How has your dog been doing
after the lockdown period?
Our life is almost back to normal now that events with up to 100 people are allowed. During the lockdown period our dogs didn't have a chance to play or interact with other dogs. But, now we are allowed to interact with other people and dogs as long as you wash your hands afterward, so our dogs have opportunities to interact with other dogs too.
If you have a puppy, you must have worried if your puppy would be ok without socialising with other dogs when socialisation was critical for him to learn social skills. Has your puppy started meeting other dogs on the street, at parks, and at the daycare if you use one now? How has he been behaving?
If you have an adult dog, have you seen any change in his behaviour when he meets other dogs?
In our household I haven't seen much change in Mint, a ten-year-old dog. When it comes to Jasmine, a seven-month-old puppy, the only times she interacted with other dogs during the lockdown period were when she was lunged at by a large loose dog, which happened twice. As a result, she has become more reactive to other dogs.
What do you do if your dog starts barking and pulling the lead when he sees other dogs?
We positive trainer often use treats to reward dogs for ignoring other dogs. But, what would you do, if your dog kept staring, if not lunging or barking, at them and ignoring you completely? Would you try to distract him with treats? Yes, that might help as a workaround. But, unfortunately distracting alone doesn't usually help modify his behaviour. In order to change his behaviour, we need to work on his emotional side. In order to help improve his confidence, we need to work with him under his threshold, i.e. in an environment where he feels safe and can actually think about what is happening and what he is doing, while you assist him to help him succeed.
So, a key to successful behaviour modification is practise in a controlled environment. In March we did a Dog Social Skills workshop. Next, we are thinking about offering opportunities to actual behaviour modification training. So, stay tuned!!