23 Jul Duke
I had a puggle-filled weekend with both Duke and Charlie staying over. Including Tyson, there were 3 puggles here and I was in puggle heaven. Duke is Matt’s sisters dog. Matt knows I love puggles and told his sister, if anyone has the patience to train Duke, Julie does. Hence the phone call for a board ‘n train while his owners are on a honeymoon. This is the email I got from his owners describing his issues:
“He has weird aggression issues when we’re on walks, or when he sees other dogs. The funny thing is that when he’s is a yard with other dogs.. he’s fine… but when he’s on a leash he freaks out… when I say freaks out i mean he starts pulling and he yelps a really high pitched bark.. and then if our other dog is around he’ll attack her… he’s never hurt her before but he tries to show his dominance by turning on her.”
So I have Duke for over two weeks to work on his ‘leash aggression’. The first day I meet him, he is wearing his Bark Busters collar and leash. I go for a short walk with his owners to see what’s going on. They give Duke multiple leash corrections for pulling. When he sees another dog, he gets aroused and pulls and once again he gets his leash corrections.
So I process my plan for Duke.
1.Teach him leash manners.
2.Teach him to look at me when he sees another dog and get rewarded.
3.Integrate him into the dog walking pack.
All this training using positive reinforcement- of course! So I work with him on Thurs. I teach him the reward marker ‘yes’ as well as the clicker and we do some some hand targetting. We go for walks and work on keeping a loose leash. He’s extremely responsive to the training- Duke is very food motivated. When we see dogs I get his attention and reward him. Friday morning I take him out with Tys and D. They see dogs, I get there attention, they get treats. Soon enough Duke is looking at me when he sees a dog without any prompts- he’s anticipating his food reward. Duke has no reactivity on the walk. If Tyson (who still huffs and is highly aware of other dogs) does not get him going, surely Duke can be integrated into a group of 5 happy-go-lucky dogs. So I decide to try him out with the group that afternoon. Duke meets his new friends with ease. On our walk we see some dogs, he gets treats and we move on. No reaction. How can this be? How could i have solved Duke’s ‘aggression’ in such little time? I had Emily come meet us on Sunday for a second opinion at Sunnybrook park. “This is your ‘leash aggressive’ dog?,” she said. HA!
So what’s going on with Duke? Why is Dukee such a good boy with me? More to come….