When we're out walking, it's easy to forget just how much of an utter mess Maggie was before we really started working with her on her leash walking and reactivity. But then I recall trying different helpers like front-clip harnesses (ouchy hotspots, returned), backpacks (she doesn't mind it but I don't think it helped much with walking, keeping it for camping tough), a simple Cesar Milan style loop collar lead (fine but the leash part is too short), a Gentle Leader (didn't work super long on this one but she HATED wearing it at first) and using a Chuck-It to startle her into walking back behind us (in all fairness, this doesn't really scare her at all and did help us to teach her where we wanted her to be but many people would probably disagree with this method). Back in October, if you would have told me that she could on a walk with only one bad reaction to a dog and ignoring 1-3 other dogs, I would have laughed in your face.
Her reactivity is still pretty bad with some dogs but next week, we start working with a positive reinforcement trainer to combat this issue. I don't know why I didn't find her before in all my trainer searches but she specializes in working with reactive dogs and I'm SO happy to have found her.
Brandon's method was working pretty well with Maggie but with two dogs now, we need to modify. Nigel is a
I'm starting to read more about positive reinforcement training and just dog behavior in general. First up is The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell. She talks a lot about how our physical movements are MUCH more important to dogs than our verbal commands and how we are constantly conveying information to them (think about how changing your smile to a smirk can take a millisecond and be such a minute movement). Her writing is incredibly accessible and her blog is awesome! Review to come when I'm done.
And since this bloggity blog post is awfully wordy, here's some fun smushy pictures of the pooches.
|This is Killian, my 17th birthday present who lives with my mom in Chicago. (Okay, she truly is HER dog but she was my lady till mom had to keep her and smush her.)|