Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Reinforce the Owner

I was out with my own dogs at an off leash dog park the other day and I am constantly watching and observing how other owners and trainers train. I always believe in positively rewarding the dogs for good behavior and good interactions with other dogs since my specialty is dog dog aggression issues and I am constantly encouraging my client to reward with treats and praise for good dog interactions instead of using more traditional methods of screaming and correcting the dog. I cringe when I see these punishing types methods being used especially when dealing with dogs that have issues off leash with other dogs. If we use corrective methods which means using force it tends to make the aggression worse because if the dogs feels pain around other dogs then they then start associating dogs as bad.
Then they tend to get more reactive when they see another dog because barking and lunging works because it makes the other dog go away before they feel pain!

Well on this day I observed an owner who had his dog on a gentle leader and he had a doggie back pack (which sometimes help dog associate the doggie back pack with working mode and if they are in working mode they are more focused on the job they are doing with their owner instead of reacting to dogs)! This owner allowed his who was on leash to meet my dog-BUT when his dog went to greet my dog- he kept his leash nice and loose and happy talked a nice greeting and after a second or two he said “leave it” without pulling his dogs leash and when his dog came away from my dog and back to him he rewarded his dog with a treat!

I was so impressed with his training methods because this is exactly what I teach owners to do- keep the leash loose, use a happy voice when greeting then get your dog back to you and when they come back give them a goodie and then move on!

I praised and reinforced the owner by commenting to him that he was using a great training strategy! And he smiled and told me it has taken a lot of work to get to this point but he has made huge progress and he now feels confident to bring his dog around other dogs! He said it will always be work but he is happy to come out to the park with his dog and now has a better relationship!

AHHH a good day at the park! 

No comments:

Post a Comment