|Barked: Wed Jan 2, '13 7:23pm PST |
|I often did use an interruption/correction word, provided I did not think it would amp Chandler up more. Whether you do will have to depend on the temperament of your dog, and her reactions. Chan's reaction to "ah-ah" is along the lines of "What? Wait? I'm supposed to stop and listen to you?" which somewhat breaks his focus on the perceived threat.
To use a more recent example Chan recently had a minor barking fit at an overly helpful Petco employee on Black Friday. (This is actually unusual, I'll be getting Chan checked for lyme next week.) The employee was male, hovering around, and wearing reindeer antlers...which can add up to suspicious to a protective breed. I immediately told him to sit, lie down, etc to refocus him on me. He still wasn't quite happy so we retreated to other parts of the store where I made sure he was calm and introduced him to other employees wearing antlers with no problems. I then looped back to the problem employee and asked him to simply stand in one of the aisles and ignore us as I walked Chan back and forth in front of him. I didn't correct or overly praise Chan for anything at this point; I simply wanted him to be able to pass through the same aisle. When Chan was calm enough with that (two or three passes), I stopped in the aisle and had a conversation with the employee while asking Chan to do various tricks and giving him cookies for doing so. Eventually I added "Hey, check out this employee standing here" to the things I was asking him. We progressed to the employee giving Chan a treat, before I called it a day and left.
I think it is best to address these issues ASAP if possible rather than letting them slide. The salient points are that I redirected bad behavior, removed Chandler until he was calm, made one of the possible triggers less scary, returned to the situation in a much better state of mind, gave Chandler a job to focus on rather than being freaked out, and made it clear that I considered the employee to be harmless by having an amiable conversation with him.
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