When its unavoidable

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by mrose_s, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. mrose_s

    mrose_s BusterLove

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    that I run into a dog with Buster, what should I do?

    He's getting better with the distance he can take between dogs, it varies, but its usually about 40-50metres if the dog is loose and ignoring him.

    So I took him out today, through this little strip of bush behind our house, there was a big BC behind a fence barking at him which he glanced at once even though we were only a few metres away and then promptly ignored, he was much too busy tracking birds. (I had him on a horse lunge rope)

    Then just as we were coming out back towards the road there was a Staffy walking with its owner probably 20metres away, it didn't even notice him but any concentration he had was gone, we'd just come aroudn the corner and he noticed it before I did.

    He pulled to the end of the rope, stared, tail in the air, pointing (like he's part GSP or something lol) when it got out of
    "range" he started his frustrated whining and wants to follow it.
    This reaction is pretty typical.

    While I'm trying to avoid dogs that I can't control the situation around, I can't always, even just coming around the corner could end up with us facing another dog I didn't know was there.

    My question, how should I treat this situation? When he's already turned off.

    Ignore it, continue on like he's not straining at the end of the lead, eventhough I really don't want to reinforce any pulling.

    Try a command like "sit" or "come" eventhough he's not really listening at this stage, and once he does, he's so overstimulated he can't do it properly. Like he'll run to me then flip around and start going to the end of his lead again, or he'll whine and sit/lie down then run to the end of his leash again

    I could turn around and walking away from teh situation, but from what I've seen so far, this really makes him a lot worse. Like he thinks that now there is a real reason to feel insecure around that dog, if I want to get out of the situation, then there is really something to fear.

    I won't be using this as how I help him with his DA, I will continue to work slowly on getting him comfortable with other dogs, but in the situations where he starts reacting before I can avoid/distract from the dog, what shoudl I do?
     
  2. DogstarAcademy

    DogstarAcademy New Member

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    I'd make a quick about turn and head the other way (yes, you're going to get pulling, but in a situation like that, it's the least of the sins, IMO.)
     
  3. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    It depends a bit on the situation. Nyx is DR. When we're out for a potty walk or something, if she sees another dog, she'll move to the end of the leash and then stare. I find that if I move up just a little to put slack in the leash, she'll give me a moment of attention. If I capture that moment (gotta be quick!!) and reward her (no time for a treat or toy to be dug out of a pocket, here's where praise is used big time, with a treat or toy on the way as I maintain her attention), she'll do better next time at refocusing to me. When she's at the end of the leash staring at the other dog, she still has a sense of where I am through the leash. By putting slack in it, she needs to look at me in order to know where I am and what I'm doing.

    There are other times - like when I took her to the vet and there was another dog in the waiting room. I walked in there purposefully and walked straight on to the exam room (I already knew which room to take her to). She barely even looked at the other dog. So this technique can work, but it probably helps if you're not caught by surprise. I was able to ensure that I had her attention before walking in.

    In situations where neither of those is an option, then turning and walking away is what I do. She does turn and strain to try to remain focused on the other dog. I am very watchful of her, and even the slightest ear flick in my direction gets praised. (BTW, this is the type of situation where she does her meerkat impersonation :p ).

    Attempting a sit stay would be very low on the list of options. It usually doesn't work well. The dog is too worked up to sit, plus while he's sitting he's still focusing on the other dog and continuing to increase his stimulation. Eventually there may be a time when he needs to be able to sit in a situation like this but IMO that's much more advanced.
     
  4. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    The way that I worked with my dog's dog reactivity, was I would click as soon as she looked at the other dog, before she got too worked up. She'd turn to me to get her treat, and then turn back and look at the other dog again... click/treat. Then I moved on from there. In "training sessions," I'd start far away from the other dog, outside of her threshold. But, if a dog happened to pop up unexpetedly, I'd still click/treat her for looking at the dog. Sometimes she'd ignore the click and react anyway, sometimes she'd acknowledge the click and get a jackpot reward.... as we're walking away.

    I also put "turning around" on cue. When I turn I usually turn into my dog, so that I walk in front of her and she pivots in place at my side. This way my body blocks her line of sight and gets her attention back on me. I practice this A LOT without distractions, and then with dogs present while we're practicing outside of her threshold. I put it on cue so that she starts to refocus on me even just before we turn.
     
  5. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    With Nyx I have to turn away from her. If I body block her with a turn into her, I risk a severe overreaction with me getting bitten.
     
  6. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Then you can put that on cue, instead.
     
  7. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    Hmmm...not yet I can't Certainly not a verbal cue. I do use the same body language every time, but I don't think she sees it. If I try to add input of a cue, it adds to her overstimulation ~ like an
    ohmygodsomethingisbeingdoneorsaidandineedtowatchthisotherdogandcan'tprocessallthatatonetime
    moment.
     
  8. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Well, the trick is to train the cue SOLIDLY before you try it in an over stimulating environment. Just like how you wouldn't ask your dog for a 10 minute sit-stay in a distracting place if you've never done a 10-minute sit-stay in a less distracting place. It does take a lot of practice and a lot of time, but IMO it's very worth it. Your dog will turn around with you instead of hitting the end of the leash and basically having to be dragged along!
     
  9. mrose_s

    mrose_s BusterLove

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    Thanks for the suggestions guys.

    I have read before that you could gain a quick moment of attention by slackening the leash CP, I tried it yesterday with buster, just walked quietly forward, he just thinks "awesome, got more room" and takes up the slack right away.

    I need to do more work on bringing his focus back to me I think, he's improved a lot but he is still very in his-own-zone when we are out. I've seen him improve a lot but so much of the time he's just so switched off to whats happening at my end of the leash.
     
  10. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    The first time I did it with Nyx, she did the same thing. But with a slight ear twitch in my direction. As soon as she stepped up to take up the slack, I moved up again to put slack in it again. That's when she turned to look at me.

    Mind you, it's just a little slack. Just enough that the leash isn't tight. All I move is my arm, reaching forward a little.
     

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