We had our 3rd session yesterday with a live dog!
At the beginning of the session we met a well meaning senior lady who wanted to introduce her jack Russell to Kobe. We said Kobe's not friendly, and frightened of other dogs! She said, "well Max is quite friendly!" - While taking Max out of her car. This was after putting Max back in her car in the first place!!
We did manage to persuade her that it was wiser to stay at a distance. It did end up to be sort of a nice set up.
Kobe didn't like the attention of the lady and the dog staring at him and started to go off a little, but we then backed off and got him settled again.
The trainer used a smallish old black senior dog who was placid and calm. We managed to get from the dog not moving and not looking at Kobe and us walking nearer slowly, to us walking parallel to the dog maybe about 5-7m apart, us staying still with the dog jogging slowly, trailing behind the dog and then finally we let Kobe get within 3 metres of the dog and let Kobe just look at the dog, and allow the dog to look at Kobe too.
It was a really good session. Kobe did not once react to the dog. And by the end he was completely relaxed, mouth open, tail down, looking at the dog voluntarily then away or at me for treats.
One key takeaway from today was that we need to think of pushing the boundaries a little at a time. This is harder to do in real life as opposed to a set up, but we have to try it anyway. So for example, instead of always directing his attention towards us, we want to try to get Kobe to use his environment to soothe himself. Things like sniffing the ground after looking at the dog or peeing are supposed go be stress relieving and self soothing.