TIP #1: AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION
If you have a reactive dog you've probably already spent a lot of time trying to prevent incidents while walking in the neighborhood, but it always helps to review what you're doing now to stay out of trouble while you're working on a treatment plan.
Most people with feisty fidos try to walk their dogs at quiet times of day. When you do encounter another dog, don't hesitate to cross the street or turn and go the other way. To make this possible, try to walk on streets that have little traffic. Obviously, you are already avoiding streets with dogs running loose, but you also might want to look out for yards with high hedges that may conceal approaching dogs until they are too close.
Most importantly, if any situation makes you feel concerned, avoid it. Many of our clients skipped their neighborhood walks during the early stages of training, and found other ways to exercise their dogs. Don't think you are being a wimp for avoiding trouble. You're being a wise and thoughtful dog owner with a carefully thought out rehabilitation plan.
- Excerpted from Feisty Fido
TIP #2: MY DOG IS A FAILURE
Don't worry if your dog fails. Failure is a natural part of learning. Remain calm and resist the urge to yell "no" or physically move your dog around. If your dog fails three times in a row, stop. The task is too hard for your dog. Go back to the previous step or find a way to make it easier for your dog.
Each training session should be 5 minutes long or less. Training should be fun, so don't keep going unless both you and your dog are enjoying it. You can repeat a lesson up to (but no more than) three times in a day. Ten minutes a day is an excellent target.
Each training session should focus on one behavior only. If you'd like to work on another behavior, do so in separate training sessions. Each lesson should be repeated until your dog is successful at least 80% of the time. In addition, your dog should be bright and eager to train. If she's not having fun, that training session has not been successful, no matter how well she performed!
- Excerpted from Beyond the Back Yard: Train Your Dog to Listen Anytime, Anywhere!
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, FFCP, CTDI