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After a bit of a nightmare on Saturday with my 18 month old black lab chasing after and barking at a runner and then a cyclist before I could catch him and put him the lead, I am planning on the following, anything else I should do? :
Walk him in quieter places (I went to a local beauty spot thinking the rain would have put people off, but omg no, DoE groups, loads of cyclists, loads of joggers)
Be more vigilant when looking out for runners and cyclists so I can get him on the lead or hold him till they have gone past
Refresh recall training
He nearly always comes when he is called, and is very treat oriented. He is only playing when he chases and would not hurt them, and he loves brightly coloured moving targets, but of course they don't know that and his bark is loud and could be scary. He is very boisterous, and we are still trainng him not to jump up on people, but he appears to have regressed in this recently much to my frustration.
Any more tips gratefully received.
Sorry getting this moved to dog house!
I think I would also be cautious about assuming he just wants to play. He is at the right age to develop fear-based aggression and that can often start by looking like a dog that wants to play but actually is starting to experiment with what gets those scary things away from him. Or one day a runner gets pissed and kicks out and suddenly runners become threatening etc.
For that reason, I would go one step further than just holding him when bikes etc go by. I would proactively treat and reward him for being with you, at a distance he can cope with, and by engaging with you not the bike, runner etc.
Think of it as an insurance policy against any fear setting in...
Oh and definately keep up the focus on recall training. The book Total Recall (Pippa Mattinson) has some useful exercises in it.
It is not only recall training that will help, but also on lead training to not react.
Take him to a place where there is a busy path, but space for you to stand to one side, at a disctance from the path.
get him to sit, talk to him and regularly reward him for attention on you when someone goes past. Make him see that you are more interesting than an cyclist or runner. When he can sit calmly and let a cylcist go past without reacting, then try sitting much closer to the path. Then try walking along the path, again with him focussed on you, so as a runner approaches, you talk to him, and keep walking calmly and as long as he keeps walking calmly you are feeding him small treats.
All done on a short lead, so that you are in full control if he gets excited.
if he starts to jump/bark/run, you turn 180 degress and walk away until you get to where he is calm. Reward for calm and watch passers by from there, then when he can sit calmly, move closer again.
Do the same if you are walking along the pavement. reward him for continuing to walk, and not darting over to say hello. if he does dart, turn around and walk away. Then sit, refocus and try again
by the way, I don't mean a cycle path with loads of fast bikes wizzing past
I was chatting to a police dog handler whose highly trained dog had just taken off across the fields after a rabbit and wouldn't recall. Made me feel better about mine!
I occasionally meet a blind lady and her friend walking their dogs. The blind lady's dog is a guide dog, so in the right context I presume she is highly trained. But they were out walking for fun, and the dog was off the lead having a run about. The first time I met them the guide dog jumped up at me and wouldn't come back to her and was having a right old time!
As you said, it made me feel better about my dog!
I think you’re dog is my dogs sibling!
I’ve been doing what steppemum suggestioned with billypup and it’s working (our dogs are the same age).
Also if you are in southwest/midlands I can recommend some excellent courses for recall under distraction which has been invaluable.
I also second the Totall Recall book, it saved my sanity!
But having said that some dogs natural instincts will always take over, my schnauzer loses all reason when she spots a rabbit because her breed has a strong prey drive.
(should just say I am not suggesting this because my dog's recall is amazing, I am suggesting it because I have to keep training him and this does seem to be getting through, slowly)
oh wow yes you have all made me feel loads better thankyou. :-)
Mine disappeared for two hours after a rabbit the other day
His instincts just kicked in and he was off - absolutely nothing I could have done to stop him!
Blossom dog continues to disgrace himself, puppy minder feedback from today was he scarfed a whole loaf of bread from her kitchen counter, also displacing the butter dish at the same time and licking that clean 🙄