Leroy and I have been working on a command for quite some time. Sometimes I thought, “Hey, he got it!”. But most of the time, I felt like he had no clue what it meant. This command is, “Look at that”. I am asking Leroy to look for what I’m pointing at or something exciting, and then look back at me. Jackpot- reward- good boy! The problem is that what I’m asking him to look at is exciting. So there may be a cat, bird, screaming tiny human, another dog ect. And when Leroy sees these things, he goes into crazy dog mode. We had done a few solid Look at that’s in the past, but it was not very reliable. Leroy is better at working on this command inside and looking out the back door at the cat. But once we are outside, things are harder. However, today we had a wonderful walk! And it was a warm-spring-fever day with lots of activity around the neighborhood. GO LEROY! Leroy is also at week 4 on Prozac, and I think I’m starting to notice subtle differences. We’ve also been working our butts off with training. So it’s hard to say what is causing the progress. But I’d guess a combination of both.
So today on our walk, we had a lot of our “good stuff” training rewards- specifically, a huge chunk of the food roll. Here is the tally of our walk and what we “failed” or reacted poorly at, and what we “passed” and did a wonderful “look at that” followed by a great “look back at mommy and get tons of food”.
Screaming child #1- Fail. But just a minor fail. Leroy doesn’t like screaming tiny humans. It freaks him out. He had a minor reactive moment, but we were able to keep it together and walk away in the other direction.
Screaming child # 2 and 3- Pass. There are a group of kids that play in the culdesac by my apartment. Bouncing balls and a bike, plus some noise- at a further distance, we passed!
Randomly scattered adult humans- Pass. Usually Leroy does keep it together when we’re around people. But if he’s especially worked up or if it’s dark, he can react poorly. But today we walked around and did great.
Two yappy dogs in their fenced in yard- Pass! This was a close call, because man were they yappy. But he sat, did a “Look at that”. Then we got a little closer and did another “Look at that”. At this point they had noticed us and started wailing. But Leroy still looked back at me for a hunk of food- good boy! Then we hurried past their home. Not walking wonderfully on the leash, but not freaking out either!
Homeless man in a wheelchair- Pass. Leroy’s eyes lingered on this for a beat too long. But he did in fact look back at me with no poor reaction!
Slow moving pack of cats- PASS. This is huge, huge, for Leroy. He’s had a few unpleasant run ins with the feline species, and I’ve declared him as “Not good with cats.” He feels the same way about them, as they do him (see picture). Luckily, he’s never done any damage! But we keep them apart anyway 🙂 Normally he would totally loose his cool over cats, especially when they’re moving. But we saw three sauntering kitties across the street. And Leroy did an excellent “Look at that”! He also did great when we saw a sitting kitty who was in a yard we walked pass.
Skateboard- Fail. Leroy hates the skateboards. He looked at it, and then he tried to eat it. Hmpm. Too much, too soon!
Garbage bags x9- Pass. It seems like the whole neighborhood did spring cleaning and had their trash out early. There wasn’t much lunging for smells and crumbs of garbage. And their also wasn’t any- “Moving plastic bag?!- Attack!”, which has happened in the past. So very good!
Thanks again to our trainer Michaela at Opportunity Barks! And good job Leroy 🙂 We will keep working on the “Look at that” command, because it seems to be a great tool to have mastered!
If you have any questions about Tofu, becoming a foster parent, or the adoption process- you can email me (Leroy’s mom) at Casey@caseyheyen.com
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