Leash Reactivity Training Tips?

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!


Barked: Mon Aug 25, '14 9:24pm PST 
Hi all!

So my baby sister Zoe (a mutt, maybe some sort of GSD/Beagle/Doberman mix) is a wee bit leash reactive--barks at bikes, motorcycles, strange men, etc.

My Mom thinks a lot of it is due to her age (Zoe's only a year) and she's still very excited by a lot of things, and she gets frustrated easily. We've been taking treats out on walks, and Mom will tell Zoe to "leave (insert object or person here)" which does help a bit, and when Zoe's calm, she gets a yummy treat.

She also thinks at times Zoe's being protective--my little sister isn't thrilled when strange men walk by, she's got a great "glare of doom" going on, hah!

However, sometimes despite the treats, Zoe will still act up on occasion. It's getting better, and my Mom makes sure to give us both a lot of mental and physical exercise, but has anyone else has this problem, and if so, can you recommend any good tips?

Hopefully, the dog park near us will open soon, Mom and I think once Zoe's able to wrestle with the big dogs she'll be calm, because after a good rough housing session with our buddy Jack, she's a perfect little angel, haha. Word on the street is that the park will open November 2014, but we're all hoping it'll be sooner!

Barked: Sat Aug 30, '14 1:41am PST 
So I was reading your post, and totally thought about my rescue Leia! She is very mellow (just over a year old, about a year and 3 months) on walks and runs, but occasionally, she will see a dog when she is on leash and starts to whine and whimper, sometimes growl a little and bark. It's the strangest thing because at the dog park, she is totally fine with other dogs. Was Zoe a rescue? I was reading a bit about leash reactivity and sometimes it can just be a result of the excitement, as well as the fact that they're confined, you know? Leia has been dealing with some mild separation anxiety (I've only had her for a little over two weeks), have you had any experience with this? Everything that I've read about leash reactivity says to use a happy tone and just make your dog feel comfortable... I'd love to talk more though, I am new to this site smile
Take care!

cuddle time
Barked: Fri Sep 5, '14 12:56pm PST 
I think it might be easier for Zoe if she hears always hears the same command for leaving something/someone alone rather than a new one for each new person. While I taught "leave it" to all three of the dogs I've had, I've found that they usually found it easier to do some specific other action rather than simply stop doing what they've been doing. Drifter reacted too strongly to other dogs and Dolce tends to want to play with them, but both of them quickly learned to make eye contact when I said "watch me." They got a treat for doing so. At first, I captured each brief glance with a "yes" (a clicker would work as well), but they would immediately look at the other dog (or whatever) after they got their treat. Slowly they learned to hold eye contact longer. Before Drifter died, both he and Dolce would come to me and make eye contact without a prompt when we passed a barking dog. I guess you could say I taught them to beg party but I think a treat is a small price to pay for relaxed dogs in such a situation.