Running with Squirrels

fostering dogs that need it most

People training

We like to go on evening walks with the pups here at the Ranch. It’s a nice time to unwind from work, catch up with each other, and it gives Muffin and Reese some much needed exercise after their long hard day of napping.

We’ve written before about how we worked on Muffin’s leash pulling and have found that the gentle leader has been a life saver in helping her to slow down and helps everyone enjoy the walk. One thing we’ve continued to work on is her tendency to freak out jump, whine, and try to bite her leash when we see another dog on our walk.

We were really puzzled as to why she got so upset when seeing another dog since she’s so good with Reese when they are off leash at home and in our back yard. We’ve tried different tactics like making her sit as the dog walks by, trying to get her to have a treat while the dog walks by, and simply trying to walk by at a distance. After having her become really distressed with all of those tactics, we called in the expert!:)

Jasmine’s House works with an amazing trainer from Canine Lifestyle Academy and we decided to consult with her to get some tips to help Muffin stay calm. She helped us to realize that Muffin’s arousal level was getting up to a full blown 10 when she sees another dog. It’s not likely to be reactivity, but more anxiety and frustration at being confined on her leash and not having control over how close or far she is from another dog on her walk. We learned how to turn around from another dog, and to look for her body signals to understand that her anxiety level is increasing.

It was amazing to see that Muffin could turn around and refocus on us if we interrupted her anxiety at a level 1-3 instead of letting her get all the way up to a 10. It seems that she was giving us information to work with the whole time but we needed some people training to help make sense of what she’s been trying to tell us all along. We were able to practice this training on a hike this past weekend and Muffin did awesome! I think foster dad and I benefitted a ton from our people training and now Muffin can enjoy less stressful walks.

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8 thoughts on “People training

  1. great advice! i think i’ll try that with bella and gracie, who bark like crazy when they see another dog during our walks (although they seem to jump from 0-10 the moment a dog appears on the horizon!) … thanks!

  2. This sounds like a carbon copy of the problems we have with our foster Delaynie, even down to the use of the gentle leader. A trainer we worked with told us to keep walking when we pass another dog, but that doesn’t seem to help. We have also tried to make her sit and give her treats, but to no avail. I would love to hear more about how you turn around and what signs she gives before she gets to a 10. Could I email you?

  3. What key info! Its amazing how much training we need! Good work 🙂

    • It was pretty eye opening to focus in on her anxious signals that appear before the standard whining and jumping … things like head posture and shifting weight are things we never even thought of looking for. Hopefully we can keep working with her and make walks more relaxing and fun for everyone involved!

  4. Thanks for the shout-out! So glad it’s working out. You guys are great to work with. Hope you see continued progress! And if anyone wants to talk about on-leash problems, it’s pretty much my favorite thing to work on. You can email me to set up a consult:

  5. Pingback: One Woman, Two Dogs, One Walk | Mr. & Mrs. & Nola Kisses

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