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Old 03-25-2008, 03:40 AM
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mrose_s mrose_s is offline
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Default Recall, Respect and "Leave It"

We had an... event this afternoon.

We went out to the bakyard and all the dogs were down the back. They were after a big bearded dragon, about a foot long, we've found 2 dead in the yard since we've moved in and I've called Mac, Harry and Buster off another one a couple of weeks ago.
Their everywhere, I think they come in from the creek behind our house and its not a good spot for them to be.

Its a big yard so I ran down yelling and calling. Buster and Mac backed off almost right away. Sophie got distracted and Harry wouldn't stop chasing it, before I could grab him Sophie went back and grabbed it. It was bloody awful, she jsut wouldn't stop. Grace went down and whopped her on the backside and dragged her away before she stopped, the poor thing writhed around and died within 10 seconds.

Now I have always sung this girl praises thanks to her good behaviour, low prey drive and love of "little things" so this raises all sorts of things. Including what happened if the dogs got in a fight and she just wouldn't stop, shes a big dogs with a lot of power and thats scary as hell.

I understand prey drive enough to not expect them not to chase lizards, I do expect them to stop when told to though. Sophie is naughty, but she's never killed a thing in her life, and she was the only one in the group actually wanting to kill it, not just chasing it.

Nothing annoys me more though, than thinking they'kll "get it" if you yell and scream at them 5 hours later. Just because you show them the lizard doesn't mean they need a "touch up"

So what now? Do I just work on recall and "leave it" more with Harry and Sophie.
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Old 03-25-2008, 06:25 AM
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Chewbecca Chewbecca is offline
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I would work on it with them more.

A good "drop it" wouldn't hurt either.
It's a struggle. I cannot imagine my dog ignoring anything on four legs, especially if she already has it in her mouth. We worked on her "Drop it" last night. Hers always starts out immediately dropping the item, but then as we keep practicing, she stops dropping it so well for me.

Stinker.

Good luck on your work!
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:01 AM
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mrose_s mrose_s is offline
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The problem with Sophie is that, she doesn't really pick much up. She isn't into toys, kinda into treats, but not much.

I've been doign some basic stuff with her but I havn't done much as even sit or lie down can be a bit of a big ask some days.

I'll go through some stuff with her tomorow, I just can;t look at her tonight. I know I can't blame her but just, erh. not nice.
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:29 AM
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I know you're mad/disappointed/upset at her, but try not to be. Dogs are going to be dogs and they're going to be opportunistic about things. They can slip into that "dog" mode and forget training sometimes.

Take anything high value to her (does she like food besides treats?) and drop it in front of her. Use your foot at first to block her as you say "leave it". Not harshly, just place your foot over the object (above it, not on it) and say "leave it". She'll pick it up fast, trust me. I taught Ella by using treats, and she is not even that treat motivated. I find there are very few commands that I do not have to work with Ella on all the time.

We still struggle with simple commands as "down" and "Sit". She's a stinker and I am not consistent enough.

Practice in your house at first. Once she has it down in your house, try it outside (outside is ALWAYS a distraction for Ella, even if there is nothing really that distracting outside). We worked last night on some of her commands.


I worked with Ella last night outside and it has been MONTHS since I have been able to work on basic obedience with her outside (due to weather). But she downed for me, via a treat unfortunately, but still, she downed when last year she wouldn't even down outside for a treat for me. She also did a fabulous "watch me".

The key with training is to find something that your dog deems high value and use that to your advantage. I tried working on Ella's dog aggression (this is going to sound silly) last year by tapping into her ball obsession. I took her outside and had her ball and I would have her sit and down and then I'd place her ball in front of her. I started out with her "wait" command then we moved to her "leave it" command. Ella is so dang ball obsessed, that I figured if I could tap into her ball obsession and get her to "leave it" and "ignore it", then I might be one step closer to getting her to ignore other dogs.

It has worked a bit, but I have to constantly work with her on it. Her natural instinct is to react to other dogs, so I have to keep reinforcing that that is not acceptable behavior. And it's NOT easy.

Just keep working with her. It can be done.
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:48 AM
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I'll start in the next couple of days. Thanks.

Sometimes I wish Buster was ball obsessed, would probably make his DA work easier, we've been woring hard on his heal with a clicker latley, he's getting pretty good but today was a few steps bakwards (first time I've warn shoes on our training walks so his excitement level was through the roof) we're yet to run into a dog, when we do I think I'll just turn and walk back right away, I'd rather not go too far back to fast.

I kinda wish I could get it through to my mother how much some good training would improve Harry's behaviour as opposed to quick fixes at the time.
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:19 AM
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Chewbecca Chewbecca is offline
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Do you know for a fact that Buster is dog aggressive?

Is it possible he could just be leash reactive?
I ask because I'm pretty sure Ella is dog aggressive. It's just something you know. I know that if she saw a dog when she was off leash, she would attack it without any warning. And fast.
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:31 AM
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I know he is most definetly leash aggressive, offleash his recall is very good, even when another dog appears suddenly. But he is very dominant if he meets another dog offleash. My bigegst fear would be he'd go up and try to dominate it and it wouldn't have any of that.
He is also fine with dogs inside the yard (even intact males with a bitch on heat around) but the second you step outside he's into everything.

I'd love to go see a behaviourist but am so sick of arguing qwith mother about it, I'll just get my license and do it myself when I can.
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Old 03-25-2008, 11:37 PM
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It happened again

I heard rustling down the back, looked out the window and there she is swinging it back a forwards. This is awful, this is the same dog that acidentally reacted and killed a possum when it latched onto her face and then sulked for weeks on end.

The first 2 I found I thought was all the boys doing, Harry gets curious and chasy, Buster has always been the one with the kill drive (well I thought) and what was he doing today? Standing halfway up the yard peeing on a tree. The walking up to the house, no interest.

I'm shell shocked, this girl has always been so gentle. Whats happened, is it just because she;s in a pack and when the others show interest she looses it. I honestly just waited till she dropped it today then grabbed her and hauled her away. It was all over in 3 seconds and I figured better off to let her kill it fast then to have to let it suffer and die slowly afterwards, I don't know if thats the right thing though. the worst thing is, she just kills them then walks away, she doesn't even eat them. And no-one shows any interest after its dead.

I went down and scraped some escape roots against the back fence as that seems to be where they all get stuck. I'm hopeing it won't encourage the dogs to dig out.

I can't lock Sophie away except when supervised, she isn't allowed in the house during the day and the laundry is tiny.

I don't like seeing animals die, I don't like seeing our gentle wouldn't-harm-a-fly girl kill things, this is bloody awful.
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Old 03-26-2008, 06:05 AM
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CharlieDog CharlieDog is offline
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She's a dog. Dogs will kill small furry animals (or scaly, quick moving ones) sometimes. I know its hard, but you have to remember that. Prey drive does not equal aggressive or mean. Ozzy loves ALL people, but he has killed small animals, and will probably kill more. Some squirrels are slow, some moles can't dig as fast as he can. It can be upsetting, but dogs will be dogs will be dogs. It doesn't reflect in anyway on you that your dog has prey drive.

You can however, teach her to leave them alone, or call her off when they appear in the yard. It'll take some time, but it can be done. Just like I taught Ozzy to ignore cats. He would probably be a cat killer if given half the chance, because every cat that isn't our cat equals something to chase. If I didn't care, or was lax about teaching him leave it, and a strong recall, there is no doubt in my mind he would kill a cat. It's just something that is hardwired in.
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Old 03-26-2008, 07:31 AM
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I know, I suppose. Its just... I wouldn't expect it from her, her who's best frined was a fish and a tomatoe plant. Then it raises things like, what if it was a snake? It could kill her, it could kill all of them.
If it was Buster or Harry... I wouldn't be the least bit surprised.

Plus I could talk prey drive to my family till the cows come home (which will be quite a while seeing as we have no cows) and they still won't get what I mean. They're disgusted in her, I'm more shocked.

I'll start on calling her off treats at first. Her obediance is absolutley dreadful. I can get everyone else to sit and wait for their food till I say, I can barely get her to put her bum on the ground for more than a second. So I guess thats where I start, not goign to be easy. The others are much more eager to please, she couldn't care less.

Thankyou Chewbecca and CharlieDog, its been making me go all over the place. I'm back to reality. I'll keep a close eye on them tomorow.

Out of all this though, I am so impressed with Buster's behaviour. Even when he's been chasing them his recall has been brilliant and I don't like going down and getting them or looking at them alone, just freaks me out. So I take him, I tell the others off. I ask him to heel and he does the entire way, and a quiet "leave it" makes him react staright away and just go and do his own thing. If there has been any good out of this, its proven his training is starting to pay off.
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