We had this bonny lass in today for some training for her leash pulling and reactivity to other dogs.
Kimmy was re-homed at around 6-months-old and her owners have had issues with pulling and sporadic reactivity to dogs for about a year now.
There are different driving forces of reactivity that can manifest themselves in similar ways, but with a very different emotion behind them. When working with reactivity it’s absolutely vital to be able to establish which it is and apply the correct approach to ensure the dog receives the training they need.
In Kimmy’s case, her reactivity is being caused by barrier frustration. Essentially, being unable to control her excitement when seeing other dogs and the restriction of the leash causing her excitement to quickly escalate into reactive behaviour.
We always work from the ground up in our training approach, which typically involves improving reliability of eye contact, teaching how to walk on a loose leash, and basic obedience. These are essential skills that all dogs should have. Especially if there are any problem behaviours emerging.
Once we had these where they needed to be we got to work with our demo dogs to see what was going on with her reactivity… and there wasn’t any.
Kimmy’s reactivity was more down to inexperienced handling more than it was out of real emotion. Once she had something to focus on and a job to do, she calmed right down and could walk around our dogs, walk straight passed them, and sit feet away without as much as a sound.
Sometimes our dogs just don’t know what they’re doing is undesirable and until we communicate this to them they’re left to continue making poor decisions. Once we establish what we want, they can begin to be rewarded for the steps they take toward that goal.
Kimmy’s owners need to put what they’ve learnt today into practise moving forwards and help to shape a new behaviour and habit that’s rewarding for both parties. And we know they’ll have zero issues doing this now.
Good work and good luck guys!