- Put a harness or check choke collar on your dog. Do not use a chain type choke collar or a pinch collar. You could end up really hurting your dog.
- Attach a regular leash to the collar and hold it in your hand while you hold the handle bars of the bike.
- Ask your dog to heel and walk the bike along a sidewalk, path or street that is not busy. Encourage the dog to walk beside the bike and praise him/her for keeping up with you.
- If the dog is skittish, for example he/she jumps when you hit a bump, do not give praise or call the dog's name. Simply correct the jumping or avoidance behavior by making a tsh sound or snapping your fingers. Keep moving slowly along.
- End this session while the dog is exhibiting good walking behavior and is not biting at the bicycle or pulling away. When he/she is walking perfectly; stop and praise dog for being an excellent walker.
- After a few walking sessions, attach the dog to the bike tow leash and continue with walking. You may increase you distance a little.
- When your dog is ready, get on the bike and ask him to heel.
- Take off slowly and encourage your dog to heel and remember to give lots of praise when they are walking perfectly. Don't forget to correct (not using the dog's name) when they try to pull, bolt or walk into the bike. If your dog can't settle into moving very slowly while you ride the bike, go back a step in training until they are more comfortable.
- Do not go very far on the first riding session. End on a good note with your dog walking along right beside you and praise him/her for being a great walker. End this session and play.
- Ask your dog to heel and start pedaling. Don't go really fast yet, but you can pick up the speed a little. Monitor your dog to make sure he/she is following you and is not in any kind of stress.
- Do short sessions and go a bit further and a bit faster on each one. Always monitor your dog.
But, while this will eventually help with lunging at other dogs, it's not helping me right now. What can I do? Laura and Kim are pretty smart......or they've just been through it enough times. Kim went and got a squirt bottle and put water in it. She dialed the squirt-er to stream and zapped McKenzie right between the eyes when she lunged. CRAP! She didn't do that again! I then used it on Malcolm in Agility class that night. He only tried it once. And the great thing about it? It doesn't hurt and it's refreshing! AND....it's fun for me!
I've heard about using squirt bottles forever but I didn't know that I wasn't doing it right. USE THE STREAM....not the SPRAY MIST. Try to find a squirt bottle that will squirt like it means it. I used it on Malcolm this morning while riding the bike and the Yorkie remained un-aware that a big slobbery crazy Malcolm wanted to pounce on him. We just simply rode by......................
The water bottle also became a game. They began displaying behaviors that they KNEW would get them squirted. And Malcolm might not be anywhere in the vicinity of the crime and if he heard the water bottle coming out, he was pushing and shoving his way into a front seat so he could get squirted. Plus, I have expensive wood floors, so I quite using this a long time ago.
I am finding that the more and more we practice and the older we get, Malcolm is lunging much less than he ever used to. Still, as soon as I let my guard down, he's at it again. Last night, (August 2012) he laid down next to a Chihuahua/Papillon mix and was fine. But I didn't ignore him. I made sure he was not allowed to stare at the other dog. He still has the tendency and I will always, I'm afraid, have to remain vigilant. I am noticing a lack of confidence in new situations and I feel that this might have a lot to do with it. He does not lunge at large dogs, though. Just itty bitty ones, which makes me think he's a bully. (Because how could be possibly be scared of a tiny dog?)