'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, 24 August 2011

Bad Handler! (Wordy Wednesday edition.)

We went up town today, and Lola was really good! She had to deal with some stuff that would have sent her into a barking frenzy before, and yet she took everything in stride. The session was shorter than usual--about forty minutes, as opposed to nearly an hour--because although she had energy to begin with, she tired very quickly and started to drag behind within about twenty minutes. Apparently the way to kill her energy entirely is with a good five hours of exercise... that's, uh, good to know, I guess.

On our way up town, a pair of women with a pram (and a toddler inside) stopped about a metre from us. I'd moved Lola into a corner/against a wall out of the way of the pram, and was stuck, unable to move away, as the women cooed at her and wheeled the kid around to see her. I was practically shoving food down her throat - her reps increased from maybe once every three to four seconds to every second, maybe even more. She was often getting a click and reward even whilst still eating her last reward!

But she was fine. A little put-out perhaps, but no stiffening, staring, piloerection, vocalisation, etc. The women were talking amongst themselves and to the kid, and the child was staring at her, pointing and making some weird noises (CHILDREN) but she did very, very well.

Later, on our way back down to the house, a couple of people with a pram were walking up the fairly narrow road, so I cued Lola to jump onto the wall about a foot and a half from the street corner and waited. Much to my utter alarm, a pram appeared behind us too - and there was some pram-congestion at the corner, for a minute or two, whilst everyone figured out what to do. Lola just stood on the wall, looking expectantly between me and the prams and people, without fuss. Good dog.

Then as we neared home, my mum rang me and I, being a dumb, BAD hander, answered the call and paid no heed to the guy who came round the corner immediately after or to Lola. (I think) she looked at me for reinforcement, then growled very, very softly at him. I carried on moving away, ignoring her reaction because it was entirely my fault.

Lesson #1: pay attention to your dog.

Later, me and Mum had to go shopping, soLola and Jess were left in my room. According to nearly an hour and a half of recording (we were out for about two and a half hours, which was painful), Lola had difficulty/inability to settle well (moving position every couple of minutes), and she did have a single accident (pee) at around the one hour and twenty minutes mark, but there was no vocalisation or pawing at the door or anything, which is pretty good. Not great, but then she didn't get a run right before we left, so I think she just had to go.


Sara said...

How wonderful that Lola looked to you when the guy came around the corner. It is hard to be "on" at every moment, so don't feel too bad about not rewarding her for that. Lola is doing so well with all your training!

Diana said...

Its sounds like Lola did really well.