We managed to dodge the raindrops for about 45 minutes in downtown Frederick last night. Because of the threat of thunderstorms, we didn't see too many people with dogs. Which was good, actually, because just being in a new place was plenty distracting all by itself!
Lily's on a restricted diet because of allergies, so all I brought as reinforcements was her kibble. (I didn't feed her dinner, she earned her dinner last night during our training.) At first, she turned her nose up at it. I'd click and offer the treat, at which point she'd sniff it, turn away, and keep walking!
After she got settled and had sniffed for a few minutes, she was able to take the treats. We worked on loose leash walking and attention. We also worked on "easy" behaviors like sit, down, watch, touch, and speak. Because the environment was completely new, those easy behaviors weren't so easy! It's important to remember that — if you're working with your dog in a new environment, cut them some slack and reinforce even the "easy" stuff.
Once she got comfortable in her new surroundings, I notched up the difficulty on those easy behaviors a little bit. There's a bridge over Carroll Creek with steps that lead up to it. We were halfway up the steps and I asked her to sit. This is an unusual request for a few reasons:
- I don't normally ask her to sit unless we've stopped moving
- I don't normally ask her to sit on a stair
- She's not used to being on stairs over the water in a strange place
She managed that task just fine. I tried to have some fun with her too – she loves to jump up onto ledges, and there are plenty of low walls with wide ledges at Carroll Creek. She enjoyed being cued to jump up onto the walls. Once there, I asked her for those easy behaviors again: sit, down, touch, and speak.
We'll continue our training, as she needs a lot more of it. I hope to get her out at least once a week, more if possible. Progress will be really slow if I only get her out once a week, but it's better than not getting her out at all.