Wednesday, September 30, 2015

We explore Jefferson Park Playground

School is back in session and I had a half a day of work so, a perfect time take Viva and check out the Jefferson Park Playground.  This play area has caught my eye each time we we've been at Jefferson Park but, with so many kids playing we stayed well away.  Kids and Viva are not a good mix at this point. They are loud and their unpredictable movements create a lot of worry for Viva. When Viva is worried/scared she gives a number of  behaviors that include a low growl and/or barking. And if what she's worried/scared about is to close she will lunge with the growling/barking.  So, again managing the environment is very important with Viva. 

This was excellent as the playground was empty and we had fun!
The large concrete area before the slide is the spray ground.  You can push a button and water will shoot up. I'm sure this spot was used a lot our warm summer.

Checking out the slides

Up the stairs we go and Viva thinking about the bird she sees flying by.  You can't really see it in this picture but, to the right of Viva (behind the rocks) is a small zip line for kids to play on.

Jefferson Park has wonderful sight lines as you can see from the top of the slides

Cool wall!

The wall tells you what's going on in the space.  

You can see the cistern in the background.  Viva enjoys walking up the rocks.

Watching the environment

Time to move on and we cross the bridge

A neat look out area

A lot of play structures for kids

We circle over to check out the cistern

And the cool rock walls with the funky bridge

Viva and I both think this is a pretty cool playground!

Time to head out and you can see the skateable sculpture in the background.

Here's a video that shows a large section of Jefferson Park 


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

More environmental management and Viva learns more cues!

We have an issue with our front and back door when going outside.  In Viva's world those doors provide unpredictable things showing up.  Viva and unpredictable things do not work well together. 

Our front door is a problem with people/dogs walking or running by during her early days with us - lack of management on my part.  This was before I understood how activated Viva gets by just hearing, let alone seeing these things.  

Our back door is an issue because there's a dog that is randomly outside behind our fence.  He's actually only outside maybe about 20% of the time but, the time he is out Viva doesn't react well.  So, even if Viva doesn't hear the dog, she wants to dart out the door to get downstairs to see if he's outside. 

So, I have some undoing that we are working on.  My job is to do tighter management of the environment. Meaning, I'm trying to make both doors more predictable -  that random things won't just show up.  While also teaching Viva some new behaviors.

Here's the management piece:

When we are going out of the front of our house, I do my best to ensure that there are no moving objects near us (people, bikes, dogs).  This requires that I walk out the front door without Viva to see what's around.  If it's clear then we go out and if we have people, bikes or dogs we wait until they have moved on.

With the dog behind our house, I can go out on our deck (minus Viva) and see if the dog is out. If the dog is out, we don't go out the back door.

Two new cues:

We've been working on new behaviors that help her focus and give her something else to do other than darting out the door.
We've been practicing for a good amount of time and Viva knows the verbal cue of "Wait".
Another new skill is a release cue "ok".
I opt to start working with Viva at our back door since that's less activating for her and I can put a baby gate up at the top of our stairs so she can't run downstairs.

She wants out that back door!

Time to work on "wait".  We have practiced this in rooms in our house and she can do it no problem in that setting.  Moving to the door is harder since we have competing needs of her wanting to do the behavior I'm asking and her wanting to dart outside.

The squeaking you hear is the backdoor opening... 

Viva is smart and here we go again and she does great!

We practiced this for a number of repetitions.  I've not asked Viva to sit - she's offering that on her own.  As long as Viva isn't over threshold she picks up on things very quickly and is happy to give you behavior for a food reinforcement.

Time to add in the second part of what I'm asking of her.  I ask for the wait and then I give her the release cue of "ok".  As soon as she gives me the behavior of moving once I say "ok" I mark that with the yip.   Viva likes this game and it trumps running out the door and the stairs!

So, we will keep at practicing and hopefully we will be able to do the same behaviors when we are going out the front door!

Good girl Viva!! 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Viva & D'light's walking adventure - Part 2

D'light was more than thrilled to show Viva the campus of Seattle University!  It's a beautiful campus so if you are ever in the area check it out.

Viva was a bit concerned about the solar panels but, after watching them a bit she moved on without any problem. 

Viva on the trail of a critter - D'light was far ahead of her and already had the critter up in a tree.

We find another Scoop that Poop sign - these are great signs!

Time to check out Centennial Fountain

Viva wondering what on earth this thing is!

Not so sure about the water

She's up on the rock sniffing up a storm!

While there are not a lot of people or dog here, there's still a lot happening in the environment.  Lots to take in when you consider all the smells along with all the sculptures, rocks, trees, plants and of course critters.

Off we go and onto another section of the campus! We found this lovey little area tucked back in the corner of campus.

Lots to see!

Neat little art installation along the path

The administrative hall in the background

Lots to smell

Mason Bee hive

"More to investigate so lets go!"

Apple tree with pantyhose around the apples.  I had to go look up online what this was about and found  Cross dressing fruit & frustrated apple maggots

Viva doing lots of sniffing while Brett and I talk about the apples!

D'light is not pleased that we are spending so much time in this area! 

He says "there are critters to chase!"

Off we go...

Critter spotting!

While a squirrels can fit the the bars these two rats can't!

Another Scoop that Poop sign

Time to start heading back to the car.  D'light get's his picture snapped with Chief Seattle.

On our to the car and this was  a good adventure for these two!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Viva & D'light's walking adventure - Part 1

Just because Viva is reactive on leash, this doesn't mean she gets cooped up in the house.  Viva is a fearful gal who has a range of reactions to things in the environment when she's on leash. Viva and I are continuing our training plan using Desensitization and Counterconditioning (DS/CC) and that's moving along.   While we do that work, we are frequently looking for locations that are low on dog sighting - so more environmental management.  Brett and I have always done a lot of walking with all our dogs so, we have a good idea of what locations would likely be successful for Viva.

On this adventure we take D'light and Viva.  Since there are two humans, we can bring two dogs. We do have a plan that if a dog is sighted  then each of us are in charge of the dog we are walking with - knowing that we will likely split apart to manage what is going on.  

D'light is with Brett, I have Viva and off we go!

We start our walk on First Hill in Seattle - lots of hospitals and very few dogs.  Both dogs wondering why we have to stop at the stoplight!

We head on down to Yesler Terrace which is undergoing a huge Redevelopment & there was lots to see!

As we were walking it started to rain which turned into a downpour!  We found and covered area to wait under until the shower passed on by.

Viva didn't mind the rain and wanted to go check something out.

Viva was fascinated by this vent. She's a very curious girl!

Rain has passed and time to move on. 
D'light found this fire water outlet very interesting!

We reach our destination of Seattle University!
D'light loves this place as there's often critters for him to chase.

Lots to take in. 
This was on a Saturday right after that rain storm so the campus was empty.

We head over to the Chapel of St. Ignatius

Viva was fascinated by the reflective pool

She had fun walking along the lip of the pool

We found some rocks to climb on

Viva wanting to see what D'light is up to

"What do you see D'light?!"

Watch out critters!!

Seattle University has a number of new signs on campus...


There was a big wind storm and clearly the tree to the right was impacted by that storm!
D'light says "Who cares about the tree or the danger tape when there might be critters here".

Viva says "Lets get after them D'light!"

Watching and waiting...

On the hunt!

Time to move check out the rest of the campus