In lieu of a Knox-centric post, a brilliant video tutorial on teaching drop it by back-chaining all the desired behaviours in the cue.
We spent the weekend at the beach and in the forest. He did so well on leash while walking past dozens of dogs!
But one thing’s for sure: Knox is awful at meeting other dogs.
Having no idea what his breed mix is, I think we can safely assume that he has some sort of herding animal in him as he approaches unknown dogs (especially fluffy ones) at a crawl, getting about 5 meters away and lying super flat, ears down, staring. As the dog reaches 3m proximity, he BOLTS towards the dog. Rude, rude, rude.
No fights yet (thankfully) but we need to work on this so much more! One more thing to add onto our list of behaviours to work on.
As with most reactive dogs, we have a lot of trouble getting his attention when we’re too close to a trigger. Out of sheer desperation, before having even read about reactivity, we worked on a focus technique using “look at me” as a cue so we could run away as fast as we could. Of course, I now know that this is a crucial foundational behaviour to teach for any reactive dog and frankly, we could be doing better. Case in point, we originally would use “look at me” “look at my eyes” “look Knox!” – we really lacked consistency when we first started training despite all the classes. We’ve slowly progressed to just using “EYES!” whenever we need his attention. Outlined in basically every R+ trainer’s list of tools to help you cope with life, I found the instructions and tips by Patricia B. McConnell in Feisty Fido: Help for the Leash-Reactive Dog easiest to understand and adopt into my own set of tools. All the quotes below are pulled (sometimes edited for brevity) from this amazing book that I highly recommend:
Some dogs have a hard time turning towards you once they are distracted and even the best treat in the world is barely enough. These dogs dog best if the reinforcement for turning their head towards yours is a quick run in the other direction.
Contrary to Destiny’s Child’s song, one very important lesson we learned from our trainer (and research) is how quickly we overuse our dog’s name. We use it for so many reasons that he’s learned to only respond when he wants to.
“Knox, come here.”
“Stop it, Knox.”
“Good boy, Knox!”