This is a common concern I hear from owners, often leading them to believe their dog is untrainable because they don’t know how to use alternative rewards effectively.
On Monday, we met Whisky the Border Collie, who barks and lunges at other dogs. His owner expressed the same concern. So, we used his balls instead.
This approach had its own challenges, as Whisky enjoys the idea of fetch but not the practice; he'll jump and catch the ball but won't retrieve or parade with it.
However, this doesn’t mean we can't use it as a reinforcer for alternative behaviour, as he clearly enjoys the initial chase or catches part of the game.
Now, every time Whisky sees a dog, we say “catch” and throw a ball in the air (attached to a string near roads) for him to catch.
By the end of the session, he was ignoring other dogs and looking forward to his ball being thrown.
Interestingly, he also started eating food in the park by the end of the session, but that’s a story for another day!
Well done to Whisky and his family. We look forward to seeing you again soon for your next session!
If this case sounds like your dog and you are having a similar issue, or a different issue entirely, book a FREE assessment call with us by clicking HERE