Friday, September 10, 2010


I am so very proud of my Nyxie -  I have to share with you.  As some of you may know, Nyxie is a shy baby.  She has a "wide defense perimeter" as her Schutzhund handler told me when we had decided to work with her.  As she's a pet and not a border patrol dog or a K9 military service dog, I need to make the world she knows a less threatening place.  She will alert and bark at anyone who gets too close or is perceived as a threat.  If the person persists in befriending her, the warning barks will turn into play barks and soon she's bringing her tennis ball for the person to throw.  I believe we need to boost her confidence and her sharp Czech lines will be more, check.

The girls each get a long walk when mornings allow and today I took Nyxie out last, just as the lawn crew was finishing around the complex.  After a nice, long trek, both she and I were limber enough to run and we jogged a bit.  Suddenly, we were trapped at a crossroads.

In order to get back home, we had to pass a man measuring, cutting and carrying large rolls of carpet into a new unit.  She watched him with erect ears, body on high alert.  Being the prepared dog-mom that I am, I immediately popped open the treat pouch at my waist (Yes, it's like a fanny pack, and yes, I feel like a dork.).  Through a practiced "Look" command by which she's been trained to focus on my eyes - to attend to me and me only - she gets treats and I pop 'em at her like the "Giver of All Good Things" Pez dispenser that I am.  She practices the "look" command each time she's served meals, regardless of who's feeding her, so it's become automatic.  There are awkward moments when I'll be yelling "look!" at Matt or T to point something out and she will come running or pop up from a nap, just to look at me.

That little dog actually got so relaxed with the carpet guy (who was doing all kinds of "odd" movements and gestures - not what she would ever encounter on a daily basis) not 50 ft from her, that she laid down and turned her back to him for my treats!  After he went inside, we passed by his area to be trapped by 3 lawn guys blowing around all the freshly cut grass trimmings.  I worried for a split second that all that good work would be lost through panic.  I moved her about 15 ft from them, and we settled on the grass.  Again, she laid down and took my treats with gusto.  Sometimes her eyes would focus on them, but not terribly intently.  One man even came to within 10 ft of us with the loud leaf blower and still, no negative reaction.  What an accomplishment!

I have no doubt that if anyone were to threaten me, Nyxie would step between us, but I think my many months of training are starting to pay off.  I'm proud of her progress.  I'm proud that I trusted my instincts and followed a positive training methodology.  I'm proud that I didn't panic in anticipation of her reaction.  Finally, I'm proud that our bond's positive energy is allowing her to trust.

Now I'm off to the store to get more treats!!!   Happy Friday!


  1. I'm so glad both of your hard work is paying off for you. I am proud of Nyxie. How completely awesome that she responded to you and your training when it was most crucial. There are a couple of my dogs that also have this defense barrier and would not have been able to cope with the situation you found yourself in. Thanks for sharing your hope and your progress. It is inspiring.

  2. Good work! Dealing with distractions when you've got a hyper-vigilant dog is so tough, I know. Marge probably would have started to panic if she saw the guy carrying in rolls of carpet.

  3. Way to go, Nyxie.:)

    Teddy Bear

  4. Nyxie is very lucky to have an owner who understands what she needs.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  5. That is so exciting. It's so great to see when they progress.

  6. Behold the power of TREATS!


  7. Well done, both of you.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

  8. That is a big step! Congratulations!


  9. Hi there! Thanks for following my blog. Your girls are super cute!

    Elyse and Riley

  10. Nyxie is a beautiful. It takes lots of work to get through some issues. We're dealing with a weather phobic gsd (Roxie).

  11. That is fantastic! Way to go, both of you! Sounds like y'all have made some serious progress.


The girls and I love to hear from you - please leave us a note!