'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

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

End of Day 2.

Today was pretty good, I think.

Lola barked twice (once at a guy that tried to pet her immediately after rounding a corner about a metre away - he startled both of us; and then once at a dog that, again, appeared around a corner) for the whole total time we were outside, so twice in two and a half or so hours. She had her hackles up and was about to bark at a dog that was flipping out behind a fence (I cued her to down, and I don't even know why because I'd have usually cued her to leave it, and she immediately laid down and watched me to see what our next move was), and reacted to a Rottweiler that rushed across the park to see us (I picked her up to avoid her potentially provoking a reaction in the other dog; it's one thing to bark at a yorkshire terrier, another thing to bark at a dog several times her size) by just wriggling in my arms. If she'd been on the floor she'd have reacted, but she kept her mouth shut and didn't bark or snap, which I like to think of as progress.

An older woman, whilst we were sat on a bench in town, came over and tried to stroke her. I managed to interrupt her just as she'd outstretched her hand, and explained to her that Lola was scared of people (I generally find this works better than saying 'she doesn't like people', as people who like dogs seem to enjoy saying 'oh, she'll like me!'). She was very understanding, and apologised for trying to stroke my pup, which was nice. Lola was anxiously moving away from the woman, but she didn't bark or snap--definite avoidance rather than outright aggression (still stress, but I prefer avoidance displays to aggressive displays)--and she quickly recovered when the woman had carried on.

When we were sat on the wall whilst kids came out for the end of school, she was a little anxious at times, and was definitely startled a couple of times (generally by car doors slamming or buses screeching past, only three times by people, and two of those were for children that ran past), but she didn't make a peep. She was on my lap licking a kong, and at one point she had her front paws tucked under herself whilst lying down licking the kong, with her side facing the people going past. She also held on to the kong with her front paws, whilst I held it, several times, which is just how she is if she's on my lap with one indoors.

Both when we were in town (on the bench) and when we were on the wall, she offered some behaviours - lying down and the trick we were working on most recently, to put her head on her paws. Down is her go-to behaviour, since I like it as a default, and I'm guessing she was doing 'duck' because it's the freshest thing in her mind from getting through it a few weeks ago?

I also came to the realisation today that I should stop treating sudden appearances like anything else. That's probably her biggest trigger - so when people suddenly appear, I need to be clicking whilst she's looking at them, and stuff her face full of food. Right now, a sudden appearance has only a 65% or so chance for her to check in with me - the other times she'll react (whilst for the average person, who might tick one or two of her triggers, she'll look at me north of 90% of the time now).


Bailey Be Good! said...

I think it's great that you are working with Lola!! My mommy and daddy used to use a clicker with me when I was in puppy school, but once that ended the clicker ended too. I can be pretty stubborn at times (well, heh, most of the time), but if there's something I want to do I'll do it! Teehee!

Good luck with training!

Woofs & hugs,

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

Sara said...

I think someone sells shirts for dogs that say, "Please ignore my dog." I keep thinking I need to get one for Oreo. It would make him feel so much better if everyone treated him like he was invisible!

Lola did great today! Keep up the good work. I like reading about all the encounters and how she handles each one.

An English Shepherd said...

Glad its going well :-)

Ricky the Sheltie said...

hopefully every day will get better and easier - sounds like lola is making good progress!