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.