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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20220
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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I have two labradoodles, one age 6, who we have had a year

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I have two labradoodles, one age 6, who we have had a year the other age 3 who we have had 2 months. Both pulled on the lead initially but I have been working with them and they now normally walk quite well except when we pass one house where a dog behind a gate barks and snarls at them, when this happens they start pulling barking and prancing around they are very hard to control. Last Sunday the dog was in the garden and barked and snarled very close to them. as we didn't know it was there until on top of us it gave us all a shock. Now they are really hard to walk, they pull, get agitated at the slightest thing and walking past the house is awful but hard to avoid as I pass it on the way to fields where they can run off the lead. How do I deal with this I have considered avoiding that route but they seem nervous near any housing, taking them by car but this wont solve the problem
Hi Jacustomer,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
Do your dogs walk next to you, in front of your or somewhere else?
How did you get them to walk without pulling initially?
Have you been training them for obedience at all?
When are you giving the treats?
What mood is the dog in at that point?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The dogs walk just in front of me and their leads were slack until now.

I stopped them pulling by repositioning them when necessary and giving treats when their noses were level with my body.

I have only been correcting the odd thing as they were well behaved when I got them, They don't jump up, bark, they wait and return when called.

I give them treats when walking when they are doing good walking. I also started using treats to distract them on approach to the 'problem' house.

They have started getting anxious when setting off, the house is only yards away from us, about 6 houses up the road, but are relaxed when I get them to the park and they are off the lead. They used to be fine but now if they are passing any houses seem wary and on the look out for 'trouble'

thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. I suspect that part of the problem is likely related to being on the leashes. Often when a dog pulls and acts the way yours are doing, it is not unusual for the owner to have some reactions to the behavior such as becoming a little tense or pulling back on the leash. This is a normal reaction. However, the dog then senses that you are a bit worried and naturally think you are worried about the other dog. They do not understand that you are worried about how they will react. So you want to try to continue to have the leash as slack as you can and try not to pull back on the leash and remain relaxed.
To help stop the behavior they are displaying, you will need to work with them separately first and then work with them together again. If you are starting to distract them as you approach the "house", they may already be starting to become a little anxious and then you give a treat and it reinforces that behavior rather than a nice calm state of mind.
So what I want you to do is use special treats like vienna sausage slivers or liver slivers for training. Have the dog dog you are training sit before you leave the house. Put a treat in your hand closest to the dog and hold the leash in the opposite hand. Hold the hand with the treatdown by your side, so the dog can sniff the treat in your closed fist. initially open the fist so the dog can get the treat before you even leave the house but after training for a little while, you will wait to give it.
You should walk out of the house first and keep a treat in your closed fist. Most dogs will continue to follow the closed fist. As long as the dog is keeping their attention on your fist and walking by your side, give a treat. to begin with you will be feeding a lot of treats to the dog. You are rewarding the dog for staying by your side on a slack leash. You work in your own yard or walk around your own building at first until the dog realizes why they are getting the reward and is walking where you want all the time. then you want to start alternating the treat with praise instead of continually give the tre treat.
Once it seems like the dog knows what you are teaching start leaving the yard and walking a few houses away using the treats to reward the dog for staying at your side. If the dog starts to tense up, you can not give the treat. It has to be given when the dog is reacting the way you want them to. If the dog has adjusted to following your fist with the treat and getting the treat for staying at your side, they should be more inclined to continue this behavior regardless of approach the problem house and dog as long as you are remaining confident and calm as well. I know it is hard not to worry about what might happen, but that part is important.
You start with one dog and then the other. Once both dogs seem to be able to go past the house, then you will need to work with them together. It would help if you had another person to help you work with them since it is hard to control the treats and leashes at the same time, but by now the dogs should no that you will be giving the treat if they stay where you want them to.
The other thing that may help is a technique called BAT. It is outlined on the following page.
Obedience training is a must as well. It helps establish you as the boss and the boss is responsible for helping keep them safe. Establishing yourself as the boss will help them have confidence in your ability to keep them safe from other dogs, etc and then they will relax a bit more and not be as quick to react to the house with the dog who lunged at them.
The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.
Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.
In addition, training ensures well behaved stable dogs and everyone loves a well behaved dog.
In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques I describe, you may have to consult a professional behaviorist. You can usually find a behaviorist by asking your Vet for a recommendation or you may be able to find one using the following site.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This morning I took them out together but I took them a different walk. I made sure they didn't pull correcting them if they did and rewarding loose leads with treats. I then gave them time off the lead until it was time to walk back past the problem house, I knew this was going to be reasonably ok as the dog isn't around that early. They did look towards the gate but made no fuss. I was pleased that by the time we got home they were walking well.

Tonight I went back to the usual walk and it went well. The dog was not out but we were working on walking well and I think they didn't even notice on the way there and back that we passed the house.

Not sure what will happen when the dog is around but hopefully by then I will have had time to follow your guidance and work with them separately. As you will appreciate this doubles the time I need to commit but will give it a go as things need to get better,

I'm glad you are willing to put in the time needed to correct the situation. thanks for the update.