Thursday, June 18, 2009

Riley and Me

Riley and I have had a lot of alone time lately. While she probably enjoys getting me to herself, it is probably lonely traveling in the giant van with no Katie and no Reagan.

I have spent extra time on Riley's focus in distracting situations (busy park or PetsMart, for example). I ask for short bursts of attention with a front, a sit, or heel position. When I am completely ignored, I have found a good correction to be to simply walk into her or tap on her toes. She can't ignore my annoyance for long. Riley is finding out its much easier to do what I ask for 10 seconds, get a food reward, and then she is free to sniff and look around.
PetsMart is still quite overwhelming. Riley is so mesmerized by the smell and sounds of small animals. At PetsMart, I initially settle for eye contact. I want Riley to acknowledge that I do exist at the end of her leash. When she does look at me, she gets a click and a treat, and we move forward.

Another problem I have is that Riley is so darn adorable. Folks are very drawn to her and vice versus. She loves people and is so excitable. I appreciate when people ask if they can pet Riley or give her a treat. I feel bad, but I politely decline and try to explain that she is in the middle of training. I need for her to view me as the source for treats, toys, and affection and not seek it so much from her environment.