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Monday, April 8, 2013

Leash Reactivity and Easy Walk Harness

Ah yes, the dreaded post..

Well as you know, as many Icie owners, barking is one of those issues...
As I have explained before, Tjido is very much reactive on-leash, and since his puberty this has escalated.

It is annoying in the sense that you can't pin the real reason. He is certainly not agressive, since when you close the distance between him and anther dog, he basically goes into "nice to meet you mode". He is not scared or anxious since he really wants to run off to that other dog. So we asume it is just his way of letting out his excitement and being all "HEY YOU! Wanna play?!" or "LOOK AT ME!" shouted at very high pitched levels that really make me want to crawl under a rock.

Our main concern is the fact that he gets in a certain "tunnel vision" that I have also mentioned before. This makes distracting him difficult, and walking away means basically pulling him against his will and makes me feel terrible about it.

Therefore I bought "Fiesty Fido" by Patricia B. Mc Connell. I like her way of explaining things, although the training does assume you can train your dog on a distance from other dogs (sadly on our walks there are ALWAYS dogs). But we have started with the following training method:

1. When we see a dog (that Tjido hasn't), start giving Tjido treats - asking for eyecontact with "look at me".
2. When Tjido tenses up because he sees a dog, distract, ask for "look at me" and shower with treats.
3. Praise enormously when walking past a dog, with full attention of Tjido for treats.

If he goes bananas because we were too late, we don't give treats, and try to teach the command "silent". This works so-so...

We hope that by doing this "dog = treats", that he can clam down. I has been working, but it is a very slow process that gets ruined when dogs suddenly appear out of nowhere, or the neighbour walks him (this happened twice last week because I wasn't home - so we needed help).

I also believe that the "Easy Walk Harness" has helped us allot! It is a harness that clips on the front, which makes pulling annoying for the dog in a very animal-friendly manner. Loose leash walking has become very natural, so we're happy!

Well I hope to write soon! With real Tjido pictures haha!


  1. Don't worry you'll get used to this after a few years of this fun ;) LOL! I'm sure he'll get better when a bit more mature. Alisa though sometimes still can start "chatting" to some dogs (not all) while on the loose leash ;)

    1. Hahaha, yeah I hope so! I guess we are still in denail :P