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Ace Dog Academy Answers: Tackling Training Troubles 05-15-2024

Updated: May 21



Question: How can I manage my highly reactive dog during walks?


Answer:

Managing a highly reactive dog during walks requires a strategic approach to reduce over stimulation and teach better coping skills. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Use a Longer Leash: Instead of a short leash, use a 15-foot leash. This gives your dog more space and reduces the feeling of being trapped, which can lower anxiety and reactivity.

  2. Train Recall Commands: Spend a few days teaching your dog a strong recall command, such as “come.” Practice this repeatedly, rewarding your dog when they respond correctly.

  3. Introduce E-Collar Training: An electronic collar (E-collar) can help maintain communication with your dog from a distance. Use it to reinforce recall commands, especially in high-stimulation environments.

  4. Gradual Exposure: Start in low-distraction environments and gradually expose your dog to more stimulating situations. Monitor their reactions and use the recall command to guide them back to you when they start to react.

  5. Positive Reinforcement: Reward your dog with treats and praise when they respond well to commands and show calm behavior around other animals or people.


By using these techniques, you can help your dog develop better coping skills and reduce reactive behaviors during walks.


Question: What should I do if my dog constantly barks at the neighbor through the fence?


Answer:

Fence aggression, or barrier reactivity, can be challenging. Here’s how to address it:

  1. E-Collar Training: Use an E-collar to provide immediate corrections when your dog starts barking at the neighbor. Start with a low setting and adjust as needed to get your dog’s attention.

  2. Interrupt and Redirect: As soon as your dog starts barking, interrupt the behavior with a command like “no” followed by a correction. Then, call your dog to you and reward them for coming.

  3. Positive Reinforcement: Pair the correction with positive reinforcement. Reward your dog when they remain calm and ignore the neighbor.

  4. Consistent Training: Practice this consistently to reinforce the behavior. Over time, your dog will learn that staying calm and ignoring the neighbor is more rewarding.

Question: How can I prepare my dog for a vet visit if they are anxious and might bite?


Answer:

To handle vet visits with an anxious dog:

  1. Muzzle Training: Train your dog to wear a muzzle. Start by introducing the muzzle in a positive way, using treats and praise. Practice this a few days before the vet visit.

  2. Use a Reliable Muzzle: A Baskerville muzzle is recommended. It allows your dog to drink, pant, and take treats, making it a practical option for vet visits.

  3. Desensitization: Gradually get your dog used to handling and being touched in ways similar to a vet exam. This can reduce anxiety during actual visits.

  4. Stay Calm: Your demeanor affects your dog’s behavior. Stay calm and reassuring during the visit to help your dog feel more secure.


Question: My dog was attacked as a puppy and now reacts aggressively towards other dogs. What can I do?


Answer:

If your dog reacts aggressively due to a past attack:

  1. Assess Behavior: Determine if the reaction is due to fear, excitement, or aggression. This can help tailor your training approach.

  2. Controlled Exposure: Gradually expose your dog to other dogs in a controlled environment. Use a muzzle initially for safety.

  3. Positive Reinforcement: Reward calm behavior around other dogs. Use treats and praise to reinforce positive interactions.

  4. Professional Help: Consider consulting a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can provide a tailored plan to address your dog’s specific issues.


Question: I rescued a Pit bull that doesn't get along with my other dog. How should I handle this?


Answer:

Integrating a new dog, especially a rescue with potential behavioral issues, requires careful management:

  1. Crate and Rotate: Use crates to keep the dogs separated initially. Allow one dog out at a time to prevent direct interactions until they are used to each other’s presence.

  2. Gradual Introduction: Slowly introduce the dogs to each other in a controlled manner. Use leashes and muzzles to ensure safety.

  3. Positive Associations: Reward both dogs for calm behavior when they are near each other. This helps build positive associations.

  4. Professional Guidance: Seek help from a professional trainer experienced with dog aggression and integration.


Question: My dog showed aggression towards another dog and redirected that aggression towards me. What should I do?


Answer:

Redirected aggression occurs when a dog takes out their frustration on a nearby person. Here’s how to handle it:

  1. Leash Control: Keep your dog on a leash in situations where aggression might occur. This helps you control their movements.

  2. Avoid Triggers: Identify and avoid situations that trigger aggressive behavior until you have implemented a solid training plan.

  3. Desensitization and Counter-Conditioning: Gradually expose your dog to triggers in a controlled way while reinforcing calm behavior with treats and praise.

  4. Safety Measures: Use a muzzle during training sessions to prevent bites. Always ensure you have control over the situation.


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