Erin here. I've decided to start doing some training posts, so I can keep track our progress, particularly with reactivity.
It sucks only being able to work with Susie on the weekends, since I go to college/live in a different town four days out of the week. I can’t wait until next year, when I can move out of the dorms and get an apartment. Susie’s going to love campus life :D
At any rate, I was getting a little disheartend because it seemed our training, particularly the training we do for her strange dog/ people reactivity, was starting to stagnate and backslide. However, after introducing the clicker to our walks (I don’t know why I didn’t earlier— especially since we’ve been using it so long in other aspects of our training) she was really more at ease, and definitely a lot more responsive to me. She also did well with not pulling on the leash; I was very pleased!
We walked past a few things that would have put her over threshold a year ago, but only warranted a sideways glance from her. A large group of people screaming and playing in a yard, several men cutting their grass and weedwacking (one even walked towards her with his mower, but she was fine and comforted when I stepped between them so that she was on my other side, and continued on).
We walked to the small park in my neighborhood, which is mostly deserted in the seasons when the pool is closed, and practiced sit stays and recalls in the parking lot. She’s very responsive on our outings now, whereas before she was too overstimulated to perform even simple commands. We started with a few of her easy commands and then worked on sit stays with distance, and recalls from a distance, and she did very well, especially considering we haven’t worked on them very much.
When we got home, she was tired in a way that I could never hope to get through purely physical excercise :) I never realized how much more draining “training” walks could be.
On a training side note, I was watching a video on youtube yesterday looking for more things we could work on, and watched a video dealing with sits and other commands from a distance. Well, I asked Susie to ‘sit’ and ‘wait’ at the foot of the stairs, per usual, as I climbed to the top before releasing her, but in her overexitement, she broke the ‘wait’. I asked her to ‘try again’ (a cue she understands very well), so she descended the few steps to the foot of the stairs, and looked up at me expectantly. I told her to sit, more out of experiment than anything, and to my suprise, she did so without hesitation, even though we’ve never attemped cueing any commands at a distance. Love my pup <3