Well, it’s been three months since our last communication on Cole’s progress and in that time we have had some exciting experiences. Cole has also continued to mature behaviorally, but curiously, from an activity perspective, has seemed to become more puppy-like.
As we have noted previously, Cole does not get along with other dogs, and we have been working on conditioning him to respond in less aggressive manner, primarily using cheese as a reward. This has worked out very well, and Cole can now be in the presence of another dog (albeit not right next to it) and not react. In some instances he can sit and wait for his cheese as the other dog approaches, and while he will notice and pay attention to the dog, he will not regress into his aggressive mode. This is significant progress for Cole, and he seems to be on a path of continuous improvement.
We have also noticed that Cole has been acting more puppy-like despite his seven years of age. When we play fetch with a tennis ball he is actually bouncing after the ball like a rabbit, bounding two and three feet in the air as he chases the ball. We attribute this to jogging with Cole now that the weather is warm enough. He has developed considerable stamina (two mile runs!) and muscle tone. We also changed his food (Eukaneuba) and that may have had an effect as well. In any event, he is acting like a much younger and happier dog.
We recently took our first long trip with Cole, taking him with us on a four day vacation/conference weekend in Pennsylvania. Finding a pet friendly hotel was a small challenge but we eventually found one. The drive down was uneventful and Cole seemed to really enjoy being in the car with us even for the extended periods between stops.
On Saturday Cole and I went to Valley Forge National Park . We arrived fairly early in the morning and there was no one around so I let him off the leash to explore on his own, and he discovered deer! There are many deer in the park, so we spent the next two hours or so, tracking down small herds and chasing them (Cole, not me) until they outran us. Cole was very proud of himself for becoming such an efficient tracker, and to thoroughly immerse himself in the experience, every time we came across some deer scat he would roll around in it.
All in all, it was a very successful trip and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely. We definitely are looking forward to the next time we can take Cole on a trip with us.