After ending up scared stiff following an incident involving Bear and a child, his owners reached out to us for some help with his reactivity towards people and dogs.
We went for a little walk to see what was going on with him and what a typical walk looked like for them. Although he wasn’t terrible, there was certainly some work to be done to address the issues they’ve been experiencing. As is typical with many dogs with behavioural problems, Bear was pulling on the leash, not checking in with his owners, and constantly scanning the environment for a reason to go off.
Bears biggest issue is men generally, but you can see that his environmental sensitivity plays a role in his behaviour and decision making. As he begins to become overly responsive to the environment, stressors begin to stack up and compound any negative emotion he’s feeling.
We started to work with Bear to build confidence in being handled by a stranger and begin to address his pulling and disengagement from the handler. Then we went through the process with his owners to begin teaching what was expected moving forwards. Once he understand what was rewarding and what wasn’t, he picked it up almost immediately.
Dogs that aren’t overly confident are going to make poor decisions. When their heads are all over the place and they feel like they’re responsible for whatever appears in front of them, they’ll most commonly lead with aggression. It does the job as the perceived bad thing moves further away. It’s so important to take the burden of this decision making mentality off their shoulders and replace it with something structured they can focus and hold onto.
By the end of the session Bear’s owners were able to walk him passed men, dogs, traffic, and anything else that you’d come across in a typical walk. Without any leash pulling, taking food rewards, giving eye contact, and not allowing any nervousness or reactivity to take hold. A little bit of effective communication goes a long way!
Great work guys! Keep up the training moving forwards and keep us updated with his progress!