"curing" reactivity

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Criosphynx, Feb 27, 2010.

  1. PoodleMommy

    PoodleMommy Yorkie Love

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    I will always call Elle, DA or reactive... we have worked with her and she is now very good but I still treat her as a DA dog.

    She can now go for walks, meet other dogs in very supervised situations and be totally fine... she doesn't lunge at the end of the leash, if she is on a leash she can go up and meet another dog, I am totally confident when I leave her alone with my own dogs.

    However, I know where she started and for that reason I would never take her to a dog park or a daycare facility because if something did happen, if she did snap... I wouldnt be able to say "omg, i am shocked, she never did that before." In my opinion, it would be irresponsible of me to let her interact with a bunch of dogs that I dont know in an off leash situation knowing where she came from... it is setting her up for failure and possibly putting other dogs at risk. Likely, she would do nothing, but I just cant be certain enough.

    So anyway... I think most people have worked with their dogs but still refer to them as reactive or DA because they make sure to always keep it in mind and make sure that nothing happens.
     
  2. StillandSilent

    StillandSilent New Member

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    I'm a little late, but this is my experience with Argon, my Bassett/Whippet mix.
    Argon was taken to the pound at 5 weeks, with his mother and 9 brothers and sisters. They were raised in a foster home, with plenty of socalizing until about 12 weeks, when they went to a rescue group for adoption.
    While at the rescue, Argon socialized with many dogs. At about 6 months, he was attacked and rolled by another dog, though not injured. Following that, he began to have what we at the rescue termed "panic attacks" (and in retrospect were probably seizures, though they were very strange) in the presense of certain dogs. Here is where the rescue made a huge mistake, and instead of working to fix the issue rigth then, just started putting him with very gentle dogs.
    At 10 months, he was adopted, which was mistake number 2. Despite having glowing references, the people kept him either chained or allowed him to run loose all of the time. They had him until almost his fifth birthday, when they returned him to the rescue (long story, but it didnt' have anything to do with im or his behavior.) He did live with one other dog with them. He has scars on his legs that look like bite marks, so I am assuming he was in several fights.
    By the time I met him again, he was skittish, unsocialized and completely DA. Knowing he wouldn't get what he needed at the shelter I agreed to foster him and work on his issues (No, I was NOT keeping him :rofl1: )
    All I can say is, thank DOYC that I found Chaz before I found Argon, because I would have done everything wrong with him otherwise. Thanks to you guys, I was able to use positive reinforcement and never punishment. Within a few weeks, I could take him out in public with a 10 foot radius around other dogs and he has continued to improve.
    I have now had Argon almost a year and a half. He goes to daycare, walks politely right by other dogs 95% of the time and is a changed dog.
    However, I would not consider him cured. It's a combination of him getting better and me being able to recognize his signals and triggers. I do not ever let him play with young puppies, nor do I leave him unsupervised with other dogs. It's a balancing act.
    One of the happiest days of my life was when Argon not only accepted Neon into the home, but actually enjoyed his company. I'm hoping he will continue to improve, to the point where we can get a CGC, our goal of the moment.
     
  3. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    Small dog mentality? Nope. Not at all. My reactive dog is 65 pounds. She's my biggest dog. My least reactive dog is my smallest at 23 pounds.

    And what does a big dog smell like that's different from a small dog? :rolleyes:

    Yep!

    And Nyx's style was very confusing initially, because she isn't aggressive, and she does actually want to play, and it wasn't until I started trusting my other dogs with her and was able to watch their interactions to really understand what's behind her reactivity. Some of it is an over-the-top prey/play drive and a lot of difficulty with building impulse control, but when it comes to other dogs it absolutely is an insecurity.

    Her social skills are very poor, her ability to communicate what she intends and to read their language is just not there. She hovers over the top of them with hackles up in a very nervous way. And that's dogs she lives with and plays with daily. Ares reads it as a threat and responds as such, but it's really an "I'm not sure of you and am going to be defensive and will not let my guard down". She finally - it took a year - learned to trust Morgan and will lie down, roll over, and be completely at ease playing. Dogs at a distance usually get her meerkat impersonation ~ she will stand on her hind legs and watch...but if the other dog is looking back, she'll go into a lunging and barking frenzy.
     
  4. FourPaws

    FourPaws New Member

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    Some people here are extremely literal :)

    Firstly, a "Big Dog smell" is not a smell indicating the SIZE of a dog, but its territorialness.

    As people, we must understand that dogs can smell things that we just can't, and the things we THINK they smell are are obviously open to our own interpretation.

    Take for example, a Mob boss. In movies, these guys are typically portrayed by small men, yet, they are the "BIG dogs". Make sense?

    Dogs pick up scents everywhere, which to them, are autographed messages and signals. (and they aren't always autographed with pee)

    That covers the issue of "big dog scents", and it touched lightly on the next issue, "small dog syndrome".

    Small dog syndrome has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the size of the dog. As stated earlier, many dogs, of all sizes can get it.

    It depends on a dogs mentality, past experiences, current experiences as to whether a dog has it, not necessarily the dog's size. (Which is why I brought it up. Massive dogs can have massive inferiority complexes too)

    I'll try to be less 'literal', if that helps :)
     
  5. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

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    my reactive dog is actually fearful of SMALL dogs mostly. Hes 15-20lbs. My Pit bull helped raise him and he has imprinted positively on bigger dogs. He will play with a 100lb dane, boxers, pits you name it...but a 8lb dog scares him


    :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
  6. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    A dog's territorialness isn't a smell either.
     
  7. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Instead of having to explain what "big dog" and "small dog" mean, you could be much more clear just calling the dog "underconfident," "fearful," etc. "Small Dog Syndrome" is one of my biggest peeves... people who don't know better hear that and assume that every small dog "thinks he's big," and they don't work to solve the problem. It made me really upset when my chihuahua was reactive and barking/lunging at another dog, and people around me would just laugh and say "she thinks she's a big dog, too!"

    So yeah, you're new to this forum and we tend to take newbies very literally until we learn a little more about you. But besides that, talking about "big dogs" and "small dogs" this way only perpetuates steriotypes and gives "John Q. Public" excuses for why he doesn't have to train his dog. Just an explanation.


    Welcome to Chaz! I hope you stick around!
     
  8. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

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    oh dear god I hated this. This alone really motivated me to fix the problem alot.
     
  9. CharlieDog

    CharlieDog Rude and Not Ginger

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    Ozzy MAY have Napoleon syndrome, lol, but his problems aren't with any specific size of dog. He's about 30 pounds or so, and reacts the same way toward any foreign dog.

    He DOES however, get a lot more aggressive and on the offensive with dogs that are bigger than him.
     
  10. FourPaws

    FourPaws New Member

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    Dekka,

    I'm sensing some sort of hostility to my lingo. My intention isn't to offend.

    You might have guessed that I don't use "traditional" terms to describe things. I never have, for some reason, they never stick and become a part of my vocabulary. (that goes for everything)

    What I meant by "territorial smells", is the scent of another dog's coat (like, after they have finished rolling in urine, or another smell). There are many reasons a dog rolls, and one of them seems to indicate another method of claiming territory. Another is to return smells to the pack.
    Is it not possible, that a dog can pick up on this scent and object to it? Of course it is.


    Lizzybeth,

    Again, I don't mean to offend. I used the term only to illustrate a potential REASON for being under confident / over confident. (feelings of inadequacy brought about by something in the past when the dog was developing)

    You might have noticed I am very big on dog mentality. That is generally always the first thing I look to in any situation, because dogs, like ourselves, have feelings and personalities that need to be understood in order to understand the reason WHY they do something.


    Well, we're off to a good start, I guess. Stepping on toes, annoying people, making a general nuisance of myself :cool:
     
  11. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    Its not that I offended, but remember when posting on a forum ALL we have to on on are words. So if you make up terminology as you go on you will make no sense.

    I don't buy into the pack theory anyway (dogs are not pack animals in the traditional sense) I can tell you very picked on 'lowly' types roll just as much in horse poop as those that are uber confident.
     
  12. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Yes, but size alone does not make a dog underconfident.... The most confident dog I've ever met was only 25 pounds. More often, the problem is lack of socialization, and owners allowing small dogs to exhibit behaviors they would never allow a large dog to exhibit. Neither of those are the dog's fault.

    Well, this is an interesting point because I myself am actually NOT very "into" "dog mentality." Since we are not dogs, we will never know what dogs are thinking or feeling. Yes, I do agree that they have feelings and OF COURSE I do believe that they think, but to make assumptions about what they're thinking and feeling and use those assumptions to dictate our training plan, is usually detrimental. Of course there are many times when you need to understand why a dog is doing what he's doing, but I think that too often we humans get stuck in training because we think we know what the dog's thinking, when actually we're completely wrong.

    FOR example: "Small dog syndrome." Let's say that my chihuahua is reactive to other dogs. Some people say she's reactive because she was attacked by a large dog when she was young. Some say she's reactive because she was simply not socialized when she was young. Still others say she's reactive because I have not shown her that I am dominant. I could spend a lot of time trying to figure out her mentality and why she's doing what she's doing, but I'd much rather spend that time just trying to figure out 1.) what her triggers are, and 2.) what should I do when she is presented with a trigger. How does knowing why she does it really help me solve the problem?
     

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