Settling in Urban Life
So it's now time to put what we have been training in to practice. It's time to take our dogs out and about.
Now you have to methods that you can utilise, the formal settle training, preferably on a settle blanket, or parking the dog.
Personally I like to use the settle blanket to start, as it gives your dog a boundary to work from and also we are bringing some continuity from our previous training.
Start with short sessions, so maybe go for only one drink. Start by finding relatively quiet environment, so not your local on a Saturday night!
Try find a quieter spot, I personally like to find a quiet corner, so there is a limited space to have to deal with, Set up a blanket and a pile of treats on the corner of the table, and every so often, just slide a treat off the table and on to the floor. Your aim has to be pretty good as we want the treats to preferably land between their paws or on their blanket, as we do not want them to constantly be getting up to get a treat.
The Park Bench Method
Begin by taking your dog somewhere nice and quiet with plenty of space and preferably a park bench or somewhere for you so sit, bring lots of super tasty treats and sit down.
Now Relax! (harder than it sounds I know).
place your foot on the lead and periodically place a treat calmly between the dogs paws.
Every time someone or another dog appears, give your dog a lovely tasty treat. Don’t ask them to do anything at all, just give a treat. If they cannot remain calm then you’re too close to the stimulus, increase the distance and begin again. Practice this for as long as you can as often as you can, gradually decreasing the distance between your dog and the stimulus.
If a dog runs up to you it could make a mess of things so just wait until the other dog is back under control, I would help calm you dog, by doing some small scent work sessions, once your dog is calm and begin the exercise again.
After plenty of practice you can test your dog’s reaction by holding off on the treat, see how they react. If they look at you, mark it with a very positive “GUD!” or “YES!” and give a lovely reward. You’ve now increased your criteria! Repeat the exercise but reward when your dog offers eye contact each time the stimulus appears. Continue the exercise gradually decreasing the distance.The eye contact is known as a ‘mutually exclusive behaviour’ or MEB, this is a behaviour that replaces an undesirable behaviour in response to a stimulus. For example- offering eye contact instead of lunging or running off. Sitting instead of jumping up.