18 Jun Splitting…what’s that?
Posted at 12:07h
in Reactive Dog
Dog Walking At Bronte Creek
It’s a trainer term and I just learned about it the in the new book I’m reading called Feeling Outnumbered – How to Manage your multi-dog household by Patricia McConnell and Karen London. Splitting is keep yourself in between two dogs so that you control their interactions. After watching Emily have success with a little Jack Russell X, Roxy, I realized I wasn’t using body blocking to my advantage. Emily has a real talent for turning the reactive dog away from a trigger, blocking all dogs from approaching her, feeding and moving on. It can be a really useful tool. It’s helpful to practice beforehand with your dog and a friend because when an un-neutered chocolate lab comes charging at your dog, you want to be ready. And that’s just what happened to us the other morning. I was walking Tys and D on the outside of the fenced in park and there he was – a large unfixed lab. I know his kind already. He has no recall and loves to ‘just say hi’ and jump on me or one of the dogs. And just as I was getting my cheese out, he came barelling at us. I had Tyson in FRONT position and every time the lab tried to approach him, I would shift my body and block him. It was a beautiful thing. We did it for 30 seconds or so until the owner came to fetch him. Tyson didn’t lunge or bark once and it was so empowering to know like I made my dog feel safe in this situation.
Tyson has always had rude greetings, often meeting other dogs head on. Splitting is an excellent way to block that first greeting, then my job is to encourage him to greet properly by arcing him away and bring him to sniff a dog’s behind. As soon as that happens, click and reward. Sounds easy? It’s not. But when Tyson starts actively turning away from a dog to do a bum sniff and look for a treat, I will know it’s worth it.