The 1000 Treat Challenge

Posted by Sheena Neil on Monday, March 16, 2015 Under: 1000 Treat Challenge

A recent Facebook post inspired me to take part in The 1000 Treat Challenge. Original Blog is Here.
I confess, I don't always take the time to work on strengthening current behaviours, I tend to spend more time training new tricks and fun things.
The Treat Challenge was the perfect excuse to get Symka and I doing the real work. 

I sat down Friday night to cut up 1000 pieces of lamb lung so we could begin Saturday.

Our first stop was the pet store, the perfect place for Symka to sniff and explore. She saw birds, bunnies, hamsters, and fish.

She's never seen fish tanks before and spent time watching them and sniffing all the new smells.

Saturday afternoon we set out on a walk. Our areas that need work are walking on a loose leash (she is a scent hound after all) and encountering other dogs, as she can be quite reactive. Her reactivity includes excessive barking, pulling, lunging, and general chaos.

Our first dog encounter went awesome. We had enough distance that I could work on keeping her attention.

Immediately following this encounter we came across a dog inside of a fence as we walked along the fence. I typically try to give distance in those situations but the walking path was covered in water and ice. To my surprise she did awesome there was well. Her attention was on me and she didn't make a peep.

The next dog we met was a different story.

They were headed towards us on a path so we made distance by moving to the side and up the hill. Initially she was doing fantastic. Looking at the dog, looking at us, looking at the dog, looking at us. Exactly like we practised an hour or so earlier.
However, as they were directly below us they closed in on Symkas' "safe zone" threshold. As their dog began barking and reacting, she began as well. And that's where the story goes down hill... literally!!!

Symka pulled me off my feet and drug me down the hill, through the snow and ice, towards the other dog. When we came to a stop at the bottom they were nose to nose.

I have to thank those other dog owners for remaining calm and for quickly getting their dog back.

It is difficult owning a reactive dog. I have one and many of my clients dogs are reactive as well.
We often feel as though people look at us as like we are bad dog owners or can't control our 'vicious' dogs.
Reactive dogs are typically misunderstood. They are often reacting out of fear.

That fear can come from a lack of proper socialization, a history of bad encounters with other dogs (Symka was attacked by a dog), or a long list of other possibilities. Sometimes owners do not know what started or caused their dog to react to other dogs but they try their hardest to deal with it the best they can.

For this reason, reactive dog owners greatly appreciate when other dog owners give us space. We do not appreciate other owners saying "But my dog is friendly" as they close in on us. 

As for the remaining treats in our challenge, we worked on filing her nails, and more loose leash walking. We also started working on a new 'trick' called "Go Home". At the end of our walks a handful of treats are placed at the front door, she is let off leash a couple feet from the door and is told "go home".
Through out our treat challenge we will slowly work on sending her home from further down the driveway. But only when it's safe to do so and there are no other dogs around!!! As we continue working on distance she will also be a long leash, just in case.

Over the weekend we went through a bag of 200 treats. By Sunday night we started on the second bag.

Stay tuned to see what other behaviours we will work on.

Would like to participate in The 1000 Treat Challenge? Let us know on Facebook or comment below.

Keystone Training offers Private one-on-one training for dogs with fearful and reactive dogs. Visit Private Training page for more information

In : 1000 Treat Challenge 

Tags: 1000 treat challenge  loose leash walking  reactive dog  dog walking  lloydminster dog training  wainwright dog training  vermilion dog training 

About Me

Sheena Neil Owner/Trainer Keystone Training