Monday, 19 March 2012
Last night was our second Advanced Life Skills class and the difference in Kobi over the two classes was like night and day. He was silent for the majority of the night, only barking if dogs came in or out of the building. When we walked in there were several barky dogs in the previous class so we dashed into the side pen and started pez dispensing treats to him right away. Once I got the bed down I sat down on his bed with him still giving treats like crazy as the other dogs made their way out. When working on exercises Kobi was still quiet but very unfocused. He was still more interested in looking at the other dogs and what they were doing rather than focusing on me and the work we were doing. I'm going back in tonight just to work on keep him calm and quiet so I will probably try to do some attention work as well. If he manages to stay silent raise the criteria by getting him to look at me before he gets a treat.
Walks have come a long way as well. I'm still treating a lot when his lead is loose but he is choosing to stay at my side more and more. The "look at that" game is coming along very well also. He's beginning to figure out that when I say "Look!" he needs to turn back towards me to get his treat. I'll start telling him to "look" at something any time he begins to focus in on something. I can always tell by the position of his ears. When we first got him it was hard to tell when he was nervous because even when relax he holds his ears back (just the way they flop). They also have an abundance of fluff surrounding them so they get lost. As soon as his ears prick forward, that is when he's unsure of something and is focusing to find out if he's nervous or excited about it. So the second his ears pop forward I'll say "Look" then good a half second later and give him his treat. This method is working very well when something is at a distance, not so well when things happen out of no where. For example on our walk last night before their supper we walked by a car with a few people inside when suddenly the back door of the car pops open and a girl runs towards Kobi in the awkward crouch with her eyes staring directly at his and making the most horrendous screeching sounds I have ever heard. Kobi of course freaked out! Got very scared and defensive barking aggressively and backing away. Of course the girl then also start freaking out because Kobi has a very low and loud bark, and even more so when he's nervous. The whole walk was destroyed because of this incident. After that he was nervous about everything, went back to sniffing and pulling on his leash. Going slow does seem to be working well though aside from random girls running out of cars.