Dog-Dog Reactivity II — The Basics

Thanks for all the great comments about your experiences with dogs who are reactive, whether it’s to other dogs, or to people, or other objects. If you haven’t read the comments, here’s what comes out (at least to me) loud and clear:

1. There isn’t any one method that works for all dogs. Dogs are “reactive” for a variety of reasons, including being afraid of other dogs, wanting to greet other dogs and being overwhelmed with excitement or frustration about it. In addition, some dogs seem to be helped by being first taught an appropriate behavior on cue, others do better if allowed to initiate it on their own.

2. The methods that seem to work best for most people involve teaching a dog to turn and look away from another dog, BEFORE the dog begins the problematic behavior.

3. If the dog is afraid of other dogs, letting him look away and then move away from the other dog is the best reinforcement for most dogs. You can start this by teaching an Autowatch, or by waiting for  him to look away himself, and reinforce it with food, play and/or an increase in distance between the dogs. I like to ‘mark’ the desired behavior with a clicker or just by saying “click,” then reinforce with a primary reinforcer –’marking’ is a more precise way of letting the dog know what behavior resulted in the reinforcement. However, years ago I didn’t use a marker and had a lot of success, so there’s a lot of variability in how you do this. I very much like the addition of  having the subject dog move away from the other one after it has looked away and broken eye contact. If the dog truly is afraid of another, surely that is tremendously reinforcing. Interestingly, I found that as the years went on I began moving backward three or four steps when a dog did an Autowatch . . . but didn’t consciously add it to the program until recently.

4. If the dog wants to get to other dogs to interact, (and is barking because she is frustrated) then increasing the distance between her and another dog is a punishment, not a reinforcement. For these dogs, you can teach some form of polite behavior, like stopping and looking back at the owner, again long before she has reached threshold, and give her food, play or access to the other dog as a reinforcement. Needless to say, interactions should be done carefully and only with dogs who are totally trustable.

5. UNDER THRESHOLD is a key here. I’ve long believed it and your comments support that most people have been more successful if they set up a dog so that it can see another dog, but is far enough away that the subject dog hasn’t yet begun barking and lunging and carrying on.

6. [That is why] SET UPS are tremendously helpful. Treating reactivity goes much faster if you can arrange for someone with a non-reactive dog to help you out. But if you can’t, you can take advantage of situations in which you know that you can control the distance between the dogs: Perhaps there is a dog behind a fence who is not too reactive that you can use as a stimulus? Try driving to the parking lot of a dog training center, where you know the dogs will be on leash and will be moving from Point A to Point B. How about your local vet clinic? Pet Store? Just be sure to pick places where you know the other dogs will be on leash and you can be the one to control the distance between your dogs.

7. EMERGENCY U TURN: Life tends to happen to us when we didn’t expect it, so everyone needs a conditioned response to a dog showing up too close or by surprise. You can use the Emergency U Turn before your dog responds to prevent trouble (and give your dog lots of reinforcement once you’ve turned and moved away) or you can use it to get out of a bad situation in which your dog is already reacting (just turn and move away, no reinforcement this time, but stop when you think your dog can listen and ask for an appropriate behavior.) The key is to have practiced a fast pivot and cheerful retreat, so that both you and your dog are conditioned to do it fast in an up-beat, happy way instead of being in a panic.

8. REINFORCEMENT? Remember it is defined by the receiver, so knowing what works best for your dog is crucial. If you’re going to mark an appropriate behavior and reinforce it, you need to be sure you know what works best for your dog.

Here’s a video illustrating Willie being given food rewards and then tug games as reinforcements for Watch, AutoWatch and Where’s the Dog? He’s looking at an adolescent Dogo Argentino, who he has played with once as a puppy and parallel walked with outside the office. (He’s still nervous about her when they are in the office.)

Normally, if he is truly nervous about another dog he’ll take food but he snatches it with his ears pinned, while he’ll relax much more if he gets reinforced by playing tug. In this particular video he is very interested in greeting Lily, and the difference in his response to food versus play is VERY subtle here . . . can you see it? You’ll see a combination of on cue “Watch” and “Where’s the Dog”, and Autowatches in which Willie looks at me by himself… I wasn’t paying much attention to who initiated what, (note how I totally ignore an Autowatch). I was attending to getting a good recording of his different responses to food versus play. That turned out to be more subtle than usual in this case, but discernible. (Note that when I say “Stop” I’m talking to the videographer, not to Willie!)

The last half of the video shows you the result of our work. In between taped segments, we let them sniff at the fence (camera was off, darn), and then released them into the play pen together. (Lily the Dogo was taken to the middle of the pen so that they wouldn’t meet at the gate, always a tension-filled place for dogs to greet.)

Result: Wheeeeeee!

Comments

  1. Teri says

    One thing that I think sometimes might be underestimated would be the power of other dogs to teach. I do realize that there are a ton of dogs that this is nowhere near an option but I think there is also a large segment of dogs that are less reactive that it could be helpful. I attend a weekly drop-in outdoor class that has a variety of dogs with some reactive. One day a person there was having an absolutely horrible day and was in tears. I offered to walk privately with her and it has been amazing to see how the presence of a confident dog with pretty good dog skills has helped the other dog. It was very obvious that the reactive dog had developed a big “crush” on my dog by the end of the first walk while my dog totally ignored her. We have now progressed with our two dogs able to walk off leash and although the reactive dog often volunteers play behaviours my dog doesn’t seem to think she is stable enough to play more then a few seconds before he shuts her down by ignoring her again. We are also able to walk in an off leash hiking area with her dog on leash and my dog off. My dog then seems to sense her discomfort and runs interference for her by distracting other dogs when they approach her.

    The instructor of our class has now begun to coordinate group dog walks with current/former members of the class. The walks are on leash and we move forward at a brisk pace and always have well balanced dogs as the lead. We attempt to walk as a group (20+) and people find their place depending on their dogs (reactive on outside edges etc). Many normally reactive dogs walk with no reactivity at all. It has been a great tool to develop confidence for a lot of the dogs and especially their owners. All owners know we need to control emotions but it is always easy on paper and not so much in real life so any confidence building is huge.

    I really think this is a tool that a lot of instructors could offer that could really help.

    I attended the Seattle seminar and thought you were wonderful! I would also add that I love your comment about arousal + frustration = trouble. My dog is great with other dogs unless he is super aroused (like when arriving at a favourite walking area or in a new very high stimulus area). Once upon a time I just used to let him off to run off the arousal but now just a few minutes of working obedience with his tug toy (or food to lesser degree) brings his head back into the game and seems to flip the on switch for his dog-dog skills.

  2. says

    A definite thing I am learning through your blog posts as well as working with my CGC instructor is of the need for humor and up-beat chatter. I tend to get very focused on the behavior for which I am looking yet when I offer my “commands” lightly and with a sing-song voice, things go much better. I am back to using lots of food as reward. Because I don’t work my hound often enough, we won’t meet the goal of our CGC in 6 weeks but that’s ok – the class is on-going and set up for the individual dog, not the group. I find being in a group is very helpful. A well respected trainer took my adolescent Black and Tan Coonhound puppy for a walk – I watched her multiple, well timed turns and heard her up-beat talk. Wow. A mini-lesson of quality. Thanks.

  3. says

    Hi Trish, I know that this is somewhat off-topic but I’m looking for info for dogs that suffer from OCD. I have a 2 year old Weimarener in one of my classes that constantly snaps at flying insects. When he’s not snapping at them he is always on alert for the next one to come by. He has only been to two classes so far so I’m still trying to get a read on him. He doesn’t seem to be bothered or interested in the other dogs in class, although last week I did notice that his tail was somewhat tucked during class. So far I’ve had him doing attention exercises ( clicking for free looks, name response and watch me) trying to get him to focus on his owner more. I’m wondering if working with him in a class setting is too stressful even though he ignores the other dogs. I do work with him separately away from the other dogs while my assistant teaches class. I’ve searched the web looking for more information but so far it seems fairly limited. I guess what I need is “treating dogs with OCD for dummies”. Some of the sites I’ve visited have advised using doggie Prozac along with counter conditioning. I’m not a big fan of using hardcore drugs on dogs. I have suggested to the owner some more natural alternatives along with trying a Thundershirt. It appears to me that this is an area that needs more research. Do you know of any good books or videos on this subject that are dog specific? I’ve admired your work for years and I read your blog every day. It helps me get my head on straight after watching the news :)

  4. Liz says

    Doug, there is an article in the current issue of Whole Dog Journal specifically on canine OCD. It doesn’t go into scrupulous detail, but I found it interesting in relation to one of my dogs who exhibits a lot of OCD symptoms/behaviors. Check it out if you can corral a copy.

  5. says

    Thanks Liz, I used to take the Whole Dog Journal for years but let my subscription run out. I’ll see if I can corral one somehow. Doug

  6. says

    HI Patricia

    I own a 4.5 yr female Doberman. She was a rescue I decided to keep when she was 6 mos. She is excitable and reactive to the usual things including vehicles, some people, other dogs. Mostly she’s a bully who can’t walk past another dog and not bully or get ‘assertive’. I can’t take her to my day care because its too much for her. The dogs and space proved to be too much pressure for her and her response was to attack other dogs, especially the submissive ones. She’s never bitten and I’m grateful she has control of her mouth. She is afraid of new things but tends to recover in time.

    One tool that I used with O C P on Cue was a canvas dummy. Sadie Mae likes to have stuff in her mouth and I found out early that this dummy could be used in a very positive manner in two ways. As a soother and as a reward. In the early days when I was introducing her to life around her (she didn’t get out much the first 6 mos) she would walk the streets with the dummy in her mouth and it seemed to give her confidence and change her attitude. I then started to use it to redirect her in troubling situations and because it was so valuable, the dummy worked like a charm.

    I used it to reward her recall and before long, she was coming to me with distractions. Recall, leash and dummy. It was and is a beautiful thing. The key was discovering which reward had the most power and exploit the heck out of it and I did. Sadie Mae responds well to OC with reward and relies on me (at least it feels like it) to keep her from the things that she doesn’t like. It seems like she is more than happy to oblige because she trusts that it will be worth the return regardless of what is happening around her.

    With her temperament and personality, I dont’ wait for a behavior from her. I manage the problem before it becomes a problem for Miss Mae. I call her in and reward for the recall. She responds beautifully and we’ll continue with that style. Allowing her to hold the dummy while we pass the problem is also helpful. Most often she walks past with nothing more than a peaked interest. Its tough to say why it works. She doesn’t want to risk loosing the dummy or it soothes her and distracts her so she doesn’t need to harass the dog or chase the car? I don’t know. I do know it keeps her mouth busy.

    I realize its not teaching her to deal with the problem and it might seem we are avoiding the problem, but I know my dog and I don’t know that she can get over moving vehicles or bicycles etc. How do you teach a dog not to bully? To be confident? Is that possible?

    I agree when you say its important for everyone to decide which style works best for their dog as they know their dog best. I encourage my clients to find a reward that has huge value to the dog. It may not be a dummy but a tasty treat. Either way its all fascinating to me. And incredibly rewarding especially when I get that awesome recall. I never get tired of seeing her chose me over everything else. Its an indescribable feeling that makes me beam from the inside out.

    Thanks for discussing this subject.

    Catherine Adams
    Paws to Play
    Day Centre for Dogs

  7. Aly says

    Hi Trish,
    I’ve lurked for quite a while and wanted to say that I’m a huge fan of your blog and have read most of your books. I’m in Seattle, but unfortunately I couldn’t attend your seminar. I recently rescued a (less) reactive sheltie/bc mix (our best guess) and the timing on your blog posts couldn’t be more perfect. The discussions as always have been great as well. We’d been working on the “look at that” which has helped greatly, and an appropriate behavior on cue, but bullet 4 is really the key I think I’d been missing. Using walking toward the other well behaved dogs as her reinforcement we were able to make much more progress than before, because it was WAY more reinforcing than before.

    @Teri
    I was wondering where you take lessons? They sound great.

  8. says

    My first introduction to dealing with a people/dog reactive dog was your bible Feisty Fido and having a solid trainer to work with (Dogsmart). This was back 9yrs ago, before BAT, CAT and everything in between.

    What I find interesting is one thing is that if you have a solid knowledge of learning theory and or work with a trainer who does, you automatically do use BAT and CAT methods if you understand what motivates your dog, how to read their body language, and when to give them a break between exposure to their triggers.

    It’s like learning to dance with a partner or watching a ballet, everyone is in tune and works together being mindful of eachother’s needs.

    I too think it’s equally valuable to load your training tickle trunk with as much as you can, even if it’s something as simple as finding value in the way someone explains something which in turn will help someone else out.

    Thank you for this summary, and being so complimentary about other methods out there who are of like mind.

    ps…picking up Puppy Primer and a few other copies for my puppy class tomorrow !!!!

  9. Barb says

    The key to me is keeping the reactive dog below threshold. Once the dog crosses into reactivity, the whatever process used has to start again below threshold.

  10. Soraya says

    How do you know if a dog is barking out of fear or out of frustration and wanting to interact with the other dog? My dog is great with other dogs off-leash and reactive when on leash, and I’d love to know what I signs I should look for to determine the reason for his reaction and thus how best to fix it.

  11. Pam says

    Thanks for a great seminar in Seattle. I learned so much and how wonderful to be amongst a bunch of people that totally understand how big a part of your life your dog is!!!!

    Of particular interest was the discussion about thresholds. It seems to me that everything I work on with my high drive ACD is about his threshold in any given situation (I have always thought of it as impulse control and proofing) ie. how close can we get to that deer/rabbit or whatever before Kash loses his ability to offer me focus. I have used the ‘watch me”, treats and play depending on the object of interest. In the presence of something very stimulating Kash will grab the treat and actually drop it…in these instances play and/or tricks might refocus him on me but now I see that there are times when I am pushing him beyond his threshold. My goal is to now really watch for the early signs of reactivity and start my refocusing on ‘da mama’ at that moment.

  12. Jennifer says

    I love that you included a video, finding that invaluable to be able to back things up and watch a behavior happen again to train myself better what to look for. To my eye, it seemed that Willie was a tad more relaxed getting ready to be rewarded with the tug toy as he turned his head back towards you. So nice to see him bounding around having fun with another dog!

  13. em says

    I have been fortunate that Otis only went through a relatively brief moderate reactive phase, even though he has always been (and still is, to some extent) very mildly reactive to dogs. For him, his usual behavior is frustration-motivated. He wants to greet other dogs, so he becomes very interested/aroused when he spots them.

    To manage/eliminate this behavior, I had to learn to create a ‘bubble of calm’ around him. No toys, no treats, no happy chatter, no stern verbal corrections, no efforts to block his gaze (he just snakes that long neck around me), or to push or pull him away. All of those things only served to worsen his behavior. Instead, we’d stand still. If I intended to move forward eventually, I’d stand by his head, often with a still hand on his head or shoulders. I’d wait until he broke his gaze from the dog and looked at me, then we’d move forward. If he started fixating again, I’d repeat the process. If we were going to move away, I’d go to the end of the leash, tug gently and softly call his name, then wait for him to turn and follow when he was ready. Because he was not aggressive, just overexcited, we had the luxury of being able to relax and take our time in most cases rather than scrambling to avoid contact at all costs.

    When he went through a fear-phase, though it was a different story. He was constantly scouting for problems-broken trash cans, discarded furniture, weird people, in one particularly trying case a bicycle rickshaw with a couple of little kids shrieking (with glee) on the seat, all triggered major flip outs. Instead of merely being excited to see dogs, he was nervous about their approach and made an effort to intimidate them with barking, lunging, and dominant posturing (head and tail raised, neck arched, chest puffed, challenging eye contact). The dogs themselves were not the problem-he still met dogs off-leash happily and appropriately. But being leashed drastically increased all his reactivity and anxiety about his environment. He didn’t have an issue with the presence of dogs (he could follow, walk parallel or ahead of them with almost no reaction at all), he had an issue with dogs coming toward him while he was restrained. All dogs were scary to him in that situation, but big dogs were worse, excited dogs were worse, nervous dogs were worse, and dominant-posturing dogs were worst of all. Otis never tried to hurt a dog or person, but his efforts at intimidation were very effective indeed.

    We dealt with his issues partly through avoidance,(turning around, crossing the street, walking in quiet places and during quiet times), partly through the application of the ‘bubble of calm’ whenever possible, partly by increasing his exercise, and partly through a tweaked and stripped-down version of LAT (I found that if I pointed something out and then proceeded to stride confidently toward it, he tended to react much less severely (sometimes not at all) than if he believed that I hadn’t spotted it or if I had paused and waffled about what to do..he wouldn’t take a treat or toy during his time as mayor of crazytown, but he was still responsive to my direction on some level.

    After around six weeks or so, his hyper-reactivity started to disappear almost as abruptly as it started. He’s now a calmer, more confident dog than he ever has been and I wish that I could take all the credit, but I really see his reactive phase as something we managed until it went away on its own. The best I can say is that I kept it from getting worse and kept him from getting hurt or hurting someone else. I can’t claim to have fixed anything.

  14. debby says

    Soraya, what is reinforcing for your dog in that context? If it is fear, I would expect that she wants space/distance. For frustration, she should want to get closer, although she may still be reactive while on a leash. Her behavior could be a combination of both, perhaps based on the other dogs behavior or reaction to her barking. You could expermiment with a non-reactive dog she likes and has played with? Hope that helps.

  15. Beckmann says

    I agree with Teri, a proper group session does help all kinds of dogs. And I have been using the group walk session as the point 6 (Set Up) Dr McConnell mentioned above.

    In our group walk session, there are all kinds of dogs of breeds and personalities (15

  16. says

    Your point about set ups is really important because it’s so hard to control interactions even when you think everything will be predictable (like you suggested working outside a training class).

    I once went to our local dog park and set up on a bench a good 200 yards away from the park. I thought this was a good distance and we could move closer in slow increments. Everyone leashed their dog before leaving the park. Until someone didn’t.

    I heard the woman calling and calling for her dogs who paid her absolutely no attention. They hightailed it across a field to where we were sitting behind a building. Needless to say my dogs were upset by the rude greeting. I can’t even say it was reactivity. I think they were probably responding appropriately to an obnoxious overture.

    The woman with the out-of-control dogs then started to lecture me on causing the problem by having my dogs on leash (200 yards from the dog park minding my own business).

    So much for my training moment.

    I love dogs but sometimes I really dislike dog people!

  17. trisha says

    To Teri and Beckman about the value of other dogs: I couldn’t agree more about the value of another dog as a model or at least as a stabilizing force. No one communicates to another dog than well, uh, another dog, right? Those kind of dogs are just invaluable, I had was lucky to have 3 of them (Luke, Pippy Tay and Lassie), but that was absurdly lucky. I figured I’d pay for it… and I have, with Willie, who is the the opposite of a confident dog who can help others through their fears.

    I love the idea of group walks for a number of reasons, perhaps the primary one is that with enough dogs it is impossible for the reactive dog to ‘target’ one other dog, and the dogs are all moving in the same direction, and thus avoiding the ‘head on’ approach that makes so many dogs so nervous. I also believe (no proof, just a belief) that some dogs are simply much more comfortable in a group.

    To Doug re OCD: I wish I did know a good book on the topic in dogs. You can look in the vet med literature, (and good rec re Whole Dog Journal by the way, thanks for that Liz) but most of that will highlight some kind of medication. I have had a few clients whose dogs had severe CD symptons, and they were serious enough that the owners elected to put their dogs on fluoxetine (prozac) and in most cases I must say that the dogs did improve substantially. I’d tend to try alternative meds first as well though, ideally working with a really good holistic vet who knows homeopathic or chinese herbs really well. Dogs who have moderate conditions (like my Lassie did) can often be helped by teaching some incompatible behaviors and asking for them whenever the triggers to the CD behavior occur.

    My herding lessons, which are few and far between, have lately been with Alisdair McRae.

    To Soraya: Oh, such a good question and not an easy one to answer in a short text! But if your dog loves other dogs, has not been aggressive in any way, you can simply experiment by asking for a polite behavior and then reinforcing it by letting him greet another very stable dog. Obviously.. safety first! (You could try this with a dummy — I love using them, thanks for bringing them up in the comments).

    And to Pamela: Argh, we share your pain! How dare you sit 200 yards from the dog park with your dog on leash! Repeat the following conditioning process: Say “rude people” then eat a piece of chocolate. Repeat indefinitely.

  18. Marnie says

    I wrote a little bit about our using BAT to work on my dog’s leash reactivity in response to your previous blog entry, and a tiny bit of “Dog-dog Reactivity II” has raised a question for me.

    You note (quite reasonably!) that for dogs who love dogs creating distance would be punishing rather than rewarding, and yet creating distance is exactly how we’ve been rewarding my dog-loving dog, Flim Flam, for calming signals, and his body language suggests that he is really happy with it.

    I was a little surprised that it was such a successful approach for my dog’s reactivity because it seems that it should have been punishing rather than rewarding (as you say), so I’ve been giving some thought to possible reasons:

    1. Stress is stress, regardless of how it is initiated, so distancing the dog from the stressor is rewarding.
    2. Wondering if he will get to meet/not meet the other dog is stressful, and is relieved by moving away from the stressor dog.
    3. Running away is highly rewarding in itself, and the addition of distance is meaningless for Flim Flam.

    I’d be really interested in your thoughts!

    Thanks!
    Marnie and Flim Flam
    in VA and Toronto

  19. says

    I’m interested in what Trisha thinks might be happening when running away from the other dog, who they want to be with, is still a reward for frustrated greeters. It works very consistently (not 100% of dogs, but most). I think Marnie’s possible explanations are all reasonable. It’s a question of timing, I think.

    At the moment when they are barking/lunging to get closer, what they most want in the world is to go closer, so being pulled away *should* be punishment (and I think it is). There’s a disappointment factor in leaving the other dog.

    If, however, we work below threshold, as we do in BAT, the dog will be able to offer alternative behaviors, like a look away, etc. At that moment, what the dog wants most is probably just to begin walking again, in any direction. He’s sort of said, “I’ve got the information I need, I’m done looking at the other dog from here,” and so he’s moved on to the next adventure, rather than being disappointed. You don’t have to pull them away, they just come with you and enjoy it.

    BAT isn’t just about increasing distance, of course. It’s about functional rewards. I like rewarding polite interest and distance-decreasing behaviors with permission to go closer. For dogs that are safe, especially puppies that have not yet developed leash aggression, unclipping the leash is a great reward for polite requests to go closer. (In a safe area – otherwise, use a long leash).

    But most of the time, increasing distance still works like a charm, even if the reactivity comes from wanting to greet. As an introvert, I get it. I like going to parties, but leaving is nice, too!

    More thoughts?

    Only good things,
    Grisha

  20. Kat says

    I love watching dogs play so I’ve watched the video several times. It seems to me that Willie likes the tug much more than the treats because it gives him an outlet for the emotions that come with seeing Lily. Getting treats is a largely passive activity that doesn’t provide anywhere for the energy to go. Tugging releases some of that energy and excitement. I wonder if dogs are like people in that some “think” better while doing something physical and some are better able to “think” while being still.

    I don’t have much to contribute to the discussion of reactivity since I’m very lucky to have a really solid and confident dog. When we first adopted him Ranger was very excited to greet everyone, canine and human alike. It didn’t take him long to realize that trying to drag me over so he could greet them got him nowhere and that sitting politely and waiting for them to come to him worked like a charm. That’s as close as we’ve come to having to deal with reactivity.

  21. Rose says

    In regards to increasing distance; the trainer I worked with and I have had trouble determining whether increasing distance is rewarding or not for my dog-reactive aussie.

    My aussie’s views on “other dogs” are conflicted and complex…she has offered playbows before and a mostly relaxed body posture and then nipped and lunged at the other dog when they returned the playbow. She initially barked/lunged at other dogs and then when they went away she instantly relaxed and wagged her tail…so in some ways increasing distance was rewarding in a bad way in this situation (her scare tactics worked).One thing that helped her greatly was the use of “set up dogs” (with the trainer) who didn’t react/run away/get scared when she barked and lunged at them (barrier was there). Her behaviour quickly extinguished when she realized it wasn’t working and that she was not scaring them off.

    Her ‘natural’instinct is to run towards the other dog/go towards it (she is always on leash) so I have made it rewarding to move away from the dog (even though she would like to move closer). So sometimes the other dog moving away is rewarding for her and sometimes moving towards it is rewarding (see what I mean about conflicting views on dogs and the complexities of reactivity/aggression).

    I have focused on making a)closer proximity to other dogs rewarding while, at the same time, b)rewarding appropriate distancing behaviours (look aways, quick turns away, u-turns away from other dogs, keeping things moving around other dogs rather than staring). So not sure if distance is a reward or not….

    I am not that familiar with BAT (although reading up on it through these posts I have been utilizing some of it’s methods.

  22. Marnie says

    Grisha,

    I think that for us the fact that Flim chooses to join me in the “Run Away Game” is key, rather than my removing him with any pressure on the lead. He loves the game, and I reward him with running with me in several contexts, so he’s already predisposed to regard it as fun.

    It occurs to me to wonder if there are any training hazards in the fact that we also use “Run Away” for our emergency U-Turn. Thoughts anybody?

  23. says

    I had to watch the video a few times to hear the cue for watch the first few times. there’s a huge difference in my eyes between the food and the tug. I think because I have a dog who’s highly motivated by tug and has used it to relieve tension. I see Willie as much more relaxed after a game of tug. the reward in tug seems also to be a tension or stress reliever as much as it is a reward.

  24. Larry says

    I have (about) a year a half old rescue Pointer/hound mix(they think). She is for the most part very sweet, and still learning. However, she is VERY reactive to other dogs(and squirrels). Even while riding in the car, if we pass others walking their dog, she barks and acts as if she really wants to get at them. I also have to keep her away from the front window of the house where she may see a dog walk by, or she goes nuts. I’ve only had her a little over 6 months, so she’s still a work in progress, and I think on some levels getting somewhat better. But, I would love to walk her around the neighborhood rather than having to go to the park to keep her away from other dogs.

  25. Angie says

    I have a 3 year old Jack Russell female who is the sweetest dog with other dogs off the leash but is becoming more and more reactive to dogs on leash during our walk around our neighborhood. I have an older Jack Russell male who I am afraid taught her this reactivity because he has always been reactive to other dogs on or off the leash. He is a bit of a bully. However, Roxy seems to be worse or just as reactive to other dogs now on the leash. As soon as we start our walk she begins to whine and bark in anticipation of seeing the two dogs a few houses up the street from us who are in a fenced in yard but like to bark at us while we walk bye and run up and down the fence. I have been working for months with both dogs to get them to “look” at me before they get excited about the dogs and my older Jack is doing much better than now than Roxy, my youngest. She will look at me, take the treat (as fast as she can) and then continue barking and lunging in the direction of the dogs. I can’t seem to keep her focused on me long enough to make it the few yards past this house. Both dogs start barking at other dogs we see going for a walk as we try to pass them on the street as well. Again, we try the “look” and even try to get them to sit and look as the dogs go past us but they quickly take the treat and get right back to barking and lunging at the dogs passing. Any Suggestions???

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