Help Me, Help My Dog…

I’ve taken a new approach with Luna lately when it comes to dogs. It’s a way that has helped with her reaction to vehicles passing us on the gravel road we walk down everyday. I guess I will start there….

Lu has had this issue since day one when I adopted her. When a vehicle is about to pass us while we are walking, she is already head low, lip licking, ready to pounce. When the vehicle goes by she does indeed lunge at the vehicle, which leaves me gripping the leash and holding her back. There is also a growl/bark in this motion. Oddly enough though, when I go to the city where cars are constantly going by us, she has no reaction. So finally after trying a few things, I found something that worked….as soon as she sees the vehicle we stop and she sits. At first I would be facing her so I could block the lunge and basically back her up (by walking towards her) into her sit again. (I’ll start backing her up if she is too focused on the vehicle as it approaches)This has been very, very successful. When she sees a vehicle now, she comes to my side, walks with me until I stop and she automatically sits, car goes by, and we continue walking. She hasn’t been able to carry this over into a continuous walk while the car goes by but we are still working on this by shortening the distance between car approaching and her having to sit.

So for dogs. When we see the dog, she sits and we go through the “don’t attack the cars” routine. Amazingly it has been working quite well! Unfortunately I require the understanding and help of strangers whose dogs are on leash and more importantly the dogs that we come upon off leash.

As I said before, Luna is doing really well with this routine so by the time I am speaking to the owner of the dog approaching, Lu is in her sit position and is just watching the other dog approach. I usually ask them to leash their dog or at least keep it close to them while they walk by and the reason I give is that my dog is afraid of dogs. Most people are like oh sure no problem and are happy for Lu after they pass and she has no reaction to their dog. I also thank these people for helping us.

And then there are other people….yesterday on our walk in the city, two men walking their unleashed bouncy little dogs…came up behind Lu and I. When she saw them I had her sit and wait while I asked them to call their dogs. For some reason I didn’t say Lu was afraid of dogs, I said my dog is not good with other dogs especially when they’re running up on her. And they said ” well she looks alright, they’ll just walk up to her”. Since they obviously didn’t understand what I was trying to do, I just stood watching Lu’s reaction to the dog now trying to sniff her butt. Lu’s now standing and lunges at the dog and has a complete screaming high pitch freak out melt down when the leash pulls her back. Thanks a lot stranger!

Even though I will occasionally run into people who are not willing to help I have had more success with Luna doing this than I have ever had before. And all this success has come with minimal use of the gentle lead. This makes me happy.

Speaking of gentle lead….

20131006-174507.jpg“If you want to continue to walk without my head between your legs, take this thing off me. Please?”

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7 thoughts on “Help Me, Help My Dog…

  1. I don’t understand the obsession with unleashed walking, either. They’re still dogs! Pierre and I were walking across the street the other night and some Muppet cleverly disguised as a dog came bounding over toward us. The Muppet Dog was larger than Pierre and I knew that wasn’t going to be pretty, so I looked at the dog & pointed toward its owners and said, “Go!” It took three times of saying it plus the owners calling it, and they looked at me like I was at fault.
    Sigh. As long as those dogs obey when their owner’s call and it would prevent them from a traffic snafu, I guess that’s all that matters.
    Anyway, good job with training Lu not to lunge at cars! šŸ™‚

    • alwayslu says:

      Thank you! I am very proud of her. I’m still laughing about your “muppet dog” description. šŸ˜„ Glad that turned out ok for you and Pierre.

      • You should have seen that “dog!” I don’t know what it was. It was maybe a 20 pound dog, foot tall, long body, reddish orange fur from head to toe. I couldn’t see legs…just flowing fur. LOL. Had some good speed on it, too! Cute dog; poor timing.
        (And I sang, “M’nah menah doo doo doo dooo” the whole way home. šŸ˜ )

  2. Haha that picture is priceless! I actually do the same thing with my kids. I ask them to sit and give them the “look at me” command when they start to focus too much on the other dog. Redirecting like that can work wonders. It is difficult when people don’t follow the leash laws though – I mean, my dogs have pretty good recall but you’ll never see me walk them off leash. There’s no other way to make sure they’re safe! Ugh.

  3. OhMelvin says:

    So first off, yay on your continued success with Lu’s training! Second, those people who allow off-leash torturing of our reactive dogs suck! Do they have some club where they decide who to pounce on next?!!!

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