Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Brave Dog Owners

Last night was week five out of five for a Walking With Your Dog student.   We had progressed in so many ways.... rally call-fronts, systematic introduction of distractions, running through all the training steps for walking so that we could fall back to an easier level if we needed to,  pace changes and stop-sits.    We had even done walking around other dogs and over props and CGC type greetings.

And then....out came The Cat.    A fake furry cat that meows and walks!     The cat was too much, the dog was back to the end of her leash, pulling and vocalizing.

The cat went away, we had both owners walking (easier to get a high rate of reinforcement!). They were feeding for every good piece. Using treat magnets/transports to get the dog past the area at times.  And while it was still hard...the dog recovered.  I came back and she was attentive enough I was ready to pull out the cat....  at a greater distance.

While I had been moving around the room to help other teams....they had gotten comfortable enough to pull out the cat again! And were working only 20 feet away from it!     By the end of the class, they were moving right past it.  It wasn't easy, but they were able to.

The best part?   The people were -so- happy.  They were smiling most of class and looked so sincerely happy, even with the challenges.  In previous classes they would sometimes go from neutral to unhappy if an exercise got hard.  Last night however, they really seemed to be taking on the challenges and enjoying the challenge.  I was very impressed!

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