Dog Reactive/Dog Aggression

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by CharlieDog, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. CharlieDog

    CharlieDog Rude and Not Ginger

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    9,419
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    Georgia
    Many of you know Ozzy. Some of you know that he was/is on leash dog reactive. I think, well, I'm pretty sure, that he has crossed the line into full blown dog aggression. Long story short, we got attacked on a walk. Twice. Once, the other dog and Ozzy came into physical contact with each others teeth, and the other a Chihuahua charged us and I dragged Ozzy out of there. I had never heard him make a noise like the one he made towards that dog, and I know, almost without a shadow of a doubt, if that other dog had made it to us, Ozzy would have seriously injured or killed it.

    We had made a TON of progress in pet stores, mostly PetSmart, and it hadn't been a problem outside as much as it was inside. Now, I'm not so sure. And I'm not sure what to do. I can get his focus indoors, and I had him outside, but now, I pretty much cease to exist for Ozzy when we are outside and there is another dog outside. We just started working with a clicker, what kind of games can I play to teach him to focus on me?

    I do NOT care if he can't be every other dogs buddy. In fact, I really don't plan on letting him greet other dogs unless they are friends dogs, and that will be done offleash. He does fine off leash. I just want him to ignore the other dogs. Pretend they don't exist or just, whatever. How do I accomplish this?
     
  2. skittledoo

    skittledoo Crazy naked dog lady

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Messages:
    13,667
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Dog Trainer CPDT-KA
    Location:
    Fredericksburg
    I taught Bamm a watch cue. Some trainers reccommend it... others not so much.

    I started working with Bamm indoors. I'd have a treat in my hand and have him in a sit. I'd say watch and move the treat from his nose to my face. The second his eyes were on mine I'd click and treat.

    Once he got the hang of that I started using watch outdoors. I don't know if Ozzy gets excited about squirrels or birds like Bamm does. If Bamm sees one his focus is entirely on the bird or squirrel. Since a bird and squirrel are smaller distractions to Bamm then say another dog we practiced first with them. He sees a squirrel, I say watch, he turns to me and then click/treat.

    If you don't want to teach a watch cue you can just bring your clicker with you on walks. If Ozzy sees something that's a minor distraction and turns to it click/treat. He will have to turn his head back to you to receive the treat. He'll learn that when he sees a distraction he is to turn to you.

    Once he has the hang of it with smaller distractions start working your way up to other dogs. When he sees another dog click/treat click/treat.

    I'll let someone else build off of this... I haven't gotten a whole lot farther than this with Bamm and I know a lot more people on this board have a lot more experience dealing with reactive dogs.
     
  3. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Messages:
    6,403
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Two dogs, three cats
    Location:
    Central Texas
    My dog used to be very reactive around other dogs just like you are describing with Ozzy. It is very frustrating. I worked on it with three different trainers for two years and got nowhere. Then I read "Click to Calm" by Emma Parsons, and six months later she was appropriately greeting and coming into physical contact (though still not playing) with dogs who she would've previously barked at just for looking at her from a distance. I know that I recommend this book a lot, and no, I'm not getting any royalties! It's just that there is so much really important information in the book and step-by-step training plans that you have to follow exactly to be successful. I cannot describe to you the most important steps without seeing exactly what your dog is doing for myself. But I do think the book is written in such a way that it is not difficult to read and follow the instructions. And you do start to see small improvements the very first day, it's amazing.

    Good luck.
     
  4. CharlieDog

    CharlieDog Rude and Not Ginger

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    9,419
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    Georgia
    Squirrels are a HUGE distraction for Ozzy, so I will definitely start teaching him to watch me around squirrels and birds.

    We made some progress today working outside, especially with the watch me command, and with a couple people who he was reacting towards for some reason (they were acting kind of funny though, maybe he knows something I don't?).

    We didn't see any dogs thankfully, because I'm still not sure of what he would do now. I was able to get and keep his attention off of some men working with a backhoe, and some people he wanted to greet.

    I'm already having a problem with him watching my hand instead of my face. Even though I'm only clicking for eye contact, he still watches my hand. How to fix this? It must be something I'm doing wrong....
     
  5. mrose_s

    mrose_s BusterLove

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Messages:
    12,169
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 dogs, 2 rats
    Location:
    QLD, Australia
    I've been refered to "click to calm" for Buster's issues a few times on here aswell. i asked for it for my birthday and turns out I'll have to roder it in from America so won't be getting it till after i have a job.

    I'm also teaching Buster to "focus" and he's getting better, I'm going realy slowly because I want to make sure its all positive, I started when we were inside with no distractions, then moved to outside, now on walks and asking him to focus while we're walking.
    Now I'm askign for them with things like cars going past or people up ahead but have taken it back to him only having to look for a couple of seconds.

    he did eventually catch on looking at my hand gets him no-where, so now he always looks straight at my face.
     
  6. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    8,854
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Environmental Science
    Location:
    Vermont
    A lot of the agility people I know are using Control Unleashed for their reactive dogs, and having a lot of success. I've personally seen a couple dogs who's ability to be onleash around other dogs has improved dramatically following the program.

    I think for Meg, the CU would work a lot better than the "just watch me" school of thought. CU teaches the dog that it is okay to look at the things that worry them; you actually click/treat for it. With most of Meg's issues being fear based, I think she needs to be allowed to keep an eye on the other dogs; otherwise, she just worries even more about what is going on behind her back.
     
  7. skittledoo

    skittledoo Crazy naked dog lady

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Messages:
    13,667
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Dog Trainer CPDT-KA
    Location:
    Fredericksburg
    Boston, very true... I've actually been meaning to pick up a copy of that book.
     
  8. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Messages:
    6,403
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Two dogs, three cats
    Location:
    Central Texas
    "Click to calm" also stresses click/treat when your dog looks at whatever he's reactive to. Eye contact comes much later. I've never read CU, it's definately on my list.

    Are you holding the treats in your hand? That would make your hands very distracting. In that case, use a treat bag or put your treats in your pocket (I prefer the treat bag because it's usually a lot slower to dig a treat out of your pocket), or of course if you're in the house you don't need the treats on you at all, put them on a counter, table, shelf, etc.

    Another possibility is that you're moving your hand toward the treat slightly before or at the same time as you click. If that's it, your hand moving is actually a much stronger marker than the click, and your click is irrelevant to your dog. Be careful to not move or say anything at all until AFTER the click.
     
  9. CharlieDog

    CharlieDog Rude and Not Ginger

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    9,419
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    Georgia
    I keep the treats in a treat bag, but of course, it is possible I'm moving my hands or something. I'll start a conscious effort to be still when I click from now on..

    And Control Unleashed is also something I've been meaning to pick up!!
     
  10. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    Messages:
    17,300
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    AL
    Basically, I taught Lizzie that it is NOT, under any circumstance, okay to act that way.

    Thats sounds horribly mean, though. lol

    Actually, I started with treats. But it seemed to make it worse with Lizzie. So I didn't use them anymore.

    I first started with a small leash correction, along with a "NO" or "Shhhhh" (not yelled or loud, but firm) if I saw her getting the least bit reactive to another dog. If that didn't work, I would put her in a sit/stay and walk ahead of her leaving her their. Usually that would do the trick because she's interested in why I'm "leaving" her.

    Now, I have almost eliminated the leach correction and can give her the "shhhhhh" when walking in those "intense" places (where dogs she doens't like live) and she'll do fine. Actually, we went on a walk a few days ago by a house she doesn't like, and I gave her the "shhhhhhhh", and she didn't even look at the dog. I was really proud of her.

    I, also, tried the watch me, and it didn't work for Lizzie.

    Honestly, I don't have a good focus (meaning eye to eye contact, focusing on me and only me) with Lizzie outside around new things. But I have control over her through words (she doesn't have to be looking me, and can even be walking ahead of me), which is fine by me - and it works for me and my dog.
     
  11. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Messages:
    6,403
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Two dogs, three cats
    Location:
    Central Texas
    Umm, WHAT??

    You're putting a reactive dog in a sit/stay WHILE she's being reactive, and then walking away?? Did I read that right?? And she stays while you walk away, even though you cannot get her to look at you??

    If I tried that with my dog, first of all, no amount of leash correction would work to get her attention, much less make her responsive to a sit/stay. And if I tried to walk away, she'd just run to the dog she's reacting to.

    If this works for you, I'm very happy. But I'd have to see it to believe it.
     
  12. mrose_s

    mrose_s BusterLove

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Messages:
    12,169
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 dogs, 2 rats
    Location:
    QLD, Australia
    ahh, clearly I need a behaviourist, I have a theory that Buster's DA is very much an ingrained fear agression.
    I have seen him on leash and offleash with other dogs, onleash he will attack them if they get too close, offleash he is dominant but generally good. I have walked him offleash with other dogs following us 2 metres behind and he has ignored them, onleash I have to physically drag him. So i'm thinkign maybe he feels restricted, like he can't get away onleash?

    When he was young, I can think of atleast 2 run-in's with other dogs that might have started it, both of them he was onleash. The first was when another puppy, slightly olde thasn him chaged us form across the road and pushed him down, he barked at it and it ran home, the other we were down watchign a boat race with our 3 when he was young, someone came down with 2 roti's and a kelpie, all offleash, not under control and the rotties were very dominant and started trying to pick fights.
    The owners got told where to go.

    But I didn't fix it, I didn't make sure he met lots of other dogs.

    The only 2 dogs he's met on leash and not tried to attack have been a small fluffy that approached him right after a fight he had with a dog that charged him on his walk. He just sat and let it sniff him all over while ignoring it, this I still don't understand. The other was when I was at the beach with him, a female foxy approached him. He strained but no really agro signs came out of him. He just pulled up and touched noses with her then she went back to her owner.

    So maybe "focus" really won't do any good if his DA is fear based?
     
  13. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Messages:
    6,403
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Two dogs, three cats
    Location:
    Central Texas
    "Focus" would do more good if it's fear based than if it's otherwise.

    Basically you'll be teaching your dog that when he's scared, he can look to you and good things will happen.

    You can try it, but I think it's going to be so difficult it won't be realistically possible. But I don't mind if you proove me wrong.

    One main theme of "Click to Calm" is to teach dogs new associations with scary things. Every time your dog looks at another dog, he gets a click/treat. He can look and be scared, but he still gets c/t, as long as he doesn't react, although hopefully you'll click fast enough that he won't have time to react before looking to you for a treat. Eventually, after lots of practice, he'll look at dogs because he knows he's getting a treat for it - so you've changed his emotion from fear to anticipation of a treat.
     
  14. inspector16

    inspector16 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2006
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I think that part of the reason why he was ok with this dog was because he downloaded his stress with the dog he met previously. He had a "fight" with the previous dog, which relieved all his tension and stress, which probably felt pretty good for him. Then when he met the small fluffy later, he had a lot less of the stored up tension and stress to release, since he already released it.

    I noticed this with my dog reactive terrier mix. That initially she would do all the behaviors of the dog reactive/aggressive dog. It would start with the whining at first, then if left unchecked it would escalate, ultimately to redirected aggression on the handler. That handler was me by the way:) I've got a few battle scars as reminders. But once she was able to unload her tension, she would relax and settle down. Let's just say we've come a LONG way since those days. To help her, all of my focus and attention was based on changing her emotional state.

    So I totally agree with Lizzybeth about changing his emotional state. That's really the key. Once you do that, then you have access to changing his behavior as well.

    Along those lines, something that I'd like to suggest, and this may sound counter intuitive, but try praising him when he gets fearful or seems to be feeling stressed. This can also work to change his emotional state, so he'll be more ready to respond to your input and direction. It may only change his emotional state for a brief moment, but that moment will give you a window to redirect him into more positive things, like the clicker training, or chasing you, or whatever else will help redirect his attention. Not only that, but it will also increase his attraction to you, rather than using physical corrections to try to dissuade him from the behavior, which will only create more conflict for him. Again, it sounds counter intuitive, but if the goal is ultimately to redirect him and change his emotional state into something more positive, then do whatever works, right? Whatever works meaning whatever that's positive that works and isn't going to cause other behavior problems later on.
     
  15. cinnamon

    cinnamon New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2007
    Messages:
    857
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Ontario
    I have a young sheltie that would lunge and bark at other dogs and people. I tried the "watch me" and corrections but I was doing things wrong and she was getting herself into a frenzy.

    I hired a behaviourist and she had us doing things totally opposite. FIrst I had to give her treats everytime she saw something that made her react so eventually she would associate these things with something good. If she went to bark, I just kept stuffing treats in her mouth so she couldn't bark. Then after a couple of weeks, we did look/look back. I told her to look at the person (we were a very good distance away)and then I clicked. When she looked back at me, I gave her a treat.

    I did this for everything---people, buses, fast cars, people, snowblowers, kids etc. She clued in very quick. If she looked at something (no matter how short the look was--even a glance without reacting got a click) and looked at me she got a treat.

    Now we can go past people shovelling snow ( but we are still across the street)and we actually walked passed some kids playing basketball in their driveway. I told her in a happy voice to look. When she did, I c/t. If she seems pretty calm, I'll have her sit and we'll watch the problem for maybe a minute or even less. I c/t every time she looked.

    We are making great progress :) Somethings still set her off, but I am enjoying our walks alot more now.

    The Control Unleashed is a great book.
     
  16. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Messages:
    6,403
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Two dogs, three cats
    Location:
    Central Texas
    Great job, cinnamon! That's exactly the point I was trying to make. Glad it worked!
     
  17. OutlineACDs

    OutlineACDs Crazy Dog!

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2006
    Messages:
    1,341
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Texas
    Actually, chances are, after he went so FAR over threshold with the other dog, he was far too stimulated to even react to the next one. Some dogs need a day or two to fully recover from a bad incident.
     
  18. inspector16

    inspector16 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2006
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Good point:)
     
  19. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    Messages:
    17,300
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    AL
    Yes. Because like I said in that post, I don't need her to look at me for her to listen. When I say sit, it means sit.

    But I am not letting go of the lead. She's on a 6ft lead and I put her in a sit/stay, then walk a bit ahead of her and call her to me. It's distracting her because she's listening to me.

    Definitely agree. I did this with Lizzie in the beginning, because she was reacting out of fear (from previous experiences. And I'll just say this now, her reactivity wasn't extreme, she would pull at the lead trying to get to the other dog, but rarely would she growl at him/her or act out terribly agressive) so I would very calmly reassure her I was with her backing her up, and there was no reason to be fearful. It did help!

    I guess it's more of a process I went through, boosting her confidence a TON, then bringing down her level of reactivity through corrections.

    It may not work for some, but it worked for me.
     
  20. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Messages:
    6,403
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Two dogs, three cats
    Location:
    Central Texas
    Oh, well that helps explain it.

    From what the OP was describing, though (vocalizing, etc.), I don't think her dog would respond to a sit cue, much less a stay cue. In fact, I don't know of many reactive, even mildly reactive, dogs who would. Sounds like you got lucky.
     

Share This Page