Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Life Rewards For the Win

I've started walking Reyna regularly, I know, it's about time. Anyway I am really enjoying our nightly walks and Reyna's LL is seriously improving. Sunday we had a bit of a crazy walk, but I feel like it shows a lot about how we're doing.

If I'm taking Reyna on a walk I skip her dinner and load the kibble up as treats to take with me (I know I've said it before but it still amazes me...kibble...k.i.b.b.l.e...a year ago this dog wouldn't take grilled chicken if we were off my property. Sorry...moving on) So I loaded up our bag of treats and headed out. I decided to take a minute to test our LL and "stuff on the ground zen" so I set a treat on the ground, got Reyna, asked her to leave it as we walked by 1' away from the treat easily within reach, flicked a glance but nothing else. I'd call that a pass for sure! Tried it again with the leash off, perfect!!

Then we headed out, with the leash back on of course/

I normally walk about 2.5-3.5 miles on any given day, Sunday was a 3 mile day. A little way into the walk I decided to work a little more on leave it so I threw a treat way ahead on the path and as we approached it I would say leave it and we would walk by. After a couple of time I got brave and asked her to leave it as we walked right over the top of the treat, no problem....she's a zen pro :)

Then we got to campus. The wind was blowing and Reyna is always a little bit nervier in the wind so I took the time to help her settle. Then she balked at a textured section of the sidewalk that wheelchairs use for traction, so we spent a few minutes learning that it was really just a piece of ground and not a cleverly disguised dog swallowing cavern. About this time I noticed we had gone through half our treats and we weren't even half way yet, time for a short cut. What I didn't think about was that the short cut took us through a whole new section of the college where Reyna had never been so she suddenly started scanning. It took me a minute to figure out what was going wrong and that she needed help processing the environment. So I *gasp* slowed down to give her the feedback she needed...I know...it's a miracle!!!

We played Pattern Games...up and down, ping pong, 123 treat with stopping to feed, then 123 treat while moving and two things happened as a result of this process 1. I had my dog back 2. I was down to 3 pieces of kibble with 1.5 miles to go! ack! Then a dog brayed at us from across the street she looked at me...I had to pay up...now I had 2 treats left. The dog across the street was still barking at us, I had to think quick. Normally "go sniff" is Reyna's favorite non toy reward, often even more value than treats. But I could tell she needed way more structure right now than being told to wander around and sniff stuff. So I took our whole picture and looked at ways I could change it that would be rewarding for Reyna. Well we are ickily close to barking dogs...she would enjoy getting farther away from them. And we were out for a walk, and given the choice she would rather be out for a jog. I had it!

Dog barks, Reyna remains calm, Yes/Jog a few steps. People pass us by, Reyna keeps a loose leash, Yes/Jog a few more steps. We did that all the way home and managed to make it to our house with 1 piece of kibble left and no reactions or loss of focus.

I am very proud of both of us :-)

1 comment:

  1. Great! Wonderful way to handle the situation. Well done!