I just came in from a walk with Liezel and it was awesome! There were a lot of goings on in the neighborhood and Liezel’s only reaction was raised hackles..and taking treats too roughly. But these situations are instances where I do not force gentle treat taking.
Here is what we saw; followed by Liezel’s reaction; and my action:
- Woman running with stroller on the opposite side of the street; raised hackles, rough treat taking; but praised and rewarded for looking back to me
- Van drove past us and then parked on the side of the road we were walking on; hackles up, staring in the direction of the van; she was told to take food gently and while not great, it was better than it could have been
- Truck drove past us, parked on our side and a man got out of the truck. The man walked across our path into a driveway, got in a car, and pulled out; posturing, staring; mild corrections got her focus back on me and she was told gentle for treats, again good not great
- Neighbor outside who had conversed with man (above); mild interest, no hackles; treated for heeling with focus on me
- Recycling truck with driver outside; mild interest, hackles raised; heel position to cross the street, including her in a sit when I stopped for traffic, praised and released once we crossed
- Yard sale, ladder on sidewalk, man testing lawnmower, woman walking around; focus on the man, hackles up, tried to turn back toward yard sale after we passed; we heeled into the street (ladder was in our path), praised and rewarded every time she looked back to me, encouraging “c’mon Liezel” when she attempted to turn around
- Woman and child coming toward us on bicycles, woman said “What a pretty baby” of Liezel; I thanked her and continued walking. To be honest, I didn’t focus as much on Liezel here because I didn’t know how she would react 1) to the child and 2) to the bicycles so close to us. I didn’t have to correct her, so she must have been pretty good.
We moved back on to the sidewalk, I released her from heel and we finished the walk without issue. She received lots of praise and I felt absolutely giddy with pride at her ability to encounter all of that without barking and / or lunging.
An outing like this is one that leaves me feeling “high on life.” You know the feeling – like nothing in the world could made you feel badly. That feeling alone is worth all the training!