Yesterday we did some free work.  At first Salma was not interested in the free work because her priority is to be with people. Mimi, on the other hand, delved in immediately – quite the opposite of her behaviour when she was alone before the arrival of Salma.

When she did start to search and explore her first place was the tray with plastic balls. She seems to like that although she did startle once when a ball went up into her face. Today she did step on the hessian sack and the soft towel but she did not step on any of the firmer surfaces, but accessed the treats from the side.

Today we did a short session just to let her follow me around and change direction when I did. She followed well but, as she was in a familiar environment, not so closely as she does when out on walks. Like all good beardies, she had to keep checking to see where everyone was and also explore all interesting smells.

Then we did a short session with the Liberty Leash and Handle just walking around with no fixed purpose in mind. She responds well to the upward signal to stop and also to stroking the lead to attract her attention and move forward when she becomes absorbed. The Liberty leash is interesting because the lead itself is adjustable in length so can be lenghtened or shoertened depending on the kind of walk or activity. The lead can slip freely through the ring which attaches to the handle so that the dog can move from one side to another without the lead becoming tsngled.

The third exercise was to try and lead her over the wooden ramp. As she had avoided it in previous free work sessions, I opted to cover it with the blanket that she sleeps on but she still did not step on it. This is very interesting because when out on walks she is prepared to stand on any natural surface but the contrived set-up with artificial obstacles seems to be processed in a different way.

I would like her to learn to use the ramp as it is better for her to be able to get up on and off the grooming table using a ramp rather than jumping, but we shall just have to take it slowly.  After all, she has only been with us for three weeks so I think she is doing admirably well.