Lunging at cars on our street as they pass by - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-26-2008, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Lunging at cars on our street as they pass by

My Juli recently started this horrible habit of lunging toward cars on our street as they pass by across from our house. I live in a townhouse and our usual routine is to take her across the street where she knows its potty time. Now that it is dark after I get home from work she seems to be on the alert for cars passing by on our not very busy street. Yesterday my wife had her out and she is not strong enough to hold her back and Juli ran up to my car almost in front of it barking tail wagging excitement. She is 10 months old. She also does this with bicycles passing by.

I usually put her in a sit stay when I see something coming, but she cannot resist the temptation to jump up at the last moment overexcited barking. Most people on our street know that she is friendly. I still do not want her doing this for her and others safety.
If she lunges I correct her and restrain her but she goes beserk sometimes trying to get away.

Another bad habit she has is barking at strangers who approach from behind when I take her on hikes. She has a pretty intimidating deep bark and has scared a few people who don't know her. If they get close she would probably lick them to death.

Is this a fear stage that she is going through? Any suggestions on training her out of both these behaviors will be greatly appreciated.
She has basic obedience training but needs continued work to improve her sometimes buthead independence.

Glenn

Qadira vom Haus Tyson 01/29/08
Call name: Juli
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-26-2008, 12:17 PM
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Re: Lunging at cars on our street as they pass by

Quote:
Originally Posted By: gmcenroeIf she lunges I correct her and restrain her but she goes beserk sometimes trying to get away.
Here's the problem. If you let her get worked up to the point that she lunges - it's too late to correct her. Her brain has basically shut off to all outside stimuli except that moving object.

The key is to get her attention off the moving object BEFORE she gets worked up and then work her up for focusing on you instead!

Quote:
Quote:Another bad habit she has is barking at strangers who approach from behind when I take her on hikes.
Personally, I'd let her get a bark or two out. It's her job to alert you to strangers approaching. But once you know they are there it's YOUR job to take control and tell her to stop. Sort of a "Hey, Dad! There's people coming towards us!" "Thanks, Juli - I see them. Now you can be quiet."
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-26-2008, 12:25 PM
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Re: Lunging at cars on our street as they pass by

How old is Juli?

Havoc seems enthralled by car headlights and will try to pull me toward them. It stopped this summer as it was no longer dark when I walked him, this fall it started again. It is a dangerous behavior so I started working with it seriously and have it pretty much resolved.

This is what I did:
Start a good way back and use a sit and reward the sit.
Reward him for looking at the headlight/car.
The loooking at the car became a predictor of a reward.
I added the cue look at the car to give him permission to check it out and rewarded the look.

The car and headlights no longer are enthralling they are just a way to get a reward so now he sees the car and looks at me.

Build this slowly if you can but it is hard to predict the cars when you are out walking . So use every encounter to let her look and reward and she will begin turning back to you for the treat. This is the Look at That (LAT) game from Leslie McDevitt's Control Unleashed. It does work.

Barking at strangers and things behind her may just be startle, she can't see them and they "sneak up" on her. If you hear them coming step off to the side out of the way, turn so she can see them approach and play LAT just like for the cars. The farther away you hear them the more time she has to see them coming and realize they are not sneaking up on her.

Havoc did that too and I used this for him as well and it worked.

Even if this is or is not fear, the positive game reframes the stuff as a way to get a reward and not a scary threat or predictor of punishment which would increase the negative association - even if it stopped the behavior temporarily.

They are protective aren't they?

Kathy

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-26-2008, 12:27 PM
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Re: Lunging at cars on our street as they pass by

And I see that Juli is 10 months old as her DOB is in your siggy. Observant I am! LOL!

She is reaching adulthood here and her protective instincts are kicking in.

Kathy

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-26-2008, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Lunging at cars on our street as they pass by

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Lauri & The Gang
Here's the problem. If you let her get worked up to the point that she lunges - it's too late to correct her. Her brain has basically shut off to all outside stimuli except that moving object.

The key is to get her attention off the moving object BEFORE she gets worked up and then work her up for focusing on you instead!
Lauri & The Gang: This is good advice Lauri, I need to work on her focus on me. Once she sees the car her neck is stiff as a board in anticipation. She has a lot of food drive so I'll bring some treats with me and work on this. My son can drive his car and we'll give this a try.

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Lauri & The GangPersonally, I'd let her get a bark or two out. It's her job to alert you to strangers approaching. But once you know they are there it's YOUR job to take control and tell her to stop. Sort of a "Hey, Dad! There's people coming towards us!" "Thanks, Juli - I see them. Now you can be quiet."
I'll try this, the guy she barked at told me he was going to kick her a$$ if she got close to him so he wasn't too friendly. Everyone else who approached from the front and it was a tail wagging situation. These dogs have unbelievably good instincts. She also barks in the house at times too when she hears a strange sound and she has gotten better at stopping when she is near me and I reassure her. I don't want reassurance from me to be mistaken by her as praise for her barking.

Thanks everyone for the advice so far,

Glenn

Qadira vom Haus Tyson 01/29/08
Call name: Juli
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-26-2008, 01:35 PM
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Re: Lunging at cars on our street as they pass by

Diego (Juli's Brother) also has a protective streak now. He will bark as folks walk past the house on the street.
Diego would lunge or try to chase a passing car as we walk down the street. I did the following: As a car would approach (not a busy street) I would get his attention by giving the leash a quick tug & say "Diego Leave it" just as the car would pass by. The car would pass during the time I have his attention not allowing him to focus on the car. After about 10 times I gave it a try without the leash tug & just said "leave it" & he focused on my voice command.
Now he pays no mind to cars, bikes or people. Other dogs are still a problem as he looses all control but I am working on that too.

Quantum Vom Haus Tyson (Call sign "Diego")
01-29-08


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-26-2008, 02:18 PM
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Re: Lunging at cars on our street as they pass by

Leave it is a great tool but I like letting the dog look at the trigger so they can see for themselves that it is NO BIG DEAL. By letting them look and receive reward they learn it is okay to look without stressing and mom and dad have the good stuff and they are better.

By letting them look and check back with you, you in effect teach them to leave it on thier own.

Kathy

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