Those durn distractions, guess if we can not make the world distraction proof we are going to have to learn to work through them!
Today we ended up going to two different parks, this afternoon I did our challenge for this next week since the perfect opportunity to work fell into my lap. I was going to do some recalls at the park that is usually pretty quiet, but, OOOH my gosh there was about forty high school boys with soccer balls. YIKES! BREEZE is TERRIFIED of boys and men she does not know. Breeze is also over the top with soccer balls. HUMMM, which would win out-- her fear of men .....or her obsession with ball?
SG says that if the dogs LOVE what they are doing that some distractions and scary things are just not noticed if the dog has enough excitement about what they are doing and it is rewarding enough....I read that and thought,....hummm,really?
SG used the example of something along the lines of a dog chasing a squirrel, they will run right past a big floppy hat but if your dog is not into heeling that much and a judge has a big floppy hat all of a sudden that is terrifying because they are not so much into the task at hand that they are not noticing things around them, they have more time to worry.
Not exactly sure how to use that little fact to its full advantage....but I will say that the soccer ball seems to be the price of poker for my dog so in that case SG may be onto something. Breeze was more then willing to run into that group of forty TERRIFYING boys-and did not seem to notice how terrifying they were, she did not even seem to notice to them and certainly did not react to them, but she was willing to steal their soccer balls. I have to admit I was suprised,I was ready or Breeze to go after the guys especialy when the ran past us.
When I saw the boys and saw Breeze was NOT doing alarm barking or trying to bite them or run away...I decided to do some recalls. Guess what, it did not go so well. Little bugger Breeze who is almost perfect with her recall has one thing that will trump her desire to come when I call, SOCCER BALLS, SQUEAKY BALLS, lots of types of balls ;-). I am embracing my holes in our training and my Breezie who up to now I have not been able to trip up on recalls had to be moved further...and further...and further from those boys and their soccer balls.
THE PLAN: Lots more crate games with Breeze having to choose to stay in the crate while I kick the ball around in front of the crate--that is a hard one for her, but she has to learn to have the self control and know she will be rewarded for not going over the top when her favorite balls are around! I guess I will be looking for more kids ball games to use as distrations too after we work on the ball thing at home.
Got a little video of Breeze working a recall through the weaves....
I was working with Breeze while I was doing some figure 8's at the park and trying to do rear crosses without my arms, working from the jumps far away to close together. I also did some work with putting down my toy and having Breeze work without going to steal it. I noticed when I got home there were times I was using my arms more then I wanted to,....it is new for us and we will keep working ;-), but it is great to have video so I can tell what really happens and not just what I think is going on!