March 3rd Afternoon and Evening

Wednesday was a wonderful day for Lara and me. We have finally bonded from a distance. Whenever Lara sees me now I get a full body wag. If she is out in the yard I also get a frantic doggie dash around me at a distance of three feet. If she is in her crate I get the sideways face turn and happily pricked ears.

I made it my goal yesterday to be the provider of all things good. I made 18 visits to her in her crate to check on her ability to escape and she was a happy soul. She has a nice bed and is now surrounded by lots of toys which at this point she does not really know what to do with.

So every time I appear, treats appear. This is the basis of respondent conditioning. I have counter-conditioned me from being an aversive stimulus to being one that predicts food.  I am okay with being a “pez machine predictor” for now.  What great positive reinforcement for me when she wags and no longer cowers.

Training Goals for Today March 4th 2010

  1. Charge the clicker – so we can use this as a training tool

Clicker training is the least aversive and intrusive training method you can use. It’s very empowering for the animal. Using a clicker the dog learns that their behavior can control their environment. It’s a great method for frightened or socially unconfident dogs. It can be used to shape behaviors such as calm behaviors, greeting behaviors, and approach behaviors.

  1. Introduce The Leash

Today we are going to start working on familiarizing Lara to her leash. We plan to shape this without using any lures or prompts. The leash attached to her collar at this point is so highly aversive to her (she wants to escape or avoid it) we need to be very careful and progress slowly and surely without setting her back.

Relationship Goals for Today

  1. We will continue to hand-feed Lara and continue to build trust with her so we are more able to interact with her which will help so much with our training plan.

Management Goals for Today

If we can have successes with the leash then taking her in and out will be so much easier. This will help us manage her environment. We know that within 14 days we can have her housetrained if we implement The DogSmith Housetraining plan.  However to do this we need to have her on a leash so we can take her to her designated bathroom area and then reinforce her for using it. The DogSmith E-Book on Housetraining is available at under our resources tab.

March 4th Actual Results

I had actually planned to post this March 4th Blog in the morning as I wanted to recap everything we had done in the afternoon on March 3rd. I am however only just now getting to post it and it is 5.05 pm central time.

Wow another great day. We did not achieve charging the clicker but I do now have a 20 foot leash on her and she happily runs around dragging it behind her. About 20 minutes ago I went to collect her for her evening romp and as soon as I opened the crate she carefully climbed out and walked to me soliciting a rub.  If I crouch down and remain quiet she will now come over to me for petting.

I attached the long line onto her collar and opened the door. Now bear in mind I have had to carry her in and out up until now. Well Lara walked right out of the room and into the back garden. I was “gob smacked.”  I just went where she went. My three dogs were outside and we just walked. I opened the gate into our training pasture and we carried on walking. As long as I made an effort to keep any tension off the leash she was fine. If I stopped and crouched down she calmly walked up to me, sniffed and allowed me to stroke her very gently. I was, as we say in England, “Chuffed”.

We have made some great progress, we have a long way to go as every single noise or movement makes her flinch and want to run for home. I am so looking forward to tomorrow. I am now planning to reduce the length of the leash each day until I can have her comfortably on a 6 foot leash and then we can begin some “Walk Nicely” skills.