in the yard to play and eat.
It's discouraging to see him so timid, but I believe we can work through this. My plan to start to trial him in December is definately off as he has to build more confidence in places other than home, and trust that nothing is going to happen to him.
For the next few weeks, Simon will do no wrong. Whatever he does is going to be rewarded, and I'll see how that works out.