^Cell phone photo^
I am completely and utterly in love with my new food tubes! I couldn't sleep last night due to nightmares about our wreck 16 months ago so I got up with Alex and the sun at 4:45 a.m. I hung out in bed until 6 then showered and got ready for the day which of course includes checking blogs and e-mail and such. Then I decided it was so gorgeous and I had a few hours until it was time to go work with Copper that I wanted to walk the dogs. I took Eclipse first and using the food tube he quickly got into and maintained a very nice heel position. I was giving him licks of the yumminess inside the tube every 4-5 steps but we're working on desensitizing him to the world around him as he's a bit stressed when on walks. When we came across a house where he knew a dog was present we'd stop, I'd let him check it out and he'd get rewarded for coming back to me. I think that letting him check it out is a very important part of the process as he needs to feel safe for us to ever get past this. Thankfully walking so early in the morning when the world is still sleeping for the most part most of the dogs on our walking route are still inside. I did push him a bit this morning and get overwhelmed when we passed a house with three barking goldens while their neighbor had two little terrier mixes barking at him too. It will take us awhile to be able to walk down that street but the food tube did it's job and he wasn't so stressed out he wouldn't lick it (although he did pull a bit a couple times while "displaying" that he's not a pansy [when really he is] it wasn't too bad and at least he didn't pull me over!).
I think I may have found the ticket to our success. In this case our success will be for Eclipse to be comfortable on his walks and maintain a loose leash, we'll get there, I know it. After a few more walks of licks so very often we'll increase the number of steps between licks until eventually he's only getting licks occassionally and when we're around dogs as that desensitizing will take much longer. Oh, sweet progress!