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Old 03-28-2008, 12:43 PM
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CharlieDog CharlieDog is offline
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Default Dog Reactive/Dog Aggression

Many of you know Ozzy. Some of you know that he was/is on leash dog reactive. I think, well, I'm pretty sure, that he has crossed the line into full blown dog aggression. Long story short, we got attacked on a walk. Twice. Once, the other dog and Ozzy came into physical contact with each others teeth, and the other a Chihuahua charged us and I dragged Ozzy out of there. I had never heard him make a noise like the one he made towards that dog, and I know, almost without a shadow of a doubt, if that other dog had made it to us, Ozzy would have seriously injured or killed it.

We had made a TON of progress in pet stores, mostly PetSmart, and it hadn't been a problem outside as much as it was inside. Now, I'm not so sure. And I'm not sure what to do. I can get his focus indoors, and I had him outside, but now, I pretty much cease to exist for Ozzy when we are outside and there is another dog outside. We just started working with a clicker, what kind of games can I play to teach him to focus on me?

I do NOT care if he can't be every other dogs buddy. In fact, I really don't plan on letting him greet other dogs unless they are friends dogs, and that will be done offleash. He does fine off leash. I just want him to ignore the other dogs. Pretend they don't exist or just, whatever. How do I accomplish this?
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Old 03-28-2008, 12:52 PM
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I taught Bamm a watch cue. Some trainers reccommend it... others not so much.

I started working with Bamm indoors. I'd have a treat in my hand and have him in a sit. I'd say watch and move the treat from his nose to my face. The second his eyes were on mine I'd click and treat.

Once he got the hang of that I started using watch outdoors. I don't know if Ozzy gets excited about squirrels or birds like Bamm does. If Bamm sees one his focus is entirely on the bird or squirrel. Since a bird and squirrel are smaller distractions to Bamm then say another dog we practiced first with them. He sees a squirrel, I say watch, he turns to me and then click/treat.

If you don't want to teach a watch cue you can just bring your clicker with you on walks. If Ozzy sees something that's a minor distraction and turns to it click/treat. He will have to turn his head back to you to receive the treat. He'll learn that when he sees a distraction he is to turn to you.

Once he has the hang of it with smaller distractions start working your way up to other dogs. When he sees another dog click/treat click/treat.

I'll let someone else build off of this... I haven't gotten a whole lot farther than this with Bamm and I know a lot more people on this board have a lot more experience dealing with reactive dogs.
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Old 03-28-2008, 12:52 PM
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My dog used to be very reactive around other dogs just like you are describing with Ozzy. It is very frustrating. I worked on it with three different trainers for two years and got nowhere. Then I read "Click to Calm" by Emma Parsons, and six months later she was appropriately greeting and coming into physical contact (though still not playing) with dogs who she would've previously barked at just for looking at her from a distance. I know that I recommend this book a lot, and no, I'm not getting any royalties! It's just that there is so much really important information in the book and step-by-step training plans that you have to follow exactly to be successful. I cannot describe to you the most important steps without seeing exactly what your dog is doing for myself. But I do think the book is written in such a way that it is not difficult to read and follow the instructions. And you do start to see small improvements the very first day, it's amazing.

Good luck.
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Old 03-29-2008, 12:26 AM
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Squirrels are a HUGE distraction for Ozzy, so I will definitely start teaching him to watch me around squirrels and birds.

We made some progress today working outside, especially with the watch me command, and with a couple people who he was reacting towards for some reason (they were acting kind of funny though, maybe he knows something I don't?).

We didn't see any dogs thankfully, because I'm still not sure of what he would do now. I was able to get and keep his attention off of some men working with a backhoe, and some people he wanted to greet.

I'm already having a problem with him watching my hand instead of my face. Even though I'm only clicking for eye contact, he still watches my hand. How to fix this? It must be something I'm doing wrong....
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Old 03-29-2008, 03:42 AM
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I've been refered to "click to calm" for Buster's issues a few times on here aswell. i asked for it for my birthday and turns out I'll have to roder it in from America so won't be getting it till after i have a job.

I'm also teaching Buster to "focus" and he's getting better, I'm going realy slowly because I want to make sure its all positive, I started when we were inside with no distractions, then moved to outside, now on walks and asking him to focus while we're walking.
Now I'm askign for them with things like cars going past or people up ahead but have taken it back to him only having to look for a couple of seconds.

he did eventually catch on looking at my hand gets him no-where, so now he always looks straight at my face.
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Old 03-29-2008, 09:57 AM
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A lot of the agility people I know are using Control Unleashed for their reactive dogs, and having a lot of success. I've personally seen a couple dogs who's ability to be onleash around other dogs has improved dramatically following the program.

I think for Meg, the CU would work a lot better than the "just watch me" school of thought. CU teaches the dog that it is okay to look at the things that worry them; you actually click/treat for it. With most of Meg's issues being fear based, I think she needs to be allowed to keep an eye on the other dogs; otherwise, she just worries even more about what is going on behind her back.
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Old 03-29-2008, 10:24 AM
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Boston, very true... I've actually been meaning to pick up a copy of that book.
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Old 03-29-2008, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieDog View Post
I'm already having a problem with him watching my hand instead of my face. Even though I'm only clicking for eye contact, he still watches my hand. How to fix this? It must be something I'm doing wrong....
"Click to calm" also stresses click/treat when your dog looks at whatever he's reactive to. Eye contact comes much later. I've never read CU, it's definately on my list.

Are you holding the treats in your hand? That would make your hands very distracting. In that case, use a treat bag or put your treats in your pocket (I prefer the treat bag because it's usually a lot slower to dig a treat out of your pocket), or of course if you're in the house you don't need the treats on you at all, put them on a counter, table, shelf, etc.

Another possibility is that you're moving your hand toward the treat slightly before or at the same time as you click. If that's it, your hand moving is actually a much stronger marker than the click, and your click is irrelevant to your dog. Be careful to not move or say anything at all until AFTER the click.
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Old 03-29-2008, 02:09 PM
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I keep the treats in a treat bag, but of course, it is possible I'm moving my hands or something. I'll start a conscious effort to be still when I click from now on..

And Control Unleashed is also something I've been meaning to pick up!!
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Old 03-29-2008, 05:18 PM
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Basically, I taught Lizzie that it is NOT, under any circumstance, okay to act that way.

Thats sounds horribly mean, though. lol

Actually, I started with treats. But it seemed to make it worse with Lizzie. So I didn't use them anymore.

I first started with a small leash correction, along with a "NO" or "Shhhhh" (not yelled or loud, but firm) if I saw her getting the least bit reactive to another dog. If that didn't work, I would put her in a sit/stay and walk ahead of her leaving her their. Usually that would do the trick because she's interested in why I'm "leaving" her.

Now, I have almost eliminated the leach correction and can give her the "shhhhhh" when walking in those "intense" places (where dogs she doens't like live) and she'll do fine. Actually, we went on a walk a few days ago by a house she doesn't like, and I gave her the "shhhhhhhh", and she didn't even look at the dog. I was really proud of her.

I, also, tried the watch me, and it didn't work for Lizzie.

Honestly, I don't have a good focus (meaning eye to eye contact, focusing on me and only me) with Lizzie outside around new things. But I have control over her through words (she doesn't have to be looking me, and can even be walking ahead of me), which is fine by me - and it works for me and my dog.
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