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Meet the Dog Monday - Shiloh

Shiloh is a German Shepherd who needed help with dog reactivity. She would bark and lunge when she saw other dogs, so we started out working on some focus exercises and some leash management skills. The second session we met at a park, where we could observe other dogs at a distance. I wanted Shiloh to not only feel comfortable looking at other dogs, I wanted it to be fun for her. 


So we taught her to make eye contact with her human mom, Melanie, when Melanie said the word “Look!” We played this game without any distractions, and then started to let her look at other dogs at a distance. Before Shiloh could pull or bark, Melanie asked for “Look!” Shiloh thought about it for a few seconds, and then reluctantly looked back at Melanie and heard a click, and got a treat. The click from the clicker was a marker that told Shiloh that eye contact was what Melanie wanted – the reinforcer (treat) followed the click. Shiloh would look at another dog, Melanie would say “Look!”, and Shiloh would look back and get a click/treat! 


After a couple sessions, Shiloh understood the game, and realized that seeing another dog meant something good was going to happen, and her anxiety began to go away. She would look at a dog, and then look right back at Melanie with a doggie grin on her face (and get a treat!). 


We practiced next to the dog park, where dogs would run around, and occasionally stop and stare at her. No reaction! She was having fun watching other dogs run, play and bark.


So we decided to play a recall game, right next to the dog park. Shiloh was on a long lead for safety, but ignored the other dogs in the park to come when she was called – even with the distraction of other dogs around!  


Shiloh is a rock star!




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