Leo is learning how to cope with his fears. He’s a shy guy that finds the world a little overwhelming. Sometimes he hides. Sometimes he barks and lunges. To work some magic with him we are teaching him the auto watch.
Leo has just noticed Sam, a big fluffy teddy bear of a dog, walking towards him. Sam walking towards him makes Leo uncomfortable and he begins to show signs of being nervous. Closing his mouth is one of these indicators. He also becomes still.
Leo then looks away, a calming signal. He also does a tongue flick. This is a quick flick of the tongue out of the front of the mouth. Now here’s where the auto watch comes in. When Leo feels uncomfortable due to a distraction, a trigger, we want him to automatically look at his human.
And here it is, the auto watch. Leo was stressed by the appearance of Sam so he offered some calming signals then looked at his human! With practice this will become the default behavior when Leo becomes stressed about a trigger.
Meet Sam! What a cutie. He deserves a moment in the spotlight too. Sammie is the laid back “bomb proof” helper dog. He gets to walk around eating treats just for existing. That’s the life.
A quick note on the training method. We are using a clicker to mark the correct behavior then giving a yummy treat. You can see them in the first photo. The clicker allows us to be very specific about rewarding an exact behavior. Which means fast learning. And I love when dogs learn at light speed.