Thursday, February 6, 2014

Clicker Expo 2014: Emma Parsons: Teaching a Reactive Dog Class

crude working definitions:
reactive (over-reactive) versus aggressive (does the dog have the intent to bite?)
generally Emma funnels reactive dogs into CU classes and aggressive dogs into the "reactive dog" class, which she wishes she could call an "aggressive dog" class
all students and assistants are told to act toward every dog as if it were people-aggressive as well as dog-aggressive, for safety's sake

goal for guardian: how to manage dogs safely and teach them the necessary skills effective in real world environments
goal for dog: learn how to keep himself safe in previously challenging environment while trusting that his guardian will make the best decisions for him

the space: large enough for barriers to be placed (can use cars or covered agility obstacles as barriers)
the equipment: collars & harnesses (no chokes or prongs) - 2 collar/leash system in required in case of equipment failure; clicker; highly palatable treats; treat pouch
the rules: good if owner can bring assistant, esp if dog is human aggressive; enter and exist only through assigned doors; class assistants accompany students at all times while on the premises; students bring the dogs in only when told to do so

thresholds: time vs space, can play with this if you have a small area

this is advanced class - students already known clicker and basics
advanced exercises: dog jumping four jumps in pinwheel, while another dog and handler are in the middle
novel stimulus (look for crazy stuff in thrift stores and yard sales) - c/t for looking
combine n.s. and jumping exercise

Working spot: Cai and I stood in the middle while another Papillon (Jack, not to be confused with Jacques) went around the jumps. Cai spent much of the weekend exploding at the other Papillons because he couldn't handle the excitement, but he did just fine with this exercise. Emma could tell that he was somewhat unnerved by the situation/environment, but to the average person he looked "fine". He was sleepy and full of treats for the rest of this lab.

basic reactive dog classes also cover variety of emergency strategies, ie "grab dog" = C/T, get behind something and hide
go over home management, ie don't allow fence-fighting, barking out window
default behaviors

It's always nice to see how experienced people find different ways to work these classes. I'd say that at least 50% of my private lessons are with reactive dogs. If I had the space and the assistants(!), I'd be happy to teach one of these classes.

No comments:

Post a Comment