I’ve actually had her less than four weeks and have been working on other things at the moment, so I haven’t gotten around to teaching her about the magic of the clicker yet! Whoops.
I did that at first too, juggling the clicker and the treats and mistiming clicks because I was trying to click as the dog was eating the treat instead of right before I went to give her the treat…I ended up putting the treats on the table behind me, so I didn’t have access to them immediately, then worked on clicking before I even reached for the treat. It was tricky to get the hang of at first but now it’s so easy and I love it. :)
Oh, that’s a fabulous piece of advice! I will have to try it sometime soon, once I’ve conditioned her to the clicker in the first place.
Hah, I tried messing around with an old hula hoop a few days ago, too! Tribble was startled and afraid of it, but Oliver remembered the old “over” command I taught him before his knee blew out and happily bounced through it (at just a few inches above the ground). For me, since there’s something about hula hoops that tends to startle dogs in my experience (maybe it’s the unsteadiness of a human holding it?) it helps to teach “over” first on something stationary and then move to a hoop once they’re comfortable jumping on command. I’m not really pushing “over!” on Tribble now, though—she’s going to eventually be my agility dog, but there’s time to learn that later, and I’d rather concentrate on groundwork for now. Especially leashwork and the car thing. Good solid groundwork foundations mean much easier time learning agility obstacles!
I need to spend more time free-shaping, though—I’ve done it a bit with Oliver and it really is fun to do! I keep meaning to see if I can teach the dogs to army crawl on cue, or get “take a bow!” out of Tribble. Maybe that can be my incentive for taking out my clicker and working with everyone!
The thing I had thoughts about is that if you get a trusted friend to walk her next to the big calm buddy but not let her sniff it or greet it or, well, GET to the other dog, that might help her learn to focus with another dog she can’t greet in the background. This isn’t something you can do with one person, but sometimes it works really well! I know of at least one group (the SociaBulls walking group in Chicago) that get together big numbers of people walking dogs on lead with no interaction between the dogs in order to help teach polite on-lead skills and let people work on issues like that in a friendly atmosphere.
That said, the only real thing to do about it is practice. :/ Oliver and I really need to spend more time working on focusing than we do. Right now, my goal is to get him focused on me more while walking—we’re at the point where he pays attention enough to not accidentally pull the lead, but his attention is otherwise very much on the sights and sounds around him. So he has a LOT of “watch me!” practice in his future, I think. Practice makes perfect, after all!