My Sirius Life: Sirius Proves (Once Again) He's One Champion Dog
October 29, 2012
When I am training, sometimes it is necessary for me to take along a dog with me. I have the perfect dog for that. I was working with the most loveable boxer the other day that also happens to be leash aggressive. This is such a shame. Some people, but mostly dogs, don’t get to see how cool this dog is because he scares them away before he can show them. So, we had done several weeks using "Rowdy," my life size stuffed toy lab, and he was showing real progress. It was time to bring in the big guns. This is where Sirius comes in. Sirius is a big dog, and he can look intimidating at first glance if you’ve never met him before, which this boxer had not. I was able to take Sirius and work with the boxer, getting him used to the idea that he doesn’t have to lunge and bark when he sees another dog.
Sirius was a rock star. He waited patiently by my side and gave calming signals to the boxer. Calming signals are a dog’s way of trying to show the other dog they mean no harm; these signals include sniffing the ground, turning their head away, etc. He did whine a few times when I would get distracted and start talking and forget to give him his hotdog. He was exactly what the boxer needed to learn how to react to a strange dog on leash. The goal when training a leash reactive dog is to get them to look at their owner when they see another dog approach rather than staring the dog down or lunging. By the end of the session, the boxer was offering these behaviors, and his owners were thrilled. We were standing a few feet apart, with dogs in hand, having a discussion, and the boxer wasn’t going nuts! Yay! I often take for granted how well my dogs behave; I’m always pushing them to be better and get really frustrated if they might misbehave. These are good reminders to me that I have very good dogs, and yes, they will make mistakes and behave inappropriately sometimes. But then again, don’t we all?