Lets Talk Dog

Dog Behaviour and Training Services

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Kind, Modern, Reward-Based Methods

Lets Talk Dog

Apr 11, 2023

Luca, highly reactive to other dogs

Luca was highly reactive at a considerable distance, lunging and barking at other dogs. He was deemed to be dog aggressive by a number of trainers. 

Many owners would have given up but Luca's family believed they could find a solution so they kept looking for help. Eventually they came to us. We carried out an extensive assessment at home and quickly followed with an outdoor session. He was indeed reactive and barked at other dogs, but his body language was good. What a puzzle!!

We did some Behavioral Adjustment therapy first but this didn't really help as his distances were very long. Then we escorted our stooge dog "Izzy" who passed really quite close (only 10m), Luca barked and lunged, but again Luca displayed relaxed body language and quickly recovered after she walked away. 10 seconds is very quick to "shake off". So we repeated the same exercise a few times and each time Luca reacted the same. Puzzling!!

Now, this is where reading and understanding body language comes into its own. Izzy looked relaxed and calm during the close contact, so we decided to allow them to meet properly. It was a good greeting, we kept it brief but after a couple of repetitions, we walked along together without issue. Now here is the best bit. At the end of the session Luca was running free for the first time, interacting with other dogs and greeting them nicely, the barking at other dogs stopped.

This wasn't a magic fix, we spent several hours working with Luca and his family to get to this point and will need further sessions to help him reach his full potential. The owners have commited to many hours of hard work but they will be supported all the way.