I have a 20 month old English mastiff. who every now and then while walking on leash wants to run after squirrels, etc. How can I correct this?

He's already over 150 lbs so controlling him is hard, and only going to get harder. Any tips are appreciated!

Asked by April Grove

1 Answer

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Answered by Dawn Bennett, Dog Trainer in AL
First of all, I would suggest conditioning your dog to a head halter if possible.You will have much better control when this happens. A dog that pulls suddenly can cause the owner to fall over.

I suggest teaching your dog to “look at that” game. This game is where your dog will look at Mr Squirrel and orient back to you for a really high food reward. Yes, you may need to bring in the table scraps for this. Using something salient and something your dogs hardly gets and loves is a must for this behavior change exercise. Beef, chicken bits of bacon, you get the picture.

Start working with your dog at a distance that your dog won't react. (sub-threshold). THIS IS KEY! Teaching your dog to look at the squirrel….Feed….Feed….Feed. Once you have the emotion of "Hey, there is a squirrel I'm going to get chicken and chicken more chicken and I get nothing when the squirrel is gone".

Once you have this behavior, you can move on the the “Look at that “game or “Leave it” game. This is where your dog will look at the squirrel and look at you for the reward.

This exercise takes some time to perfect. As long as you keep you dog under threshold (not reacting) you can improve the behavior. There are other methods also that can be used but I like this method the most,
| 02.09.17 @ 15:13
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$commenter.renderDisplayableName() — {comment} | 08.20.17 @ 19:22
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