We feel Ronnie has turned a corner this week in more ways than one.
Firstly, the dermatitis which had been bothering him lately now seems to have completely cleared up. We are still phasing out his course of steroids and they will be finished by Tuesday.
He is anxious to please us and, as a consequence, his training is coming along well: he can now sit and give a paw, stay sitting while I walk away from him, then come for a treat when I call him over. We are still working on “lie down”.
Ronnie still tugs and strains when he is out on the lead and I think this problem will need lots of perseverance to sort out, but we have felt we could trust him enough these last few days to let him off his lead in the woods. Far from charging off as we suspected he might do, he has been the model of good behaviour and stayed obediently with us all the way. Apart from trying to chase birds and squirrels, off his lead he has been much more relaxed in his behaviour towards the other dogs/joggers/walkers we have met on the path. His habit of crouching down when he sees another dog approaching and then pouncing at it is something we have been trying to discourage as it makes some dogs nervous even though Ronnie is not intending to be aggressive!
We are also now confident that he is relaxed enough in the house to be left alone for short periods while we go shopping. When we returned from town last Friday he was dozing on the window seat and didn’t even wake up until we were half way down the garden path! Wonderful progress in one week – he is such a clever dog!