DON'T stop

DON'T stop!!!!!!  Have you got a dog with issues?  You know the type of issues that concern walking past other dogs, people or perhaps just objects?  Don't stop.  It has long been the protocol to stop and sit your dog.  At that point you are to gain control, wait until the trigger object passes and then move on.  What are we telling our dog when we stop?  "Issue, something is up and we need to stop."  Movement is huge in dog terms; a simple stop can mean many things and it can mean something bad.  It definitely says "there is something we need to stop for."

What you want to convey to your dog is that whatever their issue trigger is, does not call for stopping.  Not only do we not need to stop when we see this thing but we don't even need to acknowledge it.  As you all know my boy Luke is quite the nervous ninny, there are lots of things that are "issues" to him.  Yesterday as I sat typing away my door slammed shut with such velocity that I nearly jumped out of my skin.  It was wickedly windy out and I had unfortunately not tucked the door behind the stop like I normally do.  It is something we have tried to ensure because Luke has had several seizures because of slamming doors.  Once I had my initial startle I realized that Luke had been on my bed sleeping, he was off in a flash.  He stood wide eyed staring at the door, I never flinched.  I purposely kept typing.  I could see out of the corner of my eye that he kept looking at the door, then me, the door, then me.  I did not acknowledge what had happened.

My body language was telling Luke "we don't care about things like that."  He soon lay down beside the bed and was calm.  About 20 minutes later I got up, opened the door and closed it quite hard very nonchalantly.  Then I moved about the room a bit and opened it up and propped it open.  It is just the same when you are out, keep moving, do not alter your movement.  Altering your movement is a cue to your dog that something is up, whether it be good or bad.  Dog's pick up the most minute signal, one that we humans would never notice.

It is important to learn to treat on the go, while you are moving.  It can take a while to get it down.  Holding the leash in one hand and the treats in one hand and delivering a reward while not stopping.  This helps to keep your dog's mind on you and off whatever it is that is trigger an issue response as well.  Giving the "we don't have time for that stuff" feeling.  Instead of sitting and focusing on the trigger object, you just take it in stride and keep going.

Move it, move it, move it.