Post # 17
I am glad the class seems to be working well for you. There have also been some very good posts in this thread. I will add my post from a different thread here about leash reactivity:
It sounds like your dog is leash reactive. This is a fairly common problem. In order to teach your dog to be calm around the stimuli that make him uncomfortable, you start at a distance the dog is comfortable with, and treat for being calm. Slowly decrease this distance, and reward for calm behavior. If the dog reacts, you have gone too fast. Back up and start over from the last point the dog was calm. When out on walks, you will need to be proactive. If you see something that you know will trigger him (other dog, specific people) keep an eye on his behavior, and if you notice your dog start to get uncomfortable, put enough distance between yourself and the trigger that your dog calms down. If you ever get into a situation where your dog is reactiing, WALK AWAY FROM THE TRIGGER. Don’t just stand there with your lunging dog trying to get his attention, he is in a hyped up state and will not pay attention to you at this point. Your goal is to keep him from getting in this state at all. It would also be helpful for you to work on his general obedience, such as sit and “look at me” so that you can teach your dog to focus more on you.
I also reccommend looking up youtube videos by Dr. Sophia Yin. She has some fabulously helpful videos about leash reactivity in dogs.
Keep up the good work! 🙂
Post # 18
@oracle: Awesome!!! Glad the class went well 🙂 Enjoy the ride !!!
Post # 19
@oracle: I’m so glad it went well! Keep up the good work!! Cheese is a really high value for our dog!
Post # 20
Thanks everyone for your tips, etc. Reading this thread again today is very helpful as we’ve had the dog for a bit longer (almost 3 weeks) and it’s becoming apparent where we need specific help.
The biggest issue is with encountering dogs on walks. She doesn’t always have issues with dogs on leash – but mostly dogs behind fences that bark at her. If she senses them, she’ll perk up and be on alert, but won’t lunge unless barked at. Aside from that, she’s pretty good on the leash; coming back into a sit if she starts tugging, and is getting good at walking next to me (although, that’s a work in progress for sure!). I started out not doing this, so she’s learned too much freedom in this regard.
Regarding the dogs we encounter – I’ve been trying various techniques – calling her with a sit before encountering anything. Avoiding the fences I know dogs are present, etc. Moving away from any oncoming source of anxiety for her – but, I’m wondering if my techniques are ‘right’.
What I’m noticing is that she’ll remember where these houses are and begin to tense before we even get there. I’ve seriously checked my own stance and don’t feel as if I’m doing anything different to alert her. I talk to her calmly through the whole process and lead her away, if she gets anxious. It’s strange because some times it works awesome and other times it doesn’t (it could be the same house/dogs).
I’m in the process of finding on-site training so I can get trained on the best way to deal with her on walks. But, would welcome any additional tips, etc.
Post # 21
Do you have a harness leash? It might give you a little better control.
I think it’s good to keep exposing her to some of the scary houses– you have to keep her in line but also make it apparent that she’s just going to have to learn to deal. I think I remember you saying she loves high-value treats like hotdogs, can you start feeding her hotdogs before you get to a bad-house and keep feeding her as you walk by it? I think eventually she should get accustomed to dogs barking, though I can understand if sometimes you just need a break and want to go on a quiet walk!
We use regular dog food as “treats” for walks with our lab. He pulls but will stay close if I have a handful of dogfood by my side and periodically let him grab one as we are walking. I use dogfood because we go through a lot of treats during these walks, so it counts as more of part-of-dinner than treats?
Post # 22
@bookworm88: I just bought an Easy Walk harness last night and used it for the first time this morning. It worked very well (although, I’m not 100% sure on the fit). I felt like it wasn’t as snug as it should have – as the top shoulder strap seemed to move too much. We are going to our training class tonight and I will ask one of the trainers to check it.
Silly question – but – where do you keep your treats? I took some with me the other day, but had a hard time getting them out of the baggy I had them in. My phone goes in one pocket, keys in the other, poop bags in a pants pocket… I’m running out of pockets! 😉 How do you keep your treats easily accessible? (I know I’m missing something super basic!) 🙂
Post # 23
@oracle: You need to get a treat bag! We bought a basic and cheap one from petco that has a clip to go on the waist of your pants. They also make fancier ones with extra pockets for keys and such.
I’m glad its going so well! Our dog also remembers where she encounters dogs and goes on alert as we approach. When there is no dog there and she goes on alert, I make sure to make her sit and give her treats for doing so.
A couple of sessions with a trainer at home seems like it will defintely put you on the right path. So happy to hear that it’s going well!