Treating dogs with severe separation anxiety

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If you already know the patterns for keeping your dog focused on you and can perform these in the presence of distractions relatively close by, you’re 80% there. In this case, you’re walking down the path, and as soon as you see the distraction, get your dog to focus on you while heeling.
In this case, you start heeling with your dog focused on you, and before you get so close that your dog has to look at the approaching person or dog, turn 90° away from your dog and do repeat sits backwards into the street.
In the case, where you can’t do an L away from the dog, you can do a reverse L-pattern. The reason you have to do repeat sits backwards first is that if you just tried to turn 90° and back up, you’d move right into the dog!
For dogs who are more advanced and can already do the repeat sit backwards or L-pattern with distractions, you may be able to heel past distractions. Pattern 6: Repeat sit backwards away from the distraction, then Backwards U turn right as the dog passes. This pattern is similar to the previous one except that you do repeat sits backwards, and then as the distraction is passing, do a U turn backwards away from the dog. Sometimes it works best to get in front of your dog and do rapid repeat sits backwards in the direction you were originally walking as the approaching dog and human pass.
Another technique is to just heel but speed up a little as you get closer to the distraction. However, the picture you chose to go with this article does not help with common perceptions of reactive dogs as dangerous. My dog knows how to walk on leash but when he sees a cat that he wants to chase or a dog he doesn’t like, he goes bonkers, lunging and barking, and I can barely control him.
The following is a set of ways that you can combine simple exercises of repeat sits backwards, heeling, changes of speed, and repeat sits on the side. In the following exercise, perform repeat sits backwards 3-5 steps, ideally backing up at a speed of about 140 beats per minute (use a metronome) and rewarding your dog on a variable schedule for sitting when you stop. The exercises involving backwards movement are generally required for the more highly reactive dog and dogs earlier in their stages of training.
Now that you know the patterns, intersperse them into your regular walk with the goal that you can keep your dog focused on you the entire time you work on these. My own Portuguese Water Dog, who loves to play with other dogs, was attacked by a pit-bull on a local beach.
I have unfortunately seen more small breed dogs that are aggressive, and reactive on a leash (and scarily off leash as well), and my pitbull mixes do not "react", and are rather submissive.
The article itself is great, and I've already shared with two friends who have (non pit bull, very small mixed breed) leash reactive dogs.
This was great information on dealing with reactive dogs however I have to also say that the picture chosen was very insensitive and for me disappointing.


I do feel bad for you that your dog was attacked - but it is YOUR job to ensure your pet is kept safe, as well. This article illustrates there is a lack of owner responsibility that creates a reactive dog. Here are examples of how you can apply these exercises to situations where you see a human or dog approaching on a path and need to keep your dog focused so he won’t bark, jump or lunge at them. Then before he gets so close that he can no longer focus on you, switch directions by doing repeat sits backwards and then turn around and heel away in the direction you came from. In this case, when having your dog heel while walking forward, before he has a chance to look at the distraction, you do a repeat sit backwards away from the distraction and then do an L off the path. As with pattern 1, before your dog has a chance to focus on the distraction in front, switch directions by doing repeat sits backwards away from the distraction. If you can’t quite heel easily at a steady pace you can work on repeat sits in heel position. Cattle Dog Publishing takes scientific principles of animal behavior and creates practical applications that are easy to understand and accessible for everyday use. Exercises where dogs can heel forwards and focus on the owner around distractions should be used only when you know you can keep the dog focused heeling forwards. In fact, one way to help media outlets use a wider variety of stock photos for aggressive dogs would be to get people to contribute their high quality photos for this use. It doesn't matter how friendly your dog is, or how playful, or how much they like other dogs. And by allowing your dog to approach a strange dog (and you obviously have something against Pitbulls, so I'm unsure why you'd let your dog near one in the first place) without the owners permission, then you failed your dog. People like you, stuck up snobs who are ignorant to dog breeds and behavior, are the problem.
Make sure you walk fast enough (135-140 beats per minute) and that when you do the sits, you lean backwards and you are slowing down since that makes it clearer to the dog that you are about to stop. Make sure you practice the focus patterns from the Reactive Dog: Foundation Exercises for Your Leash Reactive Dog blog first.
Our understanding and knowledge, and thus our training and teaching techniques, are always evolving.
That means not only rewarding the dog for appropriate behaviors to replace the unwanted ones, but also rewarding quickly enough (within 0.2 seconds). The 180° turn requires your dog to walk up and down the same line and you to walk up one line and down a separate parallel line. If you accidently lean forwards, your dog will actually walk past you before he realizes he should stop. In other words, if you see a dog that he might react to, work at a distance from the dog where your technique is good enough to keep him focused on doing the exercise with you rather than on the dog.


Generally, you’ll want to start a repeat sit backwards a couple of steps before the dog or person passes.
It also means making your body cues clear, and leading the dog to perform exercises in rapid succession so that it’s easy for him to have fun focusing on you rather than finding you boring compared to the environmental distractions.
Remember that the goal is that your dog is focused and looking at you while catching up and while sitting.
You heel forward at a brisk pace (135-140 bpm for most dogs) and then suddenly back up in the direction you came from, ideally at 140 bpm.
As you improve, you should be able to graduate from doing more of the backwards exercises to using the easier forward heeling patterns more often.
No one in the dog business could be ignorant of the fact that pit bulls are a huge source of controversy and severely maligned. Once the distraction has gone by, then you can switch and heel in the direction you were originally walking.
It’s a little more challenging if the other handler is between you and the other dog.
You’ll want to learn to guide your dog through exercises in rapid succession the way a dancer would lead his partner through a series of different steps. He should be watching you when heeling forward and he should be used to following quickly after in repeat sits backwards.
ANY dog can be aggressive and it would have been nice to show a pic of a dog, a mixed breed or a breed that is rarely if ever associated with reactivity or aggression (i.e. These are more effective for dogs who are not as advanced and who have more trouble focusing. He is reactive to other dogs because he was attacked by a random loose dog, while his owner was yelling "HE'S FRIENDLY!!!" as the dog ran up with his teeth bared. The more you pause the more you allow your dog to wonder what you want and then lose focus and pay attention to something else. You can only control your dog so much when you have it on a leash when a LOOSE dog sticks its face where it doesn't belong. People need to realize that not every dog is friendly and we all have the right to take our dogs for walks just as much as anyone else.



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