Atlas and Apollo are sibling brothers, two years of age.
The family very wisely did most things with them individually for the first few months of their lives, which has paid off. The two well-trained dogs are the best of friends.
The problems are out on walks
Apollo has become increasingly reactive to other dogs when out. This all began when a couple of small dogs suddenly charged, barking, at a gate they were walking past. Apollo’s reactivity has now spread to all dogs.
Atlas is fine with dogs, but is a big puller on lead.
They will be going back to individual walks again for a while as both dogs have different needs.
The sibling brothers’ walking equipment
The boys both are walked with a stretchy lead directly onto their collar. A trainer had told them it gives them better control.
I believe we should instead help the dog to have self control; not to rely upon equipment.
Atlas will be taught to walk nicely with a Perfect Fit harness and lead hooked at the chest – around their garden. They will make walking next to them fun and rewarding.
As he’s always on lead and it feels tight, how frustrating it must be to be in the fields and countryside but unable to get to it. They will put a much longer lead on the harness so he can have freedom to sniff properly. There will be less reason to pull.
Apollo again will use the harness and lead, but for a different reason. The more relaxed freedom he feels from the person holding the lead, the less reactive he will be. Instead of making him sit as the ‘enemy’ approaches, they will increase distance and give him food. They will help him to feel safe and to associate other dogs with something good.
Just as Atlas will have less reason to pull, Apollo will have less reason to react defensively when he sees another dog.
When they have made progress individually, the sibling brothers will be ready to be walked together again.
NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ and is always written with permission of the client. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog it can do more harm than good. Click here for help