Training aloofness?

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Romy, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Since I started training Kaia as a replacement for Strider, we've had some challenges. Mostly, she ADORES every blasted human being on the planet so if they make eye contact, or coo at her, or reach out to pet her, she goes happynutsballisticiwannalickyourforehead.

    When I'm in control of my faculties, this isn't an issue as much as it's annoying. I can control and redirect her fine then. But I absolutely can't trust her to stay focused when I'm triggering and having an episode. If paramedics or something came to help, she'd probably slobber all over them. :rolleyes:

    Anyway, is there anything I can do to teach her to be more aloof while she's working? This is completely her personality. She came that way, it was actually one big reasons I picked her over her sister. I'm starting to think she's not going to work as a public access service dog because of it (she does an awesome job at home or places that aren't crowded with people), to the point where if we were able to have three dogs I would search out a third prospect. Sigh.
     
  2. stardogs

    stardogs Behavior Nerd

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    People Zen with a clicker? Mark any "non interest" in people she sees and reward from you 90% of the time, use getting to say hi to the person only as a reward for super awesome performances. Don't teach a cue for this, just create it as a default.

    Also, might putting the "go say hi" behavior on cue work?
     
  3. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Of the service dogs I train, probably at least 90% of them are like ^^^THIS when we first evaluate them. We actually take it as a good sign... if a dog's aloof in the beginning of public access training, it often means he's uncomfortable, and we definately don't want a SD who's uncomfortable in public.

    Anyway, there's really very little difference between being distracted by friendly people, and being distracted by food or small animals or anything else. We start easy, working the dog around people who know to ignore them, and gradually work up to people who are obnoxious about wanting to pet and talk to them. It helps if you can use friends and people who are willing to help you do a training session, versus strangers in public who will be obnoxious before you're ready.

    You can also be careful about taking her to places where people are a bit less likely to want to engage with her. Pet stores are THE WORST place to take SDs, because people go in there expecting to visit with lots of other dogs. Restaurants and grocery stores are acutally good places where people will pretty much ignore your dog, if she's ready for them.
     
  4. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    Yup. This is still a bit of an issue for Logan, too, althoguh he's SO much better about it now. He adores everyone and every dog. So it's just a matter of getting "default ignore" down so I don't have to keep telling him "leave it" when we see things.

    I also second the pet stores thing, unfortunately. We do a lot of training in Tractor Supply where there are less people, less annoying people, and half the people don't even know dogs are allowed in the store, so they're more likely to assume he's a working dog. Pets stores - forget about it! I'm almost to the point where I'm just not going to take him to pet stores at all, ever, because his training falls apart in them. Anywhere else he's **** near perfect. Well, except for in the rally ring, his brain falls out there too lately :rofl1:
     
  5. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Thanks everybody. :) I hate pet stores too, we never actually brought Strider to them beyond teaching him what the heck automatic doors are when he was a puppy. Other people were just too obnoxious and let their dogs rush up on us.

    So it looks like now I just need to find some people to help be distractions. That should be doable. I love Kaia's temperament, she is just totally bold and fearless on top of friendly. We take her to fireworks shows, motorcycle rallies, etc. and she just thrives on all the noise and chaos. lol
     
  6. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    Kaia sounds like she has a perfect temperament!

    I did a lot of work with Eve in public and rewarded her anytime her attention was either on me or her surroundings. I made a few of these just-for-Eve trips every week, where I just went places specifically to improve her reactions to large groups of friendly people.

    She still has an enormous soft spot for children and people in wheelchairs. If they want to come up and engage her, it takes all her willpower and usually a "leave it" from me to get her to look the other way. I don't expect her to never be friendly.
     

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