16 hours ago
Friday, November 19, 2010
A Squeaky Solution????
Kirby's Mom here-
Well I have been reading up on "reactive dogs." I have found out that Kirby is what they call "dog reactive" meaning he reacts to other dogs by growling and barking out of fear. Everything I've read said the best way to get a dog over this is by reconditioning, basically making the situation a good thing for the dog to experience. I was trying this with treats but Kirby will get so intense barking at another dog that he tunes me out and doesn't even respond to the treat word, which normally he would. I also read about using a gentle leader so that his head would be redirected from the other dogs. Although this is also a good idea, those can be expensive and I would rather find a more simpler and fun way for both Kirby and me to get through this. SO, yesterday on our walk I grabbed Kirby's squeaky tennis ball, I thought he won't listen to me, but he LOVES his squeaky tennis ball! So we headed out on our walk, hoping for an opportunity to try this. At the end of our walk, Lady, a poodle maltese mix was out by her driveway and Kirby started to growl at her. Now, normally he is fine with Lady, but she wasn't on a leash either this time. I reached into my coat pocket and squeaked the ball. Kirby stopped growling and looked right at me! (Yes, Kirby remember I am in control of this situation) I pulled out the tennis ball and he went bonkers...totally excited for the tennis ball! So I bounced it in front of him and he grabbed it and carried it past Lady, totally ignoring her! (Yes, Kirby walking by dogs can be fun!!!YES!!!)
After work today, I stopped by the TSC store close to our place and picked up 3 more! Now I will keep one in the car, one in my coat pocket and two for play in the house. When we went walking tonight I was excited to try it out again, but no dogs were out. Hopefully this weekend we will get to the park and be able to put this theory to the test. I will post to let you know how this goes. My plan is to keep doing this first only when we are out walking. As Kirby gets better on walks, then we will try the pet stores. My hope is that by the time rally starts Kirby will be much better around dogs!
Also, when I researched reactive dogs the author Patricia B. McConnell kept coming up. She is an animal behaviorist. I stopped by the library to get her book "The Other End of the Leash:Why we do what we do around dogs". I am only into the first chapter, but so far I am very impressed. I also picked up her book, "For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend". I am hoping to be able to read these over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Has anybody else read these books?
Squeaking through with Kirby,