Q: How do I stop my dog from going beserk whenever she sees another dog on a walk?
I adopted her two months ago and she is between 4-5 years old so I don't know her history. She is as sweet as can be and is doing wonderfully in her obedience class (where there are 5 other dogs), yet she loses all control when she is walking on a leash and sees or even smells other dogs. I have to avoid other dog walkers (extremely difficult where I live) because she is scaring everyone away!!!
Nov 26, 2008
It sounds like your dog is very reactive when she is on leash. This is not an uncommon issue. I have a few suggestions.
1) The first thing you can do is bring treats with you on your walk. I would bring something of fairly high value, such as string cheese, chicken, etc. If you spot another dog and are far enough away to where your dog is not yet reacting, then start feeding her the treats while she is calm (it's important to only reward non-reactive behavior). If you see her look at the other dog, cue her to "look" or "watch me" and treat again when she turns to you. You have to start slow with this and make sure you are far enough away from the other dogs so that she is not reacting. Eventually she will begin to associate other dogs with something positive.
2) If you are in a position where you are walking with your dog and another dog appears suddenly and your dog starts reacting, then make a sharp sound, such as "Ah Ah! to get her attention and redirect your dog by turning around abrubtly and going in the opposite direction. Just keep walking and ask her to "leave it." You have to be firm when you do this. As soon as she does what you ask and "leaves it" you need to say "yes!" and reward with a treat and praise.
3) Another thing you may consider is trying a gentle leader head collar. These collars are supposed to have a calming effect and help reduce reactivness. A friend of mine has a very reactive dog and the gentle leader has worked wonders for her.
These techniques take some time, but if you use them regularly, you will be sure to have a less reactive dog when walking. I know from personal experience with my 2 dogs who happened to be reactive on leash. Good luck!
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Nov 26, 2008
I was watching Its me or the dog on Animal Planet and a couple on the show had a similar problem. The trainer was able to desensitize the dog by playing recordings of other dogs on tv. When he was calm and didn't respond she would reward him. Maybe something like that would work for your dog.
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