Here’s another update from Elizabeth Lujambio, founder of Marley’s Pit Stop in Los Angeles, on Liza Bean, the shy pit bull she’s fostering whose debilitating fearfulness was the subject of a phone consultation Elizabeth won with It’s Me or the Dog star Victoria Stilwell.
With Victoria Stilwell whispering advice in our ears and the support all of the Petfinder members, Liza Bean and I embarked on week two of Liza’s training.
Basic training agenda included reinforcement of the “sit” command and learning the “down” and “stay” commands. We also introduced a new person to the training: a tried and true Marley’s Pit Stop volunteer and foster failure (he kept three foster dogs!), Dave.
Initially, I began the teaching of basic commands. Liza B. always had her “sit” mastered — although, because she has such a long body, it takes her a bit to get there! Next, we began the “down” command, using treats and the leash from her already-familiar “sit.”
We found out that while Liza can do a “down” nicely, she prefers to do so on grass, not on hard surfaces! Who’s training who here?! We are practicing the mechanics on grass and can get her to a low crouch on cement. Hopefully, this week she will be able to do a proper “down” regardless of surface.
Next we introduced the “stay” command, which was really hard for Liza B.,
as she likes to be as close to her foster mom as possible. Liza looks to me as a security blanket, so for me to go
even two feet away was very scary for her. After about five tries, Liza was
beginning to feel comfortable with me moving a bit away — as long
as a treat was coming her way!
Liza still runs for me if the
wind suddenly blows or she hears a sudden sound, but we were happy with
the baby steps. This week we will introduce a 10-ft. training lead, so
keep your fingers crossed for the Bean!
Thursday was the scariest day
for Liza: We drove to volunteer Dave’s house — new neighborhood,
new person, new smells. We didn’t have such good luck. Liza was very
scared and made an anchor of her body just to go for a walk! Dave and I were eventually able to get her to walk in the new
neighborhood and practice a few of her commands. It was clear that Liza
was overwhelmed, so we took a break until Friday.
Dave came to our house on Friday and Liza seemed a bit more comfortable. Again we took a
walk, practiced commands and then … I stayed on the corner
and had Dave walk Liza and practice commands. The video below demonstrates how
well she did after about eight takes! She still had me in
view, but was far enough away to get the idea that she was safe
with another person. Liza was able to complete a walk with Dave while
going by a neighbor who was watering his lawn, and ended the
session with a proper “sit.” Hooray for Liza! Dave and Liza then chilled out a bit for some cuddling. No, ladies and gentlemen, Dave
is NOT looking for a new home!
Next week, we will continue practicing
Liza’s work with Dave and introduce her to new neighborhoods. Wish us
well. Liza’s confidence is building and while we understand that it
is a slow process are so amazed at the amount of progress she has
accomplished in a short period of time. I think Liza knows that
Victoria is coaching her in absentia and that she has the love and good
wishes of all the folks at Petfinder. Thank you to all of you for
participating with us on “Team Liza”!
PS-We did get the D.A.P. collars,
but they were the wrong size ! Hopefully, we will have more to report
on its use next week.