'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

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Cat vs Dog.

Every time I see a cat, I get so excited: 'yes! a chance to show Lola she's not allowed to chase cats!' Apparently it's been paying off, as today she only honed in twice (both of which are shown in the video - I moved into her path the first time to break her gaze and body block her away, and gently pulled her away the second time as the cat was moving and therefore much more attractive) and did a good job at keeping her focus on me when so close to a cat! Before I took the video, we walked around it in a half-circle, staying at about the same distance from it as we were during the video to help her keep her mind working. I only had to cue a 'leave it' a couple of times, too.

In training news: yesterday pretty much bombed, and I didn't want to discuss it much. A drunk guy (at half 2 in the afternoon) sat down next to me on the bench, and in order to move away I'd have had to move slightly closer to him to get around the bench's arm. So I stayed put, tense and anxious and frozen, and tried to feed Lola for calmness as he was trying to stroke her. She growled at him a lot, and during the time also lunged at a kid that ran past about a foot away. Note to self: if I feel uncomfortable with a situation, Lola will feel ten times worse--and try to forget about being polite, as not everyone deserves it.

Today, Lola was good with people (she barked once at the neighbour's kid, as we'd just come outside for our walk in the park, we were both unfocused and he was stood in his garden only a couple metres away - the consequence of that was that I brought Lola immediately back inside for a few seconds to calm down)... but she wasn't good with dogs. At all, really.

We saw today: a Bedlington Terrier, a Golden Retriever, a Chihuahua, a Westie, a pair of Basset Hounds, a pair of Staffordshire Bull Terriers, some giant black thing and an Akita.

The Bedlington is a dog I've seen a couple of times in town now, and it's always good to practice BAT on as the woman who owns it generally stands with it for five-ten minutes at a time. Very handy! Lola was fine with it, and even carried on walking away from it on a walk-away reward when it barked.

She lifted her hackles at the Retriever - and it wasn't even looking at her. Urgh. She was fine with the Chi. She barked (once) and lunged at the Westie when it lunged to the end of the lead to see her, and she had an intense, hard-to-break stare at the (really obese) Bassets.

That was all in town; later at the park, two Staffies came charging up to see her while she was five-ten metres away with her ball, and she snarled and air-snapped at one, but immediately left it alone when I cued her to do so, even when one of the dogs (the one she'd reacted to) followed us for a couple of moments, right up behind her. The giant black scruffy dog (no idea what it was - but it was huge and had a moustache, and it was kind of hilariously adorable) passed by us about a metre away as I was putting on Lola's leash, and although she glanced at it she didn't react at all. Same to the Akita we saw later, when I was walking her and Jess together.

Apparently today was Not So Great for dogs--but it was okay for people. Kind of starting today, I'm also implementing a stricter exercise schedule, which will go something like:
9:00-9:30am - boomer ball indoors (Lola)
10:00-11:00am - breakfast (Jess), walk in town (Lola)
12:30-1:00pm - boomer ball (Lola)
2:00-3:00pm - indoor games (both dogs)
3:15-3:45pm - walk/hang out near children (Lola), joint care (Jess)
5:00-6:00pm - dinner (Jess), walk in park (Lola)
8:00-9:00pm - speed walk (both dogs).

It's going to be stricter than what we have now (general midmorning/lunch walk in town, some play around half 1, see kids at half 3 when they're out, a walk anytime between 4 and 7), and I'm hoping it will help her reactivity. If she's tired, she'll be less alert and frustrated, which should hopefully help her to feel more relaxed.


Sara said...

Lola did a great job with the cat! Oreo went completely crazy over one yesterday.

Good luck today.

Ricky the Sheltie said...

I agree that Lola was amazing with the cat! Good job! Hope today goes well and you don't meet any drunks in the afternoon (crazy!).

Bailey Be Good! said...

Awww, Lola, I think you did an awesome job with the kitty! I know I wouldn't have been able to be distracted by some treats if I saw a kitty that close by!

Woofs & hugs <3,

~Bailey (Yep, I'm a girl!)