Thursday, January 4, 2018

Leash Reactivity

Counter Conditioning Leash Reactivity, The Hybrid Approach

Leash Reactivity towards dogs, humans or traffic, is one of the most challenging training endeavors simply because there is no consistency in the appearance of the stimuli, and there will most assuredly be at some point, an over threshold event for the dog due to “criteria pile up”. More than one piece of criteria at a time combined with a lack of sufficient distance, too much duration, and or both, then add in the stimulus entering the environment with intensity of both the visual and auditory components known to cause the dog to react “over threshold”, and there will be more likely at some point a dog reacting by lunging and barking or attempting to flee and thus ends up flailing around while the handler tries to maintain control.

Handlers of leash reactive dogs be they large, medium or small dogs, have numerous mechanical and timing challenges. The variable that can be controlled the most is the human’s behavior, once that is the focus all other areas of leash reactivity become easier and stress is reduced.

The good news is this, once the handler has a better idea of what to do and starts a proactive protocol that consists of distance and high value food reinforcement, the dog will start to have less and less reactivity. There is no 100% reduction in leash reactivity, but if the handlers of the reactive dogs implement the following protocols in this blog and the video links, 90 – 95% reduction can be achieved. Humans are the variable so here we go… Read the entire article

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