Today, we worked on approaching the lawnmower on command (“Touch”) when it was off and not making scary noises or moving.I put a chew toy on the patio and encouraged Spencer to consider that a safe spot (“couché” and “reste”). It seems to have worked, because he didn’t look too stressed while I was mowing.
However, he still goes crazy when the gardeners at the school next door start mowing along our fenceline. Apparently, Scary Men with Mowers are not OK when they are near our haven of peace. I’m working on desensitizing him. When they come, we get a comfortable distance away and he is rewarded for looking at me and sitting down instead of barking at them. It hasn’t “cured” him yet, but he gets less intense than he did before, so there are good signs that he’ll gradually learn to be Zen when they are working.