Invisible obstacles

Funny how the dog brain works. Yesterday I took the poodles to the park that has the wood fence; the one that they had to scootch under to get to the otherside with me. Someone took one of the bottom rails out of the fence; perhaps another dog person so that there was lots of room for a dog to go under the fence.

It's pretty low even for shorty like me so I jumped over. I called Luke to come with me and he stood staring at the fence and then started to pace up and down the fence whining. I was trying to capture a shot of him going under so I had to stay back and let him figure it out. It took quite a while and during the time when he was figuring out the whole fence thing I watched; seeing the wheels in motion is very interesting.

Dogs learn by association; this was learned association to the previous visit. Standing right in front of the fence with the missing bottom post Luke still thought that it was too low; like the lastime. Even though you can clearly see that there is more than enough room to go under; he remembered not enjoying having to scootch down so far to go under. His memory of the lastime under was interfering with his progress today.

He stuck his head under; but quickly pulled back again. With a couple of rewarding "good boy, that's it" he mustered enough courage to go for it. You can obviously see in the photo that he is not enjoying going under; even though there is more than enough room for him to easily pass beneath the fence. He had clearly remembered and had a negative association to going under the fence previously.

Tilley was much quicker to go under; although she too stood and stared for a while before taking the plunge. Going back under this time was much better; perhaps the negative has now been replaced by "okay,not so bad."

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