Nathan has been over to East Boldon with Bailey, a VERY handsome border collie.
Bailey is quite reactive to pretty much anything that moved. This was our second outdoor session with them and he’s doing fantastic! Previously he reacted to cars and stalked them from quite far away and then he would kick off at them, same with people and dogs.
Now he’s got a nice heel, he can stay focused on his owner and he can walk past cars literally on the path with cars coming towards him without kicking off at all. The same with people, unless they’re getting right up close to him within a meter, otherwise he’s completely fine with them.
Bailey and his owner have previously worked with a very good trainer, so they had a lot of foundations in place anyway and they kind of knew what we’re doing, but the other trainer works from a center and realistically Bailey needed a trainer to be able to go out with them and train in the real world, so that trainer referred onto me. They have also worked with a veterinary behaviourist, because Bailey is on medication for his anxiety as well which is really helping, it has made a big difference and possibly is one of the reasons we got success this quickly.
So far we’ve taught some focus work and we’ve done some counter conditioning, basically, as soon as he sees the trigger, we mark with a marker word, and Bailey looks back and gets the treat every single time. We don’t allow any stalking - as soon as there’s stalking, we interrupt, because stalking is MASSIVELY reinforcing to a border collie and then leads up to fixation and you can’t distract from that.
Bailey is doing incredibly well, half the time when he sees a car or people, he automatically looks back for the treat now with is perfect. Next, we’re going to start looking at other dogs, because we haven’t even started working on it yet, but I’m sure Bailey will pick that up in no time.
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