'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

Saturday, 2 July 2011

This is a Terrier?

Whilst out on a mid-morning walk with Lola, I saw a little bird at the side of the road. Thinking it would be a good idea to practice some loose leash walking around distractions with Premack Principle, I waited after Lola had noticed it for her to look at me - and then we ran at the bird.

The bird did not fly away.

Thankfully I realised about two feet away what was happening, and because we've done so much work on Lola recalling around birds, I managed to call her back (she was just ahead of me, about a foot away from the bird). I slowed down, with Lola watching the bird and straining slightly in my other hand, and realised the bird hadn't flown because it was either too young or too hot (or both) to do so.

I couldn't just leave the little bird there - it was on the path next to a very busy road. I tried to scoop it up with my free hand, since over the low wall is a range of huge sheep fields and trees, but it kept fluttering out of the way. So I would follow it, crouch down to grab it, it would flit away, Lola would strain the lead, and it would carry on hopping away.

This proceeded for a while; during the course of which, Lola held a loose leash pretty much 90% of the time, and she even looked away from the bird a couple of times to glance around. I had to tell her 'no' three times and 'leave it' once to drill into her head that this bird wasn't to be touched (she wanted the bird so bad, but apparently my firm voice beats that, for now).

At one point she was a foot away from the little bird, without me between them, as I'd had to crush against the wall with the dog and bird to let a couple pass. She held a loose leash, though had grumbled at the people before I noticed them, and didn't eat the little bird. I was so very impressed with her. A man and his young daughter came strolling up after about twenty minutes of me following the bird and trying to grab it (I trusted Lola to hold a loose leash, but I couldn't use both hands because one hand was holding Lola's lead and yet I couldn't drop her lead because of the traffic), and I scooped Lola up to avoid her freaking out at the kid.

The man effortlessly cornered the little bird, picked it up, and put it in the grass by one of the trees just over the wall. Lola eyed the child but didn't bark, and I put her back down when they'd gone a couple metres so I could say goodbye to the little bird.

Such a cute little thing.


An English Shepherd said...

Well done Lola :-)

Sara said...

Good girl Lola!

Having all your training work in real life situations is fantastic!

Winnie said...

Excellent work. I admire your persistence to help the bird too.

Love and licks, Winnie

Jen said...

Well done Lola!! Glad she has such solid training on her so you could save that little bird. :) Terriers do suprise us sometimes!!

Jen and the Black Dog Crew

Bailey Be Good! said...

Hope you have a very happy and safe 4th of July!

Woofs & hugs,

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