Success!! No, really this time. It’s been a grueling two weeks. Fiji’s training was delayed due to her surgery to remove a tumor. When we finally started working on trailer training, it didn’t go smoothly. Fiji refused to get in! Of course, I couldn’t afford a private trainer. So, for two weeks, we pushed Fiji in, tricked her with treats, threw in her toys and fed her in it. At the end of the day, she’d still jump out of it or refuse to get in completely. Ugh…
I knew it was me and not Fiji. But that didn’t stop the frustration, tears and self-defeating thoughts. And there was no way I was going to leave Fiji here. You’d have to understand Fiji’s bond to me and my bond to her to know why that’d be a bad idea all around. So, I literally sat in darkness for two days, wondering what the heck to do.
Long story short, I explained the situation to Melody Whitworth, Publisher and editor of Pet Project Magazine in Columbia, MO, and she referred me to Nick Clark. He runs Pack Dynamics, a dog behavior training facility. I called him and told him the whole ordeal, and he confidently pronounced that it would only take one session to get Fiji in the trailer. In the back of my head, I was like, “Wait til he meets Fiji.”
As a contribution to our ride, Nick worked with Fiji free-of-charge, and in my eyes, magically got Fiji to obey his every command– and mine!
When he came to our house, Nick first had me demonstrate how I try to put Fiji in the trailer. FAIL, as usual. He grabbed control of Fiji’s leash, and briskly walked her towards the entrance of the DoggyRide. She didn’t have time to think about what was happening. However, once she caught on, she resisted big time. Nick said “place” in a firm tone and proceeded to push her in the trailer. He used his body to claim the space and make sure Fiji did not defy his orders and get back out until he said the release command–“ok”.
Only once more, Nick had to physically push Fiji in the trailer with his body. The third time, she got in by herself. The sixth time, she understood place and ok. After the 15th time, it was smooth sailing. We worked on enclosing her in the trailer and leashing her in. We even brought in distractions such as dogs! Trainers…they always make you feel like a dummy. In 30 minutes, Fiji was acclimated to the trailer and getting in and out on command.
If you’re in a bind like me, and need quick remedies for your dog, see a trainer. They know how to communicate with dogs and they can teach you. If you’re ever in MO, drive down to Pack Dynamics with your doggy and take a few sessions. Nick literally saved my cross country cycling dreams!
Now, we plan to leave out Wednesday morning and enter NYC in the evening. Plans change, but I think we’re finally starting this trip for realz.