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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2016, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Which method is best?

Hey, everyone! We have been working with Vesper EVERY DAY with her reactivity. So far we have been using the method where we treat when she sees a person or dog and reacts neutrally. However, I have read that some people use the method where they quickly correct before their dog can react, and don't use treats at all. I'm wondering if anyone has had success using either of these methods, and if you could tell me what worked for you!

She has been doing well so far, but we still have a long way to go. Our group training class starts next month.

~Vesper~March 28, 2015
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2016, 01:09 PM
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I've tried numerous methods such as the desensitizing, counter-conditioning, collar corrections, e-collar etc. I think what is most important is to appreciate that "one size does not fit all " as dogs and the handlers are all not the same but yet one has to commit to whatever approach you are working with....don't quit too early as patience is crucial on behalf of the human. I believe each approach I tried had some benefit but not to the degree which cured the behavior completely. Perhaps what has yielded the best results was beating this reactivity through obedience and engaging the dog while the dog was still below threshold. I guess my line of reasoning was/is ....I most likely can't completely change how my dog is wired and make it "like" other dogs but I certainly can get my dog to ignore other dogs through obedience and keeping the dog focused on me by utilizing it's anticipation on what I have to offer. Once you find the keys to capturing your dog's focus and using that to create anticipation, you can slowly close the distance around other dogs. My dog loves erratic motion and hones in on it and through the use of this in our engagement coupled with impulse control training and obedience training, she has chosen what I offer over the presence of other dogs.....mostly. I say mostly, because if I am not ahead of the game and we are surprised by another dog(s) in close proximity she will still react but I can stem the problem so much more easily than before.

Hopefully, your reactive dog will come around with the method you are pursuing. What I found when I used the method you are using currently was my dog didn't really care at all for any food treat at a certain point in the DS/CC training....she wanted a piece of the other dog regardless of whatever the root problem was.

The intent of my post is not to suggest what you are doing is wrong...it's more to suggest that it's difficult for someone over the internet to tell you a surefire method without ever evaluating your reactive dog. I'm glad to hear she is doing well so far....that's a huge plus....so keep it up !

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2016, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SuperG View Post
I've tried numerous methods such as the desensitizing, counter-conditioning, collar corrections, e-collar etc. I think what is most important is to appreciate that "one size does not fit all " as dogs and the handlers are all not the same but yet one has to commit to whatever approach you are working with....don't quit too early as patience is crucial on behalf of the human. I believe each approach I tried had some benefit but not to the degree which cured the behavior completely. Perhaps what has yielded the best results was beating this reactivity through obedience and engaging the dog while the dog was still below threshold. I guess my line of reasoning was/is ....I most likely can't completely change how my dog is wired and make it "like" other dogs but I certainly can get my dog to ignore other dogs through obedience and keeping the dog focused on me by utilizing it's anticipation on what I have to offer. Once you find the keys to capturing your dog's focus and using that to create anticipation, you can slowly close the distance around other dogs. My dog loves erratic motion and hones in on it and through the use of this in our engagement coupled with impulse control training and obedience training, she has chosen what I offer over the presence of other dogs.....mostly. I say mostly, because if I am not ahead of the game and we are surprised by another dog(s) in close proximity she will still react but I can stem the problem so much more easily than before.

Hopefully, your reactive dog will come around with the method you are pursuing. What I found when I used the method you are using currently was my dog didn't really care at all for any food treat at a certain point in the DS/CC training....she wanted a piece of the other dog regardless of whatever the root problem was.

The intent of my post is not to suggest what you are doing is wrong...it's more to suggest that it's difficult for someone over the internet to tell you a surefire method without ever evaluating your reactive dog. I'm glad to hear she is doing well so far....that's a huge plus....so keep it up !


SuperG
Thank you for your response! I appreciate the feedback. From previous situations, I think that for Vesper almost a "leave it" type of command works most effectively. For example, she will focus in on something almost immediately, and when I can break her focus, she is much less likely to react. It has a lot to do with staying under threshold. If I can capture her attention away from the stimulus, then we are far enough away and she feels comfortable. When we get closer to people (her main problem is with people, especially children) then she focuses even more intensely and it's difficult to capture her attention. At this point I usually move back to a more comfortable distance. It's slow going, but we are making progress... When she is surprised by a person, she always barks, which is somewhat understandable.

~Vesper~March 28, 2015
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2016, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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I think that I'm going to start trying a new method where I tell her leave it, and when she breaks focus and looks at me, then I treat. Hopefully that will help her pay less attention to the stimulus and more attention to me.

~Vesper~March 28, 2015
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2016, 02:11 PM
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We had a lot of success with the treat training, however we had to wait until our dog was interested in treats! She wouldn't go for treats until she was just over a year old. This was a while ago, but I believe it took a consistent 4 months of doing it. It was a pain for a while, but well worth the effort.

It may depend on the dog, but for us, once our dog got to be about 16 months or so, the correction method increased her aggression.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2016, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Gretchen View Post
We had a lot of success with the treat training, however we had to wait until our dog was interested in treats! She wouldn't go for treats until she was just over a year old. This was a while ago, but I believe it took a consistent 4 months of doing it. It was a pain for a while, but well worth the effort.

It may depend on the dog, but for us, once our dog got to be about 16 months or so, the correction method increased her aggression.
Good to know! Thanks so much!

~Vesper~March 28, 2015
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2016, 03:14 PM
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With reactivity the rule is that they should never focus on anything besides you the handler. You take them 50 ft away if needed and teach them focus. If eyes start wandering you say watch me. As they get better you move closer and do the same. Always end on a positive note. I set goals of one dog a day then two then three, etc. by the time we got to 5-10 ft I incorporated lets go in a high pitched voice and they happily follow. I also would toss treats in the opposite direction and the dog would hunt for the treats--as another dog walked right past. Too busy looking for the treats. I did all this stuff everyday for 4 months straight and the end result was a dog that could go anywhere without any reactions to other dogs. It was a beautiful moment that has lasted for a couple years now

In fact this picture was taken 4 months(almost exactly--this was his first doggie event)after Midnites training. It was a doggie event and another member here was there with Berlin


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Last edited by llombardo; 02-24-2016 at 03:21 PM.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2016, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much! That's so encouraging. My goal is to have a dog like that. People keep telling me that Vesper will "never be totally unreactive." I will start training "watch me" at home tonight, then will incorporate that into our training.

~Vesper~March 28, 2015
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llombardo View Post
With reactivity the rule is that they should never focus on anything besides you the handler. You take them 50 ft away if needed and teach them focus. If eyes start wandering you say watch me. As they get better you move closer and do the same. Always end on a positive note. I set goals of one dog a day then two then three, etc. by the time we got to 5-10 ft I incorporated lets go in a high pitched voice and they happily follow. I also would toss treats in the opposite direction and the dog would hunt for the treats--as another dog walked right past. Too busy looking for the treats. I did all this stuff everyday for 4 months straight and the end result was a dog that could go anywhere without any reactions to other dogs. It was a beautiful moment that has lasted for a couple years now

In fact this picture was taken 4 months(almost exactly--this was his first doggie event)after Midnites training. It was a doggie event and another member here was there with Berlin

after searching through the threads (still am) I like this method the most, especially because my dogs can't resist the dry-freeze liver treats.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lexiz View Post
Hey, everyone! We have been working with Vesper EVERY DAY with her reactivity. So far we have been using the method where we treat when she sees a person or dog and reacts neutrally. However, I have read that some people use the method where they quickly correct before their dog can react, and don't use treats at all. I'm wondering if anyone has had success using either of these methods, and if you could tell me what worked for you!

She has been doing well so far, but we still have a long way to go. Our group training class starts next month.
My problem with treats and reactivity was that Shadow was so amped up she wouldn't take them. I had really good luck taking her out with a totally stable dog, but when he went away so did any progress.
I sat just inside our gate with Shadow, and did the 'watch me' every time anything moved on the sidewalk. Then we moved to with the gate open, then just outside the gate, and so on.
I do agree that your dog may always be reactive, but with most dogs it seems we can get them to a point were they at least ignore.
I talk to Shadow a lot. Just a running dialogue of encouragement, it seems to help.
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