Helping Reactive Dogs: Using the Eye Contact Check-In (Video)
with Tressa Fessenden-McKenzie of PathandPaw, Training Advocate

Hey folks, I just wanted to share an example video of the check in exercise we discussed in my last article in action. In this video, I'm working with a dog named Vinny who is highly reactive to cats, and I'm actually using a stuffed cat in my training set up. Using fake animals is a great way to work on these issues, since they won't move unexpectedly, make noise, or throw any other curveballs into your session.


I like this video because it actually illustrates two things. At first, I move too fast. Vinny is doing a great job of offering eye contact in the presence of the stuffed kitty, but I try and move past it too quickly, and he lunges. So, I reset and we walk away to get some space and start over. There is no need for me to "correct" or punish Vinny in any way during this moment. It is my job as the trainer to set him up for success, so when he lunges, it's just information that I can use to adjust.


Once we start over, and begin adding in the movement past the "cat" more slowly Vinny is successful. Oh yeah, and he gets a treat stuck on the roof of his mouth which is kind of hilarious.


Overall, the second part of the video is actually pretty boring! But that's what effective training with a reactive dog looks like - boring.


What do you think? Does seeing this in video format help you conceptualize how this can be used in your own life? I'd love to see a clip of your video sessions, so don't forget to tag @pathandpaw if you upload a training video to Instagram!

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