Since Raiden was itty bitty we have done Look At That training with him on walks.
Whenever he saw something exciting (and to an 8 week old puppy that was EVERYTHING!) we made calm happy-talk and fed him treats.
As he got older some things stopped being as exciting (cars driving past, leaves blowing in the wind), other things became less exciting (a person walking past 30ft away) and some things stayed just as exciting (dogs playing, loud groups of people passing close by)!
Look At That is a fun training tool; reward the dog for something they see, and over time they will begin to see something then turn their attention to you. It especially works great with dogs who are nervous of things, eg. other dogs. It’s a good way to build a positive association.
For people, cars and cyclists passing us by it has been amazing. Raiden will now walk at my side, look at the ‘trigger’, then make eye contact with me as we carry on walking. It is so cool ❤
However we hit a stumbling block: when Raiden was *too* excited about something, marking him for watching the something didn’t help as he was too interested to be able to turn back to us.
So we’re trying the engage-disengage game!
The ‘engage’ part is how we were treating LAT; Raiden sees something exciting and we feed treats, whilst also increasing distance between him and the exciting thing. The extra space means he is calmer and can focus easier on us.
The disengage part is new, and is working really well. I’m going to use the example of dogs, as that is where we have seen the most progress.
Raiden was stood watching an old man and a small white dog across the water from us, only about 15ft away. We stand quiet whilst Raiden observes the dog, and then the instant he turns to us we mark him and give him a treat. He then goes back to the dog and is allowed to watch again, then when his attention shifts he gets more praise and treats.
We have only been trying this new method for the past few days, but the change is incredible. I was beginning to feel a little down with LAT; our progress had stalled, he wasn’t coming away from distractions as well and what were once mild distractions were becoming more interesting to him.
After trying engage / disengage he quietly watched and mostly put all his attention on me as SIX dogs walked past us roughly 30-40ft away. That might sound like a distance, but they actually felt close at the time. They were big dogs, four were off lead, and they were in clear view.
Previously Raiden would have been unable to look at us. He would have been standing fixed staring at the dogs, possibly pulling towards them and maybe even yapping. He wants to play with *every* dog he sees, and in this area that’s not at all possible. We really want to teach him to be calm around dogs he can’t meet, and to be able to focus on us.
I think this training is really going to help!
I have a (crap) video that shows some LAT / e-d but it’s hard to get any good footage when you’re juggling treats, clicker and a huge camera! I tried to clump the more training-y parts near the start of the video, and the rest is just cute off lead footage 🙂
I really want Raiden to be able to see other dogs, but the issue around here is that everybody lets their dogs off lead, so when we see dogs up ahead we have no idea if they will be aggressive, scared of bouncy puppies etc etc. But I need Raiden to see other dogs desperately!
We put him on his longline when we see dogs in the distance, because he would blow off recall to go see them, but we then have the issue of Raiden focusing on them as they get closer…the frustration of the longline leads to pulling & yapping, which I don’t want to encourage!
I wish we could just let him bomb up to other dogs off lead, so he could feel free and confident and get to play, but I just don’t think it’s fair…I got so annoyed when people let their off lead dogs tear up to Zoey.
I mean I know we walked her places where dogs *shouldn’t* be walked off lead to avoid this, but it still doesn’t feel fair for my puppy to go bother other dogs…Raiden’s not that rude a player, and if a dog clearly shows they aren’t interested he generally leaves them alone, but would you be happy with this?
Anybody have any thoughts or ideas?
Everywhere is so muddy and floody at the moment that I am uber glad I found some work wellies in a charity shop for £5 before we ran out of money!! They feel so sturdy and have steel toes 😀
And the rest of the pics from the walk 🙂
We had a high tide AND flooding from the rain to deal with!
The rain mainly affected the roads and the start of the walk, and the sea obliterated most of the path we were planning to take. There was literally a whole expanse of beach that you can normally walk on completely submerged…it was a VERY high tide!
All in all a pretty good walk 🙂