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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Squirrel Chasing. Part III - Foundation (b)

We have already discussed starting with management then implementing foundation in order to modify squirrel chasing.  For some dogs, the information already discussed in parts I and II will be enough to modify squirrel chasing.

When we are out on walks, my Matt-Matt is able to become less concerned about squirrels if we play Leslie McDevitt's "Look At That" game.  But my Dachshund Beagle mix, Puddin needs a lot more work. We have been successful in using Premack to regain her attention once she starts chasing. But for her, a basic foundation is not enough.

Before we start with squirrels, we should probably start working on calm around moving things that are less exciting than squirrels. Maybe birds, bikes, etc.. I have already worked on keeping her calm when I'm moving about. See the video here or below.  This took months of work. I started with just asking for her to stay for a short amount of time. Then I start taking just one step back, then two steps and so on. Then I slowly started adding in movement.

Pet parents can do similar things with bikes and other moving objects.  Some animals like birds won't be so cooperative, but we can work at a distance from birds then slowly work on getting closer.  
The techniques we use to keep our dog's calm will vary depending on the dog. As mentioned, my Matt-Matt does well with the "Look At That" Game. There are several other methods available to pet parents (See Control Unleashed and other resources). Most dogs would probably do well if we incorporated movement into the Relaxation Protocol.
See all squirrel chasing posts here. More to come.

Do you have any questions on foundation?  Write them in the comments section below.

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