Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Silky & Quebec have a night on the town

Quebec's family invited us to an afternoon event in San Francisco during the holidays. We thought it would be a great practice outing for Silky. Silky is on the food protocol for dog distractions and greeting people. Since the event was in downtown San Francisco in the Mark Hopkins Hotel, we knew Silky would encounter all the busy city noises, the busy streets and the busy hotel. And it was a rainy, gray, cold, windy day to boot. Inside, though, the place was dry and warm and packed with people. Perfect practice grounds for Silky's people distractions and overly exhuberant greeting behavior. And since Silky and Quebec were together all the time, there were lots of opportunities to work on Silky's dog distractions.

Silky's checking in with the boss; Quebec's checking in with Silky. The puppies did really well around all the food and legs. I don't think anyone's toes were stepped on -- at least not puppy toes.
 Jim must have just said what a nice event is was. "Nice" is Silky's marker word and must be followed by a piece of kibble. The hardest part about working with the food protocol is to avoid saying "nice" unless we're marking Silky's behavior. No more "Have a nice day", "Nice work", "Nice weather we're having", etc. The red bait bag has become a permanent addition to both Jim's and my wardrobe.

Nice loose leash, Jim. Oops, I said "nice".

There are a couple of puppies in there somewhere. Really.

Silky's calculating the trajectory to this woman's face. Can I get in a good lick?  Actually, Silky kept all four feet on the ground the entire afternoon. (See the red bait bag?)

Silky has responded very well to the food protocol. In the past week, she's started actually checking in with us when she sees a dog coming our way. She looks at the dog, is obsessed for half a second, then looks up at us. As soon as she turns her head to a neutral position and relaxes her ears, she's rewarded with "Nice", followed by a piece of kibble. It helps that she's a lab and that labs will do a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g for food.

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