A Dog, A Box and Learning to Think

German Shepherd laying downToday’s class went great — although we didn’t wind up demonstrating our bow technique. It was a really full class (5 dogs) so it was high intensity and it took a while before everyone was quiet, focused and working. 

Dealing With Reactivity And Teaching Leave It

That said, Riley resisted temptation very nicely several times during class today. She once I got her quiet initially she mostly stayed that way, even when other dogs were barking, lunging or otherwise acting up. That’s a big improvement from where we started!

We did an exercise to work on the “leave it” command that required us to sit in the middle of the room while another dog walked past, stopping to sit every now and then. When the inevitable happened and she began to focus on the other dog I was to ask her to “leave it” and refocus her on me. I think she did quite well. She did even better when it was her turn to walk around the other dogs — although her “let’s go” at that point was a lot less pretty than I’d like it to be. Still, I’m working hard on using the leash less as a tool for correction and more as a last result, so I’m happy with how things went over all.

Free Shaping For Free By Using a Box

We also did some more free shaping. One of the most popular free shaping exercises I’ve come across is 101 Things to Do with a Box; today we got to try our hand at free shaping with a box.

The goal was to get Riley to “target” it; that is, to put her foot inside of it. The goal with free shaping is really just to teach a dog to try various things and to think for themselves when it comes to deciding what to do instead of just obeying commands.

I got the behavior several times though I didn’t really get a light bulb moment. She would do it semi on purpose a few times and then seem completely baffled at what I was asking for and proceed to lay down and look at the box instead. I think we need a bit more practice.

We finished up with a few nice greetings and then headed home.

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