night dog walking

Night Walkers

  If you are stuck walking your dog only at night or early in the morning because he/she goes crazy barking and lunging at dogs or people, don’t lose hope. When dogs are explosive with reactivity owners tend to hide and feel embarrassed. Unfortunately the best thing for these dogs is actually repetitive exposure to whatever they react to, so by avoiding these things they become worse over time. Of course the answer isn’t to just dive right in and expose him to the triggers right away.
  The first thing you should do is teach your dog to walk in a structured heel with minimal distractions using at least prong collar and e collar if possible. Train him on the basic foundation stuff like place, sit, down, threshold, and waiting for food. Doing this will help rebuild a healthier relationship with him inside the house before ever attempting to venture into the outside world of massive distractions.
The next step will be to walk him in a safe quiet area and keep him in a very structured heel correcting him for even the slightest deviation from heel position. When you’re ready you can work at a significant distance from his triggers and correct the very first sign of interest in the dog/person/cat/squirrel whatever he reacts to. Generally the first sign will be perking up of ears or wrinkling of his forehead. Correct that stuff firmly and maintain a calm energy yourself. Advocate for him by creating space and not putting too much pressure on him. This may mean crossing the street to give a wide birth to the dog behind the fence, or walking down another street to keep distance from an approaching person. Over time you can close the gap and will be able to walk right past what used to trigger him.
That’s where the repeated exposure comes in. Once you can pass by old triggers they will fade away if he continues to experience them routinely. Never be embarrassed by your dog’s behavior, just get to work on stopping the bad stuff. You will be able to quit the night walking and come into the light!
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