Thursday, November 11, 2010

working the plan~new places

On Sunday, I took Oreo back to the "new place" (can you still call it new if you've been there 3 times?) to keep working our plan.

I kept him in the wooded area of the cemetery, to help him feel safe. He did so much better this time than the previous two. He even peed. Weird, I know, but Oreo can't pee when he's nervous.

Here he is sniffing stuff....


....because he was relaxed enough to take a quick break from looking out for terrorists:
I shot a video to show our doctor. If you have no life and would like to watch a long 3:48 minutes of our opening moments, click on this link. You'll see why Oreo would be a wonderful secret service agent. I wonder if President Obama has any openings.

Oreo did really well, for him, on this video. A jogger approaches us at the 2 minute mark. Oreo noticed her way before I did. Oreo handled it surprisingly well and recovered quickly. After I shut off the camera, we walked around to the opposite side of the fence, where there were less trees. A car slowly approached and Oreo saw some people walking in the distance. Cars don't bother Oreo, unless he feels there is the potential for people to get out of them. He got stressed, and started pulling hard on his leash, and I couldn't get him to respond to any commands. So, I think we need to do more work in the sheltered area.

After the doctor viewed the video, she told me that his target attention was really good. She was also pleased with how I got him off the path, while Oreo was still rational, when the jogger approached. However, she wants me to work on keeping his attention in the heel more, because I am losing him a bit after I give him the treat.

I'd really like for this to be an ok place to bring the dogs to walk. There are lots of winding paths, I feel safe there, other dogs are leashed, it's close to my house, and the residents stay in their beds. We'll keep trying.

17 comments:

Diana said...

You are so funny, "the residents stay in their beds". LOL Diana

Ricky the Sheltie said...

I did watch your video (I think I have a life but maybe now I am not so sure - LOL!) and it was very interesting to see Oreo. He would've been an excellent protector of a flock of sheep - nothing would escape his attention! Ricky is similar but on the look-out for cars much more than Oreo. He also often does the same thing - checks in to get the treat and then immediately goes back to his obsessive scanning.

You are doing great with Oreo! He is making definite progress! I know it is not easy but you guys are doing it!

"the residents stay in their beds" - way too funny!!!

LauraK said...

Sounds like you're making some progress with the new place. I give you a lot of credit for being so patient with Oreo and keeping behavior logs. He's a lucky boy to have such a great mom like you :)

Marie said...

You crack me up. I'm glad you have such "lazy" people at your new training area.

I'm interested, did she give you any suggestions on how to keep Oreo focused on heeling after you give him the treat?

Sara said...

I can keep praising him, and try and increase time between treats (she always wants me to try and increase his workload for treats), or I can ask for a different behaviorlike "sit", "heel", "Sit", "target", etc. Kind of like a rally-o course.

Priscilla said...

Hey, what a great job you are doing getting Oreo to focus on you. Should try that more often with Eva!
I think both of you are doing great. Keep it up!

Kathy said...

I watched the video too, because it is interersting to see you and Oreo working through the steps of your plan ;-). I would be interested in what the doctor said to keep his attention longer, can you hold out for a longer period of attention to earn the treat or would that defeat the purpose? Looks like you guys are doing your homework and working hard! Good job Oreo and Sara!

Sara said...

Kathy, That's exactly what she's hoping I will do. Make him work more to earn the reward. Hard for me to do.

Patti and DeBoys said...

I commend you for the dedication you have with sticking to the plan.

I, too, watched the video for the interest of watching you both work. And, discovered that unknowingly when I am out walking with DeBoys; we use some of the same tactics to keep them focused on me as other dogs/people pass us. One of the ways I have been able to supplement giving treats all the time is showing them their BALL and after they pass I toss it. We had to come up with something..LOW CAL :)

Maybe that would help Oreo?

LOL at myself -- I have to admit it took me a while to figure out the meaning of, 'the residents stay in their beds'. :)

Keep up the great work. -- Patti

AC said...

Very neat to watch you two making progress. I'm curious as to an "end" result of the targeting/heeling. It sounds like you're using it to redirect Oreo's attention away from stressful things. Did your behaviorist talk about there being a point where you won't have to do this anymore (scary things no longer scary) or is it more about coping/management?

I'm always wondering how to get Kona from that point of being able to deal with a situation (which can be a huge step) to her actually not being scared in that situation...

Sara said...

We haven't had that discussion yet. However, she does want me to progress in making things more challenging gradually. I assume she has an ultimate goal of security/confidence for most situations. For now, it is just teaching him to trust me to handle things

Dawn said...

I watched the video too. It was really interesting. Boy, he sure does make sure he's aware of EVERYTHING doesn't he! Not a leaf moves that he's checking it out. No cemetery terrorists would escape him!

Katie is so not like this. Out of the car no matter where she is she is nose to the ground looking for something interesting. She does check out stuff around, but not to any extent like Oreo does. If she's anxious about a place she just cowers behind my legs.

Interesting how similar and how different they all are.

JackPDB said...

Thanks for sharing the pics and video. It's going to take time and patience for Oreo to feel safe in his surroundings; repetition and familiarity are going to be a big part of that. I'm glad to hear you've found a spot where he can relax a little.
- - - - -
Jack@PDB
dog beds and more

Honey the Great Dane said...

Oh, I'm glad to hear that Oreo's making progress! It can seem like such small steps in the beginning but I think it's still great improvement. Sounds like a good place to work on his issues - I hope you'll be able to use it regularly.

Hsin-Yi

Nicki said...

Before Jerry and i were married, Oreo and I used to stay with him at his rental house a lot. Oreo was always nervous there and would almost never pee while there. So weird.

Marie said...

The reason I asked about what she had suggested for lengthening the time between treats and keeping him working is because it's something that I've struggled with, with my own dogs. My friend told me one day that she thought my dog was using me a giant Pez dispenser. LOL It was kind of true. I was just a treat dispensing machine. So we started working on getting the treats out of my hands, and using a hand touch target behavior as a bridge and then I'd go get the treats. I don't know if that makes sense or not.

Sara said...

That's basically what the behaviorist thinks of me. She thinks my arm has become the pez dispenser. Oreo sees my arm coming across my body as a cue that he is going to get a treat. As soon as my arm moves back, he loses focus. So, I am trying to treat from my left hand now.