Scott took Sherman on his walk tonight as I really wanted to get some time in w/ Lola.
I tried to get into the Feisty Fido class at Animal Friend which is taught by my friend Lilian. It's already full (it doesn't even start till January) but she agreed to do some private lessons w/ us. She also offered me some suggestions in the meantime. First of all, do away w/ the Gentle Leader...Sure! I can always go back to it if it I need to. I fit Lola w/ Sherman's old Senseation harness, grabbed my clicker & some good stuff & we walked outside through the backyard. Might as well start out w/ something totally new. Of course, being that it was 5:30, the whole flipping neighborhood & their dogs were outside. Lola immediately started stressing & barking and I back up into the yard again & did some basic obedience stuff to get her attention. When she was calm, I walked back out into the front of the house. I made sure to maintain a very high rate of reinforcement with her so she didn't have a chance to stress (I read enough about this crap...I'm finally getting that I actually have to DO it to be successful). She actually managed to remain calm even with lots of people milling around & trying to talk to me. Ugh! It's great to have nice neighbors but I need a big sign to wear around my neck that says "WE'RE WORKING! PLEASE LEAVE US ALONE!". Anyway, then Scott & Sherman came out & got her all worked up. I just changed directions and let them go on their merry way. We'd walk two houses...she'd stress. I'd back up and c/t when she was focused on me...turn around and make it 5 houses. She'd hear a dog bark two towns away and stress...back up and continue to c/t for attention & calm reaction to things. It went on this way for a while...2 houses, 5 houses, 3 houses, 2 houses, 8 houses...all & all we were outside for about 20 minutes and she did really well considering all of the commotion. Until a dog walked past the house & then she freaked. She did a scary bark at my neighbor...who she LOVES. That's not a good sign. He's cool about everything though & when I explained what I was doing, he said "Hey, when I hear that clicker, I know I have to ignore her". Finally! I'm gonna use him to help me.
Penny & I went for a walk next & this whole LLW thing is really sinking in. The first 1/2 a block is tough...she needs a lot of reminders. Then it's smooth sailing. I've been using primarily Be A Tree w/ her but am going to start doing Penalty Yards for the first part of the walk. She's a smart cookie. It won't take long. Then we need to move on to really distracting places to practice. By spring...we should be cookin'!