Willow struggled with excessive barking and lunging at other dogs while on walks. She also had a hard time adjusting and settling down when stranger’s were in her home.
During her 3-Week training camp, Willow was taught basic obedience commands. Her basic positions and commands were taught with food luring, fortified with positive reinforcement, and transitioned to e-collar. We worked on consistency and duration in commands under distraction and stress. Skills learned and practiced while in cap were: formal heel on leash, informal “let’s go” off-leash command, sit with built in stay, down with built in stay, place under high distraction, “no” marker for undesirable behavior, and an off-leash recall. These skills were taught and reinforced through repetition and reward while increasing duration and decreasing frequency of reward, as well as incremental increase of environmental distractions. E-collar was overlaid once clear expectations and understanding of skills were developed.
During camp we were able to work on Willow’s neutrality to guests and new dogs by practicing her place while new people and dogs came in and out of the house. When she was able to maintain her place, she would be rewarded with food for duration. We added reward from strangers in order to further proof the skill.
We utilized a “no” marker to stop barking behavior. For barking and lunging on walks, we established clear expectations of the “heel” command and corrected for deviation of this command while rewarding for adherence to the command. Over time with exposure, clear expectations, and reward, Willow was able to develop a neutral response to new people and dogs and reliably demonstrate her obedience skills in a variety of environments.
When Willow arrived at camp she was very timid and reactive to her environment. She had little exposure to new places, people, and other animals and would respond with excessive barking, lunging, cowering and fleeing.
We worked with her to build her confidence in new situations, as well as her ability to follow obedience expectations even while under stress. She was able to develop off-leash obedience in familiar situations and could walk respectfully on leash in new environments with distractions.