Training session #4: “Look at that” homework

March 21, 2010 at 8:07 am 7 comments

I am so proud of Boogie. If you look at the chart from 3 weeks ago ( see all the red dots?), then last week’s chart, then this latest chart below, there is a significant improvement! See how few red dots there are?

(Details over on the daily log. I LOVE that Sarah comments on these two blogs!)

Granted that I have been feeling unwell during the past 2 weeks (ie, less training sessions and shorter walks) it is still great that Boogie hasn’t been practicing the bad stuff.

Yep, it’s HARD WORK for me to pay careful attention to our surroundings at all times in order to keep him under threshold, but seeing these results makes me feel good and gives me so much hope. Our walks are so much less stressful now (even for ME) than they used to be… and even when I don’t have a clicker on me.

We still encounter triggers all the time but I noticed this week that Boogie often turned to look  at people/dogs on the street (with stiffness) and then TURNED AWAY FROM THEM instead of lunging or growling, which is quite amazing. Even when he doesn’t turn away instantly, I can lead him away with little to no resistance. This is the pay off from marking and rewarding HEAD TURNS! 🙂

This week we take things to the next phase.

Today, Sarah showed me how to add the verbal cue: “Look at that” which essentially means No interaction. Just look. We first practiced this cue with an indoor object, then outdoors with people on the sidewalk.

What this cue does is let Boogie know that he can look at a scary thing/person and not feel any pressure to do anything else, like growl or lunge to make them go away.

According to Sarah,  “Look at that” is a very powerful cue and I must be careful never ever to use it for objects/people/dogs that I do want Boogie to interact with.

Entry filed under: BAT sessions, Training.

DVD: The Language of Dogs How NOT to greet a dog

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. barrie.lynn  |  March 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    You are like the most awesome student ever! Smart, creative, hard working…WOW! You are every trainer’s dream client 🙂

    • 2. lili  |  March 21, 2010 at 5:43 pm

      Aw.. thanks, Barrie. I may be a better blogger than a dog training client 🙂

  • 3. Sarah Owings  |  March 22, 2010 at 3:49 am

    Well, you are a pretty awesome client too actually, Lili. 🙂 Nice work on this latest post. I LOVE the Look at That pictures! A lot of people get confused about this behavior so I will definitely be using your work to help others understand it better. And I love your progress chart. You can actually see how things are improving. Very cool!

    • 4. Lili  |  March 22, 2010 at 5:41 am

      Hi Sarah – thank you 🙂

      Well we had an over-threshold incident later this afternoon as I was sitting with Boogie on the sidewalk steps, practicing “Look At That”. He was doing really well, and then one dog walked by and got too close and Boogie reacted very strongly – barked and growled non-stop. I led him back home immediately.

      And then later, I said “Look at that” when someone walked past us… That person turned and looked at Boogie and his hackles were raised and he started pulling. And then he turned away back towards me.

      I still need to be careful with proximity…

  • 5. Sarah Owings  |  March 22, 2010 at 6:37 am

    Yes. Proximity is a biggie for most dogs. You can see why I was so cautious the other day–even with your neighbor’s dog whom Boogie knew already and seemed fine with! Multiple dogs in one setting, plus multiple strangers, plus pedestrians, and goodness knows what else, all can add up to an over threshold moment before you even realize it. Continue to take careful note of exact distances that set him off, what time of day, what the dog/person looked like, etc. And feel free to combine Look-at-That with the U-turn anytime you feel you may need more distance.

    Look! (cue) — he looks — click —- he turns to you — you retreat with him a few steps — treat

    Always err on the side of giving him more space than you think he needs for now.

  • 6. Sarah Owings  |  March 23, 2010 at 5:55 am

    On thing you might want to mention: Look-at-That is a game from Leslie McDevitt’s great book “Control Unleashed.” Highly recommended for shy, reactive or otherwise environmentally sensitive dogs.

  • 7. Pattern Games DVD « Boogie’s blog  |  May 30, 2012 at 7:38 am

    […] Dog but I hadn’t read past Chapter 2. The only CU game that I was already familiar with is Look At That (LAT), similar to BAT Stage 1. In LAT, the dog is rewarded for looking at a trigger + reorienting to the […]


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