So many dog owners get stuck trying to correct that big explosive moment with their dog in the heat of the moment rather than stacking all of the little permission based exercises in order to prevent the reaction from ever happening. One tiny Permission based exercise stacked on top of another, compounds to create a relationship built on respect. Each exercise bleeds into the next, building a solid foundation for your dog to make much better decisions. So your first step in addressing your dog’s leash reactivity is cultivating calm, impulse control.
- Start with his Crate Manners. Demanding that he be calm before being let out rather than bolting out of the crate door is the beginning. Use the door as your defense mechanism. Shut it abruptly if he tries charging out of it. Do not put the collar or leash on your dog until he is calm and sitting still. Patience is key. YOU must remain calm and do this when you have plenty of time to practice.
- Your next step is the Threshold Exercise. Make your dog wait in a seated position before walking out of the front door. Correct for any bad behavior here, before you ever leave the house. Repeat going in and out of the entrance until you get the behavior you desire. Your dog should be calm and focused on your movement. If he isn't, your correction wasn't believable enough for him to not want to charge through the door again.
- Once he is calmly sitting before he steps our of the house, now you’re set for the Structure Walk. 90% of the time he is in heal, looking to you for guidance. 10 % is left for him to nose around or mark. This 10% is only allowed through your release command.
Now you have a Compounded Focus on the rules and boundaries that can be used to diffuse that explosive moment you tried addressing at its most powerful state. When Permission Based Exercises are practiced daily, you will soon see your dog’s leash reactivity isn’t the explosion it used to be.