From our trainer Austin Maddie, who had her second training session with Meghan and her American Staffordshire Terrier, “Precious”. Meghan suffers from severe anxiety, fibromyalgia, pain management, and PTSD.
“Today, at Meghan’s apartment complex sidewalks and the dog park, we worked the whole hour on helping Precious ignore other dogs. I had my partner Allie bring our dog “Chaos” to assist. Allie and Chaos started by walking around far away, and anytime Precious would pull, bark, whine, etc., we would redirect his attention. I instructed Meghan to put a treat at his nose, tell him to sit, and then pull it up to her nose while saying “watch me”. After he mastered it with Chaos far away, we steadily moved closer and closer. 45 minutes later, Allie could walk Chaos in circles around Precious and Meghan and Precious would maintain control and eye contact with Meghan! He did so well!!! We then moved to the dog park to see if he would behave as well off leash… In the dog park (after sniffing and marking everything) he would heel next to Meghan off-leash and pay attention to her. I believe in an unfamiliar place, he would do even better, as the dog park is his usual playtime space.
Precious did so amazing ignoring Chaos today! Last session, we were outside working and another dog came by, and Precious was completely out of control. So much improvement was made this session; Precious is an incredibly smart dog.
For homework, Meghan is supposed to practice the “sit” and “watch me” anytime they are outside walking around. Next session, we are going to the Boardwalk to practice in a busier place with more dogs.”