16 Feb Reactive Dog – Accomplishments
1. I have developed Tyson’s ball drive so that he is highly motivated to play with me. This is crucial because reactive dogs need a job. We don’t want them getting to the park and surveying the park looking for stimulus. Which leads me to next point,
2. Being on the long line at the park is a cue for ball play. I used to let Tyson off leash and he would wander and look for food (after all he is part beagle). When he ran across a main street to get bread that was left for some pigeons, I knew that things would have to change. I resolved that I would train him to love the ball and any off-leash (long-leash now!) would be a cue for ball-time. We definitely accomplished this one. He is so excited about the ball that he squeals and whines and can hardly control his excitement.
3. We resolved barking at people. Tyson started barking at people at about 8 months. I remember reading Ian Dunbar’s small booklet on barking. I’ve recently tried looking for this book and can’t find it but I plan on ordering the set. I remember reading through the book and trying some of the things but wasn’t successful until I got to the last couple of pages which talks about abandonment. I would feed him while we passed by people but if he started barking, I remeber abandoning him (tying him to a fence post and walking away). I remember that he was really bonded to me and got very upset if I abandoned him. He can walk peacefully on the street now without any barking.
4. Skateboarders. It came as a shock to me when Tyson chased his first skateboarder. We were at Trinity Bellwoods an offleash park when he went after this guy and ripped his jeans. Luckily, this teenager wasn’t fazed by the ordeal and skated off laughing. I have successfully taught Tyson that seeing skateboarder or blader is a cue to look and come to mama
5. There is no more aggression on-leash. When Tyson see another dog on-leash he looks at me. He gets his reward and we move on. There is no drama.
6. Despite having grown up with a cat, Tyson has always been very reactive to outdoor cats. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that they stare at him. Today, I’m proud to say that we can sit within 6 ft of a cat and keep his focus on me. There’s no barking, whining or lunging.
Looking back now, Tyson and I have come a long way.