Don’t Touch My Coffee!! ☕️
When we remove our kids or dogs from an event/environment, or we alter the environment in a way that changes the entire event, we are not teaching them how to relate to the original environment/event.
If you want your dog to learn to be calm passing other dogs on leash, then they have to first be given the skill set needed to do so outside of that context. Then they must practice utilizing that skill set withIN that context.
I know this sounds much simpler than it actually is... but it actually is this simple.
The key is that both handler and dog have the skills and the RELATIONSHIP to tackle those difficult events/environments.
Most dog owners struggle with reactivity because they don’t have their dog’s trust nor do they have the handling skills to “not move the coffee cup” and still successfully guide their dog through that distraction. So we start avoiding situations instead of using them as teaching moments.
You shouldn’t try to build trust and respect in those difficult moments. You build it first outside of those moments when it’s easier for both of you.
If you want your dog to magically be calm and feel safe when they pass another dog, start by making them feel calm and safe when you’re at home and nothing is happening. Then start to challenge them with the doorbell, vacuum cleaner, leaf blower, dogs from a long distance, etc. Build a pattern that distractions, noises, or other animals all mean the same thing - calmness with the safety found in your direction/protection.