Talk about dogs that have reactivity issues.
Your dog looks at another dog when on leash?
Your dog lunges at passing vehicle?
Lunging at people and so on..
Am sure many of you can relate and struggle on daily basis with this behaviour of your dogs on walks so much so that you dread walking hours.
Where is the fun? You did not sign up for this when you got the dog.
Teaching our dogs alternate behaviours to be carried out when presented with an unbearable stimulus that provokes them to behave badly, works.
CAT (constructional aggression treatment) therapy helps . We positively construct behaviours that a dog can carry out when presented with triggering stimulus.
Can food/treats help?
Yes, to a large extent if we withhold feeding at home and all food comes on walks when our dogs behave well. Remember when its behaviour vs survival. They will choose survival first!
Can toys work? Yes , if we figure out which toy our dog would choose most over reacting in situations. A toy that the dog has not seen in ages, a toy that the dog is totally obsessed with can be easily made into a tool to distract in stressful situations.
Can ‘WE’ as the biggest reward work?
Yes, but are we the biggest reward for our dogs?!
Have you ever experienced meeting your dog after weeks of separation and ever noticed how ‘zoned in’ they are into us that the biggest and worst trigger is almost forgotten to be reacted upon ? Thats the kind of bond we need to target to achieve. Now don’t feel its unachievable!
It is absolutely possible.
Withhold love and attention all the time as free ration to your dogs. Wait for the right and desired behaviours to be carried out, then reward with all that overflowing appreciation and love that you have been holding on to. Something we all might find very hard to do but once learnt the method is phenomenal and over time becomes our second nature. I have done it with my girl Sundaree and now i can proudly say that be it hundred or four hundred dogs, my girl will only look at me just for a smile and an eye contact.
Like Rome wasn’t built in one day , the behaviour is taught in months together by patterns of learning and repeatedly carrying it out without giving in or giving up!
As dog owners we will be challenged at every step in bringing up our dogs. I can resonate and you can resonate with another fellow dog owner who is presented with the same set of behaviour challenges with their dog.
We have two choices either to keep the dog locked up for the rest of its living days and nights OR we take small steps to progress in improving the behaviour so we can enjoy and live the life we see many living with their dogs on daily basis and some where we may feel envious of them.
Think and act because you and your k9 companion are meant for better and healthy living together. No dog is meant to stay inside the four walls all the time, work on them and give them the quality of life which is every dog’s birth right!