Today we are featuring Jake - a very active lab collie mix who was rescued by Joe and Chrissy M. in December of 2019. Jake would pull extremely hard on walks, barking at other dogs and squirrels, and would not listen or come in from the yard when called. Joe and Chrissy needed help and called John at The Clever Dog.
We worked on basic focus exercises, and Jake developed confidence and channeled his energy into the games that we did for his training. Soon he was running into the house when called, and actually enjoying it.
We had him play a game where he would look at Joe when asked, and then made that into a game where Jake would look at something that stressed him out - and then quickly look back at Joe to get reinforced (with a tasty treat).
Pretty soon, looking at another dog became part of a game that Jake could play, to get rewarded - and it became less stressful and more fun. We started working at a distance with a fake dog, then closer, and before long we were working with my dog Reggie (at a distance) as a distraction dog.
After a few sessions, we were walking our dogs parallel on opposite sides of the street, and worked up to walking just 8 feet away from each other - with Jake occasionally looking over at Reggie, and then right back at Joe! It was amazing to watch the progress, and see Jake wagging his tail (so proud of himself) as he walked.
Sometimes punishing a behavior you don't like just creates more stress and problems for you and your dog. At The Clever Dog, we like to make training a game that your dog has a chance to win every time, so you end up with a dog who is an active learner. It's a great way to solve problems, and also to have a polite, happy, thinking dog - like Jake.