Ahimsa Dog Training, Seattle

Help for Your Reactive Dog (BAT cartoon)

These great illustrations of how to Behavior Adjustment Training, or BAT, on a walk are by Lili Chin, http://doggiedrawings.net. Note that the body language in the picture is at the upper end of the threshold. I often work at a lower level of stress, where the dog just notices the decoy. So if you get any of the signs shown in the first picture, don’t go any closer!

Written by Grisha Stewart, Ahimsa Dog Training, Seattle [Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [del.icio.us] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon] Tweet This Post!
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10 Responses to “Help for Your Reactive Dog (BAT cartoon)”

  1. Dawn Says:

    I love this! So easy to understand..
    my one question is on the hand near the dogs rear with “tap”. if a dog is highly aroused would you still recommend that? I doubt Ceasar fans would be open enough to look at this.. but if they did would they think that is one of his “pssst” hand hits?
    love this and have a dog I want to work with this on..

  2. Chris Says:

    Would this be a good technique for dogs that become overly excited in a playful manner when approaching another dog or walking past a yard with a dog? Our newest addition becomes almost uncontrollable when we see another dog on a walk. He’s very excited and playful. However, he’s a large pit mix and I can see that his enthusiastic nature makes other owners nervous and, of course, it isn’t very pleasant to walking him when he’s jumping and twisting around and pulling (we do use a front clip harness). We adopted him only a couple weeks ago and he’s starting the Dream Dog program this week. I’m sure general manner will help a lot! But, I wonder if BAT is a good technique for this situation. I don’t want to discourage his friendliness, just calm him down. It would be nice if we could walk in areas with less stimulation at first, but there are a lot of dogs in our neighborhood and he really needs the exercise.

  3. Grisha Says:

    Yes! I would do BAT with bonus treats with him, and use the clicker instead of yes, since you’re using treats. That will help him want to walk away with you after he’s gathered some info. You’ll learn about Leave It and “let’s go” in class, too, so that will be something that helps.

    You’d benefit the most from doing some set-ups, but you can do it on walks, too. Your class instructors can help you with this, but if it turns out that you need more help, you can set up a private session with Carly or me to go over how to work on this.

  4. Andre Says:

    I remember this illustrator. I vaguely recall that she had hired a trainer that utilized leash corrections and did illustrations for it. Then later on her blog I saw she had discovered a wider variety of trainers (+R, those Natural Dog Training guys, and just a review of dominance theory trainers). I am enthused she found BAT. Time to go read her blog. :)

    And yes, I am finally getting to trying BAT exercises; first step is read everything here, plus the link you posted to bayingbeagle.com :)

  5. Grisha Says:

    Great, Andre! I look forward to reading about you doing BAT on your blog. 😉

  6. Ally Says:

    How great! The illustration helps a ton! I have an 18 month old male (neutered) golden who this should work great with! I looked into doing classical conditioning but he’s not real food motivated and has health problems preventing us from using too high value treats with him so this sounds like it will work great! He was in training to be a service dog but is now just my pet, and he’s shown fear issues about other dogs when he’s on-leash since he arrived to my home at 9 months of age! This may just be a miracle for us 😀 I’m sharing it on my blog as I know there are others that are followers of my blog that have similar issues with their dogs (service dogs in training/career changes and others) that could really benefit from this program!

  7. The “crazy old lady” session (more dog training theatrics!) « Boogie’s blog Says:

    […] me away, whenever I marked with either “Yes!” or the clicker. We went through the BAT protocol 3-4 times with each person who appeared on my street. Boogie got the drill! He knew what to […]

  8. The BAT Book is here! « Boogie’s blog Says:

    […] Over a year ago, when I created my very first “BAT Set-Up” illustration I was still very much a BAT newbie, learning the protocol for the first time, and also learning to read Boogie.  In this illustration (see below), in Step 1, even though I labeled it “Safe Distance”, the drawing of Boogie shows stress. He is clearly “over-threshold”  ie,  NOT at a safe distance from the trigger. In other words, my depiction of the set-up was wrong. Note: INCORRECT illustration! […]

  9. Alexandra Says:

    Hi, I just learned about BAT today, and I find it very interesting. I adopted a two year old Cocker Spaniel three months ago, and she displays moderate fear aggression towards people, mainly men, who are coming towards her or walking away quickly, and occasional leash reactivity/frustration (off leash she is great with other dogs) towards large dogs or those who are lunging at her. Even if they are young, friendly, and just trying to greet, she snarls if they do not do the polite “nose to tail” greeting. She also gets frustrated and growls softly and whimpers when she wants to play with another dog. Another trigger for her is when people enter the home or the doorbell rings. She is quite a nervous dog. So far, I’ve been working on counterconditioning her, by giving treats when people walk by (showing progress) and rewarding her for calm behavior. She was the valedictorian of her small dog manners class, so I know she is very trainable. I guess my question is this: What is the goal of BAT? Will my dog and I always have to turn in the other direction as far as leash reactivity? Or if we do it enough will it eventually lead to her being calm no matter the distance? Also, do you have any other tips for leash reactive dogs? Thanks so much!


    Wish we lived in Seattle! We’re from California. We’ll have to drop by when were in the state. We were there last month!

  10. Grisha Says:

    Hi Alexandra,

    I have more information on BAT at http://functionalrewards.com and if you are really serious about helping your dog through this reactivity, you should hire a local trainer to work with you using BAT. There are DVDs and a book at http://functionalrewards.com/bat-videos-books/ You and your trainer can use these to understand the technique.

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