It's Assignment time!
Browse through the assignments below and even if you have done these in the past, let's run through them anyway.
If you feel like you're running out of time, don't stress! You will have plenty of time to do these things as we work through the material.
The last thing we need is a stressed out dog-guardian too! 😉
Let's learn more about canine communication and body language. This site was built by our past student, now colleague, Tracy Krulik. It's a wormhole for all things dog and an excellent resource:
Let's do a deep-dive into your dog's perception of the world. Download your Canine 360º Workbook below and fill in the blanks. This will be your foundation for this course:
Download the workbook below to start working on your dog's 360º assessment:
You want to get to the juicy stuff - how to make my dog stop barking and lunging at dogs/people. I totally get it! We are going to get there - I promise! But there are some things we need to work through first.
I'm not going to leave you without tools, however, so here are some ways to manage in the meantime:
Prevent your dog from exposure to triggers as much as possible. This might mean:
- avoiding the busy times of day on the main street
- advocating for your dog and speaking up before people or dogs get too close: "no thanks" or "get your dog NOW" or "he's contagious" - all perfectly acceptable responses
- putting up window film (#2) in the front window to prevent your dog from barking at passers-by all day
- using a small, compact umbrella (#4) in the elevator to block your dog's view of the door when it opens
- popping your dog behind a baby gate in the bedroom or bathroom when you're expecting visitors and give them some classical music and a stuffed frozen food toy to keep them busy
Whatever keeps them and others safe! If something is making it worse, put a stop to it and let's find a creative solution together.
Need ideas? Ask me in the Community!
In order to do the best job possible, we need to track a little data. This Google Sheet will help you do just that! Watch the video below and then download your Reactive Dog Tracker so that you can get the most crystal-clear view of your dog's trigger stacking or reasons for "unpredictable behaviour":
Download your tracker below by clicking the link and accepting the option to make a copy in your own Google Drive:
“Find it” is a great way to help your dog visually disengage from someone or something. It’s especially helpful for dogs who tend to stare directly at other dogs (e.g. boxers, shepherds, and huskies).
We often ask our dogs for eye contact to get them to disengage from something. However, if a dog is really visually locked onto something, they are more likely to disengage by looking at the ground rather than to you. This is especially true in emotional situations. This behaviour replaces the need to pull on your dog’s leash to get them back. Instead, ask your dog to “Find it” so they come back to orient to your feet.
To begin, start in a very low distraction environment (like home). Say “Find it” in a cheerful tone. Then scatter 5-8 small treats on the floor. Point out the treats to help your dog find them. Practice this one a few times a day when there are no distractions around.
For Step 2, take this behaviour outside. Start with a walk where there are no major distractions like people or dogs around. As you’re walking, say “Find it” in a cheerful tone. Then scatter 5-8 small treats on the ground. Point out the treats to help your dog find them. Practice this one on walks for a few days when there are no major distractions around.
For Step 3, try your “Find it” when your dog is distracted. Start with a walk where there ARE some major distractions like people or dogs around. Begin with a lot of distance between you and the distraction. When your dog notices, say “Find it” in a cheerful tone. Then scatter 5-8 small treats on the ground. If it doesn’t work (your dog doesn’t orient to the ground), drop the food anyway and keep pointing it out! The food is NOT contingent on the behaviour! If it still doesn’t get your dog’s attention, do a u-turn and move away from the distraction. Don’t repeat yourself. Next time increase the distance between you and the distraction.
Consider the gear you're using with your dog.
- Is your dog comfortable? Are the tools you're using aversive to the dog?
- Do you feel safe when walking your dog?
- Is your dog able to back out of their gear?
- Do you have a backup for your gear? (Martingale collar)
- If your dog is stronger/more powerful/larger than you, do you have a multiple-point system to keep you both and the public safe?
- Is the equipment properly fitted and in excellent shape (no tears or breakdowns in the material, clean and free of defects)?
- Does your dog wear up to date identification on their collar?
- Is your dog microchipped?
- Can your dog pull you down the street?
Post in the community and let's talk about it. Post pictures if you need help with sizing or fit!