If you have a Pushy, Reactive, and Disrespectful dog on your hands, he is more than likely nearly impossible to take on walks. He pulls you down the street and reacts to every squirrel, bird, cat, or dog passing by, so you avoid taking him at all. I’m here to tell you that you can leverage your game plan by exercising the following steps before you ever leave the house:
1) Crate Manners. Start out your walk by putting your dog in his crate to start the process. A pushy, bratty dog typically has the impulse to jet out of his of it without permission. Give your dog the opportunity to charge out, but use the crate door to correct this entitlement by slamming it in his face. Repeat this over and over until your dog stops charging out. He will soon make eye contact with you and wait for permission before doing it again. This is the very first sliver of leverage needed for a tiny attitude and relationship adjustment, which also helps with your dog’s deescalation.
2) Now fit your dog with the tools needed to gain even more leverage. A Herm Sprenger prong collar and the Mini Educator remote collar will help you communicate your intent clearly. Be sure to fit the prong collar properly and teach your dog the Pressure/Release concept before assuming he will know how to walk on it Find your dog’s working level on the e-collar before he is exposed to any distraction. This is the lowest level your dog feels any stimulation from the remote. This is your beginning level used in training the e-collar heel.
3) Threshold: Use your front door as yet another leveraging point. If he tries jetting out of the door before you even take a step, give him a strong leash pop and make him sit. Repeat over and over again. Give your dog a chance to make another mistake so that you can work on it until he is looking to you for permission to move forward. Once you get the desired attitude, head out on your walk. These two simple exercises, Crate and Threshold Permission, create a reactivity “cushion” that you can now use to diffuse any further escalation. When before, your dog went from 0-100 in a split second, you now have a little more time to address any nastiness before it has a chance to explode. Your dog’s state of mind is now in a place of respect.
4) Cultivating the Heel Position: Take your walk in an area where there are minimal distractions. Use the prong collar to give directional information to the e-collar. Start with your working level to cultivate your heel position. Your heel position is the boundary where your dog’s shoulder lines up to your knee. When he passes that threshold, give the command “Heel” while simultaneously pressing that low level button on the remote and giving leash guidance back into position. Once back in Heel, let go of the button. Repeat this process over and over and over. Dial up on the remote if the dog isn’t responding after performing many repetitions on the working level. This is called the motivational level. Your dog will let you know what works. Do not get married to a number. Once the dog understands the boundary, you then move to a correction level. Now it’s a tap of the button instead of pressing and holding at lower level. So if he comes out of heel, you tap the button. This creates a dog that is far more respectful of you thereby creating more leverage yet again. Respect is now stacking in our advantage. That cushion is increasing between where the dog is now mentally and where he would be if he saw another dog. Instead of going from 0-100 in a split second, he is taking a bit longer to react which gives you time to correct before he loads. So now, because you’ve leveraged respect early, you correct for a simple “look” at another dog. The key is correcting at a high enough level that the dog deems valuable BEFORE he has a chance to explode. Capping the escalation not chasing the reaction. Your dog’s mind vacillates depending on what environmentals trigger him to escalate. You could start out on a 10 & move through to 30. Your e-collar stim will be fluid. Your dog will let u know what’s valuable. If you practice these 3 leveraging exercises each and every time you leave for your structured walk, you will have that awesome dog you’ve always wanted to take out in public. Just start leveraging your respect at the starting gate.