Join me for the first half of my interview with trainer Victoria Baker as we dive into her specialty- reactivity! Understand WHY your doodle is barking, hiding, lunging, and more on walks AND why the most popular advice DOESN'T work!
Find full show notes at https://thedoodlepro.com/24
Visit instagram.com/thedoodlepro for behind-the-scenes peeks at the doodles Corinne works with daily!
How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking on Walks- Interview with Trainer Victoria Baker
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Hi, I'm here with Victoria Baker. And I'm so excited for her to come here and share her knowledge with you. Today we're going to be discussing why is your dog barking on walks? Many professionals would call that leash reactivity, but if your dog is pulling at other things, barking on walks lunging, startling, or snapping those are all signs of le reactivity that Victoria is going to go over talking with us today.
Victoria is a certified dog behavior consultant with the I A B C. And she focuses, did I get that right? You did. Oh, good. All right. Excellent. And she focuses on aggression and reactivity. She can do all the basics that like regular dog trainers would cover, but she really specializes in dog to dog aggression and dog to human aggression and reactivity.
Victoria Baker: I cover that way? Good job. Wonderful. And obviously reliability. Yes. That is a passion of
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: yours. So if you ever wanna know how to have a successful experience at the dog park, Victoria Baker is your gal. I choose this. Wonderful. I can't
Victoria Baker: read it that far away. ,
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: that's one. Great. So Victoria, my first question for you is just to define reactivity.
We, many people decide, many people define that as my dog is barking on walks or walks are really unpleasant together. Can you define for us what professionals see
Victoria Baker: is that? So reactivity is a little bit more than that. The dog doesn't have to be going crazy at the end of the line. The dog could be hiding behind your legs.
But that's still reactivity because your dog is reacting negatively to whatever the trigger is that's causing it. Which could be another dog, it could be a human, it could be. A random tree stump in the middle of the yard, , and your dog freaks out over that. But it doesn't have to always be the lunging and the snarling and the growling to be called reactivity.
We wanna make the dog feel safe and comfortable on a walk and happy. And anything that's not, that is basically le
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: reactivity. So we have some dogs, when I used to own a dog walking company that if it was trashcan day, those were their like most fearful days to go on a walk. Yeah. So
Victoria Baker: dogs are bred genetically to react to novel stimuli.
So six days a week you don't have trash cans in the road, and then on day seven, all of a sudden you go out and there's this thing that has never been there before. Dogs should react to that kind of stuff because that's what keeps them. Perfect. Reactivity is a normal behavior. But we also want the dogs to be, feel safe, comfortable, and not stressed when you're out on a walk.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: So you already pointed out that it looks different, that it's not just barking at or lunging. Can you go through the different types and what those look like?
Victoria Baker: Sure. the different types of reactivity that you're gonna get is you're gonna have a dog that is, it's fear based and there's two types of reaction, mainly two types of reaction to fear, which is fight and flight.
There's also freeze. I have seen that, but it's rare. And so it's all the same. It doesn't really matter if your dog is trying to run away or hide or melt into a wall and disappear, or if your dog's absolutely at the end of the line showing every single one of its teeth and wanting to kill the other dog.
It all gets treated the same and it's all founded in fear. And the functional reward when it's a fear-based reactivity is to actually move away from the trigger. And I know everybody at home is probably going, but my dog is trying to lunge towards the other dog and try to get to the thing. So it, he doesn't wanna get away.
If he was left up to his druthers, he would not be anywhere near the trigger that you are coming up to. He would've long ago headed the other direction. But he can't because he is on leash and you're forcing him to go the way you wanna go. So
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: that would look like if somebody's walking this way with your, their dog and you're walking this way with yours, the dog feels trapped because they're unleashed.
They don't have the option That's correct. To leave the area. Yes. And it looks like they're pulling towards them.
Victoria Baker: But really the functional reward of that type of behavior is to move away. Your best defense is a good offense. So
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: effectively it works them lunging and barking because that dog doesn't get closer.
Victoria Baker: Usually the handler or the other dog will say, oh, I don't wanna get anywhere near that dog. And they move away. So they actually get reinforced for all that crazy behavior. Doesn't matter that you might be popping the leash screaming at 'em, saying no or whatever. Their end goal is to move away from the trigger.
And lo and behold, when they make a big show of it, they do move
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: away from the trigger. Yeah.
Victoria Baker: Okay. Thank you. All right, so the other one is a frustrated greeter. So that type of dog looks like. So we didn't go over. What the dog body language is on the fear base. So the fear based behaviors, the ears are pinned back, the tail is low or tucked, their body posture is low and back.
And they're usually sniffing. Their nose is usually on the ground and you can't get it up. Those, are the, that type of dog. Once they go over threshold, then you'll see the fight, then you'll see the lunging and the barking, the growling and the teeth and all of that stuff too. So that you shouldn't ever see.
And if you do see it, it's your fault cuz you're taking your dog past the point of where he's able to exist.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And when you say over threshold,
Victoria Baker: That's, yeah. Every dog has a threshold and it'll change and you have to be a little bit intuitive. On where that threshold is. So if you have a dog that's walking on leash across the street, paying attention to its handler, the threshold for your dog that has reactivity will be much smaller than if that dog was pulling and lunging to get to your dog across the street.
Now the dog's threshold goes from 30 feet to 300 feet. Yeah. . So the threshold we define the threshold is where your dog feels safe. Once you go past the point of where your dog feels safe, we call that going over threshold. And now you start seeing all kinds of the reactivity behaviors. And so the fear-based body language that you're gonna see, like I said, is the ears back, tail tucked, and their body is low and to the ground, and usually their nose is on the ground.
Sometimes you'll also have a dog that's trying to hide, or you'll have a dog that's. Trying to go behind. And what ends up happening is they circle around you. Because they can't get away from the leash . And then your other type of reactivity is the frustrated greeter. And so that's the dog.
It usually starts out where the dog is fearful of other dogs as a puppy. And then , this puppy goldens, particularly golden doodles Yeah. Is golden doodles for us . They love they're just full of love for everything. People, dogs. Just, I love everything and they're excited and they wanna go and greet that thing.
So the functional reward for that type of behavior is to move closer to the trigger, not away. And it, and all of the barking and the lunging that you might see. Developed when the dog was still a little fearful, but then it didn't get any feedback on what they're supposed to do when they see other dogs along the way.
And then they become these incredible, frustrated greeters that just, I have to meet. I have to meet. I have to meet now. And they go crazy. And so the body language that you're gonna see is jumping ying, screaming , and definitely the circling because they're trying to get away. But it can quickly transfer into aggression, but not necessarily for the trigger.
They might take it out on the trigger if they get away from you, but it's the frustration at the leash. And so they get angry that they're being restrained. And so frustrated greeters are really hard to determine because it can look like aggression. And
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: when it looks like aggression in that way, does what?
How does that redirect? Sometimes, or what does that look like when it's starting out
How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking on Walks- Interview with Trainer Victoria Baker: as
Victoria Baker: the frustration? So it'll start out as a, lot of barking and jumping, and then they'll try to get away. And then after usually about 30 seconds, a dog's level of arousal goes from two to 10 fairly quickly.
Once they're at a really high state of arousal, they're gonna redirect onto whatever's holding them back. So they'll start biting the leash. Or they'll start biting the owners frustrated greeters A lot of the times that I get calls and say, oh, they keep biting me in the calf and it's killing me.
They actually are very friendly dogs. Yes. But they just don't know how to control their frustration and we don't wanna get 'em frustrated in the first place. I That, that's the whole
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: problem. And that can, if you're on walks, that can look like somebody saying he just really wants to say hi.
He loves dogs. He'll calm down once he can say hi. Or once he sniffed
Victoria Baker: you, be okay. that, And that probably is true for that particular dog. But the other dog, the other person's dog can't handle what that dog's got to give right now because that dog is at a level 10 arousal when they go to meet the other dog.
And so it usually goes downhill no matter what. Yeah. Just as a standard rule, unless you know the dog and are friends with the dog, I do not agree with unleash greetings ever.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: I totally agree. And I mentioned that dog walking company, that's our standing rule, that we don't agree unleash.
But can you share a little more? Do you wanna go over that? I, yes. Cause I just think it's so interesting.
Victoria Baker: Okay. That goes back let's, re, let's go revisit that when we go over the cause, which we're gonna do that next, which I jumped over. Yeah. , you made me go right into the , bulk of the staff.
And for those of you
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: watching live, I have an outline that I went over
Victoria Baker: and she just went to step four. I
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: did. And we, for the podcast, we'll be able to edit this part out and and go the direction she wants. So thank you for improvising
Victoria Baker: with me. So the functional reward for the frustrated greeter is to move closer.
And to be honest, fear based behavior is much easier to treat than frustrated. Happy. I'm crazy. Happy behavior. It's hard to snuff out happiness and you don't wanna snuff it out. You want them to be happy. . So the other type. Of behavior that I find a lot is a conditioned behavior where the owner inadvertently reinforces the reactivity that the dog is exhibiting.
For instance, especially with the smalls, the small dogs you'll have a dog, some novel thing comes into the environment and the dog starts barking and the owner gives undivided attention to the dog that's barking. And so the dog's yeah, I know. I knew that thing was wrong. That's why I barked.
And so any type of attention to behavior that you don't like is reinforcement. Even if you're saying no, even if you're angry, even if you're upset, it's still reinforcing the dog that I should bark. And so after a bunch of repetitions of that, it becomes a conditioned behavior. Just telling your dog to sit means put your fanny on the ground, seeing a dog in the distance.
Mm-hmm. Means bark.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And on that note, there's when you're worried about a bigger dog, especially with a little one, there's an instinct to pull up. There's
Victoria Baker: an instinct actually. Once your dog exhibits reactivity on leash, there's always that instinct. Yeah. To pulled up . And that's why we're gonna go over the causes.
Now, keeping me on, track here, , so causes for reactivity is one, the major reason is lack of proper socialization. So there's a difference between socialization and proper socialization. So we get a little pep and everybody thinks, and everybody's been told too, by the way. Get 'em out there, take 'em everywhere.
Introduce 'em to a hundred people a day. Expose them to every type of dog you can. Think of every breed, big, small puppy, and let 'em go, say hi, and that's the worst thing you could possibly do. Proper socialization is a matter of pairing something positive that the dog likes with something new and novel in the environment.
And actually teaching your dog to ignore those things in the environment. Not go up and say hi. That's the way you create a frustrated greeter.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And so that would look like handing strangers biscuits and say, go take the treat from the man in the hat. That would be having that effect. Yes. Okay. , that's a
Victoria Baker: common like it, everybody does it.
They go out and they force their puppies to go say hi to everybody because they think. They've been told too, I'm not criticizing anybody. To have your dog meet all kinds of different people and all kinds of different dogs. And I agree they do have to interact with those dogs, but it should be in the proper setting.
It is not just every dog you walk by, every person you walk by on leash. Great. In the neighborhood, at a farmer's market, whatever your goal is to calmly see them and then ignore them. That's what proper socialization really is. And we mess that up as soon as we get 'em home. Or
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: under socializing completely, I imagine.
Victoria Baker: Yes. And then there's the dog who's never been outside the backyard. And they're gonna be reactive to anything no matter what you do because they're scared. The other cause is, Accidentally conditioning your pup to be reactive, which we already went through. So I'm not gonna go through that again.
And is not, also, the third reason is not providing basic genetic needs that the dog requires in order to function as a normal animal . So what that includes is dogs like to sniff and forage and hunt and not be restrained. And you need to provide that for your dog somehow, some way. So there is
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: a common motto that trainers use of let them sniff.
And so if you feel like I want a really well-behaved dog, you might have the impression that the dog always needs to be in a heel at your side. And that would be being a good dog. But that's not allowing them. Absolutely
Victoria Baker: not. Your, that's absolute torture for your dog. Go out on a mile, walk five blocks around the neighborhood and walk on your left side a foot away from you, the entire walk.
Total torture. And not only is it that's creating a reactive dog. Yes.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And not only is it asking so much of them, you're depriving them of the enrichment Yes. That they
Victoria Baker: could be here. You're, frustrating that dog. Like un unbelievably.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Yes. And the teaching and heel
Victoria Baker: isn't bad. No. A dog absolutely knows how to heal and should know how to heal, should know how to walk through a crowd, should know how to walk through a group of dogs.
Whatever it is, the dogs should be able to heal. But those times that you ask your dog to heal, it's from. Max five minutes. Yes.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And so modifying your expectation of what that should look like and what you're expecting of your dog Yes.
Victoria Baker: Makes a big difference. Absolutely. And that goes to the fourth cause.
is always having your dog unleash always and never ever letting a dog off leash to actually experience being a dog.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Do you mind repeating that one more time?
Victoria Baker: Sure. your dog. . Having your dog always unleash, creates reactivity because they never get to be a dog. They have to release that energy somehow some way.
And I equate it to zoo animals even the ones in a sanctuary, does that mean uhhuh?
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Here, ill just mute that for a moment. I know. Anyone else with that? Fun ring tone. Okay.
Victoria Baker: I turned my notifications off, but
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Okay. So you were explaining that by your dog always needing to be on leash, that you don't recommend that and you equate it to zoo
Victoria Baker: animals?
Yeah. The lions at the Wild Likely Animal Sanctuary, which is a 40 acre tract that they hold the lions in. I think it might be 80 acres, but still alls they do is run the fence up and down all, day. It's the definition of insanity. So by never letting your dog be a dog, which means letting them forage and hunt off leash, then you're driving
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: your dog insane.
So if you live in a single family home and have a backyard, I'd imagine that you'd equate that backyard with. To that line and the enclosure Correct. As to how much enrichment they're getting. Correct. And
Victoria Baker: how much of a, the yard is better than nothing. Yes. But it's still a prison.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Yes. . And then, so if I live in an apartment, every pot break, et cetera, is always on lead.
Correct. And so you are encouraging to give chances for off
Victoria Baker: leash. Interaction with their own kind.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And if your dog doesn't have a solid recall yet, I'd imagine you would encourage a long lead
Victoria Baker: to start. You can let dogs teaching React teaching recall in a puppy, which is different subject.
Yes. All on its own. Very easy. Puppies wanna be around you. Your puppies not gonna run away. It's the exception. There's always exceptions to everything that they're not gonna run away. So letting your puppy drag a light long line and going around and having fun and letting 'em forage in a field is great.
Yes, I'm encouraging you to break the law, . I dunno what to say. If you don't, your dog's gonna go insane. But
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: you're advocating for the dog's welfare, that's your your goal in this. Correct. So one of
Victoria Baker: the other causes. That's it. Okay. Wonderful. Those are the main causes of free activity. All right.
So we've already gone through the types. Yes. And we're gonna skip through that. And we've already gone through what it looks like when you see those types. So we're gonna go right into what do we do? Different types of protocols Yeah. To treat it. So we have counter conditioning and desensitization, which mostly is done through the look at that game, which people call LA l a t.
That is really simple. It's associating every time they look at a dog, let's just say they're reactive towards dogs. Every time they look at a dog, you mark the look , you tell the dog looking is great, and then you follow up with a treat. So you're pairing something that the dog loves a treat with, something that normally the dog has feared.
And you're also making sure that the dog connects the dots that dog is getting him the reward. Not him, and not you, the dog . So that's the definition of counter conditioning and desensitization. Then you have the second one is behavioral adjustment trainings, what they call it, and that's called that.
And that's where we get into, letting the dog feel as though it has choices of anonymity what the dog is doing. So I like to put the dog on a long line and give him the option to tell me and ex show me through body language what he's feeling. And then I honor those dogs, the dog's choices, especially when he makes good choices.
Instead of lunging towards another dog, he makes the choice to walk away. And when we have a dog on a short leash, like a four or six foot line, we are unable to give the dog enough freedom to make those choices. And so that's another reason why, you know, letting the dog sniff out on walks your dog actually makes really good choices.
On a walk, you just don't notice.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And so just by adding some considerable length to that leash Yes. Can remove the frustration that four to six
Victoria Baker: foot le would add. Correct. And. Eight foot shortest. Okay, 10, 10 to 15 is even better. And I get it. Everybody at home's going, I can't walk a dog on a eight 10 foot leash on my sidewalk.
He'll get run over in traffic. There is some skill involved on your part in handling the leash and seeking out
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: areas that are away from the road. Correct. And, that could be part of your planned venture together. We didn't, I didn't mention asking you this, but retractable leashes that can add that length, those usually aren't advised by trainers.
Are you on the same
Victoria Baker: page? No. They should be banned. . They're the worst things that have ever been invented. A retractable leash is designed to always have tension on the line. And when you put tension on the line, no matter where it is located on the body, you're gonna increase arousal no matter what.
So if I put tension on you and pulled on you, your arousal would go up. So basically it increases the state of mind of the dog, whatever state he's in. So if he's starting to be fearful, you're gonna increase that fearfulness. If he's starting to become aggressive, you're gonna increase that.
Aggressiveness. And if you want a walk on a loose leash, there's no way you can do it on a flexi lead. And
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: I, they can never back up enough to stop the tension. They
Victoria Baker: can never, there's spot, they're designed to always be tight so they don't get tangled up. I get why people use 'em. They're wonderful, but they don't get tied up in the feet.
And you don't have to deal with yourself being a good leash handler. . Yes. And if your dog is perfectly well trained and your dog doesn't pull on a leash and is perfectly happy out on walks, flexi leads aren't the worst thing in the world. Mm-hmm. But they're not to work with reactivity and they're not to work with
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: puppies.
My least favorite part about flexi leads, they always have. In order for the leash to wind up, it needs to have that big clunky plastic handle. And if that gets dropped, it scares
Victoria Baker: the crap out
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: of it door. It's so scary and they run away from it because it's planking and chasing them as it gets closer and it is winding up.
So you have a runaway dog who's really freaked out, and that's my least
Victoria Baker: favorite. Yes. And will never
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: stop. Yes. . So it's the best
Victoria Baker: way to your dog on something. Yes. And but then you have, you'll have people at home say I'll just, I'll use it, but I'll just lock it in place. Those mechanisms are not strong enough to withhold that much poundage of pressure.
Sure. For a little. probably no problem, but for a dog, 50 pounds, 40 pounds in up those mechanisms aren't gonna halt . And trust me, your timing on that mechanism, if it's out and loose and then all of a sudden an off leash dog comes up or whatever, or a person, a kid on a scooter all of a sudden comes up and your dog might lunge at the kid on the scooter, the dog's 10 feet away and you lock it into position.
You have no control over your dog. Yes. It's basically having a dog off leash, which is great
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: but,
without all the benefits of
Victoria Baker: it. Yes. Yes. Okay. And then the third protocol, and it's actually not a separate protocol because you have to go through this with any protocol that you use, is training your dog alternative behaviors.
So actually teaching your dog how to walk on a le. So that way the leash isn't tight and doesn't add to the arousal of the situation. So you're working against yourself. And then other things like relaxing and being calm on a mat while you have triggers, long exposures to mild triggers is how you desensitize how the dog feels about those triggers.
What other things you can actually teach. Some distracting behaviors where you teach the dog to touch your hand so that you can reset the dog.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And in creating distance, a lot of people feel like they're locked into the sidewalk and they're locked on the path and the momentum that they're going. So if they're going straight on a sidewalk and another dog is coming, they feel like I have to stay on this.
You can use people's driveways, you can go up on lawns. I encourage. That is okay.
Victoria Baker: I encourage stress assing.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Yes, because that is you are your dog's advocate and if your doodle is. Feeling fear and they are trapped with you on this leash and can't get away. You can help create that
Victoria Baker: distance, but there are emergency behaviors that you should train your dog just for those situations just to get through the moment.
But getting through the moment isn't training. So you're not helping your dog getting over its problem of leash reactivity. All alls you're doing is deferring it to the future. Yes. And you have to respect your dog's threshold, and if you don't, then you'll never change the dog's behavior.
Because the dog can't trust you to keep him safe. Yes. And that is a big part of it, is the human puts the dogs in these situations and the dog knows that it wouldn't be in that situation unless the human put it there. So let's, so he can't trust you. He just can't. Yeah.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And. If we're talking about like long leads, there are some other equipment that can help you while you're working on reactivity on leash.
Correct. What are your favorites?
Victoria Baker: I think we're there. So , treating re so we're gonna go through some of the things that I do to work with leash reactivity. Okay. And one, the big one is equipment. So I do the longer leash so that you can let your dog forage and let your dog sniff. And it, it actually decompresses the dog.
It removes stress. And what you're doing is trying to keep the dog at an even arousal. Cause when your dog's at a level one, level two arousal, your dog is perfect. It's only when your dog gets to level eight and above your dog's. Perfect anymore be leash. And I also like a front clip harness and I'm actually pretty particular about the type.
Do I? Yeah, I do. I plug it mean they're not paying me, nope. It's the pet save, Sher Fit Harness. It's the cheapest harness you can probably buy, but you can't buy it in a store. You have to buy it online. The reason I like it is because it has a very low profile. There's not a lot of material on it.
It's a y harness, so it comes like this necklace around the neck and a y and it sits right on right, on their sternum. And it has five points of adjustment so I can get it to fit nice, snug, and tight on the dog, which is important because when you're teaching the dog what a leash means, which nobody ever does, when they get their puppies, by the way, they just slap 'em on and just drag the,
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: and expect that they know how to walk on a
Victoria Baker: leash.
Actually, I don't even think they expect. The dog to know how they just drag it. Yeah. So
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: a lot of little puppies will come home at eight weeks.
Victoria Baker: Yeah. Because it only weighs 10 pounds. And, people will
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: expect control. People will expect oh, they're gonna, we're gonna go on a family walk.
We got a dog.
Victoria Baker: And, the dog. There's no idea. 10 week old puppy then wanna go for a walk. Yes. Trust me. . Anyway so a front clip harness, this particular harness actually isn't meant to be clipped on the front. Again, it's a cheap harness. But I clip it to the O-ring on the front. It also has a clip on the back.
So just to go over harnesses that clip on the back because everybody buys, harnesses that clip on the back and they're great. They are very comfortable for the dog, but they are designed to make pulling feel good. So you're working against yourself if you clip it on the back. Because as soon as he starts pulling, he's yeah, this feels good.
And he pulls you even
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: harder because it spreads. , the impact of the pressure of the pole
Victoria Baker: across? It provides resistance. And you wanna, you want to feel that resistance when you're pulling something . So if you
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: had a sled dog and you wanted to encourage them to pull, you wouldn't clip on the front?
No. It would be a back
Victoria Baker: clip with the, you would apply resistance on the back and then they pull against that resistance. It's if you were snowboarding, it's actually easier just, or ski to ski and snowboard on a hill because when you go to turn, there's more resistance than your turn. And you don't just lose your balance and fall over.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: really like the one that you recommend it all include that in the show notes, the length so people can find it. Okay. For some dogs it has a small area to fit their head through, so for some dogs that need a little bit more, As you're conditioning them to feel comfortable with the harness. Do you have a second favorite?
Victoria Baker: The three in one, you can clip it around the neck. So they don't have to put the head through the neck. The only problem with that is because there's a clip, there's less adjustment in the neck, so it tends to be too big for a very narrow, neck dog.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And do you like the Freedom
Victoria Baker: Harness?
The Freedom Harness? I do not like. Okay. You know what, if there's one thing two trainers will agree on is the other trainer doesn't know what he's talking about, .
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: That's why we have many, there's no
Victoria Baker: one way. Yes. Lots of trainers love the Freedom Harness. It gives you two points of control of your men to leash it in the back and leash it in the front.
The thing I don't like about the Freedom Harness is it's a T harness. It comes across the, so if the dog's like this, the harness comes across the, gate the, legs below the shoulders. Yeah. Yeah. And I believe, no, I think it's a. It's a, it's an O-ring and the Martin Gale's on the back. But because there's a Martin Gale, when the Martin gal's not engaged, it becomes two inches bigger.
And when it becomes bigger it, falls. And so what happens is those things fall down and then they strangle the dogs and then they, walk funny. And then your handling skills go down because you know you're strangling the dog. And the freedom harness is okay as far as t harnesses go.
It's not, I just don't liket harnesses. I like why harnesses other harnesses that you could get the perfect Fit Harness is a great harness. It has three components to it and you can size each component differently to perfectly fit your dog. And it's really soft and doesn't bind. It's just really expensive.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Yeah. . I like the Freedom Harness cuz it rides higher than the Easy walk.
Victoria Baker: The easy, absolutely hate the easy Walk. It's made by Pet Save. I just don't like that particular rice because again, it's a T harness. And it has a, it has the Martin gal in the front and yeah. Sorry. That's okay.
And the, Martin Gale will engage and so the Martin Gale engages half second, a second's gone by. Then it'll have to go over to the side. Another second has gone by. And now your three seconds into reacting, you have to react with your dog on leash. And timing is everything when it comes to dog training.
So the latency and those types of harnesses make it even harder. Yeah. Plus you, it's hard to fit. Sometimes it fits really well and it works okay. But most dogs
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: it doesn't. I like it better than a clip on the back. or straight to the collar. So it's the better to me of those options, but it's my least favorite of the front clip.
Yeah. So that's my opinion on
Victoria Baker: them. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. I like the freedom better than the easy walk, pet, safe, easy walk. A balance harness is like the pet safe, sher fit. It is long in the body. And I find that to be a problematic on a lot of ducks, .
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: So a lot of these might be order a couple sizes from Amazon, the one that you recommended first, which I'll include in the show notes.
Again, not sponsored, but the nice thing, as you mentioned about all the areas of adjustment is you can make it
How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking on Walks- Interview with Trainer Victoria Baker: fit
Victoria Baker: really nicely. Yeah. And it is a cheap harness and I just, it's just a tool to help me get over the hump in training the dog how to walk on a loose leash and the leash reactivity. Once, the dog. Knows how to do that. You can buy whatever harness you want. Clip it on the back. Sorry. Excellent. . Okay that's equipment. Equipment is, oh, back to the collar. If I have a dog that has any type of reactivity, I do not use the collar. There's a couple of reasons why the thyroid glands are right here.
And if you have constant beating up of the thyroid ends, you're gonna end up with a dog with thyroid problems. Maybe it might not show up until they're 10 or 12 years old, but they're, still gonna have a low thyroid. Cause there's damage being caused. But as soon as you put pressure on the neck and start choking a dog, their arousal goes way up and you're working against yourself and you really don't have control over your dog because I know that you feel bad that you're choking your.
and once you start feeling bad about choking your dog, you're handling skills go way down. The other reason why you like to use a front clip harness is because you're controlling the center of gravity on the dog. And so the dog doesn't have that power In order to try and pull you off your feet to get this dog you're, gonna pull 'em off to the side and knock 'em off balance, and so they have to readjust or they're gonna fall.
and you're not using pain and it doesn't cause any pain, right? Yeah. It's, the dog doesn't particularly like it cuz it can't go where it wants to go. But you're not increasing arousal and you're not causing any pain. You are causing pain on collar. And you're not causing pain when it's on the back.
That's why they pull so hard cuz it feels so good.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: So as we're talking about equipment, we sometimes see doodles where, especially if they're larger and the owner is worried about maintaining control, if they're reactive on a walk, you'll see some people call them like the Lego collars, they look flat and plastic on on the outside.
They're usually black. Oh, is that the corrector?
Victoria Baker: The corrector or a prong That's worse than a prong. The corrector pro actually pinches and that hurts worse than the prong. And it looks
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: like more humane. It's not than the prong. It's not. Yeah. And so what impact, if a dog is. Fearful, reactive or
Victoria Baker: frustrated.
And the prong collar it hurts. That's how it's designed to work is that it makes the dog so uncomfortable that it stops.
That's a version to make your dog do what you want it to do. And the collar, same thing. The slip collar choke, collar slip leads, choke collar, prong collar and collar, all choke the dog to the, which level of pain depends on the equipment, but you're associating something negative with what they're already having a problem with.
And when every time they see a dog, they get popped with the prong collar and feel pain. They're gonna eventually hate seeing dogs.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: So when you talked about the counter conditioning of when they look at the dog, they receive a treat and they're equating that dog is giving them a treat, or is the source of the treat that you're
Victoria Baker: playing and you playing with that I see the dog, I get fed, so I'm gonna start to salivate when I see a dog.
If you have a dog salivating, they're not lunging and pulling.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: So the same mechanism happens of I see the dog. and I have a pop and I feel pain. And so you're doing the same method with different results.
Victoria Baker: You're, associating something negative. So I hate seeing the other dog because every time I see the other dog, my life gets exponentially worse.
So let's just not see dogs. Yeah. So you create a dog who doesn't like other dogs by by associating something negative, but it is very positively reinforcement punishment works. There's four quadrants in learning theory. We're not gonna talk about that. But punishment works and that's why it's still around.
I We punish our kids, right? It works, but punishment reduces behavior, right? And so whenever something that you apply to the dog that reduces behavior it's always punishment. , whether the human considers it punishment is irrelevant. If the dog doesn't like it and the dog stops doing something because you're applying punishment, you're applying punishment.
And there's either reinforcement or there's punishment. It's not really neutral. In these kinds of situations. And our
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: intent doesn't actually matter. No, it doesn't. Yeah. And
Victoria Baker: no, and that's what I mean when we inadvertently train our dogs to be reactive. This is part of it. We're always applying some sort of consequence when they see a trigger.
And you're, you can either make it reinforcement and reinforce what you wanna see, or you can try and snuff out and punish what you don't wanna see. And dogs don't learn by teaching them what not to do. Just like humans have trouble learning when you only teach them what not to do. And It's really not our goal anyway. When it comes to leash reactivity, when it comes to leash reactivity, you just want them to be happy when they see another dog. Cuz if they're happy, you can ask for all kinds of behavior outta the dog. We are trying to change the emotion. We're not trying to punish the symptom.
So all the behaviors that you see out of a dog when you have reactivity is, a, is the behavior. But what causes the behavior is the motion underneath. The feeling underneath. So whenever you have a behavior, there's always a need underneath that's not being addressed for the dog. And you have to address that need, or you're not actually gonna change fundamentally how the dog feels when it sees another dog or a person.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: So even if the pain is effective in suppressing the
Victoria Baker: behavior and it does, you will absolutely teach a dog not to bark and lunge when it sees another dog. , are they going to enjoy playing with dogs or feel more confident? That does not mean emotionally underneath that, dog feels really good about having that dog in its presence.
And then that creates, you punish the bark, the growl the lung out of the dog, which are warning signals to you that the dog doesn't feel safe and that it's not gonna go well if the dog gets any closer. Then if you punish out those warning signals, then you just have a ticking
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: time bomb and you took away the tick.
Like you don't have any warning. Yeah,
Victoria Baker: you don't have any warning. And they bite out of nowhere. No dog bites outta nowhere. They may have been punished for giving you that tick, for giving you first warning signals, but the signs were always there.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And as we're talking about some mistakes that well meaning trainers or dog parents might make when working with Le Reactivity are there any others that you.
When you're working with a client that they've tried before that aren't your favorite techniques or that you don't see good results with, we're gonna talk about that at the end. Those are myths. Okay. I think we're there. No, we're
Victoria Baker: not
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: What have
Victoria Baker: talked about a lot of this stuff, so you know how to treat, I wanna sum it up because we've been all over, over the place. Though equipment, not equipment, that's gonna increase. Arousal in the dog is important. Getting the dogs needs, genetic needs met, so having the ability to go out and have a decompression session of sniffing and foraging and being a dog will help tremendously.
You're resetting the cortisol dress levels in the dog when you do that, walking on a longer line. So it allows him to do some foraging and sniffing on the walk. As well. And keeping them below threshold and acknowledging that your dog makes good choices on a walk that you've never even noticed before because you're always walking 'em on a four, six foot leash, desensitizing the leash and the leash pressure because when anytime somebody feels restraint, your arousal goes up, and so you wanna actually teach your dog to feel that restraint, but it actually means something instead of it's just restraining me and I have to fight against it.
You wanna teach your dog to move into the restraint and come to you when it feels that pressure, instead of doing what comes naturally, which is moving away. So you wanna spend some time desensitizing the leash and teaching him what that leash pressure means as opposed to. It right now. It doesn't mean anything to the dog , and then counter conditioning and desensitizing.
So that's where the looking at the dog and associating something positive when you see the trigger for the dog. And that takes repetition, and that's a process. So you can start a hundred feet and move into 30 feet, that kind of thing. You have to start where the dog is at. Once the dog loses its mind on a walk, you're not gonna train anything.
No training happens when the dog is over threshold. The only thing you can do in that moment is to get out of it and then smack yourself across the face with the newspaper and say, how can I do that better next time? It's not the dog's fault, it's your fault. And then also you wanna teach your dog how to walk on a leash so that you can be instructive.
All right, now we're at the miss. Okay. Awesome. I'm done.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Mic drop. So one of the common ones that some people who hire a positive reinforcement trainer might hear is when they're asking for what they want their dog to do when they're reactive. So they'll try to distract their dog by having a look at me or watch this, and they have the dog give them a sit and look, the owner, in I was
Victoria Baker: trying to treat right.
They will withhold the reinforcement until the dog offers the behavior. Just wait a sec. Perfect. So, we'll have the do The requirement for the dog is to look at you. So you're gonna withhold the reinforcement until the dog performs the behavior. It's an operant behavior. And when we're teaching. Not teaching.
When we're dealing with leg activity, we're actually using classical conditioning, not operant conditioning. So we are doing pavlo. I associate food with dog, if that's the trigger. And then I salivate. Whereas operant condition is you have an antied, a behavior, and then a consequence. So the antecedent is, I see the dog.
The behavior is I look in at mom and then the consequences, I get a treat. But if you're talking about reactivity, they can't sit, they can't come. They can't look at you. And so asking the dog to provide a behavior in that instant when they're starting to feel threatened, you're never gonna beat out the survival mechanism in the dog.
So waiting for the dog to look at you. Futile. It also doesn't associate the food with the dog. It associates the food with you. He already loves you. You don't need to do that. And a lot of trainers do it this way, right? They make the dogs look away and then they get the food and the dogs.
Sometime it works but most of the time it doesn't. I really want that dog to connect the dots so that when it sees the dog is what's getting him the food. And that's where we mess up, is food predicts dog instead of dog predicting food.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And it makes sense why somebody would try that, cuz it's an incompatible behavior.
Sitting is, instead of
Victoria Baker: lunging it's, a great behavior to train a dog. And it's a way to get through a moment. If you can have your dogs stare at you while you have 10 dogs quickly walk by, great. He's not gonna lose his mind and he's not gonna have his cortisol levels go up. But that's not the training and it's
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: not changing the underlying fear.
Or feeling threatened or
Victoria Baker: the emotion? No, he is distracting. And distracting doesn't teach him to deal with his emotions when he sees the
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: trigger. Yeah. And I might, if somebody gives me my favorite New York City slice of pizza and I'm afraid of spiders, I might go around that spider to get that pizza.
Victoria Baker: That's a good point. Dogs are really primal. Yeah. When the, and we're talking about 95% of le reactivity is fear based. Those other two items are a lot less. So we're talking a lot about fear. And creating distance. But let's just say dogs, when dogs are threatened, the threat is gonna kill.
There's no gray area. They're gonna die. That's what they think. And no matter what we think and how we feel about that trigger does not matter to the dog. The dog sees it. If the dog doesn't like it, it's gonna kill him. So if you imagine all of these triggers going by as knife wielding, Jason, serial killers would looking away from the serial killer make you feel safe?
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: No. and if I did, I don't feel any better about the knife
Victoria Baker: wielding. No. It just creates more stress. Yes. And it makes you hate the handler even more. Yeah. It's but
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: if I can change that Yes. And that's what they look like. Yeah. When we're, they're in that sit and looking. Yeah. Yeah.
Victoria Baker: Yeah. And a lot of times with some dogs, doodles especially food is very important, and they'll do anything for the food.
They'll look away from a serial killer to get food. But it's really not trainee, it's not helping the least react. It is a way to get through a moment in emergencies. There are emergencies you cannot predict an environment that you can't control a hundred percent of the time. So there are behaviors and emergency things that you wanna do with your dog.
And that's part of the solution, is training those things so that you can get yourself out of a moment that you know your dog can't handle. But you're not trying to, put the dog in those situations day after day.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And I wanna acknowledge the social pressure that owners feel when they're on a walk and their dog does become reactive.
We feel like I need to look like a dog, a good neighbor, a good dog owner, and I need to show that I'm bothered by this. Yeah.
Victoria Baker: A lot of people feel like they need to punish their dogs in that situation, because if you're not telling your dog no, you're not doing anything to help your dog, it can look permissive.
You know what? I don't give a crap what your neighbor feels. I'm gonna do what's best for my dog. And when you're out walking a least reactive dog, you need to pay attention to your dog and not talk to your neighbor. .
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: So your priority, we're giving you permission to advocate for your dog by creating space and giving them your attention.
And you don't have to feel obligated to yell, yank
Victoria Baker: cetera. If, you really feel bad about it, you can go knock on their door. And say, sorry that I was training my dog. I didn't mean to be rude, but be rude. You just need to watch your deal with your dog and you can deal with the neighbor later.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: okay to say that's why we're human. And it's okay to say we're in training. If somebody says, my dog just wants to say hi, you can create that bubble. Covid was really nice for
Victoria Baker: that. Yeah. Everybody crossed the street automatically. It was a great time for reactive dogs. Yeah. , it was.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And so you can advocate for your dog.
And it can feel uncomfortable if somebody's pushy. But so some people say things like they haven't had their shots or something. And it doesn't matter if the other dog is friendly. We all have different interpretations of what that means. And no matter what your dog feels restrained on a leash. And
Victoria Baker: no, I mean we create, we fought by keeping dogs on leash all the time.
And you, have dogs coming at each other. And they don't know how to walk on a leash. So each one of them are pulling, maybe not like tremendously, but pulling enough and they're staring at the other dog coming. Any dog that's staring at another dog is threatening that dog. And we force our dogs to threaten other dogs.
And most of the time your dog is not capable of backing up that threat. And that's why we teach reactivity in a burden.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Thank you. Sure. Is there anything else you wanna add to our listeners? No, I think that's it. Thank you Victoria. So I really appreciate Victoria coming on. We're gonna stay after and talk to the Doodle Pro Society members and answer their questions exclusively.
But I really appreciate you spending your time with us. Thanks for having me. One of our members wanted to know when they are told to counter condition their dog, who is more like frustrated greeter, what is that doing when they're trying to change the emotion, but they're already excited about other dogs?
Victoria Baker: It's totally different. Because you want to start with dogs that dog already knows, and you wanna let the dog say hi. And then remove the dog. And then walk towards your dog and ask for a heel. And until your dog starts to, you can see your dog starting to get a little bit more aroused.
You wanna stop, wait for a check-in and then release your dog to go say hi to that dog. So here's how I like to set it up. They say, hi, we remove, we walk away a hundred feet. We walk into about 50 feet away from each other. The dog starts to get over aroused. We release the dog, go say hi. Let him say hi for 30 seconds and then we repeat this time we walk within 40 feet release and go say hi.
This time we walk within 30 feet release and go say hi. This time we walk all the way by release and go say hi. They have to practice what it looks like to walk by a dog that I know and already have met. On leash before they can do it with a strange.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: That makes great sense. And so for the science nerds, that would be like a Premack recall where the access to the dog is coming back to you?
Victoria Baker: No not, really. Okay. No. Cause we're not recalling the dog. We're not re I guess it is Premack. We are rewarding the dog with going to say hi to the dog that's lowering their, they're doing what I want first. Yes.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Okay. Excellent. And then we have a member who has a brand new puppy and she wants to make sure that she doesn't teach her dog to be reactive, unleash, so if she's trying to prevent le reactivity, what would be your top tips?
Victoria Baker: So what we end up doing is we wait until there's a problem to do anything with the dog. So we need to get into a different mindset with that. You need to get in the habit of rewarding all of the behaviors that you like, that you see that the dog already offers, and ignore and manage the behaviors that you don't wanna see.
That means, and food is the easiest medium to do that. Yes. You can use different things, but when they're young puppies, like you can't use the environment for young puppies cuz it's too stimulating. And food is the quintessential primary reinforcer for all males.
You die without food. So it's just always being prepared.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And we
has treats your dog, and I love hearing you talk about how much you need to reinforce with treats that we usually underestimate.
Victoria Baker: Absolutely. People are too chinsy. So say a little more say so let's say we're playing the look at that game and we're trying to change the emotion of the dog who has leash reactivity to other dogs.
When I say look at the dog, And then you tell the dog that looking is great and then you give him a treat. I, when you tell the dog that what he did is good, it's called a marker. And so it basically is this fast. A dog comes into the picture, it's look mar treat, look mar treat, look Mar, treat. Look Mar, treat.
lepar, treat lip. Marrie, dog goes outta the picture. No more food. It's that fast. Am I guessing? I'm not exaggerating that. That's way more
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: treats than you thought.
Victoria Baker: Yeah. So the dog is in visual threshold. Right? For 15 seconds, you're gonna give that dog five treats and every three seconds,
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: if someone wants to know how long am I gonna have to do that?
Victoria Baker: The dog will tell you. I can't say. Because if the dog continues to look, so pretend like it's a serial killer, right? Like, how close does the serial killer have to get to you? Before you stop looking, you never stop looking. But until you know that person coming at you isn't a serial killer, once you realize that person's not a serial killer and it's just your neighbor carrying an eye, , you stop looking.
Your dog does the same thing. He starts looking at you begging for food. When I get a dog begging for food, I've won that little game from that particular threshold with that particular dog doing
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: those particular things. And that can last take more repetitions than people might assume.
Victoria Baker: You wanna practice until it becomes habit. So how long does it take to create habit? Not two sessions. Yeah. It takes months. ,
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: this is something Victoria and I share, like a passion about, using food as an effective reward.
Victoria Baker: And food can be used in combination of ways. everybody wants to use praise.
And the reason why praise doesn't work is because we offer praise all the time when we're not reinforcing behavior and the dog doesn't know why it's getting praised. The dog's yeah, I know I'm cute, thank you. And you're like, no, I'm reinforcing your stay. And with praise, it's like it doesn't work because you use it in a non reinforcing way all the time.
So the same with food. You're, not bribing your dog with food. You're reinforcing the dog with food. And so you can be really careful with food that you're not using it in a way that isn't reinforcing.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And if I think in my mind of its payment instead of a treat, that helps me a lot.
So I'm not just paying for being huge
Victoria Baker: or feedback instead of looking at it as a treat. Look at it as. A currency. That provides feedback to tell the dog it did it right. And they're so cheap the, size of a pinky nail is, treat. So yeah, it's reinforcing. Now the other way you can use food, and I do use it this way a lot in reactivity, which maybe it does seem like bribing is I use it to lower arousal.
So when you get a dog sniffing on the ground, it engages their olfactory portion of the brain, whatever that is, . And it takes them out of survival mode. And eating is a calming mechanism in suffering well. And eating and sniffing create dopamine and dopamine helps lower rustling and it's a happy nerve transmitter, I think.
So when a dog is. over threshold, I will throw treats on the ground. And let them sniff. I'm not using it as training, I'm not reinforcing anything. Alls I'm doing is trying to lower that dog arousal. To get through a moment. And then you have everybody at home going, but you're reinforcing the bark.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: That is a super common misconception that you're training them to bark by giving them treats. When they're
Victoria Baker: reacting. They are not, they don't even know they're barking. Yeah. So you're not reinforcing anything you, you cannot punish or reward and emotion. And when your dog is over threshold and going crazy, it's.
Motion and every primal state of fight or flight survival mode. And you're just trying to get out of that moment and getting the dog's nose to the ground will do it for you. Wonderful.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Thank you. And then you guys get to enjoy this. You can stop watching if you'd like, but then a my doorbell rang when you were talking about the Easy Walk harness.
If you can explain again, just so I have the audio for our listeners later, how, what you dislike about how the Easy Walk harness pulls in the delayed
Victoria Baker: response that have Yeah. And it's not just the Easy Walk harness, but any of those front clip harnesses that have the Martin Gale on the front. I, already described why I don't like the T harness.
So any harness coming straight across, I think strangles the dog. But when you have the Martin Gale, it, it creates latency in the reaction of their response to the leash. So if your timing is good with the leash, and I don't leash pop, by the way. , the dog goes and makes the leash tight. I don't make the leash tight.
But the Martin Gale has about two inches of material and the Martin Gale engages and it comes out. And that's, if that takes about a half, second to a second, and then it goes over to the side of the body and that takes another couple of seconds and then the leash engages. And so you're three seconds into seeing a trigger and your dog reacting and you've missed it.
You've missed that opportunity. So timing is everything when it comes to working with reactivity. You wanna get in there before they go over threshold. And that's, the other thing that people aside from not being treat or feedback heavy on the food, they're too slow.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: and that can mean not looking at your phone while you're on a walk, et cetera.
Victoria Baker: You could often actually, what mainly what people do is they look at the other dog. It's look at your dog. Your dog will tell you where you need to be and what you need to be doing. The other dog is, doesn't matter unless it's off. Leashing gonna attack you. An unleashed dog wagon, unleash across the street.
Don't even bother looking. Just watch your dog. Your dog will tell you to do. Yeah.
Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Wonderful. Thank you Victoria. .