Update on Walking Ember
#1
I have spent 2 years putting money into Ember's emotional bank. This equates to being completely non-existent during a walk, except to step in when she gets overwhelmed or to move her out of harms way. When I first got her, talking to her or drawing attention to myself sent her to the end of the leash, which resulted in complete meltdowns. We don't do any training on walks, period. Dealing with reactivity has been nothing but straight management without food. Critter chasing came down to a very solid "leave it" but still goes out the door often enough to require vigilance on my part. This girl just didn't do novelty. And what's more novel every day but an apartment complex?!

I have learned leash handling skills as well as subtle body language redirects as tools for this job, as well as get-the-heck-out-of-dodge maneuvers with minimal behavioral consequences. It's been a TON of hard work, learning and skill building.


This week, I've decided to branch out. I wanted to see if we had enough money in this emotional bank to draw from - basically, could I get and keep her attention without the meltdowns? Was it time to finally start training for check ins? Could I finally become part of her outdoor world instead of just an invisible bystander - at least part of the time?

So I made this video and put in very simple observations. She still really doesn't want me intruding on her while walking, but I can clearly see it now as being because she is "busy" (not having a job, though - there's a difference). She's taking in so much that me becoming visible to her is like throwing a running chainsaw into the mix of her 18 juggling balls and expecting enthusiasm and grace. We aren't there yet.


But what I DID see, upon looking back - look at ALL THESE TRIGGERS! We basically hit every single thing she has ever reacted poorly to on a 15 minute walk. And look at this girl GO! I am so so proud of her. Right now I don't have to be a part of her walking world - her world is expanding, and becoming less scary, and that is way more important right now! Maybe we'll revisit this in another year.

Time: ~ 11 minutes, but please watch if you can! If you have trouble viewing, click the youtube button at the bottom of the video to view it there.



[Image: e5Qmm5.png]


Gotcha Day: November 14, 2015
Vet-Listed Birthday: May 2, 2014
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#2
What an amazing girl!!
Gotta love 'em.
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#3
WOW you made a fantastic video ! Ember is doing great, she was amazing when that dog came at her with bad manners and attitude. Agh, that dog is certainly not equipped and ready to be off leash anywhere where it might make a chance encounter with other dogs, particularly dogs that ARE on lead and typically feeling more vulnerable. She was a champion, you should feel very proud of her and yourself. Her body stayed confident and she seemed to maintain complete aloofness and held her forward glance. Neither of my boys would have coped so well. Max would have slunk down, looked away but with a squirmy behaviour, lip licked, wale eyed and tried to go away. Jasper would have arced up at that dogs approach. He came in fast, hackles up and holding a lot of tension in his arched neck. There are several reasons for hackling but at the end of the day it sends a very negative message to other dogs.

I can see what you are wanting and have an idea based on my tracking experiences. The dog is excited as soon as it knows it is going to play the tracking game or in your case the walk. In that state of excitement focus is compromised, not just on the handler but also the task at hand. I would give my dog free time on the long line about 20mt before the start flag. It would only take 10min at most before he brought his attention to me. "what are we doing" because he knew he was going tracking but it's not happening.
"Get the Kid out of the Candy Shop". Then we would start the track when the dog has burned off the initial excitement and is more able to focus.
In your situation maybe: Keep asking for focus on the landing and down stairs etc but once you reach the street let her into the "Candy Shop" for the first half of the walk. Once you turn around, ("Get the Kid out of the Candy Shop") don't give her the "treat" cue word for a quick return home. Just turn and then start your focus exercises. It will help that she will start to be looking to you for that cue word that she is "expecting" .
Does she know much heel work ? Teaching "Heel" or "To Me" ect, might be a handy addition to her tool box.
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#4
I was first surprised that a man came up behind us and all she did was turn her butt away (I was thinking maybe she was thinking of the Chiropractor LOL!). She rebounded like nothing happened, then the dog came up out of nowhere. That has NEVER happened to us. Some kids in the apartment on the left left their back door open and the dog seized an opportunity. She handled that novelty incredibly! She was very stiff and at one point tried to back away, but she didn't react otherwise. This dog did try to shove her down with a head over the neck (then tried to play bow, like that's totally how you get a game started, little dude, if the game you want to play is "cheat death"). Ember just backed up, kept a side toward him, and retreated behind me as I tried to step between them. The gentleman who "snuck up on us" grabbed him and took him back home without incident. Then bam, another human. And then a squirrel.

I will try working that Candy Shop method! We only use "Snack" for the squirrel recall. Works like a dream to break that focus. Didn't really need it today though, I think she was mentally done at that point LOL!
[Image: e5Qmm5.png]


Gotcha Day: November 14, 2015
Vet-Listed Birthday: May 2, 2014
Reply
#5
(12-19-2017, 12:21 AM)Ember Wrote: I was first surprised that a man came up behind us and all she did was turn her butt away (I was thinking maybe she was thinking of the Chiropractor LOL!). She rebounded like nothing happened, then the dog came up out of nowhere. That has NEVER happened to us. Some kids in the apartment on the left left their back door open and the dog seized an opportunity. She handled that novelty incredibly! She was very stiff and at one point tried to back away, but she didn't react otherwise. This dog did try to shove her down with a head over the neck (then tried to play bow, like that's totally how you get a game started, little dude, if the game you want to play is "cheat death"). Ember just backed up, kept a side toward him, and retreated behind me as I tried to step between them. The gentleman who "snuck up on us" grabbed him and took him back home without incident. Then bam, another human. And then a squirrel.

I will try working that Candy Shop method! We only use "Snack" for the squirrel recall. Works like a dream to break that focus. Didn't really need it today though, I think she was mentally done at that point LOL!

Haha, yes "treat" is my emergency word. Yes there were a lot of things that she coped with but that dog incident really stood out to me. I think when watching the video from the perspective you presented it, I am in my mind walking through it with my dogs so the alarm bells rang.
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