Thursday evening: we ventured into the city centre to do more work visting new places which are busy with people. We have done this several times before, with increasing amounts of success each time. The problem behaviours he exhibits are pulling on the lead, barking and killing of traffic cones, all caused by high arousal levels.
What worked in our favour
- we have visited the city centre several times in the evening over the summer, all trips were busy with pedestrians
- we worked in the middle of George Square, which gave us time and distance to watch “stuff”, people, boarders, cyclists, buskers etc
- we have been making good progress on raising and lowering his arousal levels over the last few weeks
- he was well fed, watered and exercised but not over-exercised that day
What didn’t do too well
- we saw three dogs within a very short space of time in the square
- it was the first time in the town when it was dark
- there were loads of skate boarders in the square doing tricks – we did work as far away from them as we could
- lots of tourists with wheeled suitcases – something new for him
Trigger stacking is when too many of the small things which annoy/upset us happen too closely in time without us having an opportunity to cool off. Think of it in terms of losing a parking place on a sunny day when your life is good versus losing the same spot the day before Christmas when you are loaded with the cold, there is heavy sleet and you haven’t bought your loved one a present. One is no big deal, the other cold cause you to have an angry outburst.
We were doing really well, he was responding well to my cues when I asked for behaviours and we were about to call it a day. In hindsight, I waited 5 minutes too long and then we had a 5 minute walk back to the car. He then became aroused, the probelem behaviours kept occurring and he was having difficulty recovering. Remember, behaviour is just information about how we are feeling and we are always trying to achieve something. He had done too much.
What I could have done differently
- next time, we will park closer to where we are training
- more work needs to be done around people in the dark in some quieter areas as the darkness and busy streets seem to spook him
- less is more, a shorter session.
In working with Logan I have to reflect often on what is working and what is not and then make adjustments. As ever, progress is happening, just not always according to my agenda.
Good points from this week
- lead walking is improving significantly which means the pressure is off me short term over nail care as the pavement is filing them nicely. We still work on husbandry trainign as part of his daily routine.
- we walked along a street in the industrial park with cones on each side, he walked past them all, something which was impossible 2 months ago.
Thanks for reading. Happy training.