Positive Pet Training: Update on Petal’s Training

It’s time for another Positive Pet Training blog hop! I missed last month, due to being incredibly busy. In February I blogged about Petal’s leash reactivity/her over excitement towards other dogs. It’s been two months and a lot has changed. The biggest change being that we sort of moved.  We went to visit some friends for a week in February and… never left. Our friends live in more of a suburban neighborhood than we did, which means we see a lot more people and a lot more dogs. This has done wonders for Petal. I walk her everyday for at least 1 1/2 hours, but usually it’s more like 2 and sometimes even more than that. I take loads of treats with me on our walks. I bring crunchy low value treats and soft high value treats. I use the low value treats for the things that excite Petal, like bikers, joggers, children, distant barking, etc. The high value treats are used when another dog can be seen walking with their owner, romping in their yard, or approaching us.

After consistently walking Petal everyday for nearly two months now and consistently treating and praising her whenever a dog is near, I have seen huge improvements in her behavior. She has not come completely unglued at the sight or sound of another dog in awhile now. She rarely lunges or barks anymore, even when closely passing another dog. She’s been able to meet other dogs without any drama. I think the most impressive moment of hers was when 3 leashed dogs approached us from behind and we were temporarily swallowed up in their group of people and dogs. Petal met and greeted all 3 dogs with confidence and good manners. No drama. Not even a little bit. I was so proud of her I almost cried.

She’s not perfect yet, but we’re getting there. Recently she started reacting again, but I noticed that it wasn’t the same as before, this time it seemed to be out of boredom or simply wanting treats. So I started making our walks more interesting and challenging by adding in some more training. Now when we hear dogs barking we practice sitting at my heel when I stop and walking at a heel when I continue. This keeps her attention on me and it prevents her barking because she’s more focused on the training. I have her sit and wait while I clean up after her and I have her sit and wait again when I toss it in a garbage can. I also look for places to have her pose for photos which can involve many commands such as sit, down (lay down), up, paws up, stay, come, look, etc. That’s how we got photos like these:

Petal sitting at my heel in the snow.Petal posing with her paws on a broken, snow covered, tree trunk.Image of Petal wearing clover glasses and green beads around her neck with the Northern Utah mountains as a backdrop.Image taken of Petal from below as she lies on a bench and looks down at the camera.

Now I need to work on her counter surfing and her reacting to dogs out the windows.

Wish us luck. 😉

Today we are participating in the monthly Positive Pet Training blog hop hosted by Dachshund Nola, Cascadian Nomads and Tenacious Little Terrier.

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