Dog Site - Dog Stuff
Dog Forum | Dog Pictures

Go Back   Chazhound Dog Forum > Dog Discussions and Dog Talk Forums > Dog Training Forum


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-02-2008, 10:21 PM
Romy's Avatar
Romy Romy is offline
Taxiderpy
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 9,971
Unhappy How do I fix this?

Long story short, Strider was attacked by two dogs in the same week a few weeks ago. One was another service dog in a store.

Since then, he has been reactive with certain dogs in certain situations. Mainly, if the other dog barks, or is posturing aggressively, Strider believes it is a dangerous threat and he will growl, bark back, and sometimes lunge if the other dog is straining at the end of it's leash trying to get him. He ONLY reacts however, if he is on leash and I am at the other end. I can turn him loose in the playfield with strange friendly dogs and he is totally fine just as he was before. My husband can walk him, and he doesn't do anything. Which at first was strange because he never listens to Robert. Robert is totally inconsistent with him and Strider doesn't have much respect for his leadership.

The conclusion we have come to is that Strider feels that:

A: posturing dogs are a threat

B: The baby and I need to be protected from that threat.

So, how do I go about teaching him that he doesn't need to protect us? He doesn't try to protect Robert, just the baby and me.

So far I have been taking him out just by myself, and working at a distance with other dogs. Redirecting aggressive staring by having him watch me, and doing little distractive obedience drills with really high value treats while other dogs approach. Then when they start to cross his tolerance threshold, I have him follow me the opposite direction with a "watch me" and "heel" with a fantastic toy/treat.

What else can I do? He has made a little progress, but I am so worried that one little setback will cause it all to backslide to where he gets even worse than he was before? Is there anything I am missing? Help!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 08-02-2008, 10:43 PM
lizzybeth727's Avatar
lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 6,403
Default

First of all, I REALLY hope you got the name of the organization where the service dog came from, and if so, that you let them know that one of their dogs attacked your dog. OBVIOUSLY this is not acceptable service dog behavior, and it's quite likely that something has happened to where the dog learned that he needs to attack other dogs - maybe poor handling by the client who received him, maybe he just shouldn't have been a service dog in the first place. As a service dog trainer, I have heard several stories about assistance dogs acting inappropriately in public, and it only increases the stigma of bringing dogs into public places, hurting ALL assistance dogs. Also, it says in the ADA law regarding assistance dogs, that the dog can be asked to leave a public place if it is disrupting the business - and I'd say that attacking other dogs is a disruption.

Anyway, back to your question:

One thing we do with our service dog recipients, is teach them that they, and only they, may interract with the dog, at least for the first several weeks. Meaning, you would be the only person in the house that even makes eye contact with Strider. After the first couple of weeks, the other people in the house may interract with the dog, but only with your permission, only has a reward for doing some long training session, and only for a SHORT period of time (3-5 minutes). So, we would teach you, that for the rest of Strider's life, YOU will be the ONLY one feeding him, the ONLY one walking him, the ONLY one giving him treats, the ONLY one giving him commands, etc. So it's irrelevant that he doesn't respect your husband's leadership, as a service dog, he's not your husband's dog. Hopefully, when Strider starts looking to you for EVERY resource, he will be more secure and trusting of you when you're around strange dogs.

If this doesn't work, you could start desensetizing him to other dogs. You can read, or search for threads here describing, the books "Click to Calm," or "Control Unleashed" to learn how to handle dog reactivity.

How old is Strider? Dog reactivity usually starts to show up around 7-11 months, I seem to remember he's somewhere around that age. He is neutered, right?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-02-2008, 11:08 PM
Romy's Avatar
Romy Romy is offline
Taxiderpy
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 9,971
Default

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to talk to the other dog's owner. She was in a wheelchair, and her lab got away from her and charged Strider from behind. I got inbetween them in time so she didn't get a bite in on him, but there's no doubt in my mind she would have if a human didn't step in the way. It was pretty intense for everyone involved. I wish I knew who trained her. Fortunately, it was in a dog friendly feed store/grooming parlor so the clerks rushed over and got the other dog under control right away. It was such a shock, and there was no way I could go up to her with Strider to ask because her dog would have attacked again. She left a few minutes later. Ashamed to say I didn't even think of asking until after she left.

He's 12 and a half months. Not neutered yet because the breeder's contract says he needs to stay intact until 18 months, to allow his growth plates to close properly.

Thank you for the advice about the interaction. So far his whole life, I'm the only one that feeds and waters him. Robert will sometimes give him treats, so we will stop that. Neither of us really care whether he respects Robert or not because he doesn't cause problems either way. It was just interesting that he only reacted to other dogs when I was holding the leash. He has grown up very protective of the baby. When other people hold her and she cries, he tries to get next to her to make sure she is all right. I'm not sure how to limit his interaction with her, since she is an infant/budding toddler and with me 24/7 also.

Sometimes Robert has to take him out to potty in the evening, because we live on the top floor of apartments, and stairs are really difficult for me some days, and he's not old enough to do the support while we're walking yet. Strider is never wearing his vest while Robert takes him out for potty breaks, as we didn't want him to be confused and think he was still working when he was with Robert. Is that ok? Should he wear his vest then too? I don't want to ruin him.

ETA: It just dawned on me, does he think it's part of his "job" now is to ward off other dogs? Since he doesn't wear the vest with Robert, maybe he just thought he was off duty and it didn't matter? I don't know, just trying to understand where the behavior is coming from so we can change it.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-03-2008, 12:06 AM
lizzybeth727's Avatar
lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 6,403
Default

It's a common misconception that the vest makes the dog think he's working. It makes absolutely no difference whether he's wearing the vest or not. He needs to learn, anyway, that he's working regardless of whether he's wearing the vest - presumably he'll be working in your house at times, and it's silly to think of going and getting the vest, and putting it on him, before asking him to brace for you, or whatever.

It's fine for Robert to take him out sometimes, but just make sure that he doesn't interract a whole lot with Strider - maybe a quiet "good boy" for pottying, but that's it, not even petting.

Quote:
When other people hold the baby and she cries, he tries to get next to her to make sure she is all right.
It doesn't matter WHY he tries to get next to the baby, the fact is he does not need to be concerned with the baby. You'll have to teach him this, by making sure that he's paying attention to you and ready to do whatever you ask, in ANY situation, including whenever the baby's crying. So, if she's crying and he's trying to get to her, call him back to you and work on getting his attention back on you.

Are you affiliated with any service dog organization? If so, obviously the trainers will need to know that he is becomming reactive in public with other dogs. If not, I do hope you're not taking him out in public in places where dogs are not allowed, at least not until you are certified as a service dog team.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-03-2008, 06:46 PM
RedyreRottweilers
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I would make seeing dog = cookie. VERY good cookie. Or pets. ALWAYS smiles and good vibes from you. With cookies. Lots of very good ones.

In this way you can over time change his entire feeling when he sees another dog. What you have to do is make seeing another dog mean something reallllllly good.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-03-2008, 11:38 PM
Romy's Avatar
Romy Romy is offline
Taxiderpy
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 9,971
Default

Thanks you two. It's so helpful to have your advice and encouragement.

We're not affiliated with a service dog organization. We were enrolled in one in Tucson that mentors people owner-training their dogs, but had to move before his round of classes started. Since then we have found a really good private trainer who is mentoring us/overseeing Strider's training. She has trained a couple of service dogs, one a mobility assist and one a medical alert. The rest of her client's dogs are just "pets" for the most part. In order to pass the basic obedience you have to pass the CGC. And to pass advanced obedience she brings in a TDI examiner to test them. She has produced hundreds of certified therapy dogs, and coordinates a lot of visits with local schools, hospitals, alzheimers clinics, etc. Unfortunately, the same week Strider was attacked she was diagnosed with a very serious medical condition, and has been pretty preoccupied with it, canceling some classes etc. so that's why I came here for some advice. Strider has passed both, but I still take him out every week because he's a puppy and always needs work. He's not certified with TDI, because he took the exam 4 days before his birthday.

Who would I go to for us to get certified as a team eventually? I looked into a couple of organizations, but some were limited by geographical area, and some had totally different requirements than others. Then the actual law says that you don't have to be certified by any independent organization. If you could possibly recommend some to look into I would really, really appreciate it.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-04-2008, 12:31 PM
lizzybeth727's Avatar
lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
Top Dog
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 6,403
Default

I did a quick google search and found this listing of service dog organizations around the country.... I'm not sure where you are located but hopefully this will help:

http://www.inch.com/~dogs/service.html

Also there's a yahoo group for owner-trained service dogs, have you looked into that? Probably a very good resource.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:11 AM.


1997-2013 Chazhound Dog Site