Saturday, October 17, 2015

Viva working with people and bikes

As I've spoken about, Viva gets uncomfortable with things in the environment.   Outside this include a number of things - dogs, people walking, people jogging, bike riders, kids, strollers and people carrying anything she thinks resembles a dog.

We've been doing a lot of work when we see anything people related.  I will soon be talking about seeing dogs but, this post is about people.

When Viva came to us, her reaction when seeing any of the above was growling, barking,  then lunging.  All of this behavior happened very quickly.  This behavior is fear based and it's due to her not felling safe/comfortable.  So, early on I started working with Viva to change her emotional response.

Here's a good link that talks about how learning happens

We are at Jefferson Park and she can see the people moving way up on the side of the hill. Viva isn't sure if they have a dog with them. That's what she is trying to sort out.  

Viva knows the jogger is coming. She look at the jogger coming. She then turns her head, there's the food reinforcement.

Here we are with another jogger. You can see how she has figured out that the jogger equals food reinforcement.

Viva sees the biker coming towards us and then looks to me. Great choice Viva!

We've been working on Viva seeing the trigger (biker), then looking to me for reinforcement while moving towards me and away from the trigger.   It's the new behavior of moving towards me that I'm after and we are practicing this a lot.

Viva is really doing great work when seeing people and things associated with them.  She rarely lunges, there's big reduction in her barking and growling.  Instead of the behaviors of growling, barking, lunging she now gives me the behavior of looking to me for reinforcement.

Here's are some great link talking about Conditioned Emotional Responses (CER)

Here's an amazing video by Dog Charming showing a nice example of a dog being counter conditioned.  This video is well worth watching the whole thing! 

Some pictures of Viva watching people, her staying under threshold which allows her to think and use her new behaviors!
Viva watching the man

You can see the man in the background and she ignores him and then looks to me.

Watching joggers

Watching a woman push a stroller.

This is a lot of challenging work for Viva.  She's doing wonderful and she's a joy to work with!

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