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  #21  
Old 08-15-2008, 10:26 AM
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I'll be following this with interest. I remeber that Doberluv did something similar with Lyric and his reactivitity, though I think she just called it "threshold training" and involved staying one inch behind the threshold, instead of one over.

Good luck! I'm glad to see you're not using Ella's breed as an excuse and are trying to do something about it! Uber-DA or not, a dog should still be expected to behave when on leash.
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  #22  
Old 08-15-2008, 10:36 AM
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Zoom,

That's just the thing, Ella is 99% of the time EXCELLENT on leash and in general.
It's ONLY when she spots another dog that she instantly becomes "bad dog".
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  #23  
Old 08-15-2008, 10:41 AM
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Becca, that's what I'm getting at.
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  #24  
Old 08-15-2008, 10:51 AM
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It's so my dream to make her a therapy dog because she LOVES people.
ESPECIALLY the elderly.
Her new BFF is my next door neighbor.
Everytime we walk by her house, Ella tries to take me towards their sunroom/back patio area.
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  #25  
Old 08-15-2008, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chewbecca View Post
But, but...for me there is nothing but negative behavior to reinforce at this time.
So, basically, we've resorted to avoidance as it is and turning around and going in the other direction if we see another dog.
OR, if she spots a dog and reacts, we turn around and go the other direction, and once she complies and goes with me, turns away from the other dog and stops looking back, we give praise.
But it doesn't change the fact that she reacts poorly (that's putting it lightly, too) to other dogs.

So whether I were to reward for avoidance behavior right now or actual positive behavior, how is Ella worse off?
Ella is exactly the kind of case where CAT can work very well. I think it bares mentioning that shut down, learned helplessness, and other possible side effects are not nearly as likely as one might think. This is not the kind of flooding that would bring on those types of responses from 99% of dogs...maybe with a complete cowering, shrinking violet...MAYBE... but those dogs are not good candidates for CAT anyway.

The way that Chewbecca described it from the first post makes me feel confident that her trainer has at least a good handle on the technique and while this is her first case, she seems to understand thresholds very well.
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  #26  
Old 08-15-2008, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corgipower View Post
would use it if nothing else worked, and with Ella, you seem to be at that point.
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Originally Posted by Chewbecca View Post
So whether I were to reward for avoidance behavior right now or actual positive behavior, how is Ella worse off?
She's probably not. You've done a lot and at the point you're at it's worth trying this. And in some cases, avoidance behaviors aren't a bad thing. I taught a fear biter to lie down when afraid. It didn't change the fear, but it did make it impossible for her to bite anyone. Eventually, the lying down gave her a chance to think things over, assess the situation, and realize that she didn't need to be afraid.

The problem with avoidance behaviors is that they are still fear based. The other problem is that they only serve to buy time. If Ares approaches Nyx, Nyx's first response is to sniff the ground - displacement, avoidance. That gives me time to diffuse the situation (read: get them away from each other). If I don't get them separated in quickly, Nyx will stop sniffing and become actively defensive (read: I'll have a dog fight to stop.)

Now, over the course of a few months (with minimal chances to interact, so it might have taken less time otherwise) Nyx is beginning to offer acceptable approaches (play bows, coming under him instead of over, lying down - not to be submissive but to be at his height) and Ares is briefly tolerant.

I've heard of CAT trainers who state that sniffing the ground is among the alternate behaviors they like to see. I have a hard time with a training approach that seeks out avoidance behaviors. A dog in a high level of stress isn't able to think clearly. Avoidance behaviors might be keeping his stress levels slightly lower so that some thinking can take place. It's important for the owner to understand though that a dog offering displacement avoidance behaviors might switch to aggression if the avoidance doesn't make the threat go away.
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  #27  
Old 08-15-2008, 11:04 AM
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I am hoping she does, Doc.

Ella is a VERY easy dog to read. She is VERY expressive with her body language.
Her ears speak VOLUMES as to her mood.
This is EXACTLY what my trainer mentioned to me on the phone.
She said, "Miss Ella is a very easy dog to read. She has those ears and those eyes."


You all have to understand, too, that we have DONE the WHOLE as-positive-as-can-be method to treating Ella's dog aggression.

We had a year of my trainer bringing her dog into the training room where we would treat Ella after she followed "watch me". We tried at first having her bring her dog in and putting her dog on the other side of the room, in the corner, with her back and butt towards Ella, in a downstay, while we did "watch me" with Ella. Then as Ella calmed and paid attention to us, my trainer would allow her dog into a sit position. Then eventually we would do rally-o in the room with Ella while her dog was back in a downstay with her back and butt towards Ella. Eventually, Ella would work the rally-o course, but one slight movement from my trainer's dog, and Ella would freak out.


I wish you all could see how Ella reacts to other dogs, so you would not think that I might be over-reacting or exaggerating her reaction to other dogs.
And it's NOT just leash aggression/reactivity. Ella, I know, would DAMAGE a dog if off leash.


And this is just ONE dog. Even if Ella calms around my trainer's ONE dog, what if she's simply just adjusted to that ONE dog? What if her reactivity levels go back up when she's exposed to another dog?


This treatment is worth a shot to me.
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  #28  
Old 08-15-2008, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corgipower View Post
She's probably not. You've done a lot and at the point you're at it's worth trying this. And in some cases, avoidance behaviors aren't a bad thing. I taught a fear biter to lie down when afraid. It didn't change the fear, but it did make it impossible for her to bite anyone. Eventually, the lying down gave her a chance to think things over, assess the situation, and realize that she didn't need to be afraid.

The problem with avoidance behaviors is that they are still fear based. The other problem is that they only serve to buy time. If Ares approaches Nyx, Nyx's first response is to sniff the ground - displacement, avoidance. That gives me time to diffuse the situation (read: get them away from each other). If I don't get them separated in quickly, Nyx will stop sniffing and become actively defensive (read: I'll have a dog fight to stop.)

Now, over the course of a few months (with minimal chances to interact, so it might have taken less time otherwise) Nyx is beginning to offer acceptable approaches (play bows, coming under him instead of over, lying down - not to be submissive but to be at his height) and Ares is briefly tolerant.

I've heard of CAT trainers who state that sniffing the ground is among the alternate behaviors they like to see. I have a hard time with a training approach that seeks out avoidance behaviors. A dog in a high level of stress isn't able to think clearly. Avoidance behaviors might be keeping his stress levels slightly lower so that some thinking can take place. It's important for the owner to understand though that a dog offering displacement avoidance behaviors might switch to aggression if the avoidance doesn't make the threat go away.

Ah. I do understand. The thing is, too though, I probably read dog behavior a bit better than the average person who walks their overly friendly, yet rude dog down the street barely attached to their flexi-lead, but I still pretty much suck at reading dog behavior. I swear I wish I was a dog when it comes to Ella, so I could know what she's saying, or have a better understanding to why she dislikes dogs so much, or what her behaviors mean.
I wish she could tell me WHY she doesn't like other dogs because the WHY would solve so much right now.


Due to the circumstances (and there were several) occurring when we discovered Ella's true dog aggression, I cannot figure it out.


I do know that if an off leash dog rushes up to us (which has not happened often) and Ella sees it, and by this point she is already stiffening and posturing and doing what dogs do when they don't like something, IF I step forward and firmly tell the dog to GO HOME, GET AWAY, she will INSTANTLY calm down and move forward, away from the other dog.
At least, that is what she's done with this one (and only) off leash dog that likes to rush us on walks.
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  #29  
Old 08-15-2008, 11:20 AM
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Also!
CP, do you have a link to that ENTIRE article?
I'd love to print it out and read it and bring it to my trainer.
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  #30  
Old 08-15-2008, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chewbecca View Post
Also!
CP, do you have a link to that ENTIRE article?
I'd love to print it out and read it and bring it to my trainer.
The one I posted a link to? That's all I have. Might be nice to have the illustrations. Is there another article I'm forgetting?
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