Thursday, June 16, 2011

Walk Around the Block!

Elo and I took a walk last night, and we made it around a whole block! That is the farthest we've ever gone! A year and a half of training and my dog can finally go for a short walk! Huge progress and I am really proud of him!

He kept the leash loose pretty much the whole time. About halfway through there were a couple off-leash dogs across the street, standing and staring at him. Thankfully, their owner was with them and they didn't move. Elo noticed them before I did, but didn't lose control. We did some quick LAT, then a dog catch and carried him past. When I thought they were out of sight I put him down and we kept walking, but they came around the edge of the house and kept staring at Elo. Again, he noticed before I did, but was calm and stayed focused on me. This is the dog who, just months ago, would erupt anytime he saw a dog anywhere. Now he is encountering them out in the real world and keeping his cool!

Shortly after the dogs, Elo was a little ramped up and we had to walk on a narrow sidewalk we've never been on before with lots of distractions. He lost his focus a bit and I realized it was a little too much for me to ask for perfection in that situation, so I relaxed my criteria, kept calm, and just marked and rewarded whatever attention he gave me. He actually ended up doing really well and giving me a lot more than I thought he would! As we finished up the walk there was an on-leash dachshund walking towards us with it's people, we did a couple sessions of LAT with little breaks in between as it approached. Elo is getting really good about being able to break focus and walk away in the other direction, so when we do LAT now we will do a few looks and before he gets over threshold we will break by walking away a little ways. When the dog got too close we ducked behind a truck parked on the street until it passed, then walked home.

In other Elo news, he has mastered the "wave" command and now has six commands on cue! For a dog that I thought would never understand any words, he is getting really good about picking up new verbal cues! We are working on "back up" and just started putting that on cue. And still working on his handstand, but haven't made any progress on that lately.

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