Saturday, May 15, 2010
back on track w/people and getting there w/dogs
The one bark reinforcement has worked wonders! The rest of the dogs take that cue to come running to me for treats, so they ignore the other dog or people right now until I let them know what comes next so things are back on track.
Show me game has George back on track too! I'll now say "Show me" and he has to search the environment to find something to "show me" ie...dog, cat, person, bird..." I've lumped all those things including his triggers (people/dogs) into one category again so dogs and people aren't "special" or of any more value...they get him just as many points as looking at a bird and looking back to me :)
He's still wary of large dogs but it's been funny as yesterday twice we were walking and dogs in the distance, and one biked right by us before George remembered that he barks at them. He actually seriously forgot until they were long gone and then all of a sudden he looked around and barked once then looked at me with his lip stuck :)
Each of my guys reacts differently to the approach of another off leash dog.
Daizy, as a force not to be reckoned with, she's happy to say hello but those posturing dogs automatically lower their tails when greeting her.
Keegan can been just as excited to meet another dog and race to them (which he'll put on the brakes before too close) or let them race to him and will quickly change his approach if he sees he's meeting an older dog and switches to a respectful distance greeting.
Taiki the pug is a neutral happy go lucky guy who is not at all threatening nor does he display any posturing. He can sense if a dog is a bully and will stick close to your heels.
George is the one that every dog seems to want to get close up and personal with and I have no idea why he's such a magnet. All dogs can see George's red flag waiving to PLEASE....back off...after a quick sniff...EXCEPT... those who have stiff, posturing, or are adolescent and full of themselves! They just ignore his polite signals that they're being pushy and he's not interested. So he'll bark in their face.
My main worry with that is in the past it's proven to provoke an attack from the bully who I have no idea what sort of bite inhibition they have.
Last year was horrible. He ended up with puncture wounds one encounter (not a scratch on the other dog) and then having back trauma is what the vet said. $$$ later and me worried to death with George shaking in so much pain and on strict rest and injections and pain killers!
And a few mountings by large dogs, a few rushes where they didn't hit the brakes hard enough and barreled over George...or sent him doing somersaults. It's really no wonder that he's pretty much done with pushy dogs. He's a fearful dog to begin with so that didn't help one bit. All the work we've done over the years was erased by a stream of unfortunate encounters.
Hopefully we've come up with a better escape route with the practice from our last "Train and Play" class.
We're still a work in progress but have made a ton of progress this week!
Dogsmart classes, Feisty Fido and Control Unleashed are my favourite references.