'Not only is punishment risky, but it also fails to teach the dog an acceptable alternate behaviour. The dog does not learn what to do the next time he is in the same situation. He only learns to fear the situation.' Emma Parsons, Click to Calm p73

Saturday, 2 April 2011

One Step Forward...

...And about a dozen back. :(

Today, I decided to bring Lola with me while I went to Pets At Home, completely forgetting that a) she hates the train, and b) it is a Saturday, so there were kids everywhere. It was pretty much a disaster.

On the train, she was okay whilst the train wasn't moving, but as soon as it started she was climbing all over me, licking her lips, staring out the window, etc. (On the way back it was better; she stared out of the window most of the time, which seemed to soothe her more than just trying to keep her in one place on my lap or on the seat beside me.) I'm now bearing slightly-bleeding cuts on one shoulder from where she clawed her way up me to stare out the window on the way there.

In the shop, Lola had a meltdown basically right away; she was obviously stressed from being on the train beforehand. She barked not just at children, but at the workers there, people my age, adults, etc etc. She barked probably about 20 damned times. The longer we were there (over about 40 minutes - most of which was me dodging through aisles trying to avoid the MANY children, who persisted in squealing and staring at her and setting her off even when she was otherwise doing better), the better she got, and she was pretty good at just staring at her ball when I whipped that out of the bag.

One thing that really damn annoyed me though was the fact that people kept squealing and approaching us when she'd already barked at them. I used liberal treats to keep her under threshold quite a lot, but kids dashing around, people staring at her and approaching, all just made her freak out endlessly. It was frustrating and embarassing - I ended up popping her lead twice or so out of sheer frustration, though I felt utterly guilty after and it really didn't make an effect on her behaviour beyond giving me sad ears. I felt like a heel.

I've been thinking about getting her a t-shirt saying something like 'don't touch, talk to or stare at me.' The only thing is that it'd be incredibly difficult to fit all of that in a decent size on a shirt for her, as she's only a little jack russell puppy (about 6 months 3 weeks old now). Ideally, I could use words to that effect - something like Cesar Millan's slogan, yeah. I could use that ('no touch, no talk, no eye contact'), but I do not support Milan and although people would probably know what it was, I don't want to have to continuously get out of discussions of how great he is. If anyone has any ideas, I'm all ears!

In good news I guess, we got a whole load of toys and some Wainwrights salmon & potato puppy kibble for her to try: a small ball launcher, twelve tennis balls (for £5!), a Skinneez monkey and a fabulous, thick rubber frisbee. The girls will be happy on walkies tomorrow!


Sara said...

Everytime we bring our dogs out, it can sure be a learning experience. It is very hard to keep people from trying to interact with Oreo. I tell them "he's shy", but everyone thinks they will be the one to break him out of his shell.

I'm sure it is the same with Lola, because she is so darn cute, and strangers want to get closer, even when she is clearly telling them not to.

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Don't feel bad if everything didn't go as planned with your outing today. Lola is still so young and still learning. She will get better at dealing with the train and all the people (hopefully) and I think exposure is a good thing because if you never try how would you know what to work on? People need to learn that not every cute dog wants to be approached though. I don't know why that is so hard for people to understand!

I thought about you and the Crate Games earlier today and wondered if it would be cheaper and easier and the right format if you ordered directly from Susan Garrett's store?

Sophie said...

Sara, I do sometimes worry I'm not protecting her enough from strangers... but short of shoving them out of my way there's not much I can do, LOL. People do tend to respect what I say if they ask to stroke her and I say no, but some just swoop past and pet her without asking, which is annoying! I've decided I'm going to get her a bandana saying 'don't touch!' though. :)

Thanks, Ricky! I'm going to go down again next Saturday, when I'm not concentrating on trying to buy stuff, and work on Look At That games with her, and also take a fabulous treat (like a stick of tripe - something stinky) to give her on the train there. Thank you for the link too; unfortunately with shipping, it just edges into the same price as ordering from in the UK, at about £29! I'm definitely going to get the DVD when I get my money, though. :)