I have a 1 year old male Blue Heeler and he is very reactive on walks...to just about everything.
His name is Murphy and we've been struggling with his reactivity/on-leash aggression for months now. I initially had a trainer, and we were making great progress with positive reinforcement and behavioral adjustment training (BAT) in order to boost his confidence on walks. Unfortunately for both me and Murphy, I moved too far away for my brilliant trainer to drive to and there are no local trainers that use the techniques that worked, so I am now on my own it seems. The same week I moved I also happened to switch to this awful schedule where I work 12 hours a day so now I don't have the time to consistently maintain his training. He's regressed so much it's like I never even tried, and I'm feeling very discouraged. :'( I'm worried because on my days off I try to walk him, but he's so anxious and reactive now it's impossible to enjoy them. I don't really have a question, but I just want to hear if anyone has a reactive dog success story to make me feel better about Murphy. :( Please?
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I have never experienced this personally but I'll try to help you. :) I personally believe in positive training methods versus correction-based training. I would try taking HIGH REWARD treats on your walk and when he starts to get aggressive try to get his attention and have him do a small trick(sit, lie down, ect.) to get his mind off of what he's being aggressive about. Then when he does the trick/ is paying attention to you, give him the treat! Make sure it's an EXTREMELY HIGH reward treat for your dog(My dog/s favorite treat is Laske Kronch. Use what your dog likes best!). If it is a high calorie treat and you're worried about weight gain, just don't use much and keep your training walks short. :) Here is a good video about how to get your dog's attention: www.youtube.com . ALL of this girl's videos are great and super helpful!
You should really keep up with BAT. You already know the basics, you can do it on your own ;). Get the help of a friend on the days you can't train! I don't have a success story from my dog, but I know that dogs thrive on BAT.
Winston Smith answered on 12/15/13. Helpful? / 1
I have a super reactive guy too. He gets severe fear/anxiety-derived aggression to dogs. I contacted a professional trainer (she studied for a while with Cesar Millan, but she doesn't have the time to work with my dog for now) and her suggestion was to do pack-leading walks twice daily.
A pack-walk would be to have your guy walk behind you on a loose leash. (To teach that, you simply walk forward, the instant he gets even an inch too far ahead, turn to the opposite direction. After several minutes, he'll figure it out) Correct him the INSTANT attention is away from the walk (aka if he sniffs, marks, or even looks any direction other than straight).
I know twice a day is a lot to ask, but try at least once a day.
I'm only saying this because I completely feel you - my guy has been working on his issues for months!
If you'd like to message me, I'd love to exchange techniques with you!
Merry Christmas, and best wishes!
Loki (Taz) answered on 12/23/13. Helpful? / 0