After an incident with a postman Alan’s owners reached out to get some support with his reactivity towards other dogs and people.
When we first met Alan he certainly didn’t want to let us get close. We went for a little walk to see what was going on and it didn’t take long to see that Alan was really just a young and energetic dog, being left to make his own decisions and getting frustrated and stressed out in the process.
His owners had needed to use a head halter to try and control him, he’s a big lad so we don’t blame them. The issue with head halters (cover your eyes head halter fans) is that they can create a great deal of frustration as most people never correctly condition the dog to accept them, and most dogs find themselves trying to rub it off their faces with their paws, the ground, or their owners legs. They also cause skin irritation to the most sensitive parts of the dogs face.
We swapped out the head halter for a standard check chain and got to work on teaching Alan to walk nicely on a leash and engage with the handler. In Alan’s case both his pulling and his reactivity was a byproduct of poor handling and communication, moreso than a true emotional issue. He’s inadvertently been allowed to have too much freedom, too much responsibility as a decision maker, and not enough guidance. Once we implemented structure into Alan’s walks he picked it up quickly and had no issues being around our own dogs.
Moving forwards Alan’s owners will be implementing their new control, handling and understanding to paint new pictures to Alan around how he should behave around people and other dogs. Including attending our speciality reactivity day to continue learning and practising the necessary skills.
Great work guys and see you again soon!