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Old 01-06-2014, 02:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Afraid of other dogs and people

I need help with Lola... I've be socializing her since I got her. I always take her out with me to Petsmart and take her on walks with me where I know they'll be other dogs and people. We haven't encountered a mean or unruly dog, as most of the people around here are very responsible when it comes to their dogs.

Lola gets along really well with my 9 year old mixed breed (who is about 85 pounds) and gets along with my sisters 10 year old rat terrier. She also gets along really well with my friends 3 year old lab. So I know she likes other dogs.

However, when we are hiking and run into other people and dogs she barks like crazy. Yesterday we ran into an older really friendly golden who was off leash on the trail we walk on. The owner was close by and we've seen this dog several times and I knew he was dog friendly and Lola wasn't phased by him before. But Lola freaked out!! The dog just smelled her and Lola started whining and cowering. I tried to say it's okay and pet her then gave her a treat once the owner came and got his golden, which now I'm not sure if I just reinforced that behavior. She also had done that behavior several weeks before with my friends 10 month old lab mix (which is huge and a little too hyper and not the best trained) but I figured that was because of the other dog coming on too strong. My friend got her dog crated and Lola hasn't seen him since.


Then there's the problem with people. Anytime we see people coming in our direction I always move over and have Lola sit. Some of the time she's really great and I reward her with a treat and we go on our way. However, the other times she'll bark like crazy at them! Even after they pass. Then she'll pull on the leash even though before we passed people she was fine.

I took her out about a week ago. I went for a run then came back to get her for a walk. As I was getting her a few of my running friends came up and Lola would not stop barking at them. She just sits there and barks at them. No lunging towards them or anything so at least that part is good. There's just no settling her.

I have her registered for obedience that was suppose to start today but was cancelled due to weather so we start next week. I'm afraid she's just going to go crazy with the other dogs.

I've given her treats and try to redirect her attention but no luck.

Any suggestions??
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Old 01-06-2014, 08:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Anyone?
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Try and find the book Control Unleashed. There are a bunch of videos on YouTube too showing dogs learning the "Look at that" game from Control Unleashed.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I would keep her moving rather than wait for people to pass.

When you stand in one place the pup will naturally defend that space(for what ever reason) but if you keep moving then you are on neutral territory and it will be less likely to react. Get her mind into we're traveling no matter what the obstacle rather than here comes some load people what will I do.

Her barking is probably because she doesn't want people she doesn't know approaching her.

If people approach and then stare at her or try to rub her and say hey little girl, your so sweet, then your pup will bark more at them and want to meet them less as they have reinforced the mistrust. That is why it is easiest to keep going, most people don't know how to read a pup or interact with it. Easy way with strangers is no touch talk or eye contact.

Even when you encounter other dogs just keep going as if you don't see the other dog.

Males will get right in there and sniff a young female which can intimidate the female. Especially as a pup with a little socialization. Again she will bark to avoid this meeting.

When my female is on leash I don't like males getting within 2 meters of us. Basically if he gets into our space he thinks he can do what he wants. It may be to sniff. If my girl reacts badly, he gets excited, I can't do anything really. I have to deal with a situation. But if i use body language to tell him to not enter our space then I avoid the conflict. I show the male my girl is being protected so don't come near and I show my dog she is safe with me, win-win.

When she gets closer to heat time it gets more important to have this force field around you and a strong confident energy so you don't get into trouble with stray males.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
a few of my running friends came up and Lola would not stop barking at them. She just sits there and barks at them....There's just no settling her.
Just run with them for a while and the pup would probably settle a bit as it had other things on its mind. When you just stand there then the mind may get stuck.
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Old 01-07-2014, 12:36 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Have you taught her "watch me" yet? It has been the single most effective tool in my working with my reactive guy. With a good watch me I can swiftly heel him out of situations that I have learned to predict will be a problem for him. Good face attention is really important in obedience work anyway.

Loose dog when mine is leashed? "Watch me" and turn the other direction OR move parallel with me between Huxley and the loose dog.

Runners or other groups likely to agitate? "Watch me" and move to the side and practice sits, stands, and downs ("puppy pushups")

You have to be aware of your surroundings but not reactive yourself. No tightening up on that leash. Use your happy voice and make yourself more interesting than anything else around. Keep stinky yucky treats on you for these situations.

Basically give the dog something else to focus on (you!) and another outlet for the energy (basic obedience skills) Be confident. Our dogs feed on what we emote.

Don't reward the behavior by soothing the dog. Try to avoid the functional reward too. This means you act before your dog has a chance to because if she is already going off and you move her away from what she is reacting to, that is a functional reward - meaning her barking/reacting worked as it got her away from what was making her uncomfortable. You really need to be aware of your surroundings, as I mentioned before, and find something that is good and correct for her to do before she can react poorly.

On a personal note, having BTDT myself, relax. Breathe. Have fun with your dog. I forgot that far too many times myself. These are hiccups in what will hopefully be a long and happy relationship with our dogs.

hth
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Old 01-16-2014, 03:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Sorry I haven't replied sooner. I've read everyone's comments and have been trying to get her out more.

I've been working with keeping her moving past other dogs and that has been going great. She's been a little better with people as well. Though if we are stopped and people are around she'll just bark at them. (seems more of a protective bark and not a scared bark though, if that matters)

She started training at Michele Scarberry's on Monday. I don't think she did very well. She seemed really stressed and nipped at her brother (he's in the same class) as well as another dog. I'm hoping next week will be better. She did seem to relax towards the end of the training and started trying to sniff the dogs beside her.

I'm hoping this is just her being a puppy and not a nerves problem.
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Old 01-16-2014, 05:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If she is anywhere between 7 months and 1.5 years it could very well be an extreme case of fear stage. Lots of positive interaction in situation you are both able to handle.
Never correct her for fear related behavior as it will get worse. Lots of good advice here.
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Old 01-16-2014, 05:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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She'll be 5 months tomorrow.

I try to keep her distracted while we pass others. Today we had a group of guys coming towards us while we were on our walk. My older dog walked right up to them but Lola was pretty defensive. We were in the woods and they had a 4 wheeler type vehicle collecting fallen trees and we could only squeeze past them. I don't blame her for barking at them, there were about 7 guys in hardhats with a big vehicle coming at us. I did get her around them as quickly as I could to minimize the interaction.

I just want to teach her to stop barking once I tell her enough.

Also, lately she hasn't been cowering. She'll back up towards me but no cowering.
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Old 01-16-2014, 06:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrammaD View Post
Have you taught her "watch me" yet? It has been the single most effective tool in my working with my reactive guy. With a good watch me I can swiftly heel him out of situations that I have learned to predict will be a problem for him. Good face attention is really important in obedience work anyway.

Loose dog when mine is leashed? "Watch me" and turn the other direction OR move parallel with me between Huxley and the loose dog.

Runners or other groups likely to agitate? "Watch me" and move to the side and practice sits, stands, and downs ("puppy pushups")

You have to be aware of your surroundings but not reactive yourself. No tightening up on that leash. Use your happy voice and make yourself more interesting than anything else around. Keep stinky yucky treats on you for these situations.

Basically give the dog something else to focus on (you!) and another outlet for the energy (basic obedience skills) Be confident. Our dogs feed on what we emote.

Don't reward the behavior by soothing the dog. Try to avoid the functional reward too. This means you act before your dog has a chance to because if she is already going off and you move her away from what she is reacting to, that is a functional reward - meaning her barking/reacting worked as it got her away from what was making her uncomfortable. You really need to be aware of your surroundings, as I mentioned before, and find something that is good and correct for her to do before she can react poorly.

On a personal note, having BTDT myself, relax. Breathe. Have fun with your dog. I forgot that far too many times myself. These are hiccups in what will hopefully be a long and happy relationship with our dogs.

hth
This is great advice. I can't tell you how much advice like this has helped me with my dogs fear periods.
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