It is important to get your dog plenty of exercise by taking him for regular walks and play sessions at your local park. Doing so will not only keep him healthier, it will help keep his mind stimulated and ensure that he enjoys a high quality of life.
But some dogs exhibit behavioral problems that can make regular park visits difficult. For example, many dogs become overstimulated by cyclists and react to their presence by barking and lunging aggressively. This is not only embarrassing for owners, it can be frightening for the cyclist. It can even be dangerous if your dog slips his leash and chases after the biker. Fortunately, you can put an end to this behavior by teaching your dog the ‘let’s go’ command, desensitizing him to bikes and cyclists, or redirecting his attention elsewhere.
Dogs often put on frightening displays in response to cyclists, but that doesn’t mean they want to hurt anyone; fear and anxiety are at the root of most reactivity problems. Accordingly, the best way to diffuse these anxious feelings and put an end to the barking and lunging is to redirect their attention elsewhere. The ‘let’s go’ command works well in this regard, and it can also help stop reactivity to other common triggers, such as mailmen, large trucks and children playing outside.
It isn’t terribly difficult to teach your dog the ‘let’s go’ command. Most dogs would rather focus on their pet parent than anything else, so the command doesn’t require you to get your dog to do anything he doesn’t already want to do.
Reactivity is most common in adult dogs, but you can teach the ‘let’s go’ command to canines of any age, including puppies that are at least 12 weeks old.
To start training your dog to stop barking at bikers, you will need:
You’ll want to start the training process in a quiet, controlled location. You can do so inside if you like, but your backyard is probably the best location. As your dog begins learning the command, you’ll want to find a location in which he can see bicyclists from a safe distance.