We've had four walks since then. Monday we walked around the lake mid-afternoon and she did great with LLW, but was getting stuck still. Tuesday we had a very long walk out on the fort and it was delightful. Yesterday we met Mary and Grafton for a walk around the lake. I decided to only walk on the wide-side of the lake - the park area where we have distance that we can use to create space. The other side is a sidewalk sandwiched between a 5' wide strip of grass and the street (with traffic). I'd hoped that Grafton's presence might be comforting to Gimme and that she'd be less concerned about other dogs, but that didn't prove to be the case.
I did discover, not surprisingly, that my own reactions do indeed feed hers. We were walking and a couple let their dog out off leash. It was about 50 feet from us sniffing and peeing and then made a beeline in our direction. Mary stayed put with Grafton and I quickly back-pedaled to add distance. I got to where we were about 60 feet from where the dog was with Mary and Grafton... I really couldn't get Gimme's attention and had nowhere else to go to increase distance. I was startled and alarmed... and then annoyed that we were stuck waiting for this person to remove their dog. Even after they moved away and we resumed our walk Gimme stayed aroused and kept scanning for THAT DOG.
Mary told me what the idiot owners had to say - completely clueless, stupid, liars. They did try calling the dog, but it paid no attention to them. First they defended their off leash dog because she's so friendly. Mary reminded them that its the law and they could be cited. Then they said they don't have a leash for her. After which they went on to say, she's a therapy dog for dogs, because her presence puts other dogs at ease. Seriously! Where do people get this junk?
Anyway I wanted to make sure we got in another walk today, but before doing so decided to take a hot soak to loosen up my foot. That worked and while I was at it I did some more reading in the BAT book. Decided to go to the back and read in Appendix 1 the clicker info about basic behaviors to teach. I was mostly interested in how they taught the basic u-turn for LETS GO.
Of course, that led me to check out part of Chapter 7 for walks outside of training. And then back to the appendix. Part of my issue is that I often can't turn and go the other way, since there can be a dog behind us as well - so eventually you get sandwiched between two dogs (not a good place to be). I've decided to restrict our lake walking to the far side of the wide side and just back and forth over that half mile for the time being, thus we can use the 30-60 foot wide green to our advantage.
In the course of reading about how to train the u-turn, I wasn't done soaking so read on further about the LLW advice and came upon something that gave me an ahah moment. That is using the hand touch as a target, which I had thought of. But she suggests backing up to teach it. That caused the ahah-duh... because Gimme does not react to dogs that pass us from behind.
So I'm thinking when we do start walking all the way around the lake, when we have a dog approaching from in front, we'll LAT a couple of times and then have two choices.
- We can u-turn and walk a little slower and the moment the dog passes us u-turn again and be on our way in the original direction.
- Or I can back up with the hand-touch target and the moment the dog is about to pass us move forward again.
Anyway, today's walk went very well. We were able to use the distance very nicely. I taught Gimme the LETS GO in just two clicks. Honestly, she had probably already picked it up, since its the kind of thing I might say not intending it as a cue. We did a lot of WHAZZAT and her loose leash walking was excellent. When we tried WHAZZAT and she seemed to get stuck, I cued LETS GO and moved 5 - 10 feet further away. Then most of the time she was able to do WHAZZAT without getting stuck. One nice thing was that some of the time when we were doing WHAZZAT, since I'd be standing still, she'd lay down all stretched out. Clearly we had good distance at that point and she was relaxed. Also we ended the walk with about a quarter mile of parallel walking with a white poodle mix, with 30-50 feet between us, doing WHAZZAT as we walked.
It was a good walk. While we didn't reduce the threshold distance at all... it was a nice session and Gimme remained calm the whole time. Makes me feel better that we'll get back to where we were before long.