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Old 08-23-2010, 02:07 PM
mamallama mamallama is offline
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Default Lunging at traffic ... someone please tell me

what in the heck this dog would do if I wasn't there to stop him?

Nice dog. Smart. Not one shred of destruction when home alone. Has even done a little bit of therapy work at nursing homes. Three nice walks a day and not lacking in attention. But jeez-louise ... diesel trucks, buses, garbage trucks pass and I'm barely able to contain his 70+ lbs straining on the harness.

I have worked on distracting him w/treats if I am able to see the "enemy" coming, turning and going another direction, etc. but more often than not, the bus or truck just happens upon us and there's no way I can get away fast enough.

It takes everything I've got sometimes - and I'm pretty strong - to manage him while he's lunging. It just happened again today on his lunch walk and I was so goshdarn aggravated at how reactive he was.

And any clues as to how this may have originated? He was a rural stray, about 4 yrs old now, I've only had him ~6 mos., do you figure he was tied out with this being his only source of ... ??

Someone give me some clues, some insight ... PLEASE!!
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:26 PM
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CaliTerp07 CaliTerp07 is offline
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Sounds just like my Lucy. She is hyper stimulated by anything fast moving (or overly loud). She chases dogs at the park, and attempts to do the same to buses, cars, bikes, etc.

It used to be REALLY bad. I worked a long time with her though, and got it to a manageable state. The goal isn't to distract the dog with the treats, but to make the dog start to think that car=treat. Then instead of lunging at the vehicle, he'll turn to you for a cookie.

To get started, you have to find his threshold. If you stand in a park 100 yards from the street, does he go nuts when a bus goes by? 50 yards? The top of your driveway? Find a place where he can see a bus go by, but not go nuts. I camped out in a tennis court about 50 yards from the street on a Friday afternoon when I knew the school buses would be going by. (If she escaped from my grasp, we were still contained in the fence that way).

When you have your threshold point, wait for a bus to go by. Make sure he notices it, then click/treat before he gets amp'd up. If he goes crazy, you're too close and need to back up. If he does well, scoot forward a few feet. Rinse, repeat.

It's painful, tedious, and takes SO LONG. Unfortunately, I've gotten lazy recently and Lucy relapsed (I tried to just walk her on the sidewalk in the new neighborhood and it was too much for her, and sent us back to square one). It works though. You just have to be patient!
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:50 PM
mamallama mamallama is offline
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Thanks, CaliTerp ... I meant truck=treat and actually thought I was having *some* success w/this method with the town buses (make a different noise than the yellow school kind), but I know it's the diesel sound that sets him off.

Heh. Good to hear that it takes forever to teach and will quickly relapse ...

I have to say one of the things I miss about not having a dog you raise from puppydom is the ability to give my dog "the look" and have them know they just screwed up.

And I would just LOVE to know this big lug's history!

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Old 08-23-2010, 02:54 PM
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CaliTerp07 CaliTerp07 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamallama View Post
Thanks, CaliTerp ... I meant truck=treat and actually thought I was having *some* success w/this method with the town buses (make a different noise than the yellow school kind), but I know it's the diesel sound that sets him off.

Heh. Good to hear that it takes forever to teach and will quickly relapse ...

I have to say one of the things I miss about not having a dog you raise from puppydom is the ability to give my dog "the look" and have them know they just screwed up.

And I would just LOVE to know this big lug's history!

Eh, I don't know. My neighbor's dog does the same thing, and they had her since she was a puppy. I think it's something that builds up in them. Lucy didn't do it the first 6-8 months we had her. Then it just got worse and worse because I didn't know what to do about it. We trained the snot out of it for 2-3 months and it was good (to the point where only trucks set it off, not cars anymore). Like I said, I got cocky and lazy then and walked her through the neighborhood for a few weeks, and too many buses drove past and she got overly reactive again. It's all my fault--if I had continued to work on it, it wouldn't have happened.

Can you find a recording of a diesel bus online, and try desensitizing him to that in the house? It would remove the danger element if he goes crazy.
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:18 PM
mamallama mamallama is offline
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"The Look" worked with my dear, sweet, departed (NON-lunging) previous dog. I'll probably never see that reaction ever again! But I see what you're saying. This dog is very rough and tumble. Got some good ol' treehound in him too, so he kind of likes the jumping part of this great game of his. Also some cattle mix, so I'm sure the motion contributes.

The diesel recording is a good idea. I know there's one of doorbells that were used in one of his "obedience" classes. I'm going to check it out.

Thanks!
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Old 08-26-2010, 02:01 PM
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What kind of harness are you using? Most harnesses enable and even encourage the dog to pull harder. I would get a rolled leather collar, adjusted at the very top of his neck, tight enough so that you can just squeeze two fingers in. Or a sliplead adjusted at the top of the neck. I love slipleads! It would definitely give you better control and safety than a harness.

Cali's advice is good. Clickers are so useful because they are POWERFUL tools in communicating with your dog, and make it that much easier to change the way they feel and react to stimulus. You need to slowlyyy desensitize him to get a complete change in behavior, and you might need to drive to parks for long walks for a while and avoid certain areas to keep him under threshold, but it will be worth all of the effort and you will see results before you know it!
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