Repost from @pawsrmade4walkin
... I was asked by a follower how to discipline a dog that lunges and barks at other dogs (aka dog reactivity).
It really depends on what the dog's motivation is and what it takes to redirect their attention back onto you.
This behavior can be a nervous reaction to back off a perceived threat, an aggressive outburst because they don't like the way a dog looked at them, or even just a playful dog that wants to get to a potential playmate.
Ultimately, you should be able to redirect the dog's attention back to you in any of these situations.
The technique you use to recapture the dog's attention depends how hard it is to get the dogs attention...
A dog's reactions are like a volume knob. If you want to stop an outburst from happening, catch it early on a 1 or 2, and don't let it get get cranked up to 9 or 10. Also, if the dog is on a level 8, a level 4 correction is going to be ignored. Your correction always needs to match or exceed the dog's level.
IDENTIFYING A REACTION EARLY:
Look for the earliest body language of a dog reacting, and don't wait for a bark:
Head raising up, looking towards target, ears standing up/pushing forward, tail locked in raised position.
At this point, you need to give a correction. Again, the level depends on the dog. At the light end, a simple "Leave It" command in a low, strong tone. At the other, I put the dog in a training collar (martingale or prong) and give verbal and leash corrections as soon as they look like they are going to start.
When the dog successfully redirects back onto me, I reward the dog with praise and scratches!
The key to correcting the behavior is catch the reaction early, match or exceed the level of it and reward the dog when it redirects from it on your command!
If you do this consistently, the dog makes the association: "Barking gets me corrected and focusing back on my owner gets me rewarded".
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