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  • Part1: Leash reactive dog and leadership overview

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    Puppy training with Lucy the Mini Aussie Shepard

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    Part 1: Leash reactive dog and leadership overview

    What is a leash reactive dog?

    A leash reactive dog is an excitable dog that does not behave well on a leash. The dog may display fear or anxiety, lunge at other dogs or objects, and be generally difficult to walk. The root of the problem in a leash reactive dog in most cases is lack of leadership.

    What does leadership look like?

    To answer this, let's talk about lack of leadership. Lack of leadership lacks structure such as giving dog free reign around the house, allowing them to jump up on couches without permission, and giving dog unearned affection. A dog that does whatever it wants for unearned affection will not feel a need to work for it.

    A leader creates structure in everyday life. Give direction such as sit or lay down and require calmness before praise, affection, or reward. For example, have dog sit at door before going out.

    Avoid excitability

    We've been trained to believe that a happy dog is an excited dog that wags its tail uncontrollably from happiness. This is incorrect. A calm dog is a happy dog. An excited, jumpy dog is an anxious dog that lacks leadership.

    Make eye contact

    Practice asking your dog for eye contact throughout the day. Call her name and signal for eye contact by pointing to your nose. A dog that gives eye contact is engaged and waiting for direction.

    Create a family plan

    When training a dog to be part of a multi-person household, it is important that everyone is on the same page. If everyone uses the same phrases, hand gestures, and body language for training, your dog will learn much faster. Additionally, discuss leadership and excitability of dog and what these look like with family members, especially children. For example, if you don't want dog jumping on visitors at your door, make sure everyone in your household knows not to greet the dog with excitement as soon as they come home. Show less
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