Suki vs. BAT (Behavior Adjustment Training)…Who Will Win?

Do I Look Like I Want to Train?

Do I Look Like I Want to Train?

As most people who’ve read my blog know, Suki is a dog-reactive dog.  My sweet, loving baby becomes Cujo at the sight of another dog on a walk. Gearing up for a walk is like preparing for battle.  There’s the no pull harness (because I like my arm in its socket), the “hands free” leash (because I’m stressed & communicate it through leash), loading up the treat bag, grabbing the clicker, convincing Suki to wear her coat, drugging her with Rescue Remedy if it’s a popular doggie walk time…and oh yeah, grabbing Suki.  I’ve made the mistake a few times of being over-confident and not bringing the treat bag.  Pretty sure I lost a good portion of my hearing during those walks!

Don’t get me wrong, Suki has made leaps and bounds in the improvement department from when I first adopted her.  Her main trigger now is just other dogs while on a leash unless she knows them really well.  I’ve given up on my dream of meeting & greeting other dogs and their parents or taking Suki to the local doggie boutique’s monthly Yappy Hours because the leash turns her into Mr. Doggie Hyde.  I’m not complaining because Suki is such a wonderful and loving dog in every other aspect.  I just feel bad for her being so stressed on walks.  I would like for her to enjoy being out & about instead of going Mach 10 at the sight of another dog.

So, enter my great idea….try BAT: Behavior Adjustment Training.  It’s a training methodology specifically geared towards reactivity in dogs.  BAT was created by Grisha Stewart, M.A., CDPT-KA, owner of Ahisma Dog Training in Seattle.  According to Stewart’s book summary, “BAT looks at the function of growling, lunging, or fleeing and helps dog learn socially acceptable behaviors that serve that same function.   In a nutshell, BAT builds confidence by giving dogs a chance to learn to control their environment through peaceful means.”  A peaceful wrong when other dogs are around?  Where do I sign up?  LOL.  In addition to a book, Stewart has DVDs and a very informative website at functionalrewards.com.

After reading reviews and perusing the website, I’ve decided to give BAT a try by starting with the book first.  It arrived today, so I’m gearing up for the great battle of Suki vs. BAT!  My plan is to work through the book then order the DVD if I see improvement.  I’ll be sharing my experiences (and the battle score) with BAT as regular blog entries.   If anyone’s had experience with BAT (good or bad), I’d love to hear from you.

Keep your fingers crossed for us!

 

BAT Book

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Posted on February 8, 2013, in Training & Tips and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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