leash-reactive dog

Hogan in Training

On Saturday, we took Hogan to his second obedience class at TAGS. We attended the same classes with Cora and Dusty, so really, we could train Hogan in the basics at home, but we decided to take him to the classes to help socialize him. He’s leash-reactive, although when we first brought Cora and Dusty to meet him, he wasn’t on a leash and was “reactive” anyway.

Last week, the class had only two other students, and Hogan was really good with one of them—Bailey, an adorable seven-year-old beagle who somewhat resembles Cora. He wasn’t quite as good with Mikey, a very handsome French bulldog/beagle cross. But he just growled a little, so he wasn’t too bad. We’d missed the first week, so when we arrived this past Saturday, we were surprised to find the class included four other dogs, three of whom are also leash-reactive.

Hogan knows "sit."

As you can imagine, it was a bit of a noisy class. Every now and then Gatsby, a beautiful black Scottish-terrier-looking dog, would lunge at the dog next to him, Butler. Andree and Lindsay, our instructors, were sure to help coach those of us with leash-reactive dogs. We were taught to give the dog lots of treats to divert attention from other dogs, with the goal of the dog ultimately thinking I like seeing other dogs; it means I get treats! When we had Joan Weston here to help us with Hogan, she’d used the same principle.

Hogan did really well for the most part. Lindsay’s dog Amber sniffed in his direction at one point, and Hogan snarled, but he didn’t get aggressive really at all.

At the end of the class, Bailey’s mom (I think her name is Amy) suggested we bring Hogan into the TAGS dog park. Since the others in the dog park knew about Hogan’s issues and were agreeable, we decided to give it a shot.

We were pleasantly surprised! Hogan sniffed other dogs and ran about a bit with them. He didn’t play like Dusty does at the dog park, but he did seem to generally enjoy gallivanting with the other dogs and on his own. He growled at two different dogs, but they were warning growls that weren’t followed up with any aggression. We now think we can bring Hogan to the dog park when we bring Cora and Dusty. Yay!

As for the training, Hogan’s slower to learn than we’d expected. Since he’s a terrier, and Roxie (click here to read about her) was so quick to learn, we expected Hogan to be just as easy to train. Most of the time, he will sit when we use the verbal or physical command. He’ll sometimes “stay” in a sit, although he will just as often jump up looking for his treat. He will lie down when we use the signal but not the word, and he won’t stay in a down position. For Saturday’s class, he has to stay down for 45 seconds. We’ve got our work cut out for us!