Lesson#3: On the street

March 7, 2010 at 6:09 am 13 comments

In today’s lesson – Sarah and I took it to the streets with Boogie. We praised his (very polite and attentive) loose-leash walking behavior, and observed his body language in the presence of other people and dogs. It must have been Boogie’s favorite walk ever – TWO humans dispensing meaty treats, paying full attention and responding to his every move!

On one occasion I noticed Boogie creeping slowly forward.  Right there about 30 feet ahead of us was a pit bull behind a fence. Sarah said that this was a good opportunity to do some “Behavior Adjustment Training” .  Fortunately, we were still at a safe enough distance that Boogie wasn’t yet growling or lunging. He was tense but still under threshold.

We stopped and waited. It was a spaghetti western moment. Boogie and the pit bull stared at each other – unblinking, unmoving – for what felt like forever.  We waited. And waited. As soon as Boogie relaxed and turned his head, CLICK! and we immediately led him away in the opposite direction.

The illustrated version below. (my pit bull drawing is a little lame, I know :))

We did this a few times.

When Boogie sat his butt down, facing the pitbull, Sarah pointed out to me the communication that was going on between the two dogs — small head turns, eye blinks… which I never would have noticed because they were so subtle. In spite of the tiny calming signals between the two dogs, the pit bull was still standing erect and Boogie was still stiff so relations were not all friendly.

Another really useful clicker game that I will be doing on all our walks from now on: LOOK!

As soon as a stranger or dog approaches, Boogie will turn to look at them. I am to CLICK the precise moment that his head turns. Then treat.

I clicked and treated every single head turn towards every single passerby on the sidewalk — What this does is positively reinforce a Look-but-no-lunge behavior. So useful!

Yep, there is a lot of stuff to remember!

Entry filed under: BAT sessions, Outdoors, Training.

Cool stuff Changes

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sarah Owings  |  March 7, 2010 at 6:49 am

    You were AWESOME today Lili! And I love your drawing of BAT and this chart. Can I borrow and adapt it for other clients? It’s so great.

    • 2. lili  |  March 7, 2010 at 10:17 am

      Absolutely, Sarah! Thank YOU!

  • 3. jenfer  |  March 7, 2010 at 7:35 am

    I learn too from reading your posts. They are awesome. And I love the drawing. 🙂

    • 4. lili  |  March 7, 2010 at 10:25 am

      thanks, Jenfer!

  • 5. Grisha Stewart  |  March 7, 2010 at 7:57 am

    That’s fabulous – great progress with Boogie and excellent illustrations. Keep up the good work!

    • 6. lili  |  March 7, 2010 at 10:25 am

      Thank you, Grisha!

  • 7. Stacy Braslau-Schneck  |  March 10, 2010 at 1:16 am

    Very nice work! May I also use the drawing, with a credit to you, for clients?

    • 8. lili  |  March 10, 2010 at 1:21 am

      Yes, Stacy. Thank you!!

  • 9. aneil33  |  March 13, 2010 at 4:21 am

    Absolutely brilliant. I loved the drawing! I have one American eskimo that I really need to work these types of exercises with. Whenever she comes across another dog and we don’t let her go right to it to sniff and check out, she freaks out and barks/growls. I think I’m going to be spending a lot more time on this site. Keep up the good work!

    • 10. lili  |  March 13, 2010 at 7:59 am

      thank you! Yes, one huge thing I learned with our trainer Sarah is to pay attention to our dogs’ body language signals which will let us know if they are comfortable with the other dog and if they are in the right frame of mind to be social. These days I spend more time avoiding other dogs than having Boogie interact with them…. unless if they are dogs that he already knows and is friendly with.

  • 11. aneil33  |  March 13, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Yeah, that’s kinda what I end up doing. The problem isn’t that Nikki (the difficult one of mine) is overtly aggressive, she seems to get frustrated when she can’t do the “dog thing” and sniff/check out passing dogs. I’m not sure…but sometimes I think part of the reason is that she is so used to the dog park that when she’s on leash and cant interact the way she wants to she flips out.

    I might actually buy a clicker and start some of your exercises.

  • 12. Alex V  |  June 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    That’s awesome! Ive been experimenting with BAT also. I guess my question is, after they get the functional reward so many times, does that make them more comfortable with the trigger? Comfortable enough to pass it closely? Or will I always have to provide that reward? Any thoughts? Thanks!

    • 13. lili  |  June 15, 2012 at 5:51 am

      Hi Alex, From my experience, yes, Boogie becomes more comfortable with the trigger after several BAT trials. Comfortable enough to just keep moving on. I have found that it’s MUCH easier now than 3 years ago. It takes him faster to become comfortable with the trigger (provided the trigger doesn’t do anything surprising).


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