Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pooches: Reactive Dog Goes to School (Part 2!)

I just can't express how thankful I am to have found LARPBO (Los Angeles Responsible Pit Bull Owners) because these people will truly save us with our pooches!!  Without finding them, Maggie and Nigel may have gotten some basic obedience but they will go much, much farther with this group than we would have without their support and patience.  (Did I mention that LARPBO has a new Meetup!?  One in San Bernardino!!!)

Anyway, Maggie went to her second LARPBO training class today, this time in Long Beach.  It was awesome for us because it was a smaller class and because one of the wonderful LARPBO trainers, Griffin, decided to come and work with us for the entire class (THANKS, GRIFFIN!!).  LARPBO classes are about 2 hours long and only cost $10 (a suggested donation) so it's basically like the most amazing training class you can ever find.
Hmmm...which dog do I bark at first!?
I had brought Nigel's Freedom Harness to try on Maggie but Griffin came over and suggested we try the flat collar and leash for a while.  For the next 2 hours or so, with only small breaks, Griffin worked Maggie with what LARPBO calls "railroad" exercises.  Essentially, Griffin walked forward with Maggie while trying to keep her attention and then backwards while asking her to "come" over and over again.  The goal is to get Maggie focusing her attention on her handler and to not freak out about the other dogs that were anywhere from 6-30 feet away from her.
Seriously though, WHAT are you putting your treats!?
WOW!  Once we figured out which of the 4 treats we had between the two of us that Maggie LOOOOVED, (Natural Balance Lamb and Rice cut up in treat size bites i.e. "puppy crack") all of a sudden, she was laser focused on Griffin. By the end of the class, he was able to walk her into the crowd of dogs for a few seconds and then back out without any kind of reaction.
Look, mom!!  I'm with other doggies ON LEASH!!!
LARPBO works on getting the dog's focus on the handler so that instead of forcing dogs to make the right decisions ALL the time, the dogs look to their handler for cues.  It's been wonderful after only two classes and Maggie is learning to focus more around other dogs.

Essentially, as leash reactive dog owners, this was the BEST kind of day EVER!  Maggie still had a few reactions but now that we're learning to help her redirect her attention to us, it's already getting better.  It was definitely a breakthrough day and it was SO nice to have some hope for our future when Maggie can be around other dogs without freaking out all the time.

We hope everyone had LOVELY weekends!!!

What was your best breakthrough moment with your pooch?!


  1. That is so cool, I'm so glad Maggie is doing well with her training. We're still hoping to have a breakthrough moment here on our end though!

    1. Thanks!!! I'm stoked to see the improvement. :-) Can't wait to hear about a breakthrough soon!!!

  2. this is so great! Maggie I'd definitely on her way too becoming an all star!

  3. Our new guy is reactive and we are currently working with a trainer to help him get past it. He's doing so amazingly well and of course there are good days and bad days but the good far out weight the bad. This class sounds amazing! What a great time for everyone. And congrats to Maggie for the breakthrough!

    1. It's so rough sometimes. What kind of work are you doing with him right now? Counter conditioning? Can't wait to hear more about his progress!!

  4. After two and a half years I'm finally learning ways to get Hades to focus his attention on me instead of other dogs. I really need an awesome class like this though. SO JEALOUS! He's making progress too, but once he fixates sometimes all is lost until that dog who triggered him is out of sight.