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We had our week without class due to the holiday, and I got out with Oli multiple times to heavily trafficked areas (strip malls, home depot, Michael's, etc). The homework was to just go near these places and keep our dogs engaged while in sight of other people. This was just too easy for Oli as we regularly visit stores and I always have him performing some basic commands while we are out. So during the past two weeks I have been bringing him into stores and kind of pushing his limits as far as distractions around people and equipment in stores. Working on stays while I step 15-20 feet away and strangers pass by with carts, sitting nicely at my side while kids walk by (he can be reactive to kids of the louder variety). He surpassed my expectations and I'm happy with myself that I walked the line between pushing his limits and pushing him over threshold.

Back at class this week, it was our 5th class out of 6. A dog from the class after ours (level 2 of the class we are in) came into our class this week because our class is actually ahead of the level 2 class currently. The trainer warned us that this class would probably be the one where we had some explosions and she was right - several dogs had some issues. Oli reacted one time, but once again because a dog who wasn't supposed to be invading our space at that moment did and I wasn't paying attention enough, since there wasn't suppose to be a dog right next to us at that moment. All in all, he did excellent.

We were all moving around from klimb to klimb at the same time. Once we had that down, we all walked to the center of the room at the same time (dogs about 3 feet away on either side) and asked for a sit, then continued on to our klimbs. The trainer then set up two standards on the middle of the room. Oli and i got paired with another dog/handler, and we went to opposite sides of the room. Then we were told to walk towards the standards (towards each other) and turn around the standards in opposite directions, with our dogs on the standard-side. Oli was slightly distracted by this but had no reaction and I was able to regain his attention quickly. This exercise was to simulate real life situations where most of the time, we have to pass dogs head on.

Homework for this week is to try and have our dogs in the vicinity of other dogs and basically observe. She wants to know how far away a dog is before they start reacting, whether or not they can eat while they are reacting, and how long it takes them to recover and return to work again after a reaction (if they can at all). Today we'll be making a trip to Petsmart where I plan to hang around outside the building off to the side and walk around/practice commands until a dog comes and then keep our distance and work on keeping him engaged. While he has minimal issues with people he is super dog reactive and I expect this to be a difficult task and we will have to be relatively far away. It's much easier for him to settle into a room full of dogs versus see a dog in passing. He usually takes a good 15-20 minutes to "come down" after reacting to another dog, so I'm going to try to avoid that. Hopefully there will be enough traffic that we can start off super far away and work our way a little closer with each dog that comes.
 
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