My Reactive Rescue

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by corky, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. corky

    corky Ontario BSL rescue

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    I think that "reactive" might not be the best word for Corky. He's more of an "enforcer" of doggy etiquette. If another animal shows aggression or tries to go near his stuff, he comes down on them harshly.

    Its been about 9 weeks. I don't expect him to be ignoring other dogs now or to even have good basic obedience. These are goals I have for us. We do a little bit of training every day. Those things that are not well trained yet -- or that may never been trained -- I must manage.

    There are a lot of dogs in our neighbourhood. Corky and I go for runs on city trails and around our home. Unless its after dark or cold out its guaranteed we will run into another dog. Most are on-leash but aren't always well mannered, ie. they bark incessantly and lunge on their leashes as soon as they see Corky. Typically its small dogs that behave this way towards him. I don't think their owners have good manners, either, because they'll continue towards us even though its obvious their dog is being aggressive. Its not uncommon, either, to come up on an off-leash dog on a city trail. The dog may be well-mannered towards people, but sometimes their doggy-meeting manners aren't best. I'm always prepared to change directions with Corky, go home, or -- worst-case scenario -- kick a small, aggressive dog that charges us.

    We will have to deal with multiple, loose dogs at our annual family reunion camp out at the farm this August. I don't anticipate Corky being loose, but about half a dozen other dogs will be and some are in-your-face, small, "yappy dogs" that I know Corky won't like. I plan for him to be on leash with me/Hubby or in his kennel. I'm hoping that the experience won't be stressful for him. Today I know it would be. So working up to an enjoyable experience for us all is a goal of mine. Also, I know some of my extended family members will be nervous about a pit bull type of dog even being there, so I want him to be a good ambassador and change some minds.

    We went out after dark last night. It was chilly. There were no other dogs or people out and Corky was perfectly behaved and listened to all of my commands.
     
  2. ihartgonzo

    ihartgonzo and Fozzie B!

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    You have gotten some awesome, thorough advice from really talented trainers! :) Take it!

    When working on Fozzie's reactivity, I realized that one of the biggest problems he had was me... pushing him way past threshold... expecting too much of him... etc. You have to set your dog up for success! You can control your environment. Bring a can of dog repellant/citronella/something just in case and off-leash dog runs up to you. When you see unruly leashed dogs coming up, turn around, walk away, and find a place far enough away from them that you can practice Look at That with Corky well under threshold. Don't even test Corky until you KNOW he's not going to react, which is a long way in the future. Do everything in your power to avoid giving Corky any negative experiences! Stop looking at the leash as a means of controlling and punishing your dog, and think of it merely as a safety device, no more tightening/straining/collar corrections. Make yourself a positive, benevolent resource provider rather than struggling to be "alpha". Enroll in positive reinforcement obedience classes so that you can get good experiences with other, safe dogs and so that you can be taught in person how to properly work with him without being compulsive.
     
  3. corky

    corky Ontario BSL rescue

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    Thanks for your ideas, everyone.
     

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