So, operation IRIT is in full swing. See, cos it sounds like ‘irrit’ as in ‘irritate’ because it’s so annoying. Get it!?
As i posted last week, Lu was starting to get really bad with chasing things while off-leash. Even if there was nothing to chase she was really just running off on me and not coming back.
So I asked Silvia Trkman what she does, obviously there’s rabbits and deer in Slovenia. So she gave me some ideas.
Our new mantra is we do not hunt. Anything that looks like hunting is redirected. When Lu get super alert and ‘pointy’, her attention gets redirected to me.
We’ve been going out to the lake where there’s heaps of rabbits and swamp-birds and whenever she makes the conscious decision to focus in on me instead of the rabbits, we have a huge play and lots of treats. Sometimes I’ll focus her myself with a quiet ‘uh uh’, or ‘Lumen…’, but, considering when we went to the lake a few months ago and she saw a rabbit, she was on her hind legs, crying at the end of the lead, flipping out to try and get to the rabbits… now, she can calmly take her focus off them and play with me. Look, if they run, she’s still wanting to run after them (of course), though now she might start to and stop, freeze, stare, and then turn back to me. I’m trying to make focusing on me more fun and more high-value than chasing rabbits. It’s such a hugely laughable concept for her to have to understand and I don’t know if she’ll ever not chase animals, but my thought is that if she has these basics, she might stop and turn back like Mal does, rather than just running off blindly.
The ultimate goal is being able to walk around with rabbits and ignore them, 2nd to that is walk around and refocus on me when rabbits are spotted, 3rd to that is walk around, possibly chase, but come back straight away.
I’ll just keep repeating: we do not hunt, we do not hunt, we do not hunt.