I haven't talked about our walks or Gimme's reactivity for awhile, so thought I should catch up on it.
I decided several months ago to use classical conditioning when we passed other dogs during our walks. It went very well, and I soon noticed Gimme would see other dogs and then look at me with her "well?" expression. Its very much like what she does when she sees bicycles. On occasion when we had room to get off the trail for more space, I've had her play the eye contact game (Chris Bach style) with me.
Yesterday early on our walk she did the best ever playing eye contact when we were at the little park off the trail. So later when we were walking on the trail with only 10' space, I saw calm dog coming and I got her started playing the eye contact game. She did beautifully. Then a bit later I saw another seemingly calm dog and set up for eye contact. She did well and the other dog stayed calm until he got within 20' of us. Suddenly he was up on his back legs pulling and growling with the low guttural "I wanna kill you" growl (thank God his owner was strong enough to control him). It was too late for me to pull out the PB toob and there was no room to create more distance, so I just switched to constant feeding mode and when he was just past us, I threw a handful of treats on the ground for her. Gimme was brilliant and this with a snarling dog at just 10 feet! She really focused on me, then the treats, then more treats. When she finished them she looked back at him, but totally calm. I've never been more proud.
Today we walked again and did some more of this. We stopped for eye contact while we were passed by a lady who was actually training her reactive dog, giving it treats and being calm and positive. I think its a sad state when seeing someone training their dog makes me want to do the happy dance. I want to see this so often I'm blasé about it. Later as we were coming back I met her again, she had a different dog, and we stopped to talk awhile. This dog was much calmer and laid back. We shared the history of our dogs, meanwhile Gimme got treats for remaining calm. Between then and getting back to the park we passed two more dogs. Thinking Gimme might have accumulated some stress during the prolonged exposure, I switched back to classical conditioning for these.
When we got back to the little park, I set up my camera on a tripod and Gimme and I made four short Parkour videos. I think I have enough for the Training Level title and I have a couple which should be suitable for Novice. This afternoon while its hot I'm going to edit the Training Level videos into one and post it on the Parkour list to see if anyone notices anything I missed. If I submit it and one of them fails, I can resubmit all of them with the failed behavior fixed, but have to pay the fee again.
On my way home from church I stopped by Home Depot to get the things I need to turn a Go-Go Dancer platform into two TicTac boards. I'm making one normal width and the other narrower. I think it makes sense to have a narrower one to train on before I ask her to do it on a tree or something.
The Go-Go Dancer platforms I got for free and didn't have any idea what I'd use them for. So I'm making a pair of TicTac boards for myself out of one and will see if Pawsabilities wants the other to make a set for the classes I'll be teaching there. I keep telling myself I need to stop bringing home "free junk", but then I find a really good use for something and my junk collecting behavior is reinforced. Its on a variable schedule of reinforcement, which we all know creates the strongest, most resistant to extinction, behaviors. ☺
Gimme will be happily surprised to see Parkour toys appear in her very own yard.