Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Keegan and cats

Keegan is such a curious, happy soul it's AWESOME but at the same time....he's highly triggered by movement and anything 'alive".

When I get the opportunity to work with him in a short increment with something that peaks his herding instinct....I do so if possible on and off leash. On leash first for safety reasons if possible, but in this case he's met Maren's cat before and he was already off leash.

Goal was to arc and go in for a sniff then return to me in short couple second increments.   I LOVED HIS DISTANCE ARC'S!  SHORT drive by, not rushing the cat head on. Keegan's eyes did not do a hard stare, he looked away, averted direct eye contact so that also was a CHA CHING moment for Keegan... that's polite and safe.

The cat stayed stationary, and didn't hiss so it was safe in that respect too.  BUT...the cat didn't initiate any walking up and relaxed or tease to come closer to rub up against him...SOOOOO I sure as heck was NOT going to ask Keegan to cozy up to the cat.

I always consider the emotional states of each player involved in the interaction.

You can tell he's not relaxed but is curious and cautious around the cat. I'd never ever think of asking him to stop,  sit or down beside the cat...his body language was in motion, not relaxed, tongue flick, ears alert then back...he's not ready for that. 

Let them know what they're doing right and it'll build confidence as well as prepare them for the next cat encounter. Not all cats (or dogs or humans) like close dog encounters so a distance arc and drive by sniff is a great way to satisfy their curiosity while keeping them safe.

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