Friday, February 18, 2011

Another person!

West met Julie last night! Julie is a trainer with 5 Star, and was filling in for Mary teaching last night's obedience class. I was asked to show up early to turn on the heat and set up, so I brought the boys along and did some box work with Archie, and some no-biting-Archie work with West. He jumped a 5 foot xpen, by the way. Note to self.

Then, I put Archie out in the car and crated West in his usual spot in the back room. I helped Julie teach the basic class, then there was no Basic Level 2 tonight, so I asked if she wanted to stay and meet him. She said of course, so she sat on the floor and I went to get him.

I got him quite close, then realized he was in "heeling/working" mode and not paying a ton of attention to what scary thing was there, so I backed way off. We did some sorta-BAT stuff, marking and reinforcing (with distance) for looking at the trigger. It worked well, and he loosened up. I did some wide circle walking around her, and got to a point about 10 feet away with him being okay!

At this point, I had Julie take out the treats and she tossed them at him. Slowly, he got closer and more comfortable. We gave him a couple release breaks to run off some stress, but within about 20 minutes of that, he was able to approach her hand for scratches. He tried to get right in her lap at one point. Overall, very successful. She had to go, so we didn't work on her standing up, etc. but he did very well!

Go Westy!!


  1. This is so wonderful! I've been following West's progress since Sheena had him, and reading this makes my heart happy :)

  2. Have you heard of Suzanne Clothier's technique called Treat-Retreat? She developed it for shy dogs to meet people. I heard her speak at the APDT conference last year on it.


  3. I have heard of it, and have read several trainers discuss the method. I still have not heard/read anything directly from Suzanne, though, so all my info is second hand. It sounds like it's just a negative reinforcement protocol with some counter conditioning added in, and is fairly similar to what I already do. I ALWAYS keep in mind what the DOG wants, and in many cases, the relief of the social situation is a powerful reinforcer. I'd love to hear more about waht you learned, though!