'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

Thursday, 14 July 2011

End of Day 4.

At the moment, everything's going pretty well. I keep expecting to hit a wall (I'll know it will happen - and I'll stress out, and then deal with it) wherein Lola will have a really bad day, and constantly bark at everyone and anyone.

But at the moment, and I'm probably jinxing myself here, everything's going swimmingly.

Today Lola didn't even bark -- she gave just one soft, uncertain growl, at a dog. The situation was that there were a line of prams behind us (three, plus chattering people) and a spaniel ahead with it's owners. I ducked into an alcove with Lola to pick her up, since it would be easier negotiating prams and a strange dog with her in my arms than on the floor, and tensed up when the spaniel looked at us. She growled a second or two later, and I gave her a soft verbal correction and turned my (and her) back on the dog to help her calm down, as she escalates her emotional response with verbalisations and direct eye contact.

Moments that I was really proud of her not barking, in the session from 11:30-12:15:
- A child running to the end of the street we were on (suddenly appearing child!, only a few feet away) that shouted something at us. She stared, but didn't bark, and got a jackpot.
- A staffordshire bull terrier coming up to us whilst we were sat on the bench in town, and sticking it's nose into her side (literally). She wasn't impressed, but my hand was immediately there, overflowing with food (as I'd just refilled the food I had, seeing the three teenagers - I didn't see the dog), and she chose to calmly eat the food rather than lunge at the dog.
- A yorkshire terrier went past, about a metre away, leaning on it's leash to see us.
- Another staffie walking past on leash; she glanced at it, and then dived for my hand. Progress?!
- Another spaniel on the other side of the road staring across the road.
- A disabled man asking to sit on the bench, and Lola having to quickly move away. She showed a lot of avoidance - she really wanted to get away from him, as he moved to sit right where she was before I had time to get us out of the way - but she didn't bark, snap or lunge. She was definitely stressed, but she was avoiding confrontation rather than seeking it.

I didn't get to do the sitting-on-the-wall-at-home-time thing today, as I had company over from about 1pm to 10:30pm. But fear not, I'll be there tomorrow, probably creeping out parents by sitting on my wall while they collect their children. It's probably a good thing I'm not a middle-aged man, or I'd raise even more eyebrows than I already do.


Sara said...

LOL. You're right, if you were a creepy man with a van they'd be calling the police! I often think people must think I'm crazy when I'm out training my dogs, but oh well.

Glad to hear that Lola is doing so well. You must be so proud!

Ricky the Sheltie said...

sounds like lola is really benefiting from being exposed to people and dogs on a daily basis! so glad she is responding well and that you can already see so much progress!