Could it be? Have I found the penultimate trifecta that inspires genius in Inara? That keeps her from over-reacting but keeps her drive up enough to provide a brilliant rally performance? I’m not sure I should share this secret! But I will, because I know others may benefit from it. It has three main ingredients (hence the word “trifecta”).
1. New treats: Nothing extraordinary, just a generic lamb-based food roll cut into training treat sizes. Inexpensive, easy to carry, not messy. Stinky but not in an offensive way. However, they must taste divine.
2. New diet: Inara used to be on high-protein grain-free kibble. Last week I switched her to raw, which has about 18-20% protein, about half of the kibble she was eating. Pertinent? Perhaps…
3. Calming collar: I bought this from Ginger 3 or 4 weeks ago. I hadn’t noticed anything at first, but last night Inara was such a different dog that I’m wondering if this is one of the key aspects of the trifecta. Anyway, it’s a possibility.
So what happened last night that made me discover this miraculous trifecta? We had Rally class. It’s a new session (last night was week 2) and there are three pit bulls (two of which are reactive), a 10 year old Border Terrier (completely inoffensive but apparently has a target painted on him) and a reactive Lab. The first week Inara had snarked at the Border Terrier, just to let him know that she was a bitch. Not that that’s difficult for other dogs to notice. 😉 But last night the Lab broke free from his owner, just one of those horrible accidents that happen, and went after the Border Terrier in a very intent way. Fortunately everybody was on their toes so the kerfluffle was short and no harm was caused. However, the noises during the incident! Holy cripes. Barking and snarling and more barking from the reactive dogs.
All but one. Inara whipped around to see the fiasco but as soon as I called her name, she whipped right back and focused on me. Not a peep out of her. *insert SHOCKED face here* That’s right, my dog who still barks upon entering the building just to announce her presence did not bark. My dog that holds a grudge against any dog that snarks at her did not bark. My dog who occasionally barks obnoxiously at dogs completely ignoring her did not bark. Not only did she not bark, she stayed focused on me, eating treats and looking relaxed. *insert shocked face again*
Short of magic, the only thing that changed last night was that perfect trifecta. Same seat. Same dogs. Hell, I probably had the same outfit on. Same everything, except the trifecta.
So, gentle readers, there you have it. Treats cut out of a lamb food roll, new lower protein diet and a calming collar gives you a perfect dog. Who knew?