Getting her to focus on me. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Getting her to focus on me.

Mysti, probable GSD X, is one of the best behaved dogs I've owned. With two exceptions; her prey drive is insane and once she is in the "zone" I can't get her out.

If I'm walking her and she sees a deer/cat/rabbit, her mind is gone. Puling, barking, screaming. She even flipped over onto her back (when wearing a harness) once!

I've tried getting her to focus on me if I spot the animal before she does, but it rarely works. She'll hear/smell it.

I've turned and started walking the other way, but, again, she hears/smells it.

I've even picked her up and carried her home.

How can I get her to ignore the distraction and continue to walk nicely by my side?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 09:17 PM
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You have a feral dog that still thinks she needs to chase and kill her food.It's a matter of life and death to her.So she's frustrated and panicked when she can't do what she thinks she needs to do.
The best thing would be to find a trainer that has experience helping feral dogs.What I would try for now instead of walking away is run with her as fast as possible the other way.Try to be way more interesting and animated than the prey animal.If she is getting that upset I'm not sure an adversive would work except to amp her up more(e collar,prong) right now.
Hopefully she's able to get plenty of off leash time to stretch out,run,and have fun.Being leashed all of the time makes for restlessness and frustration.
I've got a Misty too with a very high prey drive.She gets really amped when she's leashed too,but she fortunately recovers quickly.I can let her go sniff around at the spot where the critter took off into the weeds and it chills her right out.Walking leashed down a country road where she can track critters and dig around for field mice is satisfying for her too.She also gets to run free in the woods a couple of times a week.
For your girl tracking and sniffing around may satisfy her or could backfire and up the frustration.My Misty is always very happy when we arrive back home though.Time for a snack and a nap.Anyway,hope this helps.
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Terri

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 09:31 PM
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Sounds like Keeta when I first adopted her. Took a lot of intense obedience training to teach her self control and focus. She was fine and focused and eager to please one-on-one, in the house with no distractions, but outside it was like her brain went into high gear, and the brakes were broken.

First OB class we went to, I had to lift her front legs off the ground by her collar and drag her into the building, so incredibly focused and hyped she was with all that was going oin around her, I had no control - but by the end of this class, she was a different dog.

I worked her obedience with distractions everyday, and she slowly improved. Your dog, like Keeta, doesn't even know that there are other behavioural options than the ones her brain clicks into - it will take time to re-train those instincts.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dogma13 View Post
You have a feral dog that still thinks she needs to chase and kill her food.It's a matter of life and death to her.So she's frustrated and panicked when she can't do what she thinks she needs to do.
The best thing would be to find a trainer that has experience helping feral dogs.What I would try for now instead of walking away is run with her as fast as possible the other way.Try to be way more interesting and animated than the prey animal.If she is getting that upset I'm not sure an adversive would work except to amp her up more(e collar,prong) right now.
Hopefully she's able to get plenty of off leash time to stretch out,run,and have fun.Being leashed all of the time makes for restlessness and frustration.
I've got a Misty too with a very high prey drive.She gets really amped when she's leashed too,but she fortunately recovers quickly.I can let her go sniff around at the spot where the critter took off into the weeds and it chills her right out.Walking leashed down a country road where she can track critters and dig around for field mice is satisfying for her too.She also gets to run free in the woods a couple of times a week.
For your girl tracking and sniffing around may satisfy her or could backfire and up the frustration.My Misty is always very happy when we arrive back home though.Time for a snack and a nap.Anyway,hope this helps.
Oh, she gets A LOT of off leash time. We have a three acre pasture that she and the other dogs run laps around while I walk the perimeter. Her nose is to the ground for the majority of the time and when she flat out runs its beautiful, like something from a nature show.

How would I go about finding a trainer that has experience with feral dogs? What should I be looking for?
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 10:35 PM
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I don't know if she is all that feral being so sweet with people - she has probably just never had any limits of behaviour shaping, so you are starting off on the negative scale - not even square one.

I'm just going by the experience I had with Keeta - I believe she was a tied dog prior to me getting her, and she was wild!! Friendly, liked people, but people were just peripheral, the real world that held her interest didn't include people in her pack structure. When I first got her, I had very little experience with dogs, and I tried to make he mind me by imposing my will onto her - er . . . that didn't work out like I expected. After struggling with her for six months, I admitted defeated (was a HUGE pill to swallow!), and signed up for obedience classes - I figured I had to learn how to try and reach her.

The class I ended up in was positive, food-reward based. I have never used food rewards in my training previously, I was of the opinion that I'm the boss, dog should obey! But this class made me a convert! Turns out I'm someone worth obeying when treats are forthcoming, LOL.

Keeta 'got' it. It was like magic: it was like someone reached into her brain and hit a switch. It completely changed our relationship for the better, and made me a better dog owner who understood training and how dogs learn better. It still took a lot of proofing to get her to learn to control her impulses - a prong collar worked wonders, and I was training with some very savvy dog people with very well trained dogs that were used as distraction for proofing and re-enforcement.

Any obedience work you do, the more you practice in new and varying situations, the more solid your dog will become.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-03-2016, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brodi View Post
Oh, she gets A LOT of off leash time. We have a three acre pasture that she and the other dogs run laps around while I walk the perimeter. Her nose is to the ground for the majority of the time and when she flat out runs its beautiful, like something from a nature show.

How would I go about finding a trainer that has experience with feral dogs? What should I be looking for?
That's great!Dogs are breathtaking when they are running naturally aren't they?!Just call around to trainers and clubs in your area and talk to them about her.You'll find someone you can connect with and be comfortable with their philosophy.Someone not overly harsh.

Terri

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Misty Husky Mix
Z-Z Terrier/potato mix
Devo Yorkie Mix at the bridge
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-03-2016, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dogma13 View Post
That's great!Dogs are breathtaking when they are running naturally aren't they?!Just call around to trainers and clubs in your area and talk to them about her.You'll find someone you can connect with and be comfortable with their philosophy.Someone not overly harsh.
I'll start calling around after next week. We have a relative coming to visit us that she adores. He's a jogger and I swear she'd stuff her self into his suitcase if she could.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Castlemaid View Post
I don't know if she is all that feral being so sweet with people - she has probably just never had any limits of behaviour shaping, so you are starting off on the negative scale - not even square one.

I'm just going by the experience I had with Keeta - I believe she was a tied dog prior to me getting her, and she was wild!! Friendly, liked people, but people were just peripheral, the real world that held her interest didn't include people in her pack structure. When I first got her, I had very little experience with dogs, and I tried to make he mind me by imposing my will onto her - er . . . that didn't work out like I expected. After struggling with her for six months, I admitted defeated (was a HUGE pill to swallow!), and signed up for obedience classes - I figured I had to learn how to try and reach her.

The class I ended up in was positive, food-reward based. I have never used food rewards in my training previously, I was of the opinion that I'm the boss, dog should obey! But this class made me a convert! Turns out I'm someone worth obeying when treats are forthcoming, LOL.

Keeta 'got' it. It was like magic: it was like someone reached into her brain and hit a switch. It completely changed our relationship for the better, and made me a better dog owner who understood training and how dogs learn better. It still took a lot of proofing to get her to learn to control her impulses - a prong collar worked wonders, and I was training with some very savvy dog people with very well trained dogs that were used as distraction for proofing and re-enforcement.

Any obedience work you do, the more you practice in new and varying situations, the more solid your dog will become.
Its funny her little "gaps". Almost 90% of the time she comes when you call, to a name they gave her at the shelter and rarely called her. But yet for the life of me I can't get her to sit! I will definently get us enrolled in an obedience class.

Mysti, Probable GSD mix
Deputy, 9yr old, Great Pyrenees Mix
Zane, 8 yr old, Pit Mix
Kieber, 3 year old, Dachshund mix.
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