C is for Cheesy!

As regular readers know, my leash-reactive German shepherd Leo has made great progress lately as a result of what I call the Cheesy Technique. Based on the CARE for Reactive Dogs program, I’m creating a positive association with the things he enjoys barking at. When he sees those things, I give him a special treat he only gets on his walks: string cheese.

As you can see in the video, Leo has learned to turn his head to me when he feels stressed. This is great success! I have a bit of dialogue in the video that deviates from my commitment to all-positive language, but I kept it in the video, because it is a prime example of What TO Do when a child is running toward your leash-reactive dog. Leo and I both handled it beautifully, if I do say so myself.


For more about my journey to discovering the benefits of positive reinforcement, read my book, Bark and Lunge!

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Published by Kari Neumeyer

Writer, editor, dog mom, ovarian cancer survivor

17 thoughts on “C is for Cheesy!

  1. Some of our friends use string cheese for a nose work reward as you can wriggle it so it is like a critter and it helps a dog focus better. Good idea and much easier than carrying a handful of treats.

  2. Love my dog, she is a silly breed and I cannot get her to do what I want… Welcome in the “C”… as a host I am stopping by to say thank you!
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2015]

    There’s no earthly way of knowing.
    Which direction we are going!

    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood… is Nuts?

  3. The girls love string cheese, too! I don’t know if you follow the Identity V+E blog, but she has a reactive malinois and she’s had great success with a feeder tube and cream cheese. I was thinking about trying it! 🙂

    1. Thanks for the recommendation. I haven’t been following her, but will check her out. The tubes seem like a great idea. I used to chop up the cheese into small pieces, which was ridiculous, because I just couldn’t get to them fast enough. Sometimes, like last night, one of the dogs will grab the whole stick of cheese out of my hand, but that’s why I pack lots!

  4. Are you sure that Leo isn’t leading YOU into imaginary stressful situations just so he can get his cheesies? lol Beautiful dog. I so miss my German Shepherd. I had her for 14 years. If I were ever to get another dog, it would be a Shepherd, hands down. Thanks for your video. Well done! I hope you’re enjoying the A-Z challenge. I’m doing it too. My theme is … Animals! Have fun~

  5. I have lamb or beef lung in my pouch, but the problem (as noted in one of the comments) is I can’t get the treats out fast enough. Add to that Delilah does NOT have a soft mouth and if I try and treat Sampson she will jump up into my face or try and cross over in front of me. It’s hard enough wrestling the two of them past whatever it is, but adding in those factors makes it far more difficult. I like the idea of cheese, but she would take the whole stick. I am going to check out the blog that Lauren recommended too~ good job!!

    1. Leo has a soft mouth when he’s not stressed. I think they taught him that at daycare. When the trigger gets close, though, he takes treats really hard. I have used dried lamb lung too, but it wasn’t “special” enough. I also tried cooked liver and cooked gizzards when I was trying to stay closer to the ancestral diet, but this is just easier and less smelly.

    1. I love mine too. It’s surprising how well two large dogs can fit in the back with the seats down. I’ll need a larger car before I can get a third dog though.

  6. Walking my 8 Month Old Chocolate lab Is like walking a bucking bull in a rodeo arena right now. Iʻve decided to start over- backyard first, then The driveway , then the street- stick up on The cheese sticks- loved your video Kari.

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