Many dog owners want to take their dog for a walk but they can’t do it. They can’t take their dog for a walk because their dog goes completely crazy and out of control at the sight of a person or another dog. The owner has to resort to walking early in the morning or late at night to avoid any confrontations.
This is very frustrating for any dog owner and when they seek help they often get bad advice. They go to classes with fake dogs, tables set up with sheets so the dogs can’t see each other, and other nonsense.
The good news is most dogs with this problem can quickly and easily be helped. Most of the dogs I help are turned around in two sessions. This is why I offer so many before and after videos on my website EricLetendre.com. You can check them out if you’d like.
Here is what you must understand. Aggressive behavior can be misleading. Most people, (even the experts) get it wrong. There are three types of aggressive behavior:
Most dogs who are reactive and go crazy on leash are overcompensating. They are acting tough because as a strategy, it works.
Here’s what happens: You’re walking down the street with Sparky. Sparky sees another dog and may be a little nervous. The other dog owner asks if his dog can say hi. The two dogs are walked up to each other and forced into a situation they may not want to happen.
Sparky barks at the other dog and the owner says: “SPARKY! Don’t bark at the nice dog.” The other dog owner quickly pulls his dog away and takes off down the street. Sparky processes what happened and realizes barking works. If he barks the other dog leaves the area. The next encounter with a strange dog results in a little more intense barking. This time Sparky’s owner pulls him away from the other dog.
Overcompensation has taken root and will continue to build. Within a few weeks, the dog goes into full blown, out of control, crazy mode at the sight of another dog. Walks become impossible.
When the dog owner seeks out help they are told to stuff treats into their dog as a strange dog approaches, which is the ABSOLUTE WORST advice! This is explained as counter conditioning. This is supposed to change your dog's mind about other dogs. All it does is make the behavior worse. You CAN’T use positive reinforcement to help a dog with strong, reactive behavior on leash.
So what do you do Mr. Amazing Dog Training Man? Glad you asked.
Here is the formula:
FIRST: The relationship with dog and owner has to be solid. Your dog has to clearly understand you are the leader, that you are not going to force your dog into uncomfortable situations. You are also going to show your dog you are in control around other dogs. This may require telling strange dog owners to back away from you and your dog. I have a 100% guaranteed way of doing this. There are eight words you can say to any dog owner and they will back away from your dog. (Send me an email if you like to know the eight words).
SECOND: Your dog has to learn the word GOOD is associated with a positive consequence. You must spend some time classically conditioning your dog to the word GOOD. This is done by pairing the word GOOD with a reward. Food works great. You would say GOOD and hand your dog a treat. Repeat until you say GOOD and your dog expects the treat.
THIRD: Your dog has to learn the word NO. NO is paired with an unpleasant consequence. The unpleasant consequence works best by interrupting the dog’s behavior. I don’t use prong or electronic collars for this.
FOURTH: Do a controlled training session. Have a friend with a dog walk down the street towards you. Once your dog becomes reactive we tell the dog NO to STOP the behavior. Once the behavior is stopped the food THEN comes out and the dog is rewarded for calmly walking past the other dog.
You see, the dog is rewarded AFTER the behavior is brought under control. Without NO and a negative consequence you are making the big mistake of increasing the dog’s behavior. Check out the before and after videos. You can also request a FREE behavior consult.