Thursday, October 16, 2008

Team Training: Round Two Day Four

Yesterday afternoon Shilo, Sue and I took our training on the road to the local Safeway store. While they do train with the dogs in public this store is not a part of Sue's regular stomping grounds as she lives outside of Anacortes making the environment new for everyone. Well new and unfamiliar does bring out new and unfamiliar situations. Sue wanted to get some photos of Shilo and I working in public so she had also invited a volunteer, Jan, who is a puppy raiser and photographer for Summit. Shilo knows her training and wants to do her best, but the combination of being in a new environment and being torn between listening to her trainer or her new handler pushed her to the verge of a shutdown-- not doing anything at all. She began to exhibit sign of stress and displacement behaviors (her defaults are scratching, looking anywhere but to the trainer,and freezing). I quickly asked her for some simple behaviors that I could reward her for and redirect her from the stress of being unsure about picking up the keys that had fallen near the base of the freezer case. After a few quick sits and downs with reward I was able to redirect Shilo to the keys and she got them! We were then able to get her to perform some more difficult behaviors such as a counter retrieve, carrying an item for a distance while walking with me, and opening a freezer door. We were in the store for about a half an hour but it was clear Shilo had given all she had on this outing. I talked to Sue about going to the store in morning tomorrow as Shilo is definitely a morning girl.

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