Training tips on passing other dogs

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chelle784
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Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by chelle784 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:16 am

We have been working on Pepper's heel work which has improved a lot and it has now got to the point where we sometimes just use a flat collar and leash (as opposed to her non-pull harnesses) and she will remain by your side for the whole leashed walk.

However, our problems arise when we pass other dogs. At the moment and due to the winter weather, we don't pass many dogs but I know in the summer this may turn into a bigger problem. She loves all dogs so it means that she immediately wants to meet that dog. If we are in the park and letting her off leash, we will make her sit until she is calm then let her go play with the other dogs/wait for a dog to come up to her. Our issue is when she is on leash on the street and another on leash dog passes. She pulls towards that dog to try say hi. I have been trying the whole stop change direction thing (when I see a dog approaching in the opposite direction) that our trainer in obedience classes taught us which works but I can't use this all the time. Depending on how close we are she will also be walking away from the dog but turn her head back to look at the dog. If there is another dog on the other side of the road, she will be walking with me but her head will be looking at the other dog. If another dog is walking and goes behind a pile of snow she will stand on her hind legs like a meerkat to get a better view.

Today I was waiting outside a shop with her and saw a dog approaching. I told her to sit and wait and kept her leash short, but I knew immediately she would try lunge at the dog (which she did but I was expecting it so she didn't get anywhere). I just want to get to a point where she just sits and doesn't try to get to the dog.

If she is off leash and we spot another dog approaching, we will call her and she will come back but that is because we will call her as soon as we see the other dog so the dog isn't in close proximity.

We have also done the whole 'watch me' or click then treat for eye contact but the other dog usually is more interesting. We also have stopped this in the winter months as it is very difficult when you are wearing big gloves in - 30 to actually pick up the tiny treats!

We do not have any friends close by to practise training with another dog distraction.

She is 9months old so it may be a puppy thing but I want to nip this in the bud and see if anyone else had this issue or if they have any training tips.

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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by Taz » Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:28 pm

As someone with reactive dogs, I can certainly sympathize with you.
A lot of it is going to be helped by managing distance, I run on the idea that looking is fine, eyeballing, lunging and barking isn't.
You say that before you let her go play, you expect calm, this is good, do you do this with on lead greetings too? I do this with dogs and people, they have to sit or stand calmly, I then tell them to go say hi and let them do so.
All of the things you are already doing are good, you just need to be consistent, understand that she is still young she will probably improve with time, and might regress around adolescence.

Try as often as possible to keep her at a distance from another dog, where she isn't reactive, ie at the point that she's aware of another dog, but not fixated or over excited by it, it is good if you know of someone with a calm dog that you can practice this with, do all of the reinforcing when she is like this, as once she's at the point of lunging, she's so wound up, she isn't going to be able to learn anything, once she's at that stage, the only thing you need to focus on is getting her away as quick as possible.

Another trick I use is switch, teaching the dog to swap sides from the one she is walking on to the other. Where ever possible I try to walk my reactive dogs on the side opposite to the approaching dog or person, keeping myself between them, at least then you can body block if you have to.

Good luck.
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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by Taz » Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:37 pm

P. S.
I know you stated you don't have any friends local, but perhaps the owner of one of her dog friends might be willing to help.
Or if you come across someone on a walk particularly if it's someone you've seen before, and their dog is calm, and you've got the space, perhaps ask if you can parallel walk with them, even if it's just for 30 seconds or a minute.
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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by chelle784 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:50 pm

Thank you Taz for your reply! I tried the walking with dog friends twice. The first time is was good because she had already had a play session in the park with that particular dog. The next time with a different dog I had stop after about 1 minute and carry on the walk in the opposite direction as she was too excited. I think maybe as it warms up this might be easier to do but right now nobody seems to walk their dogs.

Lead greetings are the same - I make her sit and wait and the person needs to approach her when she is calm only. The person is usually my husband coming home from work and seeing us on our walk so her excitement is a lot higher with him compared to someone else. She now gets the idea that if she is too excited he will walk away and not say hi until she stays sitting. With other people this is no problem - she doesn't care for people she doesn't know and therefore is not reactive on a leash around people - they can walk past her really close and she won't even look at them.

At the moment I am getting her away from the situation as quickly as possible but I know in the summer this will be a problem. I live in a city where so many people have a dog. At the moment if I see a dog coming in the opposite direction I cross over or I turn around. In the summer if I do this there is guaranteed to be another dog there so I'm trying to do what I can now in anticipation for that!

She used to be worse to the point of if she saw her dog friends in the distance and I walked away she would whine and cry for them but now she doesn't so I guess this is progress (even though small!) I want it to be like you said - looking but no lunging!

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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by Tatzel » Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:45 pm

Conditioning your dog to a positive interrupter might work well for you!

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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by chelle784 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:23 pm

Thanks Tatzel! We actually use that interrupter but didn't think about the different ways you can practise it like the video shows (like the toy distraction) so will def work on this!

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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by Tatzel » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:22 pm

chelle784 wrote:Thanks Tatzel! We actually use that interrupter but didn't think about the different ways you can practise it like the video shows (like the toy distraction) so will def work on this!
You're welcome!

Yes, you need to generalize and 'prove' the attention noise by gradually increasing the difficulty by adding more and more distractions and also doing it in other places than your home. If you find your dog does not succeed anymore, take a few steps back and make it easier for them! :)
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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by iamnic » Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:30 pm

One of my girls is leash reactive, and I'd love to share some of the tips we've learned to manage it. The most important thing is that I always have food on me. Caveat: it has to be HIGH value treat. Regular (read: boring) treats that she gets for obedience and trick training are not enough of a motivator in a high distraction environment or when she's in high drive. We've found that hotdogs have worked best for our walks, versus Zuke's mini treats that we use for everything else. I can totally understand that it's hard to deal with treats while wearing snow gloves, but hopefully you can use some of these exercises once it warms up :)

Taz had a great suggestion about using the body block. I do the same thing, but I usually add a food lure at the same time. I will partially expose the treat in my hand, usually hold it between my thumb and first two fingers--juuuust enough that she thinks she might get it--and stick it right in front of her nose while I do some goofy sideways sashay to keep her vision blocked and us moving forward. Once you've passed, give the treat and move on. If she does really well, like keeps her eyes on me as we're moving, I'll jackpot her with a hotdog party and high pitched squeals :roll: as soon as we pass.

You can also try some passive desensitization. This will likely be an easier exercise during the warmer months when more dogs are out. In our neighborhood, there is a fenced off lot with a couple of big junkyard dogs that love to bark at everything that passes. This, of course, riles up my reactive dog. What we do is take her to a distance where you know she is aware of the other dog but isn't getting excited yet, for us it's about half block away. She'll likely just want to stare at the other dogs. Get her to do a "watch" several times in a row very quickly, treating after every time. You want this to almost be like a rapid fire feed. The goal is to get her to keep her eyes on you and not break to look at the other dog. Once she is doing this, keep shoveling the treats in her mouth while praising. We keep these training sessions short, and move closer and closer to the dog everytime. The eventual hope is that when she sees another dog, she will look to you for treats and praise.

Hope this helps! And good luck :)

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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by Tiantai » Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:55 pm

Tatzel wrote:Conditioning your dog to a positive interrupter might work well for you!

I have been looking for that video for a while. Remember seeing it two years ago but couldn't find it when I later attempted to explain the process to someone on gmail. Thanks Ricki!
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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by Taz » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:31 pm

iamnic wrote:One of my girls is leash reactive, and I'd love to share some of the tips we've learned to manage it. The most important thing is that I always have food on me. Caveat: it has to be HIGH value treat. Regular (read: boring) treats that she gets for obedience and trick training are not enough of a motivator in a high distraction environment or when she's in high drive. We've found that hotdogs have worked best for our walks, versus Zuke's mini treats that we use for everything else. I can totally understand that it's hard to deal with treats while wearing snow gloves, but hopefully you can use some of these exercises once it warms up :)

Taz had a great suggestion about using the body block. I do the same thing, but I usually add a food lure at the same time. I will partially expose the treat in my hand, usually hold it between my thumb and first two fingers--juuuust enough that she thinks she might get it--and stick it right in front of her nose while I do some goofy sideways sashay to keep her vision blocked and us moving forward. Once you've passed, give the treat and move on. If she does really well, like keeps her eyes on me as we're moving, I'll jackpot her with a hotdog party and high pitched squeals :roll: as soon as we pass.

You can also try some passive desensitization. This will likely be an easier exercise during the warmer months when more dogs are out. In our neighborhood, there is a fenced off lot with a couple of big junkyard dogs that love to bark at everything that passes. This, of course, riles up my reactive dog. What we do is take her to a distance where you know she is aware of the other dog but isn't getting excited yet, for us it's about half block away. She'll likely just want to stare at the other dogs. Get her to do a "watch" several times in a row very quickly, treating after every time. You want this to almost be like a rapid fire feed. The goal is to get her to keep her eyes on you and not break to look at the other dog. Once she is doing this, keep shoveling the treats in her mouth while praising. We keep these training sessions short, and move closer and closer to the dog everytime. The eventual hope is that when she sees another dog, she will look to you for treats and praise.

Hope this helps! And good luck :)
I use food too, my vocal cords don't like high pitched squeals, lol.
Hot dogs and strong cheese go down well here.
Perhaps try a tube of squeezey cheese, liver paste or similar, might be doable with gloves.
"Don't underestimate me.
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Think more than I speak.
And notice more than you realize".
"you are free to choose
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From the consequence of
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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by chelle784 » Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:40 pm

Thank you everyone! This is all really helpful. I haven't tried hotdogs but will def try this! We have noticed a difference in her behaviour since the winter (as in she is eager to get to dogs more than she used to). I am not sure if this is because other dogs seem to be a rare treat for her these days or what!

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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by arianwenarie » Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:12 pm

If she is not clicker trained, you can even use the clicker as an attention sound - works the same way as you see in that video, 'cept you don't click it again to mark the behavior. You'd give a huge verbal praise 'YES!!' instead. ;)

I also use a clicker for my lab as an emergency recall - so far haven't really had to use it. lol. If it's dark or you have a deaf dog, you can use a flashlight for an emergency recall - turn the light on and off a few times to catch their attention.

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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by chelle784 » Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:33 am

That is also a good idea - although she is clicker trained/ still training tricks with the clicker

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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by chelle784 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:18 am

Just an update now that the weather is warmer.

The positive interrupter sound combined with the hotdog pieces seem to be working at a close but not too close distance. If there is a dog nearby it works however I just passed a jack russell on a narrow sidewalk and had to grab her collar because she will be at heel then dart in front of me and jump so cannot do a body check or anything!

However, on the wider sidewalks as the passing dog isn't too close, it seems to be working.

When we go to busy city areas she wears her halti and that solves the problem but I am aiming to be able to do this without wearing the halti (as her nose gets marked).

Thanks for all your tips!

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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by arianwenarie » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:41 am

Yay! Progress is good news. :)

When you go out on walks with her without her halti, do you loop the leash under one of her front legs? If you have a easy walk harness and a collar, you can clip the leash to the collar, thread the leash through the easy walk harness ring and then loop the leash under one of her legs and when she tugs, you get more leverage and the force is distributed across her chest rather than just her neck.

Try this method out if you haven't already in a less crowded area. If it works, bring your halti for busier areas just in case and see if this method works. If not, then back to the halti until you find something else that works. :)

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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by chelle784 » Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:35 pm

Thanks for the tip! So I see a pattern - it works with other dogs who are close but not too close and even works with squirrels on the ground. However it does not work (yet) with any Jack russells. Weird haha maybe because the jack russells are giving off high energy vibes.

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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by Hawthorne » Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:59 pm

We struggle with this with all of our dogs. Sometimes it seems it is some dogs and not others. For my dogs, little dogs really get them going (the kind that bark and never shut up). Freyja has gotten better with age and although we taught attention till the cows come home, they are simply NOT interested in treats on the walk. There are far too many other things much more interesting to them than treats.

I have also tried canned air (the pet corrector stuff). That seems to only intensify their reactions.

The best thing I have found to do is to curve out (move away from the other oncoming dog). Curving out or circling is a calming signal to dogs (as is face licking, yawning, turning the head away, etc.). I curve out when there are oncoming dogs and try and keep the dog moving. Stopping only makes things worse. BUT, the worst is when we encounter dogs who aren't on leash and my dog is on leash. Very frustrating! While ours have all been socialized, it still makes me nervous to encounter stray dogs or dogs who jump their fences. That nervousness sets up my dog to react. Oi!

Darwin went to doggie day care A LOT as a young dog. I think either because he is male or because of the doggie day care he was better socialized than our girls. He makes friends with whatever dog he comes across on leash. The girls are another story. I plan on sending our next puppy to doggie day care just for the socialization aspect. I'm wondering if this will make a difference.

Good luck with Pepper! I think with this breed it just takes a lot of patience.
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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by chelle784 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 11:08 pm

thanks for suggesting the 'curve out'

It is actually the opposite with Pepper - if it is a yappy angry small dog she backs off. She got scared when an angry yorkie chased her round the park!

She went to socialization classes and group walks with neighbours dogs from 8 weeks so she thinks all dogs = fun. Once a doberman bit her on the muzzle and she went back in to try and play immediately after. So everytime we pass a dog she tries to play with them - lunges towards them into a playbow it's annoying but also it's not nice for the other dog/ dog owner - they don't know if she's a friendly dog or not. We only noticed this happening in winter. I'm wondering whether it is because other dogs seem like a novelty because usually we are the only ones in the off leash park and people don't really walk their dogs in -30. However there are more and more dogs now so perhaps the novelty will wear off !

I did try to google 'lunging dogs' but it seems to bring up pages on leash reactive dogs who were nervous/aggressive as opposed to just wanting to play

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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by Hawthorne » Tue Apr 08, 2014 4:38 pm

Did the doberman bite her on the muzzle in an aggressive manner? Because just a gentle mouth-over-mouth is just a display of dominance. Just curious.
Good luck with Pepper! She sounds like a great girl :)
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Re: Training tips on passing other dogs

Post by chelle784 » Wed Apr 09, 2014 4:26 am

Thanks! Oh and the doberman drew blood from her and the mark stayed there for a few weeks - the vet even questioned it a couple of weeks after, but I heard from neighbours that the owners don't really know how to handle the doberman and he's not well trained.

Normal nips and corrections from other dogs are welcome - she needs to be taught a lesson sometimes and not get up in other dogs' faces!

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