Nobunaga loved meeting Kuriyama Trainer and was really trying to engage, all smiles and paws and play with me. Sherlock is looking a bit glum...I think he's been trained so much, although he knows what to do, what's expected, it's not a joyous experience for him, but one fraught with anxiety. When is the tugging and bullying going to start? sort of thing. He did appreciate the treats though, and Kuriyama Trainer is so unassuming, it was clear there was no threat. I'm afraid I only relaxed and remembered photos when Nobunaga got in the picture...
Such a wonderful rescue setter NGO, CACI Gundog Rescue, Kuriyama trainer volunteers with the setters and pointers there and came over to help me as follow-up looking in my quest for ideas and encouragement with Sherlock. She has her own pointer and a dachshund, so personal experience to build on along with training the dogs at the shelter. She remarked both on how inordinately and insanely well-behaved Sherlock was on the leash, so sensitive to the slightest tug, and how constricted his neck muscles were, suggesting I give walkies with a harness a go instead, to give him a totally new body awareness on walks. This is a welcome suggestion and makes a lot of sense:
...which I immediately implemented, putting him in Claire's old harness to get used to the feel before we go out on walkies. He's looking rather skeptical here, but that's before we go out walkies. Pretty in pink, my boy.
The barking is going to take rather a lot of work, like, I have to break down each movement related to walkies, clipping on my pouch, getting the leash from the wall, clipping it on each dog, hand on doorknob, etc. has to be only navigated once Sherlock is in a calm position, and stopped the minute he goes frantic again. She reminded me this would take a lot of time and patience, and to aim for it when I was rested and feeling up to it, rather than see it as a daunting chore. Small steps.
I just did a practice session training speak and shush in the kitchen as Ian Dunbar recommends. Trying to speak on cue, Nobu and Claire are steadily silent, so I got DH to sit down in the pack and be my peer example: clicking and giving treats and patting for a cue of speak with hand gesture cue of fingers pinching salt then spraying salt on the meal; made us laugh a lot, and of course Sherlock got closest to the idea, but it's going to need a bit more work.
Being there on the phone for consultation, coming over with concrete advice and good energy, great inspiring blogs on the net like Patricia McConnel and Eileen and Dogs, friends' warm comments on FB, Youtube videos like Kikopup and Ian Dunbar, these are all things that give me the stamina and encouragement to work with Sherlock. Thank you Kuriyama Trainer!