I am just looking for some opinions on this:
For those who know of Stark's "issues" I have a question.
Stark is at a point in his training where when he becomes uncomfortable with a situation (someone approaching from the front, side, running at us, etc.) he will look directly at the thing and then DIRECTLY to me for a reward. Excellent behaviour that I continue to reinforce with treats and praise.
He has been playing with children off lead which before we couldn't even walk within 100ft of a child without him barking. It was a behaviour that I believe was due to his own insecurities and lack of leadership in the moment from myself.
He has always been great in crowds but when someone approaches or passes by singlely (is that a word? haha) that is when he is most likely to react. Like I said, he has been doing fabulous with this!
The one thing I notice he does is when someone is walking behind us, he keeps looking over his shoulder at them. I know it is a nervous behaviour but I am not really sure how to handle it?
I have been rewarding for the glance and calm behaviour and not correcting him for trying to pull in the opposite direction. It's almost like he is walking and looking behind him at the same time, which results in me pulling on the lead as I continue walking down the street or hall.
I *KNOW* that if I was to stop and allow him to fixate on the person behind him that he would react. I know this.
I usually say something like, "come, on; let's go" or something similar. Should I give a formal command like "heel" which is my loose leash walking command (not focused heeling command)? Or should I reward the glances?
I don't want to encourage the nervous behaviour, but I do want to encourage the calm quiet behaviour.. although he isn't really calm..
Not really sure how to proceed with this, and was looking for some opinions with those who have or have dealt with reactive dogs in the "maintance phase" of their training.
Oh and a side not and a little brag. Stark met two new children today in the park and was super awesome with both!
He did bark at the soccer ball sitting in the grass by them and the kids laughed when I told them what he wanted.. lol. They allowed him to play soccer with them for a bit (on leash) and were thrilled when Stark would wait nicely for them to kick the ball near him.. lol.