If I don't write some of this down, I'll never do it! I have just finished a session with Michele Poulieot (she is a big cheese in the US guide dog for the blind training programme) - "super friendly to super cool" and she gave a lecture on the techniques she uses with guide dogs to get them to ignore distractions. I had Charlie in the session with me and got to do each exercise after she'd explained it. It was an absolutely packed room, and I was a bit flustered because I'd changed my session at the last minute, but went to the wrong room...blah blah anyway....Charlie was a super star. I was the one that was a bit all over the place, and my dog was as cool as a cucumber in comparison. We had the dogs look at the trigger - it was like "look at that" but we wanted the dogs to look and stay calm, we were not waiting for them to look back, and didn't shift the reward marker to that. Michele Poulieot said that the dog looking at us made us feel really good, but in the real world the dog has to look and stay calm, not look at the handler (particularly since the handler might be blind anyway.....). I was really happy about this, because I have recently been doubting my strategy not to train "look at me" as a default (and having listened to Kay Laurence earlier on default behaviours, even more glad). We started with a rapid reinforcement of clicks and treats (it was for a continuous behaviour and Barbara and I had quizzed Kay Laurence and Cecilie Koste on clicking for holding a position yesterday, so got that straight) and the behaviour we were rewarding was stillness (in terms of not moving forwards). But I slightly forgot (because I was flustered) the lesson of yesterday and I didn't get him to stay still also while I delivered the reward - so I'll have to work on that later. He moved so he could see my hand going for his treat (obviously after the click only). Charlie was just fab and we rapidly progressed to having people approach us, waving, calling out to Charlie, and then even waving food and he was just great. I couldn't quite believe it was my dog. Plus he had dogs around him while he was doing it. Super star. By the end of the session I was reducing my rate of reinforcement and Charlie was looking at the person/people/food for longer and longer and people even started to reach out to pat him. He'd look back at me, but I would just wait for him to look again at the trigger and carry on. Was a really great session, and made more realistic of "real life" in that I had as many strangers as I wanted at any time. Only thing was I thought this meant Charlie was quite "meh" around people - he is much more focussed on people if there is just, say, one person on an empty street (and that's the only show in town) than in a lecture room packed to the rafters with people, dogs, sound systems, videos playing, etc. .