Teaching a Santa Monica Rescue Dog to Stop Rushing Up to New Dogs

By: David Codr

Published Date: June 6, 2018

Pesto - Teaching a Santa Monica Rescue Dog to Stop Rushing Up to New Dogs

For this Santa Monica dog training session we taught 2 year-old Pit Basenji Terrier mix who charges other dogs on walks out of excitement and how to Namaste on command.

We started things off by going over the importance and different ways to exercise Pesto. Because of his habit of excitedly rushing towards other dogs and the number of canines in downtown Santa Monica, finding a few alternatives to walking can help while they rehabilitate him.

The guardians rescue wanted to neuter him at a specific clinic, but I recommended they look into getting an exception and using another vet so they could use a laser for the surgery. This speeds up the recovery process and because the guardians have an upcoming trip, this option would help make sure the heeling process is pretty much complete before they leave.

The guardians had been reading and watching the session write up videos I post on my websitehttps://www.doggoneproblems.com/dog-training-examples/ which had allowed them to already start to incorporate many of the techniques and dog behavior tips I share with my clients. Although petting with a purpose, and passive training seem like minor interactions, these forms of positive dog training go a long ways because they are repeated dozens or hundreds of times a day. It simply takes a month or so of consistently using them before they become a habit.

Pesto liked to sit up on his hind legs at times and since his guardians teach Yoga, they asked if there was a way to teach Pesto to assume a pose on command. We decided to name it, Namaste. You can see how I helped Pesto’s guardians teach him to go into this position on command in the free dog training video below.

I must admit, this was the first time I had been asked to train a dog to move into a yoga position, But based on how easily Pesto caught on, I may need to look into teaching dogs yoga on a regular basis. Downward dog indeed.

Next we went over some additional rules, how to enforce them and how to teach Pesto to go to his dog bed on command. It only took a few repetitions before Pesto was picking things up. This is one smart pooch.

The last thing we worked on was Pesto’s habit of rushing right up to dogs he sees. This is problematic as a straight ahead approach is considered rude, aggressive or a challenge in the dog world. Combine the approach with a running or rushed pace and you have a situation that can very easily go awry.

As a LA Dog Behavior expert, I have found that teaching a dog to slow down or stop the instant it starts to get excited is a great strategy for just about any situation. I refer to this as light switch on / light switch off.

Light switch on is engaging or moving forward when the dog offers behavior you like. Light switch off is stopping in place or cessation of interaction the second the dog does something that is undesired. This on / off sort of interaction is amazingly effective when training dogs as they learn through repetition and good timing. If your timing is right and you are consistent, the dog learns rushing = stop, while calm = keep on going.

Last year I discovered a complimentary way to help dogs who are reactive or aggressive. Its called Behavior Adjustment Training or BAT for short. BAT is all about creating a controlled situation where you can place your dog and let it discover how to move forward using a version of light switch on / off.

I have never used BAT to teach a dog a more polite way of approaching another dog, but there is a first time for everything. You can see how I used BAT to teach Pesto its not polite to rush right up to an unknown dog. If you want to find out how to teach a dog to stop running up to another dog.

Now one note on the above video, I was pushing the boundaries more than I normally would to see if we could get Pesto closer to my helper dog Ruby. As you will see in the free dog training video below, once Pesto got within 20 or so feet, he raced right at the other dog.

When Pesto’s guardians practice this in the future, Id like them to start out around 40 feet away and call him back any time he stares at the other dog for longer than 5 seconds. The whole point is to avoid Pesto running or rushing at a dog and instead find the closest he can get while still being able to be called back with no pulling on the leash.

To help the guardians remember all the positive dog training tips we shared in this in home Santa Monica dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video.

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This post was written by: David Codr