'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

Monday, 11 July 2011

End of Day 1.

Just before I start recapping today, I need to say that I ran my training plan by a couple of online training people with reactive dogs, and ended up scrapping the plan. So there is a new plan, which I'm going to stick to solidly for a week to see how we go.

So, today: Day 1.
- 10:30-11:10am: town. Lola barked twice in the entirety of this. Once was in the first two or so minutes, when we had to cross to the side of the road with the school on, whilst children were out playing. One boy ran past shouting, and she leapt away and barked. She quickly recovered and we carried on. I was clicking her for basically everything - looking away from people at me, looking away from people to sniff the ground, moving toward people to sniff them (voluntarily--I just captured it and rewarded it). Anything that was non-reactive, she got rewarded for basically. The second time she barked was when she had to greet another dog (I'd turned around and it and its owner were a couple inches or so away). She was fine greeting, until I tried to move, and she tried to follow, and it followed us. She whirled around, barked and air-snapped, and then moved on. For the most part, she did pretty well considering the busy time of day, I think!
- 3:15-3:50pm: front yard. This is the replacement for the second session; half an hour or so of sitting in the front yard with Lola when the schoolchildren are let out at home time. I started out click/treating for looking at kids and back at me, but when the number of children pouring out of the gate increased, she got too anxious to eat the food from my hand. So I pulled out the kong I'd prepared with wet dog food that is basically the Best Thing Ever in Lola's eyes, and she happily licked it until it was pretty much empty. She was relaxed, laid on my lap, and at one point when a woman with a dog stopped to talk to me, Lola looked up at the woman, thought for a second, and then moved her head back to lick at the kong, without staring hard at the woman or anything. She was laid so that her side was toward the street (so she had to move her body and gaze away from triggers to get at the kong), and she did really well! She did bark once, at the beginning of the session, at another dog across the road that was leaning forward on the leash and staring at her.
- 7:00-8:00pm: park. We spent an hour or so at the park, playing fetch. It began really well--a pair of dogs were chasing each other near the entrance, and after ignoring them for the most part, Lola began to chase them when they ran past her only a metre or so away. However, she immediately stopped and sprinted back to me when I called her (not a sharp 'leave it!' cue, just a general 'Ro, come here'), and stayed happily in a down-stay until they'd gone. But then a guy had to spoil it by letting his huge huskies run across the entirety of the park to us, not once but twice, whilst he just feebly called for them occasionally. The first time, Lola air-snapped at one, but stopped and walked with me when I cued her to 'leave it' and walked quickly away; and the second time, I saw them coming and managed to get a head's start. They arrived, Lola barked once, but she didn't go after them and we speedwalked away. It was a bit of an annoyance to end the day on.

I'm going to keep this up for at least a week, and see how she reacts. I already saw a definite improvement in her focus on me in the first session, even though she was flagging by the end (I need to strive to make the sessions half an hour max - they must be tiring, as she slept solidly from when we got back until about 3pm).

We'll just see how it goes, I guess!


Sara said...

Wonderful job! Like your kong idea. I wonder if that would help Oreo out dealing with our neighbors' kids.

Ricky the Sheltie said...

good day 1! you are very dedicated to follow a plan like this and i am sure lola will really benefit from it!