Today we had lovely Frida the Dachshund and Penelope the Pug in with us for some help on their reactivity to dogs/children/bikes and leash pulling.
Due to unplanned circumstances, their owners ended up with two puppies at the same time. We’d always advise against doing this because it’s almost guaranteed to create headaches down the line, but sometimes life will just throw a curveball at you.
If you raise two young dogs together, they will typically spend their time playing with each other and becoming dependent of each other. This in turn increases the perceived value of other dogs and decreases the perceived value of their owners. This scenario will almost always create dogs that pull, have poor recall, struggle to settle and develop issues like barrier frustration in particular. Our advice would be to only get another dog once the dog you already have is trained to a level you’re completely satisfied with.
Like most of our sessions we got right to work on stopping the leash pulling and improving the reliability of eye contact, so rather than being pulled around and ultimately allowing the dogs to make their own decisions and becoming anxious and stressed, they can calmly explore and be reassured that they don’t have to carry the burden of responsibility.
In Frida’s case she’s your typical Dachshund, a little bit nervous, very intelligent and trying to make herself appear larger than life when feeling unsure to create a safe space around her. Working on improving Frida’s engagement was an important milestone and quickly enabled her to feel confident rather than defensive.
Penelope on the other hand was reacting from both a ‘monkey see, monkey do’ basis, stemming from Frieda’s nervous disposition initially and then developing into a frustrated greeter. As they’re both highly bonded; seeing other dogs or entering new environments would leave Penelope feeling frustrated when she couldn’t interact on her terms. Her engagement was already amazing and is super food motivated so putting emphasis on basic obedience work and rewarding those behaviours instead held the key.
After doing some proximity work with our own stooge dogs, the girls did so well that we took them to the local park to see how they’d get on in an uncontrolled and unpredictable environment. Right off the bat we had off-leash dog after off-leash dog, children and bikes, and they both did absolutely amazingly. Really couldn’t have asked for any better.
Frida and Penelope’s owners have went from avoiding taking them out and putting areas of the social lives on hold to having a new skillset at their disposal and a new understanding of how their dogs think and how their emotions drive their behaviour. Another great training session with owners who’re open to learning and keen to do the very best by their dogs.
An awesome day spent with some really amazing people and dogs.