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Here we go again - exhausted poodle struggling to settle. :rolleyes: Bad timing with everyone in the building starting to come home from work, slamming doors, chatting in the hall, etc. So we put in a load of laundry. The washer and dryer are right by the front door, so they create an excellent noise buffer.

Here’s my husband explaining to Peggy why she has to sleep:

Military camouflage Dog Leg Couch Comfort
 

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Trying to decide when it might be appropriate to leave Peggy for a few hours in her crate during the day (something she has no problem with back home). We don’t want to rush it and set ourselves back. But we’d really like to go for a walk downtown, eat lunch, explore some shops, do some Christmas shopping, etc.

My parents think we’re nuts for coddling her so much. But we’re trying to see this trip as an investment in future trips. We want a lifetime of travel with Peggy.

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Trying to decide when it might be appropriate to leave Peggy for a few hours in her crate during the day (something she has no problem with back home). We don’t want to rush it and set ourselves back. But we’d really like to go for a walk downtown, eat lunch, explore some shops, do some Christmas shopping, etc.

My parents think we’re nuts for coddling her so much. But we’re trying to see this trip as an investment in future trips. We want a lifetime of travel with Peggy.

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I really so get this... I'm working toward this at home with my puppy. She's been with us for 6 weeks now but I rushed the process and have had to dial it way back.
You've got me curiously following your adventures!! I'm rooting for Peggy and you both.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,007 ·
I really so get this... I'm working toward this at home with my puppy. She's been with us for 6 weeks now but I rushed the process and have had to dial it way back.
You've got me curiously following your adventures!! I'm rooting for Peggy and you both.
Thank you for saying that. :)

I feel like we’re taking one step forward and then a few steps sideways. Peggy’s reactivity to dogs and people is increasingly unpredictable. Sometimes she’s totally fine. Other times her reaction is explosive, albeit mercifully brief. I wish I could see the world through her eyes. :(

My husband was very embarrassed today when she lunged, barking, at a woman who was just minding her own business, sitting quietly at a picnic table. It then happened again in the parking garage.

But then she’ll walk by a dozen more people, no problem. Where’s the pulling-out-my-hair emoji??
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,008 ·
In better news, she played an extended game of “Find It” today while my parents were over. I thought it was really cool how she focused just like she was at home, despite all the unfamiliar activity around her. My parents were both amused and very impressed. They also commented on how calm she was while we were eating lunch. They especially appreciated that she didn’t get annoying around food, even as we were eating it on our laps. (Although she did try—very politely—to trade a tiny piece of napkin for a bite of my mom’s curry bun. Lol. Can’t blame a girl for trying.)

She was so tired after, she fell asleep like this:

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Discussion Starter · #1,009 ·
My husband and Peggy were heading out for morning potty, and there was a lady just standing at the end of the hall. Just....standing there. Staring. My husband was deeply spooked and so was Peggy. She erupted into barks, which he didn’t even try to address. He just said “Let’s go!” and headed in the opposite direction.

It’s really hard, dealing with these non-stop triggers. Like, really really hard. Rule #1 with a reactive dog is to keep them under threshold. Good luck doing that when something or someone is (literally) around every single bend.

Yes, some of the more predictable or repetitive stuff we can work on. For example, it took only three elevator “set-ups” for her to stop alerting to every ding. I just sat her at the elevator, treating her until the door dinged and my husband (jackpot!) emerged. Easy. Now the ding = good feelings.

But the circumstances and stimuli around here are ever-changing. I can’t plan for them all, nor can I avoid them. Plus, almost every dog in and around the building is reactive, and I understand why. It becomes an unbreakable cycle, with them all riling each other up.

Just venting here. Grateful for this space. There have of course been a huge number of wins, too. I’m not oblivious to that. Peggy sat worriedly like this for a few minutes after the hall encounter:

Dog Water dog Dog breed Carnivore Companion dog


But now she’s sleeping deeply, as the world barks and dings and rumbles around her. I never imagined she’d be so relaxed in the condo, and especially not so quickly. I just wish I could figure out how to get her outside without rehearsing all the drama. At home, we could play in the yard for a few days after a stressful event. Keep things super mellow. Here it just keeps stacking up.
 

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Oh those eyes!

I wonder if something like our bang-bang treats might help with the surprises, if she is not so stressed by them as to be unable to eat. Weird things round corners = more space and chicken, over and over again. Given how quickly she has learned to relax and ignore things inside the condo it might help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,015 ·
Oh those eyes!

I wonder if something like our bang-bang treats might help with the surprises, if she is not so stressed by them as to be unable to eat. Weird things round corners = more space and chicken, over and over again. Given how quickly she has learned to relax and ignore things inside the condo it might help.
I’ve been thinking about this. And your flappy-flappy-bang-bang methods helped me get her over the stresses of housepainters and landscapers. The surprises here are just so....surprising. Lol. Does that make sense? And random. The variables feel infinite. And it is often impossible to maintain enough space to keep her far enough under threshold to treat her.

I think a valuable exercise might be to remain stationary and let the surprises come around a corner towards us. With a fixed distance from the corner, that would give us a chance to treat before she enters the orange or red zone. But do you think she’d eventually start to generalize that lesson to more random encounters?

Because when we’re startled by something while walking (like a person “suddenly appearing” from behind a car in the parking garage), she goes straight into the red zone now. It’s instantaneous. All we can do is employ a quick-escape method like a “Let’s go!” u-turn to try and minimize the duration of her response.

Hard to believe this is the same dog my husband was walking through the busy farmer’s market a few weeks ago. But maybe that should encourage us. She can learn and grow.

I’m finding this really helpful, even as I’m not sure how to apply it in such a densely populated area:


I think I might have to convince my husband to work through the full course when we get home and Peggy’s had a chance to truly decompress. A lot of the techniques we learned in Peggy’s classes. But consistently applying them in the wild is easier said than done!
 

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Mia, Christmas in June 2010
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I think a valuable exercise might be to remain stationary and let the surprises come around a corner towards us. With a fixed distance from the corner, that would give us a chance to treat before she enters the orange or red zone. But do you think she’d eventually start to generalize that lesson to more random encounters?
This is how Grisha Stewart teaches Look at That. You are stationary with the dog, and you let whatever stroll by - cars, bikes, skateboarders, kids playing soccer. You can combine it with matwork.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,018 ·
Flappy-flappy-bang-bang? Huh? What fab training method is this?
Lol. @fjm has a lovely little song she sings to Sophy and Poppy while the window cleaners are working:


That inspired my “Use your nose and not your ears’ song:


At home (and now in this temporary home) Peggy is very on edge when her ears are in control. So I distract them with a song while keeping the energy light and fun. Smelly treats and games then engage the nose.

“Bang-bang treats” refers to counter-conditioning, using the example of loud scary noises. Noise = treat, so eventually noise = good feeling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,019 ·
This is how Grisha Stewart teaches Look at That. You are stationary with the dog, and you let whatever stroll by - cars, bikes, skateboarders, kids playing soccer. You can combine it with matwork.
It’s super effective and something we still do. We’ll park ourselves on a bench and treat while the world goes by. (Highly highly recommend to anyone who might be reading this while struggling with reactivity.)

We practised at a Starbucks, too, in preparation for this trip. The Starbucks patio is surrounded by a busy parking lot, which we figured was the closest we could get to the sights and sounds of an urban area. But everything just seemed to move so much more slowly at home. :( I’m not seeing a lot of generalizing between those experiences and what we’re currently facing.

Although I suppose it did provide a good foundation for things like door slams and dogs barking while we’re inside. She does immediately look to me. I’ve gotta keep reminding myself of the areas in which she’s impressing us. On our disastrous last trip, I’d never have thought this level of relaxation would be possible.
 

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Mia, Christmas in June 2010
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We practised at a Starbucks, too, in preparation for this trip. The Starbucks patio is surrounded by a busy parking lot, which we figured was the closest we could get to the sights and sounds of an urban area. But everything just seemed to move so much more slowly at home. :( I’m not seeing a lot of generalizing between those experiences and what we’re currently facing.
Ah, I see, that's how you've been doing LAT, you just haven't been doing it in the hallway of a lively downtown apartment building in one of the most beautiful cities in North America. Good learning lesson for anyone following along: dogs do not generalize well. You can practice on a dozen umbrellas, and then someone shows up with a golf umbrella and the dog reacts. C'est la vie avec des caniches. (I muddled my languages for a moment and wrote: c'est la vie con des caniches, lol.)
 
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