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Old 01-21-2014, 12:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Turning Around On Walks

When we first brought Bru home he was incredibly nervous, shy and fearful. He barely trusted us and definitely did not trust anyone else, he would hide in our bedroom when we had people over and we had a very hard time housebreaking him (he will still go poop in our spare room if certain people come over if we don't lock him in our bedroom). We were going to a trainer but have had to stop because of weather and my work schedule - once the driving conditions are a bit more predictable we'll start going again. Bruce has improved considerably though, he will let most people pet him and will actually come seek affection from other people that he sees often. He does not seem to like larger males (people) - he will allow them to pet him and seems to be ok with it as long as we are there. He shies away from my father who is just over 6ft (a bit heavier set) and one of our friends that comes over often who is also around 6ft (very muscular).

Back to the point - the only issue that we're having with him now on walks is when someone is walking behind us. It doesn't matter who it is, whether we know them or not, if they're tall or short, etc. He is either constantly turning his head to look at them or trying to turn around to get away from them. Right now, we just move off to the side and let them pass. We tried using a prong collar, it didn't help - he wanted to get away from the people and ignored the corrections completely. Our prong collar is fitted properly. We have been using a gentle leader for the past couple of days with a bit better results, but he tends to flip his entire body around now when he can't just turn to look at them. If it was just turning once to see who was behind him I could live with that, but it's every 10-30 seconds for the entire time that the person is behind us.

As I said, right now we're just moving off to the side so that whomever is behind us can just pass but that's not really going to be possible as the weather gets better and more people are out. We try to walk him during non peak times, but we live downtown so even if we walked him very late at night (which we do), there are still people around.

Once the people are in front of us, 90% of the time he sticks his nose out to sniff them and then he's fine. When we step off to the side I tell him to sit, which he does. He stays like that until the people have passed us and then I release him and we continue on our way. If there is no one around us, he's perfect - heeling, ears up, alert, happy.
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would NOT use a prong in this case for a correction. There is another thread right now about someone doing this for alertness to strangers and their dog developed reactivity/aggression because of it. If he is already shy and/or previously fearful, you don't want to give him a reason to think that people are bad.

I would do LAT (look at that) training with him in this case to change the association. He turns around to look, you mark/treat. Because really, he is being good. He's aware, but NOT reacting, which you are going to start seeing if you keep telling him he's bad for doing it. Mark/treat each time he turns around. Marking it is going to turn him back to you for a reward. People will start becoming his cue to look at you and you can reward him for looking back at that point, and do a lot of rewarding afterward/before he turns around as well, once his attention is forward.

Good luck!
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Gets some friends, go to a soccer field, randomly spread them out. Walk him and reward for attention on you. The easiest way I have found to get my dog to do what I want is put them in the situation and show them what I expect, rinse and repeat. When working as far as attention based things I like to use a 30 ft check chord. When they aren't paying attention to you lengthen the lead and reward for getting attention back on you and getting back to your side. Hope you find a way that helps
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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There was a method at one time, that was popular on here with rescuers and owners with young pups, it actually was to modify pulling, but might work in this situation.
You get all the attention on you, how you do this is you constantly change, direction, side of the street, maybe you walk 5 feet and turn around and walk the other way 10 feet, turn around again. Yes, you will look odd. Especially in an urban area, but it takes the dog off balance so to speak, you become unpredictable with where the walk is going. Especially herding dogs, take the cue off the handler, so abrupt changes, the theory is, the dog will watch you much more intensely. The dog does not have time to think about anything other than what you are going to do next.
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJEtzel View Post
I would NOT use a prong in this case for a correction. There is another thread right now about someone doing this for alertness to strangers and their dog developed reactivity/aggression because of it. If he is already shy and/or previously fearful, you don't want to give him a reason to think that people are bad.

I would do LAT (look at that) training with him in this case to change the association. He turns around to look, you mark/treat. Because really, he is being good. He's aware, but NOT reacting, which you are going to start seeing if you keep telling him he's bad for doing it. Mark/treat each time he turns around. Marking it is going to turn him back to you for a reward. People will start becoming his cue to look at you and you can reward him for looking back at that point, and do a lot of rewarding afterward/before he turns around as well, once his attention is forward.

Good luck!
We don't have the prong on him anymore, we only use it for training at home now and even then, not often. He is not aggressive at all, he avoids. If he is put in a situation where he cannot avoid, he deals with it and relaxes after a few minutes.

He knows look at me, he does it fine at home, in high distraction areas, etc but will not do it when someone is behind him. If you are suggestion that we mark the unwanted behavior and treat for that - we did that with him jumping up and it worked well. He doesn't jump up anymore unless we say "Bruce, Hugs". The problem with marking and treating him when he's turning around to see whomever is behind him is that he won't take treats when other people are around - it took 3 months of the guy at the hot dog stand offering him pieces before he'd even take one, he won't take treats from the people at the beer store and we're there pretty often, he knows the girls that work there, he won't take them from pet stores either. It also doesn't help if I have the treat and try to give it to him, he won't take it then either. I've tried taking his ball on walks with us and getting him to focus on it because at home he would do anything for it - but nope, not even the slightest glance from it. I don't know how to mark it for him when there doesn't seem to be anything that I can treat with.

I realize that part of it is an exercise issue - it has gotten worse over the winter since we haven't been able to have him out as much. He's going a bit stir crazy at home and acting like a wild beast if you don't tell him what to do. I do OB with him for 20 minutes before I go to work in the morning, usually on my lunch break and then in the evening we'll do about 45 minutes to an hour of OB mixed with play. BF also does a bit of OB throughout the day. I walk him on my lunch when I have time (if my break is only an hour we just do OB, most often it's 2 hours) and in the evening. If BF is going out during the day he usually brings Bru with him, so that's another walk. During the winter, he's just had the OB and one walk/day - the weather was exceptionally cold on and off over the past couple of weeks so it has been less.

I guess in short - we don't use a prong to correct him, he won't take any type of treat to reward the mark with.
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Old 01-21-2014, 01:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I would ditch the prong and the head halter (honestly I'd use the prong over the head halter in this scenario but neither are really helpful here). Back up several steps, he sounds like he's just not ready for walks of this nature quite yet. I would take him somewhere where there will be other people, but he's not walking. Like a baseball field with a game going on, a college campus. Just stand/sit there and don't walk. Do the LAT game as Danielle suggests. He needs to know that it's OK, you have things under control and make a more neutral or even positive association with people walking around him.
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Old 01-21-2014, 01:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozzymama View Post
There was a method at one time, that was popular on here with rescuers and owners with young pups, it actually was to modify pulling, but might work in this situation.
You get all the attention on you, how you do this is you constantly change, direction, side of the street, maybe you walk 5 feet and turn around and walk the other way 10 feet, turn around again. Yes, you will look odd. Especially in an urban area, but it takes the dog off balance so to speak, you become unpredictable with where the walk is going. Especially herding dogs, take the cue off the handler, so abrupt changes, the theory is, the dog will watch you much more intensely. The dog does not have time to think about anything other than what you are going to do next.
I will definitely try this! I don't care about looking odd - you should see some of the people around here, lol. It's kind of funny, we take different ways to get places that we go to all the time - one of the benefits of living in an urban centre, if one light is red you can just turn and take a different street. No matter which way we take, he always knows the way home AND takes the most direct route - which we rarely take.

One example is a store we go to that's about a 15 minute walk away. He loves the girls that work there and they love him (but he still won't take treats from them). Anyways, normally we go down our street, left turn at the next street and continue for about 5 minutes, then right turn at the main street and continue for 10 minutes until you get to the store. Anytime we say "Bruce, go home" he takes us straight down a different street, through a park, along a length of train tracks and then down our street. We have NEVER taken him that way. It's interesting because if you look at it on a map, it's literally the most direct route. Sorry for getting off track, he's an incredibly smart boy but oh so stubborn and nervous.
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Old 01-21-2014, 01:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
I would ditch the prong and the head halter (honestly I'd use the prong over the head halter in this scenario but neither are really helpful here). Back up several steps, he sounds like he's just not ready for walks of this nature quite yet. I would take him somewhere where there will be other people, but he's not walking. Like a baseball field with a game going on, a college campus. Just stand/sit there and don't walk. Do the LAT game as Danielle suggests. He needs to know that it's OK, you have things under control and make a more neutral or even positive association with people walking around him.
The prong was mainly so that he can't drag me away, he weighs 10lbs less than me and is very strong. Off leash, we don't have this problem at all. He's right by my side, focusing on me and will do everything I ask him to. Unfortunately, the minute he has a leash attached to him, we have this problem. We've tried with a regular flat collar (when he was about 60lbs) and he nearly pulled me down the street trying to get away from something. Having the prong or the head halter on seems to make him think he can't get away, which is probably part of the problem but I don't know what else to do to make sure that I can control him.

He spends a lot of time in the warmer weather in a park close to our house - it's very similar to what I think you're describing as a college campus, lots going on but still quiet areas. He's fine there, watches people and sleeps usually, he'll even eat there (we split a poutine quiet often, lol), but the second we get up to go somewhere (different group of people, to the bathroom, going home), he's hyper aware of where people are and is constantly looking behind him. It's like he can't relax on a walk if he's on his leash.

I guess I could start using a command like look at that (I don't want to use that because we already use look at me) at home and then follow up outside once the weather gets a bit better and we can be out longer at places like the park. Maybe I'll also see if I can get a lighter, longer leash and see if that helps too?
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Old 01-21-2014, 01:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Keep in mind that look at that training does not actually involved a cue from you. No verbal. No need for confusion.
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Old 01-21-2014, 01:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJEtzel View Post
Keep in mind that look at that training does not actually involved a cue from you. No verbal. No need for confusion.
Sorry, I misunderstood - I'll read up on it tonight when I get home from work. Just a quick question (feel free to ignore if it'll be answered once I read up on LAT training) but if I am treating/marking the behaviour that I don't want, won't that just reinforce it?
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