Reactive dog ?

Discussion of Victoria's TV show, It's Me or the Dog.

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Reactive dog ?

Post by adlfelix » Mon Sep 07, 2009 9:07 pm

A lot of episodes deal with dogs who are reactive on leash. PJ my English Springer Spaniel started this same thing at the age of 2. PJ was socialized with other dogs starting at 9 weeks old by going to puppy school, played with neighborhood dogs, and went to daycare. For about 2 years we have been doing the same techniques as Victoria does on her shows. We sit to the side of the trail and he watches me. We find if we don't practice everyday we take steps back to his old reactive behavior. Is this something we will have to do for the rest of his life?


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Post by emmabeth » Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:26 pm

I think you need to move on to a different technique - for some dogs simply giving them something else to do is sufficient and over time they relax and you can lose the 'security blankie' of the sit 'watch me' routine.

For others its just a management technique and you need to do something extra to sort the problem out totally.

I would suggest you move on (preferably at first with the use of dogs he knwos and owners you have pre-planned this with) to teaching him to look at something (acknowledge is it there) and then get his reward for remaining calm.

So instead of 'watch me', you do 'look at that'. Starting out with dogs he already knows and their owners are under instruction as to what to do, you can practice and reward him appropriately. It may just be a lack of self control he has (you dont say if he is nervous or frustrated but given you say he was well socialised im going to guess that he is frustrated), that he wants to dive over and greet the other dog but the leash means he cant.... so he lunges about and shouts?

If that is the case then you can also work on his self control using clicker training, in other less immediately related areas, such as with food and with toys, so he gets the idea that calm and waiting will often pay off, where leaping about definately will not.

Then with 'stooge' dogs he knows you can practice 'look at that' and you can use food rewards.... but also if you set some things up on trails or in parks where he can go off leash, you can then reward him with allowing him to greet (calmly!) the other dog and then being let off to play for a short while.

He wont always be able to greet or go and play wtih another dog, so you cant use this as his reward all the time, but even just some of the time would help if it can be arranged.

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