Training update; Walking Boogie

July 25, 2010 at 8:45 am 8 comments

I am still updating Boogie’s Walk Log – where I share some excellent examples of the progress that we have made since we started training a few months ago.

I know Boogie isn’t a perfect dog, nor is he 100% “cured” of his reactivity and aggression, but the changes have been profound. 

We are passing all kinds of triggers on the street, sometimes even cats and reactive dogs and I am seeing a different Boogie who doesn’t stiffen and stare like he used to. Of course he still alerts to stuff that freaks him out or makes him suspicious but in general he is a much happier and more relaxed dog. Even when he occasionally goes over threshold (when the trigger is too close), he snaps out of that state of mind really quickly, and turns back towards me. The bottom line is that all this training has made ME  feel more relaxed and confident. I know what to do; he knows what to do. And when Boogie offers calming signals and doesn’t react to a trigger, this still feels like a miracle to me – it’s SO COOL.

Here are some dog-walking tips  that help keep us both stress-free. I live in a busy neighborhood with people and dogs everywhere and I’ve been doing this stuff for months so I now have a system…

The B.A.T. protocol, “Look At That” Game, etc. – You can check out/download all my dog training-related illustrations HERE.

Entry filed under: BAT sessions, Training.

Boogie and Rosie Playdate #2! DOG TOYS!

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sherry  |  July 28, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Hi–I want to say thank you for your blog and your lovely illustrations. Your blog is an inspiration for me and my own reactive little guy!

    I was wondering if you’ve ever tried using a large stuffed dog in any of your BAT exercises? I know it sounds crazy, but I was thinking of using one in our situation, since my dog can’t tell what’s a real dog from far away, and it seems easier to use a stuffed one than arrange a time and place with a real one. I’ve heard some trainers find stuffed dogs useful. Just wondering what you think!

    You and Boogie take care!

    • 2. lili  |  July 28, 2010 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Sherry, thank you for your lovely comment!

      Re: stuffed dog – No, I have never tried this. I live in a neighborhood with LOTS of dogs already. I know where all the fenced dogs live 🙂 Another thing – Boogie is not 100% reactive towards all dogs. He is dog-friendly with dogs that he knows.

      And if we are at a far enough distance from the dog (when a stuffed dog would not resemble a real dog), Boogie is not reactive, so I am not sure this would work. But really, I don’t know… this is just a guess.

  • 3. Daniel S. Jackson  |  August 7, 2010 at 9:51 pm


    Just passed by and have only read this entry, but wondering about one thing:

    When you pick up Boogie – aren’t you enforcing the anxiety when another dog approaches? I don’t know Boogie, but if the approaching dog is well behaved wouldn’t it be better to over-treat him while the dog closes in a bit and then leaves again? Or would he cause a situation?

    • 4. lili  |  August 8, 2010 at 1:01 am

      Hi Daniel! Thanks for commenting! Yes, in a way I am enforcing the anxiety when another dog approaches, but the difference is that he is not reacting. Boogie is calm and relaxed when he is in my arms. If Boogie were on the ground and the off-leash dog charged towards him, he would not be calm and relaxed. He would attack defensively and that is a behavior that I don’t want to reinforce.
      Here’s the thing, I DONT KNOW the other dog and if he/she is well-behaved. The fact that the dog is off-leash in the first place (on a public street) is not a good sign.

      • 5. Andre  |  August 12, 2010 at 9:55 pm

        Yup, better play it safe. You are absolutely right. Off leash random dog = likely irresponsible owners = likely poorly trained or poorly socialized dog. Not to mention, if the off leash dog is running full steam at you, that is not a friendly greeting at all and the odds of a reaction are very, very high.

  • 6. lili  |  August 13, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Andre – it’s crazy that whenever we see an off-leash dog (or even an on-leash dog that makes direct eye contact and charges towards Boogie) , the owner is always quick to call out “Don’t worry, my dog is very friendly!”

    I never know how to respond to this. I always reply with “Well MY dog isn’t friendly”… it doesn’t seem fair.

    People always assume that if their dog doesn’t bite, this means that everything he/she does is “friendly” when this is not the case if we all understood doggie body language and calming signals…

    • 7. Andre  |  August 13, 2010 at 1:10 pm

      If someone has to say “Don’t worry, my dog is friendly!” it basically means they aren’t!!!!!

      By now you probably have stopped caring about what people think of you and Boogie, right?

      My response for when I am out with my reactive dog?

      STOP! (Extend arms and palm out) MY BEAGLE IS VICIOUS AND AGGRESSIVE! COLLECT YOUR DOG NOW!!!! (tinged with anxiety and fear for added effect).


      • 8. lili  |  August 13, 2010 at 3:05 pm

        By now you probably have stopped caring about what people think of you and Boogie, right?

        Yep, I don’t care any more! I also usually say “My dog is in training right now”. But it still bugs me that Boogie ends up being the *bad guy* when their off-leash dog is the one that started it.

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