I got him his Thundershirt today. He tolerated it being put on and it did not bother him like the vest does. He is inconveniently shaped however, with a large ribcage and a skinny trunk. The shirt does not fit him perfectly. I am going to pick up a size smaller and whichever one fits him best he will use and the other one I will keep around for when another boarder might need it. We had a stranger (my mother) walk closely past us during one of our workouts on the driveway (trying to recreate the feel of a crowded sidewalk) while he wore the Thundershirt and he did not growl, skirt, or bolt. He did reach for her to sniff her hand when she wasn't looking but other than that he just kept his eye on her. I was very pleased with this and I think the Thundershirt is helping to keep him calm.
His obedience is going on at lightning speed. He had his first off leash workout today and he did reasonably well. He forgot he was working twice and wandered to the door of the training room. But he would Come, Down at the Side (with a correction), Down from the Front, and Heel/Autosit without a leash on. We are going to do this again tomorrow and introduce distractions. I do not know when we will start off leash outdoors or even if that is a realistic goal for this board and train. If he still shows a tendency to bolt when something scares him we may push back that goal a little bit. But the foundation will be firmly in place.
Tomorrow we are going to do one of two things. Have him do his obedience (on leash) with a stranger, in a hat and sunglasses, be a distraction while we are working OR take a field trip into town. We will have to see how the day plays out with timing and how he does in his early workouts. He is doing so well I would hate to over do it too soon and back slide.
I have started sending out feelers for helpers in a collapsing circle to see if I can put one together before he goes home. For now we are going to enjoy a relaxing evening and celebrate a good day of training. Go Luko!