How to Stop Your Dog from Reacting to Little Animals on Walks

By: Sam Kanouse

Published Date: August 15, 2017

Star is a three-year-old Pit Bull mix who lives in Omaha. Her guardian set up a dog behavior training session to help Star from stop pulling on the leash and stop reactivity to other dogs or small animals when on walks.

When I first arrived Star was an excited dog but quickly redirected herself by picking up a favorite toy. This is a positive dog training method because it helps Star calm down and keeps her mouth busy if she were to be a mouthy dog. After chatting with her guardian I learned that the primary dog behavior concern was leash training and to stop reactivity to other people and animals when going for walks.

Star is brand new to this family so I taught her guardian how to reward her with our Petting with a Purpose method. A great free tip is to pet her under her chin, this can help increase her confidence and make her feel good about herself.

Dogs can only concentrate on one thing at once, so I taught her guardian how ot get Star to look up at her face when given a command word. I also taught her how to make a sharp U-turn when going for a walk when they approach a small animal or person that Star might be reactive to until they have mastered the Focus exercise. You can see how we accomplished this in the video below.

To help Star with loose leash walking, we used our structured walk technique with the martingale collar. Remember to give Star an opportunity to go to the bathroom before going on a structured walk. You can also use the last two thirds of the walk as an unstructured walk to allow her to smell and investigate her surroundings and environment.

By the end of the session Star was not pulling on the leash and was quickly calming down when she saw people or small animals during her walk. By incorporating rules and structure Star is looking to her guardian as the leader and adopting a follower’s mindset. We wrapped up this dog behavior session with Star’s Roadmap to Success, which you can watch below.

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This post was written by: Sam Kanouse

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