This strikes a chord and sets you thinking.
It occurs to you the perfect solution is agility. You enroll with a local club and discover the blend of obedience, activity, and excitement seem heaven-sent as your dog is immediately a transformed character. There's a new light in his eye, a way of watching you for directions, and when he's on the move over obstacles, his body language is transformed like a dog given wings.
And the icing on the cake is that he no longer digs the carpet at home. Instead, he sleeps peaceably, the odd paw twitching as he dreams of snaking around that agility course.
For many dogs, running an agility course gives them a sense of purpose and helps correct behavioral problems due to boredom or anxiety. However, it's important to work by encouraging the dog rather than intimidating or threatening them.
When running an agility course, the dog will encounter obstacles such as hurdles, long jumps, tunnels, weaving poles, high balance, sea-saw, A-frame, hoops, and a 'stay' station. The dog must learn each of these skills in turn, while watching the owner for instructions as to where to go next. Simple as that and lots of fun!
He loves people and other dogs but when he is on his leash he barks and lunges at them sometime growling. I am unsure of how to correct this behavior. I have had 7 dogs my life and he is the first to do this.
Hello Toni, It sounds like he has leash reactivity, which is related to frustration and over-arousal. It's characterized by the aggressive seeming dog being okay with other dogs off leash still. See if you can find a G.R.O.W.L. class in your city. These classes are for aggressive and reactive dogs and focus on socializing the dogs together in an intensive class to encourage calmness around other dogs. All the dogs wear a muzzle (I suggest a basket muzzle which is more comfortable) to keep all the dogs safe since some have worse issues than yours does. You can make the muzzle pleasant ahead of time so that it is not stressful for him to wear it. Introduce it slowly with treats over a couple of weeks. Feed him his meals one piece of food at a time (from a baggie and not his bowl) everytime he sniffs the muzzle, touches it, puts his face into it and holds his face in the muzzle. Finally, feed treats through the muzzle's holes while you buckle and unbuckle it. Gradually work up to leaving it buckled for longer while you give treats, then spacing your treats further apart. Also, you can practice your obedience with dogs in the background. Reward calmly for focus on you, obedience, and tolerance of other dogs. Do not sooth or reward when he is acting aggressively, give him something structured to do like heeling and follow through with your command even if that means being persistent or moving away. Avoid overly stimulating interactions with other dogs right now and look for calmer, more structured activities around other dogs right now, like going on walks with other calm dogs while the dogs heel, attending classes like a G.R.O.W.L. class, and practicing obedience at parks with other dogs in the distance so that they become boring. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Was this experience helpful?