You're well on your way! PHEW! That was a lot of information. Some might be review for you, some might be new for you, but hopefully, it's all helpful.
I'd like to give you a little assignment this week. I know it's a bit of a heavy week one with a lot of theory!
This week, keep managing as you are, but I'd like for you to bring some high-value treats on the walk with you, every single time.
Do you remember the scene in 101 Dalmatians? The Twilight Bark? The Barking Chain? Whatever you call it, it's called socially-facilitated barking. Barking can be contagious! One dog barks, another dog barks back, another dog joins in, and before you know it, we're all howling at the moon.
Listen carefully. Do you hear dog tags jingling? A dog barking? Both should prompt you to throw a little party, reach into your pouch and feed your dog a treat immediately. This is called The Bark Bonus.
We do this early on so that your dog quickly learns that every time they hear a dog bark (or dog tags jingling), something amazing happens (food!!) regardless of their reaction.
Q: If my dog is already barking, do I still feed?
A: Yes...but next time, try to be a little faster. Have the treats a little more available. Start happy talking as soon as YOU hear the sound, and that will bridge the gap from the sound to the treats and eventually, your dog will stop barking back and start looking at you for a treat. That'll be a real treat!
Caveat: If, after doing this for a few days consistently, your dog starts to bark to demand a treat, let me know and we'll work on that! You might have to withhold the treat if they bark before you can feed them...but do try to get it in there fast!
See you soon!