Dog owners often complain about their otherwise friendly and well-behaved dogs suddenly turning into little monsters when they see another dog approaching during their walks. The dogs start pulling on their leashes, jump up and down and turn and twist all the while barking and growling to make sure the other dog knows who’s the boss.
Steve Dale, pet expert and author of the syndicated newspaper column “My Pet World,” recently addressed the problem in one of his advice columns. Consulting Laura Monaco Torelli, the founder and training director of Animal Behavior Training Concepts (ABTC), Dale advised dog owners whose dogs misbehave when seeing another dog to practice with the dog using a body harness instead of a collar and a non-retractable 6-foot leather leash and reinforce good behavior by distracting the dog with treats. In the beginning, dog owners should frequent places where their dogs would meet other dogs but keep at a distance. As soon as their own dogs notice another dog, they should hand them a special treat reserved for the practice sessions as a distraction.
ABTC adheres to the technique of positive reinforcement in its training programs and observes and advocates the human-animal bond. Besides being its founder and training director, Torelli is on the faculty of the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior, an educational institution teaching new and experienced animal trainers skills based on force-free training methods.
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