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  Topic Review (Newest First)
06-18-2014 09:02 PM
Kestrel She knows "leave it" well for everything but dogs, it seems. That command was actually what helped get us through the cat problem. But, the cats are more like a toy to her, I think, lol.
06-18-2014 08:49 PM
Pax8 Ah, you're doing it correctly. I misunderstood and thought she was immediately putting tension on the leash when she saw another dog.

Keep doing what you're doing. Try a higher value reward like tripe. If she doesn't already know it, you can teach her a leave it and see about heading off those behaviors by getting her to refocus attention instead of having to walk away all the time.

If you ever get a chance for someone to video you working with her, I'd be interested in seeing.
06-18-2014 08:44 PM
Kestrel Thanks for the replies. I will watch the video in a minute.

Sorry, I am bad at explaining stuff, it's not a leash with a traffic leash. Say I have a 6ft leash but I loop it while holding it so it's like a 4ft leash. When my dog gets focused and starts going forwards and can't get her attention, I turn around before she actually starts putting tension on the leash. As in, I know she is going to start pulling on the leash, but I don't give her the chance. While I turn, I drop the loop to give the leash a little slack to give her a chance to turn and follow before the leash goes tight from me moving away. When I drop the loop I am moving away, so she can't really go more forward than she already was. But, at the same time, there is little to no pressure on the leash while I turn and walk away and she comes, like I tried to teach her to follow me rather than me making her come away. Did I explain that right and is this a mistake? Does she have to know that I am the one taking her away when she doesn't act properly? In the times when she actually gets to a point of leash tension and whining (like if someone turns a corner too close), then I don't do the loop thing, I just turn.

We try to get away even before she starts actually pulling on the leash, that time just before where I can see that change in her and she starts pushing forward. To compare, with cats (also a problem at first) she will get that look and that stiff posture and gait but can keep it together enough to stop herself after advancing a few steps and look back wait for me to catch up and then we walk by. She looks at them, but doesn't get over-excitable. That's ok, I don't expect her to totally ignore everything. With dogs, she does the same thing except she just keeps going and ignores, so we turn around before she actually starts pulling. Should I be waiting until she actually starts pulling and then take her away? It was my understanding that I was supposed to get away before she actually starts pulling and whining, not when she does. Maybe that is a mistake, but that is what I understood of keeping the dog under threshold.

Sorry, it's hard to put details onto paper trying to think about every little thing I do. I am just discouraged sometimes. I know it is something that I am doing wrong, but she made so much progress in other areas that makes this seem to be even more of a mountain. Thanks for listening.
06-18-2014 06:52 PM
Chip18 You are correct you don't want a tight leash! This should help:

Finger poke in the neck,finger snap or tap on the head with the loose end of the leash if she starts to focus! Key is keep moving!
06-18-2014 04:54 PM
Pax8 For ground tripe, I find squeeze bottles, usually at outdoors stores in the food storage section so I can fill the bottle up and squeeze out tiny bits at a time to reward my dog with. It's a little more work to load up the tubes every time, but tripe is such a rewarding reinforcer that I've used it with all my reactive dogs. Of course, that may not necessarily be the case for her and every other dog. I've had some dogs turn their nose up at tripe but do flips for baby carrot. The important thing, IMO when working a behavior like this is find something she goes nuts for and make sure she only gets it in that context. My reactive dogs ONLY got licks from the tripe bottle when working around other dogs.

The second is the one I use, though the first can hold more for longer walks.

She doesn't have to be focused on you every second of the walk. My dog will stare off at other things while we are walking, but if I see another dog and know he is going to want to lunge or bark I get him engaged. If she can't get very close or you're not sure if you can hold her attention while moving, then move yourself off to the side where you can work her. I'm fine if my dog glances at the other dog, but I want her to want to look back at you and continue to engage. I have a 4-5 second rule, depending on the dog's threshold. But definitely if my dog focuses on another dog for more than five seconds, we are walking away.

You're correct in keeping the leash loose while you are working her. What I meant is that if you get to the point you have to remove her, you take a good grip on a part of her leash about a foot from her collar so you have clear consistent pressure when turning her around. You want to make sure the leash doesn't jerk or pop when turning her around because that can get her needlessly riled up.

When you say she pulls, you let go of the loop, and then turn, are you letting go of that traffic loop and turning using the full six feet of the leash? The purpose of making sure to use that last foot is so that there is no forward motion towards the other dog after you have decided to turn around. If my dog reacts, they don't go an inch farther forward, it's an immediate backwards move.

As far as getting her refocused on you, that is something that can be conditioned. You said you use clicker training? When you have to turn away from a stimulus, keep moving briskly. Brisk movement helps get a dog refocused in my experience. The second she gives you eye contact, click, halt and treat. If you condition her to find your eye contact as quickly as possible after turning away from a stimulus, it can help her refocus much more quickly. I wouldn't use a command like a watch me or anything for it. I would reward the choice and build on it that way. So she learns that the quicker she gets refocused on you after turning away, the quicker she can start being reinforced again.

In all honesty, I have seen the prong used for this sort of thing, but I have only seen it done successfully by professionals with much experience in exactly how to handle it. If it gets messed up, you can run into very dangerous problems very quickly. So without an experienced prong collar trainer in your area who can easily give you a vast amount of time and work, I would say it is not the appropriate tool for your circumstances.
06-18-2014 04:15 PM
Kestrel Oh sorry, when I said "back" I didn't mean physically, but mentally. As in bring her "back" to me in the way that she doesn't come away from that dog just to start looking for something to refocus on. I want that thing to be me, lol. It probably doesn't even last 15 seconds, but seems longer in the heat of the moment.

I was unsure about grabbing the leash close because I didn't want her to be at heel with a tight feeling on the leash since she was taught that heel is where she should be and there should not be a tight leash. Does that even make sense? Usually I use a 6ft leash but keep a loop in it so it is shorter, so when she sees the other dog and pulls, I let go of the loop and we turn which releases the tension. I don't really have to drag her away once I turn. Don't know if I explained that right.
06-18-2014 04:04 PM
Kestrel For food I use cooked meat (chicken, liver, duck, whatever I have) or cheese. I don't have any friends who have dogs that can help. How can you give tripe? I have some but it is ground up. She eats raw food, so I wonder if anything I give isn't special enough. Spoiled brat, lol. Do you think skipping a meal could help if that is the case?

I don't ask her to be focused on me for the whole walk. I will ask her to "look", or "sit" or "paw" or whatever. But I don't have her looking at me all the time. When we see another dog in the distance, I will ask her something, but more often and in different ways (back to the dog, side to the dog, etc) to try to get her focus off the dog. Usually I ask for a paw since it puts her into sit and she seems more excited to give a paw.

Thank you very much for your time and help. I am so glad I asked here before trying out the prong. It did seem work well according to the one who suggested it, but like you said, I am worried about making her wary of other dogs.
06-18-2014 03:56 PM
Originally Posted by Kestrel View Post
After we turn, it takes her a bit to get a hold of herself again, like she's rush in front of me and start looking everywhere and not "look". Is there a way to work on bringing her "back" quicker too? Thanks for all your help.
For this, you just have to be purposeful and confident. If you try to reward her or spend time trying to get her listen to a command, it is going to not only devalue a command, but can teach her she can hang out for a bit if she plants herself.

When she gets distracted and starts reacting, even the little bit of whining or pulling, I would take a solid hold of the leash about a foot from the collar, turn and move cleanly away. Don't keep your attention on her, don't stare at her, wait for her to turn around, click at her, try to tell her this way. It is just removal. Keep your shoulders square ahead and walk away, with a good amount of energy if need be. There will be no choice for her but to follow immediately if you do it right.

When she is back to walking loosely beside you, and preferably when she looks up at you as if to say "What was that for?" is when you stop and work the training again.
06-18-2014 03:51 PM
Pax8 I practice with different dogs every time with pretty much all my reactive dogs. It also helps generalize the behavior. You do have to modify the reaction before she takes any steps closer. Every step you take closer, the more likely she is to react to the other dog. Sort of like how in a stay you build the base behavior and make sure it is solid before you add challenges like walking away. Same concept.

What kind of reinforcement are you using? Maybe a higher reinforcement treat would help, like tripe.

I'm also trying to get a feel for what exactly you are doing. Your post makes it sound like you walk up to the dog, trying to hold her attention until she reacts? Are you constantly in motion while you practice this, or do you ever stop at a distance she can handle, do a bit of training so you have focus and move closer in baby steps?

It can also help to get the assistance of a friend who can remain stationary if strangers are getting mad for whatever reason.
06-18-2014 03:40 PM
Kestrel Thanks for the reply. That is what we've been trying to do. I understand the concept, just applying it in real life is hard sometimes. Once a person gave me crap for going back and forth like I was trying to agitate his dog. So, we turn around and have no more practice until next time there is a dog. Do you still think she is learning this way? Or does different dog/time = starting from scratch every time? Because, we don't see to be able to be getting any progress on distance, though we've made progress on intensity of reaction compared to when we got her. When she starts pulling, we turn around. I know by then, there's not getting through to her. After we turn, it takes her a bit to get a hold of herself again, like she's rush in front of me and start looking everywhere and not "look". Is there a way to work on bringing her "back" quicker too? Thanks for all your help.
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