I drove a half hour to the nearest ‘big’ town so that Lu and I could work some more on her leash reactivity. Once we got there I knew that finding a dog on leash and being taken for a walk would be difficult.
The first hour of our walk yielded 2 barking dogs in a window and a very mellow husky staring at us through a chain link fence. Lu was a little agitated by the little dogs but got her self control in check without too much whining. The husky I didn’t even see but Lu did … She was great… No barking or whining. She just looked at it and when I said “lets go” she followed. (Mental note: Must make friends with husky owner)
Once we got back to the truck, I decided we would change our location. We headed closer to the lake. Not only to maybe find a dog but so Lu could cool off.
Lu had fun in the water and after about 45 minutes I figured we might as well head home. We headed back to the truck just as a car was parking beside me. A lady got out and headed to the back door of her vehicle. This meant one of two things: child or dog. We waited……it was a dog. As soon as Lu saw the dog we practiced ‘run away’.
I know what your thinking… An hour and 45 minutes to find a dog and you run away? Let me explain. Because Lu will not take a treat or even break her stare when there is another dog within eye shot, we instead run in the opposite direction followed by a treat. The click comes when she looks at the dog…. the reward is to run away + treat . The trainer that we have been seeing figures Lu’s issue is fear based so a reward of ‘get away from the dog’ might work. (Something she didn’t get the chance to do when she was attacked.)
Once we ‘run away’ we go back. And now the stalking begins …. The lady and her dog went down a path to the lake. I know this path doesn’t go anywhere but to the lake and back and Lu can still see the dog from up on the hill where we are standing. So we continue to practice. The dog is now off leash so I am keeping a close eye on it and the owner.
Then I notice the owner walking back to her vehicle and the dog still running around off leash. So I back up so that we will hopefully not be spotted by this dog when he come running over the hill. Again we wait…. The owner is on the phone and looks over to see Lu and I. Lu is sitting really nice. She glances at us twice then turns around and heads back to the lake. I figured we better go cause the look she gave me was pretty odd. And of course I started thinking this may look a little bit weird. We looked like a couple of stalkers I am sure…. oh wait…. we are.
Note: we practiced without using the gentle lead. 🙂