Ruckus loses his mind

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by dogsarebetter, May 8, 2008.

  1. dogsarebetter

    dogsarebetter EVIL SHELTIES!!!!

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    Someone tell me please!!! What would you do if your dog started jumping up in the air bouncing around on two feet on his leash barking and growling?? It happens so sudden and about half of the time i do not see anything! Thanks to the prozac this has went from every time we go walking, to every other time. But why is he doing that?

    One trainer i was using told me to just take the leash and run in the other direction that he is barking. If i do that... he will just bark in the other direction. The behaviorist we went and seen before putting him on prozac recommended a "Forced Down" A forced down is where you do not say anything. Force him into a sit, and then a lay. take your hands off, and every time he jumps back up, you put him back down. and when he is calm then you can give him the okay. This actually works well on Ruckus. His barking/lunging for the whole walk will stop. Unless something really gets him going like a four wheeler, loud truck, or motorcycle. I feel back about putting him in a forced down....

    The other thing I have used with great success is a bark collar. He always barks before he acts a fool and lunges and hops. But I feel awful about using one on him. I used it for two weeks and he was doing great. And then i noticed that when i would put his collar on him he would tuck his tail, put his ears back and walk really slow and far behind on his leash. So I Immediately stopped the bark collar.

    Ruckus's behavior is DANGEROUS! He lunges and cars and twice he was almost hit by a car on his leash despite my best efforts. If I cannot get over far off of the road I have no choice but to hold the leash tight and basically physically hold Ruckus by his collar and shoulders. Another time he lunged at a motorcycle and the leash came from my hands. He ran across a four lane highway and then back across it again to me. Cars were stopped everywhere, people were honking... I about had a heart attack.

    He will only do this a couple of days out of the week. One those same "crazy days" he will try to crawl out the car window to get cows, and trucks. I get scared to take this dog on a walk! I dont understand what is going on in his mind. He is for the most part a normal dog 4 or 5 days out of the week.

    Suggestions please!

    maybe up his prozac?
     
  2. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    I think that behavioral medication is good at times, but it should not be seen as a permanant solution. It's good that the "prozac" is working now, but it should just be used to manage his behavior and make him easier for you to work with while you work through the issues. The ultimate goal should be to wean him off the meds.

    Why is he doing this? He's probably just reacting to something in the environment - a strange (to him) sight, sound, smell, most likely something that you just look right past, or maybe even something you can't sense (a sound your ears can't hear, a smell too faint for you to notice it, etc.).

    To fix it? Try to reward heavily whenever he's acting calm in an environment where he's usually very reactive. It's also a good idea to watch for him to notice things - maybe he sees something, or his ears perk up, or he starts sniffing the air - and reward heavily as soon as he notices something, before he has the chance to react to it.

    I'd also suggest training Ruckus to wear a head halter while you're on your walks. These will at least make him easier to manage (again, preferably not a permanant solution), and many times they also help to calm the dog down because they hit pressure points on the dog's nose and neck. Notice that I said to *train* him to use the head halter - you might need to call a trainer to help you teach him to like it, because if he fights it the whole walk it will be counter-productive!!
     
  3. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    How much exercise does he get? How much mental stimulation?

    Hmmm...Nyx does that a lot...

    Running in the opposite direction with a highly distracted and overtsimulated dog is ineffective and can even be harmful in so far as causing additional anxiety.

    A forced down might help, I would prefer a commanded behavior. I also would prefer a sit rather than a down.

    I am glad that you stopped using the bark collar. Barking isn't the actual issue, it's the overtsimulation. By stopping the barking, you're only putting a band-aid on things and causing additional stress to the dog.

    Yes. I would stop walking him in places where he's likely to behave like this. Work with him in a quiet, controlled environment (at home) teaching him to give you attention and teaching him a calm sit stay. Then begin gradually adding controlled distractions. Use positive motivation methods, reward for any and all calmness.

    Lizzy's suggestion of a head halter is good. A dog's body generally follows his head. But be sure he doesn't suddenly lunge out to the end of the leash while wearing it, as that could cause serious neck injuries.
     
  4. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    Milo did this and we worked on "focus" commands, which helps. It's hard for him to fly into mid air when he's looking at you.

    Practice it lots at times when he's calm. If he freaks out, just bring him somewhere quiet and let him calm down
     
  5. OutlineACDs

    OutlineACDs Crazy Dog!

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    Prozac is NOT an instant fix, prozac is to be used with strict behavioral modification. IOW, if you are not actively trining him what to do in panic situations, making his life calme, and teaching him to manage stress you might as well take him off the prozac.
     
  6. dogsarebetter

    dogsarebetter EVIL SHELTIES!!!!

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    Thanks for the help guys!
    Corgipower, Ruckus gets about 1 and 1/2 hour walk daily, 30 minutes of agility every other day, and about 5 obedience sessions each lasting a few minutes every day. Since I have starting doing agility he has mellowed out even more. If he doesn't get his energy outlets he is completely a nut case!

    I have been to professional trainers before, but the one i was using died. She was his agility/obedience trainer. I have been thinking about finding another trainer....
    Can anyone recommend any books?
     
  7. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Geez, we need a sticky for recommended training books.

    Check out www.apdt.com - there's a good trainer search. Books are wonderful, but they certainly don't come close to having an actual trainer.
     
  8. dogsarebetter

    dogsarebetter EVIL SHELTIES!!!!

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    well, not really training books. just books on dealing with a reactive dog. or very nervous intense dog
     
  9. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    Control Unleashed is excellent, even before you asked for what book/s to get I was going to suggest it for you.

    Good luck

    Btw, I am curious, does he only bark/lunge etc on your walks or is he also like that at agility?
     
  10. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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  11. elegy

    elegy overdogged

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    i just read control unleashed and i second it as a recommendation. very helpful, especially the "look at that!" game.

    for my high energy dog when she was younger, no way an hour and a half of walking would have been enough exercise for her. she needed to run hard every day or she was a mess.
     
  12. dogsarebetter

    dogsarebetter EVIL SHELTIES!!!!

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    during agility trails or practice he doesnt pay any attention to anything other than me and the course. you would never guess he is so crazy. but before and after the trails or practice he is awful. he barks and barks and lunges and growls at anything.
     

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