About a year ago, I posted about how Loki was afraid of various things such as the laundry room, manhole covers, and children. He's been making good progress on all of them.

  1. Laundry Room. I tried various methods of getting him in there. I tried clicker training in the beginning & also luring him inside with treats. In the end, I didn't seriously pursue this task too diligently, as there wasn't a read need for him to be in the laundry room. And he was doing just fine walking around other smooth surfaces, such as in PetSmart.

    Then one day, I had him with me and I really wanted to check on my laundry and see how much time was left. With my focus entirely on how much time is left on my laundry loads, instead of Loki go in the laundry room, we entered the laundry room successfully. He resisted initially, but definitely not as much as I thought he would. We repeated this exercise with my focus on the laundry itself, and Loki entered with only a small amount of resistance. Now he seems perfectly fine with it. It's so interesting how not thinking about getting him in the laundry room actually got him in there successfully.

  2. Manhole covers. In the past few months, I've taken to the idea of herding. When we approach a manhole cover and Loki resists moving forward, I herd him from behind. This technique works wonders! It's SO much more effective than pulling, coaxing, clicker training, or luring with a treat. It's really quite amazing. It doesn't hurt him, like constantly pulling might, and it works very quickly. After a few repetitions, he no longer stops at the manhole covers.

  3. Children. This one is still a work in progress. Because I take him to the school yard and park often, he's now accustomed to children's noises. He's typically calm around the playground unless the kids run toward him. Once in awhile, we have a good experience with a confident kid. The more confident the child, the more comfortable Loki is. The first thing I tell kids is to not pet Loki and to let him smell them. Then I give them treats to give him. If we encounter a nervous or apprehensive child, then Loki starts barking and I have to turn the child away.

    Today was a good day. We met a cheery, confident girl, who let Loki sniff her all over. She listened to all of my instructions and I gave her treats to feed him. I wish we met more kids like her.

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