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Breakthrough with dogs

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I had a huge breakthrough today that I wanted to share in case anyone is going through something similar with their dog.

My dog Molly has always had issues with meeting strange dogs on walks. She is great with the dogs I dogsit and grew up with guest dogs at my mother’s house as she dogsat as well.

I’ve had her now for almost three years now, before that she was my mother’s dog. When I first got her she used to run up to strange dogs on walks at full speed and “regret it” when she arrived to greet them. Running away from them, hiding, cowering. Sometimes she would try to bark dogs away with a woo-woo bark - which most dogs would ignore completely (so not really something I would call an aggressive bark).

Running up to dogs like that would usually put her in some awkward positions with dogs not reacting too kindly to it (I don’t blame them :P). Tension all around. I tried working on it but didn’t really know how, but managed to call her back before reaching a dog, this did not help much with the overall tension/anxiety with strange dogs on walks.

I started LAT training which was a game changer. A calm dog sitting beside me looking up at me. We avoided most dogs and if we couldn’t I got out the ball and she would focus on the ball (dog? What dog? Ball!).

Sure we had some setbacks, mostly due to human error - meaning me not paying attention or failing to bring a ball or treats. Or a dog coming round the corner as we leave the house - that still gets a woo-woo-woo when it’s too close. 

But we had such a win: Today she played with another dog and was actually very happy to see him. And not just any dog, but a dog that has been infatuated with her and annoying her by sniffing her bum and never wanting to stop sniffing. He belongs to a former colleague and we usually talk for a bit (he leashes his dog to give Molly some breathing space - and then she is fine). We came across them today and Molly was so happy to see him, another strange dog joined us and Molly was relaxed and playful. Best feeling in the world. She hardly ever plays, not even with guest dogs.

I don’t think the training will ever be quite “finished”, and Molly might always stay a little tense around strange dogs, but man I love the place we were at today!:wub: Took us three years, but completely worth it.

And thanks everyone that has mentioned Control Unleashed here on the boards, I would have never thought to buy it if it wasn’t for you!:lol:

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