Saturday, February 20, 2010

Another stuffed dog

On another forum, someone who also has a leash reactive dog asked if it's possible to use a stuffed dog to teaching a dog more appropriate greeting behavior. In Click to Calm, Emma Parsons suggests that those of us with reactive dogs can shape better greetings in our dogs, starting by teaching our dog to do a quick nose-target to the new dog (face and bottom) and then return to us for a treat. I was a little dubious about doing this with an actual dog, much less a stuffed dog, but I figured more practice with targets can't hurt. 

Here's a clip of Vanya going over to his familiar Miss Plushy and the new plush spaniel (Puppy) for a nose-target or sniff, then turn run back to either me or the Manners Minder  for a treat. He caught on quickly, although it really seems like target practice, not greeting-a-new-dog practice: 

We also worked on pass-bys with the 2 plush dogs, first on the leash, then off leash (off leash he did dash over to nose Miss Plushy):

Now I need to work on being lower-key, aiming less to distract him with hyper behavior on my part, and more on rewarding all his little signs of calmness. We did this yesterday, but I didn't take video clips. Now it's time to try it with real dogs---but today is so snowy and wet, I really don't feel like venturing out into the muck.

Yesterday we tracked bunnies in the wildlife area. He sure is enthusiastic, especially when he's zipping through a patch of briars and I'm flailing about trying to follow without impaling myself. 

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