Our Doberman is very reactive on a normal leash however as this video shows we can safely exercise him on a
long line (lunge/tracking leash). I feel that dog reactivity on leash is exacerbated by walking a dog on a short/normal length leash, as the biochemical process of reactivity involves the release of adrenaline which prepares the dog for a flight or fight response. A short leash doesn’t allow the dog to release it’s energy, resulting in frustration and ultimately behaviour displays that can make us stressed as well as the dog (lunging, pulling, growling, barking, whinging, biting handler etc). The long line allows the dog to release this energy and gives the handler the power to control the dog’s arousal/excitement level by increasing the distance away from the distraction/other dog. A large open space is required for this method to be effective – preferably an oval with no off leash dogs. I have been on a long journey with Kaiser, searching for ways to manage his reactivity and this has been the only effective method and thankfully is enjoyable for both him and I. I really hope this provides some help to others living with a sensitive dog. Accept the dogs limitations, minimise stress for you and the dog and slowly de-sensitise & counter condition the dog to the triggers for their reactivity.
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