My dog Tracey tries to attack every dog she passes on our walks. I now have to put a muzzle on her and I feel terrible, not to mention how upset I am about the looks of disgust I get from passers-by. I feel like a bad owner. Please help. Thanks, Candace.
I know exactly how you feel, believe me. When we first adopted Jack he would go ballistic every time he saw a dog, no matter how far away he was. He only weighs about 10lbs yet he would turn ferocious, and seem to develop the strength of a 90lb dog!! Walking him was definitely a nightmare. He was mistreated in his previous life, so the insecurity was understandable. Luckily a technique called “desensitisation” has made a world of difference. Here’s what to do.
Buy yourself a treat pouch, keep it on you every time you take Tracey for a walk, and fill it with her favorite treats. BTW, only use these for training, don’t give them to her any other time.
When you see a dog coming, move out of the direct path if possible. Have her look at you, (try and block her view a bit with your body) and start feeding her treats one after the other to distract her until the “threat” has gone.
If she sees the dog and starts to react, forget the treats and ride it out. You’ll try again next time. Don’t get discouraged, it took me some practice to get the timing and technique down, but you will. Walks are a lot more pleasant now for us, and they should be for you as well.