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  #21  
Old 06-18-2008, 08:49 PM
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I would also suggest you go back to the beginning. Have him sit and stay as you open the car door. Give a command for him to go in the car, have him down, praise and then out of the car. repeat over and over. Slowly increase the down time before you have him hop out.

Do you clicker train Harry? (I've decided it's the greatest thing ever)
i suggest you do. Teach him what the click means then during you training sessions with the car use the click and treat to mark any silence or calm behavior (if he chooses to sit or lie down or even LOOK at you for a moment). Keep session SHORT, try to end them before he starts to flip out. If he does then wait for a calm (in the video he does have moments when he stops for a few seconds perfect time for a click and treat!), reward and leave but remember when he flipped and end session before that next time.

Also work on a "focus" command to teach him (not in the car right now). this command means he must look at your face. if he is focused on your face he is more likely to listen to you. Once he learns to look at you on command use it to give instruction. Say "focus" Click and treat then when he is looking at something else say "focus", "sit" then reward for compliance. Then do it at the door (switch up your commands, sit sometimes, down other times, paw maybe or any other command he knows that are not connected with excitement so don't have him speak or spin in a circle) then at the car door. then with an open car door, then after making him sit and wait for you to load him up, release him into the car have him focus, click and treat, "focus" then some command with reward then command him to jump out and end session.

Do a lot of those, he needs to stay focused in the car, be at the back end with him during this. Slowly increase the length of the in car sessions. once he listens well during these short sessions you can stop making him listen the whole time. Load him up, have him do a few things. then let him chill for a few seconds then ask for something else. wait again. If at ANY point he starts to show anxiety or excitement quickly ask for "focus" again and reward him heavily (with treats and gentle praise we don't want to excite him) for compliance, ask for something else and end the session. If he ignores your command and you cannot use a sudden sound (whistle, high pitches squeak) or hand movement (quickly move hand around on the car floor near him) to snap him out wait for a lull in his episode to click and treat him and end the session. once again it's best if you not let it get that far.

eventually the breaks where he has to control himself without you saying anything must increase. BUT remember to click and treat if he uses the command you taught (looking at you) to calm himself. So if you are waiting and he looks at your face reward him. Keep rewarding for anything he does to calm himself like sitting or lieing down. Any attempts he makes at self control should be rewarded. For instance if he is staring at the door and it looks as if he is about to flip but then looks away he should be clicked and treated.

with the addition of the crate maybe you could use that as a place for him to choose to go for now. What i mean is during all these session have the crate back there but don't force him in, let him choose to go in with the help of the clicker. So during the waiting times when you are not telling him what to do but are hoping he remains in control along with looking at you, sitting or lieing down or any other self control, click him for looking at the crate, sniffing the crate, poking his head in the crate, stepping in the crate or going all the way in. Jackpot him (give multiple treats one at a time) for making any of those big steps for the first time. Eventually he will start going in the crate every time and once you get to this point where he lies in the crate every time you tell him to go in the back of the car you know the dog has gotten to a place of self control that is really amazing progress. At that point start clicking every few seconds then minutes for him staying in the crate with the door open. make sure to end the session before he decides he wants out of the crate. This means the first time maybe only let him in the crate for 7 seconds before having him get out and ending the session. Once he is completely relaxed in the crate for an extended period start closing the door and once again click for him staying calm in the crate over time and increasing the time slowly always making sure to end the session before he wants to.

once he will lay in the crate, with the door closed, calmly as you eat lunch with him do it again as you sit in the drivers seat. You'll have to start with short sessions again but can start with the crate closed. once he gets up to the same time calm as he was doing while you sat back there start driving VERY short distances. I mean load him up, click and treat for him going in the crate, get in the driver's seat, click and treat for him being calm. Start car, click and treat for him being calm, drive to the end of the driveway, click and treat, drive back click and treat then end session. if starting the car is a trigger you'll also have to work with him while the car is running before you start driving.

When you start longer drives have someone else drive or click and treat him at random time intervals so you don't crash into a pole or something.

Remember once you can start driving places he must never enter or exit the car in a state of out of control-ness. He needs to sit and wait to be released before getting in or out of the car. If you are letting him out of the crate give his wait command and crack the door if he bolts up hold it shut and try and try until he does not try and bolt. Then reach in and leash and give release command, open door the entire way. Eventually he will stay still even if you swing open the door and leash him, you can also practice this going in and out of the house, you should be able to open the door and he should stay there waiting until you say he may go in or out. if he breaks the wait before you say, either close the door (so long as you won't crush him) or shove some part of you in front of him (preferably all of you in a body block but a leg works too) and make him wait again. His reward for waiting is getting to go.

This is how I would do it, I am a no punishment person when it can be helped unless the punishment is negative punishment (removal of something good such as attention, access to other dogs etc.) so that is why i adore clicker training.

I know this is long and hard but he seems to have a real obsession so it will take time and patience, good luck! I really hope you stick to it whatever method you decide to use and you see improvement soon!
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  #22  
Old 06-18-2008, 09:37 PM
RedyreRottweilers
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Love your excellent reply, Maxy.

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  #23  
Old 06-18-2008, 10:31 PM
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Wow, thanks so much for taking the time to outline your approach to this problem in such detail.

I'll most certainly read through your post several times and try some of your suggestions!
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  #24  
Old 06-19-2008, 07:42 AM
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I am so glad someone posted about this. Ruckus does it too. but actually he barks manic like that at anything.
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  #25  
Old 06-20-2008, 11:35 AM
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Hi all,

I've been working with Harry for the past few days.

I shot some more video of a typical training session in the back of the car. CLICK HERE TO WATCH

I'd love to hear some feedback on this if you don't mind.
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  #26  
Old 06-20-2008, 08:24 PM
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Maxy24 Maxy24 is offline
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well considering it's only been like two days I think it's very good that he listens to your commands even as he's barking and everything. Clearly though he feels that when you approach the door you mean to close it. i think for a long time you should not even attempt to close the door, moving that fast will set you back. No closing until he is as calm as possible in the back for days or weeks. Of course if you actually have to take him somewhere there is a problem perhaps borrow someone else's car and crate him in the back seat or something, just so you won't be set back.

I also really urge you to clicker train it would just be so perfect for this because as I watch I see those brief moments between barking episodes where he stops for a few seconds (or less) and it would be perfect to click and treat because if you simply tried to give him a treat I think he would start up again before you got it to him. with the click you can click the silence and still give him the treat if he starts barking again before you get to him. After a click for silence if he remains silent say for a second give another click and treat then every two seconds of silence would be clicked so he knew *staying* quiet earns the most treats.

Now you always praised for him listening to your commands which is great but it's also important that he is praised for any calmness (not barking, *staying* in the correct position over time etc.).

Have you ever tried clicker training or are you familiar with how it works? I could teach you how to teach it, just pick up a clicker at a pet store they are cheap. Of course if you do not want to go the clicker training route that's fine, it's just how my brain wants to approach this one.

I think you are doing well though, I'm glad you got started right away. how do you feel things have been going? are you confident in how he is responding or is anything worrying you?
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  #27  
Old 06-23-2008, 09:30 AM
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Thanks Maxy24.

We actually did some clicker training before, but never really followed through with it (primarily because I didn't take the time to really get familiar with the technique and my trainers didn't use it.) I pulled the clicker out over the weekend, read a good clicker book and a bunch of online articles. We worked on charging the clicker over the weekend, and also on doing a heads-up heel. We've had good luck with the heads-up work, and I think it will be of benefit since it will help him focus on me while we're in the back of the car. When I get a chance, I post some video of the clicker work we're doing.

I also pulled out my gentle leader (haven't used it for quite some time~ he doesn't need it if there aren't cars around). I've been using it to try to keep his attention on me while on a walk. We've been keeping a good distance from the road to prevent the really excessive lunging. The gentle leader and the clicker in combination seem to be pretty helpful, as we were able to go on walks on side streets that were very difficult to do before.

I'll post some updates as time goes by. Again, thanks for all the help!
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