Trainers HELP: barking at bikes

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by PoodleMommy, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. PoodleMommy

    PoodleMommy Yorkie Love

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    So When I take Armani for walks he is fairly good as we pass people and dogs but as soon as a bikes passes he freaks out barking up a storm.

    I will tell you what I have been doing but please dont yell at me I know it is probably all wrong.:(

    If I see the bike coming I stop... I get between him and the bike on the sidewalk so that he is on my opposite side that the bike would be coming then I put him in a sit stay and tell him Good Boy Good Boy until the barking starts at which time I say NO until he stops then Good Boy Again... once the "incident" is over we continue on our way.

    This is not helping at all.

    So please tell me what to do different and what I am doing wrong.

    Or tell me my dog is CRAZY for barking at bikes only... thats fine too.
     
  2. Kayla

    Kayla New Member

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    This is the broken down explination of the look at that game from Leslie McDevit's Book Control Unleashed. She calls it "reframing the picture". I have used it with my guy for excessive barking at things that scared him in public ( other dogs). While you begin working through it remember whenever possible be proactive about avoiding your dog's triggers (bikes). I know this is not always possible so if you are confronted with a bike try and get between your dog and the bike ( I think you mentioned you were already doing that- good idea:)) and start walking in the opposite direction to get away from it.

    You will also need a bike to be your decoy and a friend or family member who can help you out.

    Set up the bike 10-20 feet away ( or however far you need to be away from a bike to have her relatively calm), mark and reward her for looking at the bike.

    Now move 2-3' closer, mark ( yes works well) and reward.

    Gradually move closer and closer, marking your pup for calmly looking at the bike.

    If at any point she reacts do not mark and reward- simply walk away and focus on feeling calm.

    Once you can get right up to the bike no problem, have you assistant move the bike in a straight line slowly, increase your distance between you and your pup back to 10-20 feet ( or however far you need to be), mark and reward for any looking, posturing is fine, the idea is to interupt the cycle of

    Look-Stare-Posture-Growl-Snarl-Explosive Barking

    by rewarding one of the first three, thus interupting the chain and changing the cycle.

    Once your dog catches on to the new cycle she will no longer be looking at the bikes because they are stimulating- she will be looking at them in hopes of getting you to give her a treat.

    Slowly you can decrease distance and increase the speed at which your friend can ride around. As the reinforcement bank begins to fill up your dogs behaviour will change towards bicycles.

    This has been a life safer with Duke, I always catch him staring at people with dogs before looking back at me, and then looking again and then looking back. He knows the game- and all dogs can learn to play it.
     
  3. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    It just sounds like something he wasn't socialized to. I think you can desensatize him. Do you have a bike? Anyone else in the family or some neighbor kids who could help you? As with anything, it's always more effective to set up situations to practice in rather than try to deal with it out in real life situations...when you're unprepared and can not control the environment.

    Take him out to your driveway and load your pockets with chicken or steak tid bits. Do this a few times a day when he hasn't just eaten a meal. Have one bike, one person stand there with the bike stationary as far away as necessary where it doesn't make your dog nervous. Move the bike back and forth, but not riding it. Just standing along side it. Try walking the dog back and forth crosswise so that he only passes it closely for a moment and then is further away again. Reinforce with a treat when he is somewhat close to it. And ignore him as you are moving away from it.

    Stop near the person with the bike and chat, tossle his fur, have a nice time near the bike. Then have the person with the bike ride it slowly...just around the driveway, maybe even with his feet touching the ground to move the bike a little bit. In other words, just go slowly, gradually increasing the degree of difficulty for him. Get him use to seeing the bike at a less threatening level and associating a great time and fantastic treats with the bike, but not when the bike goes away...when the bike is really part of the mix.

    After he gets habituated to that, try out on the road where the bike may go a tad faster or in a straight line, but at some distance....where it's relatively comfortable for the dog. Then slowly decrease the distance.

    Then move onto another person, another bike...as he gets more use to that, vary your location...another spot on the road or sidewalk. Make it like a game and deliver your reinforcer rapidly as long as his behavior is good. When you walk away from the bike or the bike goes away from you, back off on the attention and reinforcer. Good things happen in the presence of kids/grown ups on bikes and it's more boring without them around. Move forward gradually over a couple of weeks.
     
  4. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    LOL Kayla. We must have been typing away at the same time....didn't see your great post before I wrote and posted.
     
  5. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    This is very good. I love that whole concept. In fact, now that I think about it, I do that very thing (and I bet you do too) in other contexts without even thinking about it consciously. I interrupt behavior a lot as I see it begin to build by getting in that reward or praise for what they haven't done yet. LOL. Like when they bark too much and I say "enough", they will stop, but they may well start up again if it's something that really makes them reactive. I'll jump in and tell them how wonderful they are to only alert with their body language and they get so distracted, they forget to bark, plus they look like, "where's the treat? Do we get a treat?"

    Another thing that is sometimes done is rewarding the dog's calmness by removing the thing you are trying to get him non reactive toward or removing him. At first he's upset (in one way or another) about the bike. So, when he has a second of calmness, you can mark that and walk away from the bike, giving him that distance he wants. (or I assume he wants. Maybe he'd really like to go play or chase the bike like prey) LOL. Anyhow, you do that for some time until he's improving, making sure not to walk away WHILE he's having a tizzy fit. Then later you start associating the bike with reward, not the absense of the bike as reward.

    Anyhow, I don't know just how reactive Armani is. Is he crazy when a bike is close to him if it's not moving? Whatever level he is, that's what you have to take into account and sort of start from.
     
  6. Kayla

    Kayla New Member

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    Lol we must be on a shared mind wave Carrie. When I first read CU I was like WOW that is so clever- than I though about it more and came to the same relization as you in one way or another I had been trying to interupt inappropriate behaviour cycles in a similar way.
     
  7. PoodleMommy

    PoodleMommy Yorkie Love

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    Yes it was def. a lack of socialization... his breeder was on a farm so he had lots of space but almost no exposure to anything except people and other animals. Once I got him I didnt think about it... I made sure he met people and dogs and cats and stuff but I never thought of a bike.

    The problem is I dont know anyone with a bike... most of the people who ride them are just the delivery people.

    Thats why I havent known how to deal with it because I cant really set up situations they just kind of have to happen.
     
  8. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    I notice that more and more....that when I read something, it sounds like some phenomenon...how it's described, worded, a real systematic thing. Then I look at it again and say, "Hey! I think I've always done that.....I think." LOL. Sometimes when we have had dogs for a long time, we develop things and aren't really analyzing what it is exactly we're doing. We just do it. And we notice things....body language and when trying to describe something to someone else, it can be difficult. It's easy to leave something out that we take for granted because it's sort of in our subconscious almost. Weird, huh. Anyhow, I like that description about breaking the cycle of behaviors leading up to the "grand finale`" ....how it is broken down and explained so well.
     
  9. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Oh, missed your last post PM. Well....hmmmmm....We'll have to brainstorm.

    You know....come to think of it, thinking back on Lyric when I would take him with me to visit in Seattle where there was this big deal of a walking path which had a side for wheeled things and a side for walking....skate boards, bikes, in line skates with people attached would go zooming right past us, joggers too. He never blinked an eye...couldn't have cared less. And what's funny is that he had no particular socialization to those things, other than maybe an occassional jogger. Around here is my little dirt road with hardly anyone on it, hiking trails in the woods, the golf course, the lake. I mean, you just don't see anyone on wheeled things other than 4x4s and snowmobiles. (they're not on wheels but they're noisy) Anyhow, so he didn't have any exposure to those things and yet, he wasn't affected by them. He was however exposed to a lot of other things, scary, noisy equipment and so forth, lots of people etc. I guess he had good "bounce back" developed where novel things just didn't rile him up. Plus, maybe his own temperament....just not a very excitable guy that way.

    Well, I'll be thinking some more on your dilema and maybe someone else will hit on something. Maybe a video he could watch?:popcorn: (okay, not funny) sorry.
     
  10. PoodleMommy

    PoodleMommy Yorkie Love

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    haha...During the day when Im gone I could leave videos of BMX racing or something on tv.
     
  11. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    There you go! LOL.

    It's so hard to desensatize a dog to something when you don't have access to that something very much. It was like that with Lyric and other dogs. There wasn't enough instances, not frequent enough, too few dogs to interact with. And he was reactive to them on leash primarily. Not aggressive once he would get to them. He most always ended up wanting to play, but he would scare the bejeezus out of me sometimes, the way he acted on a leash, acted very aggressive at first (embarrassing) except in class. Then he was all business and minded his Ps and Qs. LOL.
     
  12. Kactriz

    Kactriz New Member

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    I'm so glad to have stumbled upon this post! I've been lurking on the forum for a while, but rarely post. My dog has recently started displaying this behavior as well and I haven't been sure how to 'retrain' him. In my case, too, it's the result of a lack of socialization around bikes. I was so conscientious of socializing him to people as a puppy, but I never thought about bikes! Thanks for the excellent advice, Kayla and Doberluv.
     
  13. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Oh great! I'm glad you found this thread. Do tell us how you go about getting your dog's behavior fixed up and keep us posted how he does.
     

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