Maisy and I did BAT for the first time on Friday night. BAT, short for Behavioral Adjustment Training, is a method of training reactive dogs by teaching them that they can control the environment through peaceful means. Basically, it rewards the dog for performing a calming signal (or appeasement gesture) such as turning his head away by giving him what he wants most: distance.
BAT is usually done with a subject dog- that is, the reactive dog who is being trained- and some sort of decoy. The decoy is one of the reactive dog's triggers, and it needs to be something that can be controlled. If the decoy is another dog, it needs to be calm and inoffensive.
Maisy was the decoy dog on Friday night.
It all started on Facebook- an internet acquaintance asked if anyone wanted to do some dog training. I "liked" her status, and somehow I found myself meeting her at a park the next day to help her do some BAT with two of her dogs. I wasn't sure how Maisy would do, but I shouldn't have worried. My new friend did a great job keep her own dogs under threshold, so Maisy barely even noticed they were there!
A year ago, I would never have even considered that Maisy could be a calm, quiet, inoffensive decoy dog, but now, she's able to chill in a public park, and just be her adorable self. Needless to say, I am so proud of her!