I came across this advice on a hiking with dogs group and thought I'd share it.
The problem: Owners dog gets too excited on the trail, barking and pulling at people. The owner, too, is getting nervous, and their dog is learning to be nervous/cautious of people too. She doesn't want to teach the dog this kind of bad habits. How can she fix it?
- Teach them "watch & ignore"
"We took them aside and made them SIT and WATCH. and directed their attention first to the dog in question and then pushed their head away and stated IGNORE, then proceeded to watch and ignore in short bursts. They are both competent now at this technique. "
- Teach her with her favorite food
"If she is food motivated, find a food that will keep her attention on you. We keep needing to change it up but cheese, bologna, whatever will get her so happy that a parade could go by and she is more interested in what you have for her. She will learn from that to trust you and look at you more and more"
- Pay Attention to Only Your Dog
"My pup can be super reactive, and the trick was for me to ignore the other dog and pay close attention to mine, as soon as his ears gave the twitch that for him indicates that he is paying too much attention and is about to react I interrupt him, with a correction if I have to. He gets lots of positive reinforcement to attending to me and not attending to the other dog."
- If you feel you have to acknowledge those passing...
Feel free to look up at them briefly and nod, saying "in training" so that they don't try to interrupt or ask if everything is ok!