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Thread: Unexpected Training Opportunity

  1. #1
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    Default Unexpected Training Opportunity

    I went to a brunch at a friend's place today. As they are dog people, I took Banjo. I walked in and the first people I saw were tiny ones. There were a 2 and a 4yo and also a little one who was only just walking. So I had to keep Banjo on the lead as I did not trust her around kids who probably weighed less than her.

    I couldn't relax. I had the dog pulling on the lead and whining, trying to get to my friend's dog and trying to jump up on anyone that passed and just not settling at all. Eventually I put her in the car so I could eat my food.

    Got her out immediately after and sat away from people a bit, feeling rather anti-social and with the dog still feeling miserable on the lead.

    So I finally got out the clicker and the treat bag and started walking her past the kids, clicking her every time she looked at me. First on the lead, and quite quickly she'd calmed down enough and was focusing so much on me that I could do an off the lead session. Took me maybe 20 minutes and after that, she did not even look in the kids' direction! I still watched her closely and if she did get a bit too close to them, I'd just get her attention and she'd move away.

    Clever dog! And I could finally relax and chat to my friends with a glass of champers!

    And Banjo had a biiiig play with my friends' energetic lab until she looked like she was going to fall asleep whilst walking.

  2. #2
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    Great job.......

    But I would change it slightly. I like the dogs to look at what worries them and after that look at me and chill. So I add in the "Who's that". When the dog sees something or someone I actually say,"who's that" (or look at that)and reward. I initially push the reward into them whilst they are still looking. After a while they look at you for a treat when you say "who's that", but you are giving them permission to still look and learn to cope with the "stranger" or such. I am not to much for focus on me only, it is avoidance of the scary stuff. I like my dogs to learn and deal with the things around them and then come to me for the attention/reward. Just think it out and see if it suits your end result
    Pets are forever

  3. #3
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    The problem is not that Banjo is worried by kids, it's that she loves them soooo much that she sees it necessary to go and jump all over them to show them just how much she likes them! So I want to teach her to only pay them attention when they initiate contact. Which we got to do today with the older kids that were there too. They were dog lovers and wanted to pat her, so I clicked and rewarded for not jumping or licking wildly.

    So I'm not sure the "who's that" would fit in with this?

  4. #4
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    "who's that" teaches a dog to look only.......It is only after you have given permission that the dog is allowed interaction. It gives you time and teaches a dog to ask and connect to you, be it scary stuff or happy stuff. My dogs do that, even if they see another dog they always play with. because of all the initial training, they now sit beside me (some times anxiously) waiting to be able to meet. As I said, think it out and see if it suits. There are many ways to train. I too love the clicker or "yes". I use it all the time
    Pets are forever

  5. #5
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    We had a quick "look at that" with the pony club horses that happened to be next door to an agility competitiion which happened to be on the way to/from the beach walk I took dog for this morning.

    Frosty was very interested but we were far enough away that it was easy to get her attention back and reward and not nearly close enough to start her barking her head off, which would have been rude and embarrassing. And the distance was shorter than usual so doing good.

    Well done with your kiddie desensitization today Beloz.

    Frosty and her best doggy friend Molly got lots of pats this morning uninvited by four boys who were well out of control but very well behaved around the dogs apart from not asking first. Dogs were extremely soggy (we were at the beach) but well behaved. Apart from some zoomies, but didn't skittle anyone. phew.

  6. #6
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    I am having trouble getting my head around this. If you treat them while they are looking at the kids/horses/whatever and you know they are looking because they want to go and chase or jump all over it, how does the dog get that you do not want them to do that?

  7. #7
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    It is not that different to "look at me", except you are making the dog more aware of his surrounding and make him realise he is actually staying with you by choice even though there is something else that he is interested in. Anyway, keep doing what you are doing and you will still succeed, you might even just get it (meaning what we are doing), whilst you are mulling it over and training. There is really no right and wrong, just some different ways of why and wherefores.
    Pets are forever

  8. #8
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    Beloz

    What I'm doing is rewarding the self control. Ie not the dog lunging to the end of the lead and barking her head off - if she's doing that we're too close. Or I need to block her view. And as soon as she looks at me, or responds to me saying her name - I reward.

    So it goes - "look at that" and she looks and gets a bit tense, and then "look at me" or I just say her name and give her a treat when she pays attention to me or the treat - doesn't matter a lot in this case. Because when she's really excited/distracted by the horse/possum/car/jogger - she doesn't pay any attention to anything else. We're too close or crossed the threshhold beyond self control. You want to work a level or two back from this level of excitement.

  9. #9
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    Oh ok. So it's just an extra step before what I was doing. It does make sense now.

    This method of training is very new to me and I am amazed at how subtle it is and yet how fast the results can be. It's very rewarding. For both me and Banjo, who earned her freedom AND a whole lot of treats today. And then helped herself to the remainder when I left her and the treat bag in the car when I went to the butcher on the way home!

  10. #10
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    And then I was talking to my mother over in Belgium about this and some other minor behavioral issues I'm working on with Banjo.

    So of course she started telling me that the dog needed to be punished for bad behaviour. In tone that made it clear she thought that my dog would walk all over me if I did not discipline her the old-fashioned way. If only she could see how much better the progressive reinforcement training works... I cringe now at the idea of doing anything that would make my dog fear me. I'm sure it would undo most of the progress we have made.

    It's a bit rich getting advice from a person who is constantly reinforcing her own dog's bad behaviour without knowing too!

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