Best way to deal with this?

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by CharlieDog, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. CharlieDog

    CharlieDog Rude and Not Ginger

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    So, Enzo is two and a few months old. She turned two in February. I put her "up" so to speak for the winter, because she was SUCH a nuisance to deal with in public. She's gotten better, but these are still problems I'm dealing with.

    She absolutely ADORES people. Which is a good thing, yes, but so much so that she can't/won't focus on me when we're working. She gets so excited when people even LOOK at her, that she bounces up and down at the end of the leash, she whines, she makes wookie noises, she just generally is too excited.

    It's worse when there are a small number of people out. She can't focus on one person in a crowd (though it does happen if someone makes eye contact with her) and she is a bit easier to deal with in large crowds. But at the store, training, walking, whatever, it's very hard for me to break her focus and get her attention back on working with me.

    What I'm doing now, and I've only had limited success with this, and I may be going about it wrong, is backing up as far as possible, or as far as she needs for her concentration to break off the person and jackpotting her for focusing on me. However, I can't seem to get within a ten foot radius of someone and still have her focus, and we've been working on this for AWHILE.

    She forgets her leash training, forgets her manners, wants to jump all over people, no self control whatsoever, and people don't care, so I have trouble correcting the behavior when I DO allow her to greet people, because they're always "Oh, it's okay! I don't mind!" and I'm so non confrontational that I can't just be "Well I DO mind!" and so she doesn't get to greet people appropriately nearly as often as she needs to. I just generally try to avoid the set up where she HAS to greet someone, but we get approached often. And its also hard for me to be "Sorry, we're working" so I just try to manage her behavior and reward her for what she does do right.

    So, I guess what I'm asking is how to get around this people obsession that she has?
     
  2. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    Can you find some people who are willing to play by your rules? Friends, family, maybe try going to a training club - all sorts of eager to help club members.

    Have them be completely neutral towards her to minimize the trigger. Have them walk away from her if she acts up.

    Also, asking her to focus on you is too difficult for her right now. Ask her to keep all her feet on the floor. Click/treat when she does - even for a moment. Click/treat when she stops whining, pulling, bouncing, whatever. Click/treat the absence of the stupid behavior. Once she's able to reliably be calm and reasonable around people, then you can start adding a request for focus on you.
     
  3. SisMorphine

    SisMorphine Your Mom

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    Yes, this!

    Something to keep in mind is that no matter what you do she still REALLY wants to greet people. And unfortunately working out in public with people who aren't playing by your rules, and thus you are not letting her greet them, is counter productive. Her reward for keeping four on the floor and being a well behaved dog should be to get attention/affection from people. So like CP said, find a training club, get a group of friends together, anything you can do to get a group of people to play by your rules would be the way to start back up.
     
  4. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

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    I totally agree with the above.

    Also, what about turning greeting people into work. You will have to get her a little calmer around people, but I know with Frodo (obviously different situation) I am trying to teach him to hand target the people he meets. It keeps the initial greeting short (hand touch then return to me for treats), and then if Enzo can do that, the reward could be going back to the people for more petting, etc. I don't know if it would work, but I figured I would mention it.
     
  5. RawFedDogs

    RawFedDogs New Member

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    What the others have said is absolutely correct but I think they have left out some real important things. You are pushing your dog harder than she is capable to going. If you have to be 100' away from people to keep her attention, stay 100' away from people ALL THE TIME. Don't try 10' yet. Try 95' then 90' then 85', etc. If she gets out of control at 75' then move back to 85' and start all over. Move slow. You won't do this in 2 sessions. It will be more like 25 sessions or even more.

    Don't do all the above then the next day take her to Petsmart or anywhere else you can't keep her the controllable distance from people. Everytime she gets close and acts up, you loose ground. If you aren't careful you will loose ground faster than you gain during the training sessions. In that case you will say the training sessions aren't working. They are working, you just undo the progress when you give her the opportunity to act up the next day. She will soon learn to behave properly in training sessions but won't translate it into real life situations. You have to gradually and I mean very gradually work into real life situations.

    Just make up your mind, its going to be several months or longer before she can interact directly with people.
     
  6. CharlieDog

    CharlieDog Rude and Not Ginger

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    Well, luckily for me, there is now obedience and agility classes being offered by a woman where I live, not a big box store, and the prices are definitely reasonable. I may take my anniversary bonus from work and sign us up for a couple of courses.

    RFD, she's fine within about 20 feet of people. She's fine if people don't look at her or ignore her. I can stand there and talk to someone, and she will be excited, but not stupid about it... UNTIL they look at her or make eye contact with her. Thats when she gets so over the top.

    cp, Thank you! I wasn't even thinking about breaking down the behavior. I was thinking, that "okay, focusing on me is enough" but really she can be looking at me, but so not focused at all.

    Four on the floor, lol. I like it. We will be trying that for sure, lol
     
  7. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    People orientation is one of the main things we evaluate for when we're looking for service dogs, so your dog sounds like a great candidate. :) Needless to say, then, we spend a lot of time teaching these friendly, people motivated dogs to ignore people in public.

    What we do - in a nutshell - is we make sure the dogs are relatively solid on obedience before we take them in public. They don't have to have a perfect heel or anything, but they should at least know look at me, hand touch, and sit or down before going in public. That way they have some idea of behaviors that will get them rewarded, and we have a way to get their attention back when we need it.

    The first couple of training outings are usually parking lot outings. We literally drive to a large parking lot, park on the outskirts - way away from most people - and do training there, about 10 minutes. If that goes well, the next time we'll go closer to the rest of the customers and work in the parking lot. It is usually 2-3 outings before we are able to acutally go into the store, and that would also be after at least 4-6 weeks of training at "home." The first couple of training sessions inside the store, we usually will not let strangers pet our dogs. But we're also working to keep the dog busy so that he's more concerned with the next cue and next treat than the stranger.

    We do teach the dogs to sit for petting, but that usually comes later in training; they're not ready for that one - in public with strangers - until they've had about 10-12 weeks of training. So in the mean time, we do use petting and attention from strangers as a reward for hard work; focus on me, do some good behaviors, and then go say hi to this nice person. It can be an extremely powerful reinforcer that you should take advantage of when you can.
    What you do want to be careful of, is to be sure to start your training session outside of your dog's threshold. That's why we start at the back of the parking lot. I think you will be more successful that way, than starting too close to the crowds and just backing off; because in the time it takes for you to back off, she will be practicing ignoring you in the presence of strangers, which is highly motivating. You also get fewer obnoxious strangers when you are away from the crowd.
     

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