How would you fix this problem WITHOUT using an e-collar? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-26-2011, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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How would you fix this problem WITHOUT using an e-collar?

This is a real life situation involving one of MY dogs so feel free to ask any questions - I'll answer them as best I can.


Sasha is a 2-3 yr old spayed GSD/? mix that we adopted when she was about 9-12 months. I have NO information on her prior to getting her from the shelter in Alabama. She is VERY fearful - people, loud noises, changes in routine, thunder, gun shots, etc.

Here is the problems I need to fix and I cannot figure out how to do it WITHOUT using an e-collar.

Problem - Vehicle Chasing

We live in 3 acres. The back two acres are fenced for the dogs. The east side of the fencing runs along the service road our neighbors use to get to their house and outbuildings (they run a commercial nursery).

When a car starts down the road Sasha bolts for the fence and chases it, barking the whole time.

Here's what I have tried:

Have her on a 4-6' leash - she behaves perfectly. She doesn't even LOOK at the vehicles.

Have her on a long line - again, she behaves. Tried using VERY light line - she still behaved.

Have her off leash, sitting next to me. She looks at the car but I say "ACK" and she looks away. Gets TONS of praise for that.

Have her off leash, sitting with arm's reach - same as above.

As soon as she knows she's out of my reach - she totally ignores any commands and bolts for the vehicle.

We've tried driving OUR car down the road, stopped when she got to the fence then I jumped out and verbally reprimanded her. She just wandered away.

Tried using one of those big water squirt guns (pump action) as she HATES water - still kept doing it.

I even tried to run and block her path - she just runs right around me.

She is VERY much a self-rewarding dog. If she tries something and gets rewarded, even if she tries and tries and tries and only succeeds once - she will keep trying.

So - any thoughts, ideas, suggestions??
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-26-2011, 05:01 PM
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since she hates noise how about a air horn? Have a friend or your neighbors help you out? Hope you figure it out


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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-26-2011, 05:47 PM
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what i have learned after going 6 years to doggie military school, we use a chain collar, I dont like to use the word "choke" collar, the chain collars are made in germany and are used for the sound and quick release, i would have to post a picture, there is a certain way the collar is put on, and its for working the dog on the left side, I have a fearful GSD and have seen this type of training work on all breeds, what we are taught is to jerk the dog towards the negative, barking at other dogs, crossing the boundary, and in your case chasing cars, its a quick jerk and basically breaks the dogs concentration on what the dog shouldn't be concentrating on, like chasing cars, now i have to say some will say OH NO! thats mean and cruel, the military has been using it for many many years to train their dogs, whats mean and cruel is the dog getting killed out in the street, from what you described, she sounds like a miss smarty pants, and has you figured out, the jerking method my take some time, couple weeks, month, but I think its better than an E collar, certainly cheaper

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-26-2011, 05:52 PM
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since it sounds like she 'barks' as well? How about trying a bark collar?? Sometimes the stopping the barking will interrupt the behavior..

I got one at Walmart, around 39 bucks, for my male aussie, he is a barker, and nothing will stop him, once he starts (say if someone is coming in mydriveway),,he gets MORE amped up by barking and goes into the 'zone'..

The one I have is, a warning beep, then a slight zap, 15 seconds later a stronger zap, and so on..He is quiet as a church mouse with that collar on, and doesn't go into the 'zone" where he tunes everyone out..

I know you don't want to use an E collar, this might be 'less' of a zap I would think than an E collar..

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-26-2011, 06:18 PM
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The problem I see with this is that it is a behavior that can be extremely self-rewarding and the reinforcement scheduled can be so spread apart yet still be very rewarding to the dog. Also the behavior has the potential to be dangerous if not fatal. With that in mind, I would not be interested in methods that takes weeks or months. If the e-collar is out of the question, I'd use a long line with a prong on a life ring. The nice thing about the e-collar is that this would be one situation where I *would* want the dog to see the behavior itself as punishing and not necessarily view me as the punisher and the e-collar can do that, whereas the prong and a long line is typically still and extension of the handler and the dog knows this. I guess it depends on the relationship with the dog. Nikon has never worn an e-collar for anything and never will because of how his work and behavior is framed in the context of OUR relationship. But if I had a dog that was more handler sensitive and not used to aversive training I'd want something that puts a bit more "distance" between us.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-26-2011, 09:07 PM
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Your method of driving by jumping out and yelling is not how I would do it. I would have my husband or friend drive by a few times let her go nuts. Then it's on every time he drives by call your dog back. Reward her and release. Do it again and again. All off leash. It might take a lot of time basically you need to desensitize her is a rewarding way.

Have you taught the look or watch me command? This works great at getting your dogs attention to that when she looks and is focus on you reward her. the point is you need to get your dogs attention during times when they want to chase.

I had a few lots of kids run by our house today they were doing a warm up before a game I think I did not plan it. I took this opportunity to work with my dog. She would rush the fence at the kids bar king mean. I got my treat bag and clicker. I worked on having her come when she did she got a treat. Then I would do the "look here" common she would look and get a reward. Then when she was showing less interest on the kids on her own she got lots of rewards for just being quite. It worked she is not perfect but is responding go me better and becoming more relaxed when others walk by because when people pass she gets rewarded if quite.

My dog still hates the terrier that goes on morning walks we need to work no that. But when kids are running she is much better.

Reward the good make her think that cars going by is a good thing that she gets treats for.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-26-2011, 09:15 PM
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How about - Don't let her out in the yard alone, or when you can't control her. From your original post it sounds like she is good on leash, and within your area of influence.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-26-2011, 09:36 PM
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There are things you can do to decrease her interest. I would keep her below threshold. The car approaches enough to get her interest and then you work with her. If you want no corrections, haver her on a leash and reward her each time she looks away from the car and back at you. This will take several set ups and you must be dedicated to the learning. YOu could put her on a down and correct her for getting up if you are willing to use corrections. Use lots and lots of good treats while she maintains the down. This is with the car close enough to cause interest, but not moving or so close she goes nuts. I would gradually work this up with the car coming closer, then going slowly by. The dog works on the down or focusing on you. Again many sessions and care must be taken to keep her below the threshold where she goes ape.

During this training time, she must never be out to engage in the chasing when you are not there to train.

Gradually, over time, she will become desensitized and her reaction to the car will change. Any engaging in the self rewarding behavior blows the efforts. Your goal will be to change this automatic reaction she has to passing cars. Not necessarily an easy train.

I keep the dogs put up if there are outside things I do not want them to engage in while I am not with them.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-26-2011, 10:13 PM
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I don't know much about much, but love the air horn idea. Those suckers are LOUD and offputting for sure.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 12:42 AM
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I would find two times in the day where there is generally little or no traffic and spend 15 - 30 minutes with the dog off lead in the fenced yard, throwing the ball, etc. Other than that, she would be kenneled or in the house. If I heard a car while I was out there with her, I would take hold of the collar and wait for the car to leave.

I see no reason why any dog needs the run of the yard for long periods of time. And if she has found it to be incredibly rewarding to rush the fence and bark, I would limit her time in The Yard. If we were all outside, and you wanted her to be out too, at another time, just clip on a long lead. If she begins doing what you don't want her to do, remove her from the situation. Put her in the house or kennel.

This is management and not training. It is what I would do.

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