I’ve been tentative about registering (even though I already adopted the techniques that can be gathered from the youtube videos) for the past year or so until I saw the new reactive dog video and decided to give it a go. For the past couple days we’ve been working on phase 2. Since I’m visiting family at the moment we have to keep training sessions short because they’re only possible to do when we’re alone. He’s grasped the concept that he is to remain seated even when I put slight pressure on the leash and walk around him. While on the walk tonight we were faced with a couple impromptu real-life training sessions. The first went well. A couple walking their two dogs showed up about 50 feet in front of us and we couldn’t turn around due to dogs walking behind us Beast hadn’t noticed. When he noticed the dogs ahead of us I told him to sit, gave him a treat, put pressure forwards on the leash, put him back into a sit if he got up, and gave him another treat after he was freed. With constant praise during the event he did marvelously. He didn’t lunge, bark, or whine. He sat there and watched the dogs (who’s owners were annoyingly standing there waiting for us to leave so they could walk on the larger section of grass) until the coast was clear enough for us to turn around and leave. The second event went as they usually do. We were headed home and a golden retriever walked perpendicular in front of us. They were headed on a straight course away from us so I told him to sit and planned to do as before until the dog was far enough away that we could continue home. That didn’t happen. The golden’s owner noticed us and walked in our direction. Beast lunged and barked, hackles all the way up. He has a particular dislike for goldens and labradors that I don’t quite understand. I dragged him home and we nearly had another lunging fest when he saw a dog pulling it’s owner across the street quite a ways away.
I ordered a leather leash today that I hope aids in control and saves my hands throughout this journey.
I have to mention how disappointed I am in the foundation style trainer in my area. I researched for a very long time and was extremely skeptical due to their ridiculous pricing and slightly obnoxious attitude, but I was almost ready to fork out the cash, which is a huge thing for me because I’m a college student (translate: broke). I was lucky enough to see them training in a very crowded, public area one night. The first thing I noticed was of course the dogs. Not a single dog was happy. All had their ears back, tails tucked, averted eyes, and many were licking their lips. The trainer told the owners to put their dogs in a down and only one or two dogs did so while told, while the rest sat there looking nervous. The owners then began roughly yanking their dogs, and the trainer told one owner to yank harder. Not once while I stood there watching did a single owner praise their dog. Next, I took a good look at the trainer. He was glaring at the dogs, the owners, and looked like he would rather be anywhere else. He impatiently told the class to continue walking before each dog had accomplished the command and didn’t help those who were struggling. Frankly, I wouldn’t go to this trainer even if it was free. I won’t sacrifice my dog’s spirit and happiness in the name of obedience, and I certainly don’t want him to resent or fear training. Reactivity is better than a miserable dog, cold training, and an angry trainer any day.