Out of over 850 clients and thousands of dogs, I had never visited a Keeshund until yesterday when I visited two, Betta and Tilly. What beautiful looking dogs with wonderful natures. They were originally bred in Holland as barge dogs – watch dogs and for catching rats. Consequently, one would expect them by nature to be protective.
Despite the dogs having Good Citizenship Bronze and Gold dog training certificates, out of class they are pullers on lead and Betta is wary and reactive to some people – boys in particular. She may also want to dominate certain dogs they meet. Her owner wants to make sure this side of her protective nature doesn’t escalate. Due to their guarding nature, they bark a bit too much for the liking of the neighbours.
Betta, the older girl, can sometimes run her owner a merry dance – especially when she’s called in from the garden, and this ends up in a chase, great fun for the dog but not so much fun for the lady! Another favourite trick is to constantly ask for the back door to be opened, and then either not to go out at all, or to run out and come straight back in again!
These dogs seem to have a sense of humour, and that’s what we need too! A mix of outwitting them to think they are cooperating through choice, management by removing some of the barking opportunities, and by the lady behaving a little more like a leader should do the trick. In this way her wishes become relevant to the dogs, and part of the leadership role being that of protector. Some work on the pulling on lead will need to be done. The ‘training’ method using commands and correction, despite all the classes, is not working in real life. These dogs need to learn that the only way to make any progress is when the lead is loose, so this will take some weeks of work – but not nearly as many weeks as their conventional training classes have taken so far.
Then walks will be enjoyable for all.
If you live in my area and would like help with a dog like Betta, please contact me.
UPDATE FIVE WEEKS LATER “I took the dogs out together for the first time today, both on their front-fastening harnesses, which fit well. It was wonderful. We went to Maulden Woods and I kept them both on lead. They were lovely to walk together. They mostly stayed on my left. And they understand the instruction “left-hand-side”. The only time they pulled was when they saw something in the hedge, and that was completely controllable. What a transformation! Out with Betta yesterday we both saw a dog, Betta pricked up her ears and started forward, but we did a very smooth turn-around and came away, and she forgot immediately to make a fuss”.
This is only five weeks on! Give it a few more months and both dogs will be walk past other dogs and people without a fuss, and possibly by then have reliable recall even with other dogs about.
I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.