Cafe dogging is currently our all times favourite sport. It is not difficult. I just need to DOWN STAY and WATCH DOGS and I will got alots alots of YUM YUM. We have been doing this multiple times at our favourite spot, Paw Petradise Cafe.
Tell you more about me. I have leash reactive towards dogs. How does this actually happen? After the adolescence kicked in, I was very very interested in everything around me. (eg. trees, dogs, pole, grass and etc.) Initially, I just stared at the dog but it had gradually increased the arousal level that caused me to bark and lunge at the later stage. To my inexperience mom, she had definitely missed out THE MOST IMPORTANT BODY LANGUAGE that signalled the very first move. (That’s why she is working double hard now.)
How are we going to get this started? Mommy had tried a lot of different methods like going to the dog run often or standing still like a robot waiting for me to look back at her (which I normally don’t because why should I do that when there are so many interesting things around me.) BUT she has never never given up on me. She googled it on net and came across one video on leash reactive towards dogs that leash pulling can increase arousal level and lead to aggressive barking. So we seek help from Teacher mimi. Then she realised that she had trained wrongly all the while.Teacher mimi told her that loose leash walking and leash reactivity towards dogs have to be trained separately. From then on, all the trainings started.
We had our loose leash training for 5 consecutive days without seeing any dogs (except Myers). Then followed by dog watching at Bishan Park. We didn’t walk over to the dog run. We just stayed at a corner to click for dogs.
Other than this, Aunty Elim suggested cafe dogging to see whether it helps as we can train in the controlled environment by watching dogs outside the cafe instead of going in. This is how Cafe Dogging get started. What do we normally do during our cafe dogging session? It’s simple. A DOWN STAY or SIT STAY will earn a lot of YUMMY treats. A DOWN STAY / SIT STAY + DOG WATCHING will earn a lot of YUMMY BONUS treats.
See how much I have improved in this 2 months. I’m able to do DOWN STAY + FOCUS WORK at mommy.
Of course, I will have random SUPER HIGH VALUE SPECIAL TREATS for my desired behaviours. This is what I earned during one of our Cafe Dogging, LIVER FRUIT CAKE, from Paw Petradise Cafe.
After so many times of Cafe Dogging, this is how close I can DOWN STAY with Mia even though there is one glass door apart.
I am very sensitive to any movements at sight. The initial stage is spot the trigger, alert, lunge, bark and the last but not least, bite. In short, I have movement reactivity. To my experience, the best way to overcome this is to use counter-conditioning then later on pair with desensitization. What you mean by counter-conditioning? It is basically a classical conditioning which pairs the triggers that will produce unpleasant response with something pleasant. In my case, we use YUMMY TREATS to pair with the triggers. Beside this, distance and intensity are also another important part of this training. That is why desensitization kicks in. The goal is to expose me to a low level trigger which will evoke the unwanted response in certain situation, and then gradually closing up the distance and slowly increase the intensity of the stimulus. This has to be done by my own pace so that none of the unwanted behaviours will occur.
How do I start? Firstly is to locate the trigger, make plan and train at a safety distance. In my case, since I am reactive to moving things, I will start with human first as Mommy does not want me to bite at any human being accidentally. She will pick an odd hour (such as 7am during the weekday) for me to watch at people who is standing still, then followed by slow walking people and then normal walking people.
The best is to train at one stimulus at one time in one day. In order to be more effective, keep the training session short like 15 mins. In between, you can have a short break so that I could redirect the focus from the stimulus in order to rest my mind.
See you in the next session with me.