Bear had another okay day today. I had him off leash for one workout and he did alright except he got overwhelmed again and he kept getting ahead of me. I put him on an umbilical leash (leash attached to a belt- hands free) and he was much calmer. Being on the leash seemed to make him more comfortable that he wouldn't make a mistake and thus- he made fewer mistakes. I will probably continue using an umbilical leash on him for one workout a day and still encourage him to get comfortable being without a leash on during the other workouts. He again enjoyed a fast paced workout today and he really liked getting scratched under the chin while we walked. At one point he even gently held my hand in his mouth (absolutely no pressure put on my hand) and trotted happily for a few paces. I wonder if someone in his past allowed him to do this as a form of praise. It certainly made him laugh.
Bear LOVES his Placemat. As soon as I put it on the floor he hopped onto it and curled up. When I gave it a word he took to it immediately. He doesn't always stay perfectly but by the end of the day he had quit wandering off of his mat and was curled up sweetly. He obviously felt very safe with is mat. At one point his girlfriend sneaked off of her mat (bad girl!) and curled up with him on his mat with him. It was very cute but I eventually had to encourage her to stay on her own bed. It felt a lot like supervising nap time at a preschool.
I am pleased with how well Bear is doing. My guess is that he will need his follow ups to translate everything into his home life but the structure here has been good for him. He knows what to expect and when to expect it. His mistakes still stem from being too wrapped up in his head but I hardly need to use the collar anymore to correct him. A firm "NO" is getting the message across just fine now, for the most part. I am reserving the collar for when a verbal correction has, for whatever, reason not gotten through to him.