You Can't Help Other People
Not really sure where this would go, but it is driving me up the wall so I just need to get it out in a rant, and also wouldn't mind some other ideas, as the ones I have are helping, but then people being frankly morons sets us back again.
My golden was really a fairly easy puppy. His worst issue in the long run was breaking out of the yard (after being shown by my roommates dogs) but that is something well behind. He's my easiest and safest dog to count on. He's not going to hurt anyone, he responds when called, he's very good with other dogs and gets out of the way. My older female tends to ignore people and dogs, her recall is great. They both come back to check on me often and are teaching that to the puppy which is useful and I keep telling him how good he is for coming back.
Enter the issue. He's about 8 months old and has decided he can push around other dogs. He's submissive to all the dogs who live in our house and frequently come by it (even our foster who has been here for 2 weeks can push him around). When it comes to dogs on the outside however, he wants to rush up at them and nip at them. He will hit the end of his leash (regardless of collar that is on) and generally looks really out of control aggressive, which I know he isn't. He's a stupid teenage puppy who has his lower brain kicking in and feels he owns the world.
I don't do dog parks (unless they are empty or we are with dogs I know only). He comes out with me on hikes, just dogs he lives with or people with dogs in the hiking group my roommate is in charge of. He comes with me to work, but he doesn't have contact with patients there and is always on a leash there. The hikes tend to be in off leash areas, and for the majority of the hike, he is off leash. Once we get moving with the group, he is too distracted by what is happening around him, what his best friends are doing, to really care about other dogs. They become dogs that he is out with, and unless we stop and he has the chance to think about it, he generally just leaves them alone.
Of course, strange dogs coming around is another thing.
I do my best to get his attention and call him over if I see people with their dogs coming up ahead. The dogs have the command "Off Road" when we want them to get out of the way of bikers and joggers. I call that out, get my dogs over to me, reward with treats and either hold Doyle's collar or put him on a leash until whatever there is has gone by. It isn't perfect, he ends up leashed for a bit at times, however he is doing much better at listening and coming when called.
What drives me nuts is when I have called him over and am restraining him, but other people don't bother to get control of their dog and then get mad at ME when their dog comes over and Doyle tries to jump and nip at them. I do my best to keep him away and move away in those situations, never saying anything or punishing him, but it really is getting to be annoying.
I leashed him once last sunday when a couple with their young lab were coming near. He was on leash with me WELL before we came on them. My other two dogs were loose, went over for a quick sniff hello and were done with it. The couple said she was submissive but friendly and when she darted to where we were standing and Doyle was trying to drag me closer, they were trying to say to give it a chance. Which quickly turned into them staring in horror at me because Doyle nipped her ear. Only THEN did they call her over and somehow I am the bad guy for having a puppy who is getting pushy out on the trails when I tried to keep him away.
The instant we are past the other dogs, he forgets them and just darts off after my other dogs. He's not really aggressive or that committed to things. He's just a brat.
Today a family with a giant Schnauzer didn't bother to get a hold of him when we got control of our dogs and moved to the side so they could pass us with plenty of space. I had both my shepherds in hand and Doyle managed to grab a chunk of fur before they called their dog fully away. Then when we were just standing near the cars and talking in the parking lot, I called Doyle over to leash him since I saw a man with a dog in his car pull up. The man just let his dog out, who came flying over being a boisterous pit bull thing, and Doyle instantly tried to target the dog. So I'm left with basically holding his front legs off of the ground and pivoting in a circle to keep him from getting engaged with the dog. It takes the guy awhile to get his dog in hand and he basically said that he never worried about that kind of thing because his dog is friendly.
I am so starting to hate that phrase.
I've gotten to telling my dogs to come off road no matter what we come across, outside of just people without bikes that are walking, since my dogs will just walk around them.
This was the end of the hike. We did 9.2 miles yesterday, probably around 6 today with one of the hikers with us (with her sweet little pudgy Westie) throwing sticks left and right toward the end so the dogs just kept running up and down the hills. My dogs are tired, I am tired. When Doyle couldn't see the dog, I was able to just get him to calm down, which lead to him sitting and then laying at my feet, only to have the dog come close again and back to square one. I went to my car after that, but it's just like UGH. I am hoping to get him to where he just ignores those dogs or sees them and comes looking for me rather than engage them. He has one doggie best friend. Doesn't need any others.
I know he is a twerp. I attempt to keep him from being a twerp. But some days, people just make it hard when they don't return the favor.
don't get frustrated if you know you're doing what you can. it's just part of having a dog. tell yourself that these are the small number of annoying examples that stand out from all the good encounters you and your dog have had with others. don't let it change you or your dog for the worse and you've been a good parent
My lesson from my reactive dog to you....
None of matters. The bottom line is you have a reactive dog that has several "bites" under his belt already and it's ultimately your responsibility to make sure it never happens again before you get sued and your dog gets euthanized.
While it is extremely infuriating for an off leash dog to bound up to your on leash dog, the only way you are going to stop this is to seriously up your obedience on your dog.
LEAVE IT! HERE! HEY YOU COME GET YOUR DOG RIGHT NOW! LEAVE IT! HERE!
LAT and BAT for behavior modification. Increased obedience so he knows only good things come from you and the way to that is ignoring that dog. And use whatever it takes, whether it's a clicker or a prong.
Idaho is rather behind with its laws dealing with animals. They're considered property, and if I have my dog restrained while someone else does not, the blame falls to them. I do know that increasing the obedience is a part of all of this, however I do not believe he is a reactive dog at this point. He's about 7.5 months old right now. I know if I don't nip this in the butt now and make it clear that it is not acceptable things can escalate, however right now I see it more as stupid puppy, but am taking measures to nip this in the butt (taking the pun) now rather than let it be seen as acceptable.
My first shepherd honestly did the same kind of thing, granted she wasn't nearly physically able as Doyle is, and while it was embarrassing, she never hurt anybody or escalated. I learned from that (being that she was my first dog and I was a teenager) and have had a few more dogs under my belt. Only had this guy since he was about 5 months of age, no idea of what kind of obedience he had before then. He's getting more food motivated and more toy motivated, but its a bit of a work in progress if that makes sense. I see improvements and am striving for more. But I see this more as stupid puppy teenage phase starting compared with reactivity. He doesn't go back after them, he can walk near new dogs without reacting.
Not sure if you are already, but I think you should get Doyle out on his own on walks/hikes, not always with the group. That way you can focus entirely on Doyle. And sometimes dogs behave differently away from their group.
I feel your frustration though. I'm so beyond sick of "my dog is friendly!" Neither of my dogs want strange dogs in their faces or butts. Solstice is fearful. Ryker can get snappy, but that's only if the other dog is rude (which they usually are). We specifically choose on-leash places to hike and walk, but it never fails that 99% of the time we run into at least one off-leash "my dog is friendly".
What's been hard for me is learning to stand up for my dogs, because I don't want to offend people or cause a scene. I'm getting past that though, largely because we've been through so many of these stupid encounters I'm so frustrated and fed up with it, and you just can't convince people to control their dogs, especially trying to be nice about it. Get between your dog and the other dog and tell it to go away. Be assertive. I'm at the point where I've quit trying to restrain Ryker and tell the people "get your dog if you don't want it bitten". Seems to be the only thing they listen to.
It's hard to protect your dog if you have to battle with him to do so. Right now your producing a well conditioned butt hole of a dog! :) But you really haven't taught him what you expect from him in theses encounters?
TwoBigEars already alluded to it. I would spend less time on "exercise' and more time on training.
Dog reactive is addressed here:
My dog was specifically trained to stay behind me but you can accomplish the same thing by teaching your dog to "Stay!" CGC training a long three minuet stay with you out of sight. I've only done a two minuet stay myself (because I broke the stay) before my dog did but you get the idea. :)
So right now your dealing with more issues then you need to and your dog doesn't "know"
what you want him to do? Work on the dog reactivity issue and teach him a rock solid stay and one third of your problem will go away. :)
My thoughts at any rate. :)
We have such frequent incidents with off-leash dogs that I actually have nightmares about it. I find it stressful to go for walks because I never know whether it will be totally calm or whether we will be ambushed by multiple unattended chihuahuas. We've been attacked by a larger dog too walking in our own neighborhood. I have been trying to go to areas where we are unlikely to see other dogs at all, and in the winter this works. In the summer? Forget it. Dogs are everywhere. I used to really love watching people play with their dogs at the park and on the trail, now I just feel frightened. Especially since there are some people who will actually refuse to leash their dog even when you ask, or make excuses like "we forgot our leash."
My dog is intuitive to the situation as well. She is well aware of whether or not I'm in control. She will also do the nipping and jumping thing if an off-lead dog runs up to us on the trail, and knows the difference between a dog that is on-lead and one that is off-lead. I wonder if Doyle is picking up on the fact that he is difficult to control, and is taking advantage of it to be a brat? It sounds like he might need to have some privileges taken away. He might be doing this kind of stuff just because past experience has shown he can get away with it.
Fixing the reactivity can help, but unfortunately you are back to square one if you ever run into a situation where your dog doesn't actually believe you are in control and they happen to be off-lead. I'm reminded of an obedience class I attended where all the dogs, even the reactive ones, were quiet and well-behaved...until the instructor's husband walked in the door. Then there was barking and lunging galore. The dogs knew that this person was unexpected and that their handlers were unprepared for it. It's the same deal with stupid people and their off-leash dogs.
My peeve IS, when I have MY dog on a leash, YOU (general you) better have YOURS on a leash to.
There are loads of places I can go with Masi offleash and no worries, with me, it's usually others who have no consideration/respect for others people's animals, and if I hear "MY DOG IS FRIENDLY" one more time, I'll scream:)
My dog doesn't want to be your dog's friend, she doesn't want your dog in her face, she wants to be left alone, and will leave you alone:) She respects other dogs space, respect hers.
With that, Masi is fine with little yappy dogs coming up into her personal space (probably because she loves my sisters papillons), but a larger sized dogs, charging up in her space, all bets are off..I can protect her only if the other owner shows the same respect I do, when it comes to encountering other dogs..
As long as you "feel" your not in control, then yep that's what your dog thinks to so..you won't be! I tell my dogs "STAY" turn my back and walk away..they don't move until I release them! That doesn't take strength it take leadership and training! :) You need both and it sounds like your lacking leadership skills or at least confidence in yourself? And for you, your correct at the "moment" if you don't believe your in charge..then for "this" dog you won't be! :)
Couple more links. Start working on the stay baby steps tell your dog to stay if he moves tell him to "STAY!" Teach the command first, baby steps and rewards. Then when you know he has stay down pat. Demand a "STAY" and walk away, so as you have that down he will know who's in charge! :)
9 Lessons from "The Dog Whisperer" : Dog Tricks : Dogology : Men's Health.com
That is one thing that I know I need to do more, TwoBigEars. Most of the time when I have been working on recall with Doyle, it's been with my other two dogs with me. He's rewarded for coming with them when called, coming when called and the periodic checking in that he has done. If it's just me with my personal dogs out, I actually have few issues because Myles and Leia don't care about other dogs. They don't react and it leaves Doyle without "backup". Last sunday when I was out with just my kids, things were much more pleasant. And I don't see hikes as just exercise. :) It is a chance for "real world" training and I do have things that I expect my dogs to do. I take any time as a time for training, so play and training and our day to day life all blend together.
I do know that I need to up the obedience with just him, and work on his leash manners more. I am finally getting him to understand that when you do what you are asked good things happen. Food rewards are only something he is just now starting to understand, and I am hoping to eventually move toys into that system as well. He didn't have much formal anything in his first five months I have a feeling, so its been a little catch up there.
He actually does have a wait command that we have worked on, but I need to get an actual stay going. The wait is so he doesn't charge in and out of crates, doors, my SUV, the kennel at work. Things of that nature. I do feel much of his being a twerp is due to his age, hormones and my needing to step things up.
I have actually looked at that video you posted, Chip! However, Doyle has no reaction to dogs behind a fence really or in a car. I would likely have to go into a situation where I would figure there will be dogs in his line of sight, but not close enough that he would stop really thinking. He isn't totally committed to the act, since I can't come up with a better way of putting it. If we are on the side of the trail and the dog passes far from us, he just watches and then ignores. If I walk him past the dog, I can let go of his collar once we're a step or two past and he just goes racing forward. He isn't so determined to get the dog that he's uncontrollable.
Which is why I am taking steps to keep it from going further, but it just gets to be annoying when people see you putting a leash on your dog and don't do something to contain their dogs. I've gone to just getting my dogs off to the side of the trail period. The older two have solid recalls, and it always helps when you have a bag of tasty treats to encourage them to stay close and come sit when you stop moving. ;)
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