'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

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

End of Day 3 (& Wordy Wednesday).

Lola isn't happy here, but she was quiet and recovered well from the stress.
Since starting this, I am already noticing some changes in Lola. Her focus on me has improved, and she has started looking to me a little faster when something startled her. She's still very much a terrier, but she's learning that ignoring scary things can lead to really delicious consequences.

She barked once today--just once. A dog barked and lunged at her on it's leash, whilst we were attempting some BAT* - so although her reaction was not desireable, it was understandable (the dog suddenly became a Big Threat, and her nature as both Lola and a JRT led her to show the Threat that she was just as loud and scary as he was).

Also whilst we were in town, heading down a hill to avoid passing the builders in the high street again, a woman limped very noticeably up toward us. There aren't many people with severely affected gaits that we've seen in town, ever, and Lola was very perturbed - staring, ears back, hackles starting to rise. She interrupted herself and looked at me, and I jackpotted her and we ran forward and onto a street leading off of that one. Lola really wanted to investigate the Threatening Woman, and kept turning and pulling toward her and staring, so I put her in a down-stay for a few moments to cool off, and then she was fine. It's one really great thing about terriers that they recover easily from stressful events.

When we were sat on the wall at school release time, nothing really worked in our favour. There were two dogs (collie and german shepherd, I think) that were muzzled and barking and snarling at the end of the street, for about five minutes until one owner smacked the dogs' heads and they continued walking; the children that passed our yard kept running their hands over our fence and staring at Lola (some pointing and cooing); quite a lot of children ran past, in both sides of the street; and a pair of boys were even jumping in and out of yards. Lola didn't bark, growl, or have her hackles up--but she quite often had her ears back, the whites of her eyes showing, and was often startled into looking up. She kept returning happily to the kong though, and when the children had slowed in volume she relaxed enough to put her paws onto my hands and the kong. However, we were also facing the wrong way--towards the school gates, rather than with her back to them and her side facing the street--and she was quite anxious about that, frequently looking up even when licking at the kong, as the photo shows.

* I'll post a rundown of BAT, and specifically what we were doing, later today or tomorrow.


Sara said...

I love BAT. I think it works great for a lot of situations. Oreo loves it, because usually his greatest reward is moving away from the person/situation.

Lola is doing great, and you're lucky she recovers quickly. If Oreo had a day like yours today, he'd need at least 7 days off from stressful encounters.

Sophie said...

Sara - we only tried BAT today, and I'm not even sure I got it entirely right! However after Lola had reacted to the other dog and been put in a down-stay, she didn't show any heightened (aggressive) interest in the other dog, which I quite expected. Usually she would have at least tightened the leash, straining to get at the other dog, after barking. I don't know if that was down to the BAT, to the LAT and impulse control work we've been doing, or something crazy like the moon phase!

Lola never really has trouble recovering from stress (visually at least). As soon as she's removed from the stressful thing, she's usually quick to get back to normal again. I do contribute that to her terrier nature - terriers are notorious at bouncing back from high stress events (you can't have a dog that is freaked out or has redirected aggression after facing a fox or ratting, for instance).

Oh, and I had a look for dog vests similar to what you described in the last comment, but the only ones I saw in the UK were reflective jackets. The words on them were good ('IGNORE ME', 'IN TRAINING' and 'DO NOT TOUCH' are ones I remember), and you can also order custom messages for the same price, but I'm not sure how well the writing would show up when not used at night due to it being silver font on a high vis jacket, and you can't return them unfortunately.

E. said...

This is AWESOME, yay for Lola and good for you!

Keep up the fantastic work and uhhh, I might actually make a blog entry to reward you lol!

Winnie said...

Well done to both of you. Sounded like you both worked really hard with some good results.

Love and licks, Winnie