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Discussion Starter #1
As I have mentioned in other threads, my 17-week old pup barks a lot at strange people and dogs. If I can detect just before she starts to react I can refocus her attention by calling her name or giving her favorite ball a good hard squeak. However, if she escalates before I redirect, I am unable to regain focus. If I can't regain focus, he will spend the next 2-3 minutes barking himself hoarse. I am starting to have good luck sticking to my immediate neighborhood. My success rate at redirecting is getting to be about 1 out of 5 interactions.

The problem is that it is really hard to predict when and how many people and or dogs are going to walk by. We can often go 15 minutes without anyone walking by. While driving around I found a nice grassy area all the way across the parking lot from a local home-depot. It looked pretty good. Foot traffic was one or two people every 30 seconds. We were at least 100 yards away from most of the people. Plus we could get back in the car to warm up or regroup. I figured we could move further or closer to the building entryway depending on his stress level.

Is it more important to get 100% success redirecting if we have to wait 10-15 minutes between pedestrians? At what point should we go to somewhere the pedestrians are more frequent? I guess what I am really ask is, How negatively will a slip up affect Ole vs. how positively will a success affect him?
 

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Personally, 100% success is better, even if you must wait. Don’t move to a higher trafficked area until you don’t have to redirect and she is being reliable in that area. A set back will negatively affect way more than a success. Everything has to start at the very beginning, taking baby steps. I hope that answered your question, I’m not too experienced, but I do know that 100% is better even if you have to wait 30 minutes.
 

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Obedience. You need to be able to give a command. You can not correct emotion and his reaction is emotion. You can correct disobedience to a command. And the obedience will get him out of his own head to help stop the reaction.

1. if he's reacting then you are to close to the object.
2. Tell him Sit (he MUST have a reliable Sit first. It's not fair to correct him if he doesn't understand what is being asked).

We just worked on exactly this in a protection workshop. It's secondary obedience.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks,

That makes good sense. It sounds like an analogy to mountain climbing.

A single 30 foot fall down a cliff will cause more emotional damage (reduced confidence) than the skill and success gained by 10 climbs up that rock face.

So, take it slow. Set up the proper safety lines and use them properly even if it feels like a waste of time.
 

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Glad you have some good advice already, it really is true. In order to get used to being around people he needs to feel like people are no big deal, just a passing object. Not an increasing level of stress every time he goes out. Why is he spending 2 to 3 minutes barking? If you are walking your dog and a person walks by you either need to walk past nice and quick, pick up the pace, distract your dog, paying no attention to the other person. Or put your dog in a prolonged sit while the other person walks past (have plenty of treats ready). It would be preferable to actually avoid overloading him intentionally though.

I wouldn't rush taking him closer and closer to people in the car park, just enjoy wherever you are and he can see that people are around in the background causing no issue to him. It's better if he has an experience where, for example, he went to the car park, was taken out for a quick pee (maybe some people in the distance), and he got back in the car, no barking, no stress. A negative experience where he feels stressed and in need of barking will set him back much further.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sorry if I was unclear, we are nowhere near walking by someone. We are at the stage where he barks if there is someone somewhere between 300 and 50 feet way. Currently, as soon as I see the change in his ears, I redirect his attention. If the person is heading towards us, we turn around and head the other way.

We started doing 20-30 second sit/stays in the house with distractions like me dropping rewards. That seems to be helping his impulse control a lot.
 

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Thanks,

That makes good sense. It sounds like an analogy to mountain climbing.

A single 30 foot fall down a cliff will cause more emotional damage (reduced confidence) than the skill and success gained by 10 climbs up that rock face.

So, take it slow. Set up the proper safety lines and use them properly even if it feels like a waste of time.
Exactly. Teach him the tools and rules to succeed. The barking is self rewarding so make sure you are rewarding the good behavior you want. If you see him glance at a dog and NOT react, make sure you mark that behavior and have a party with him. He'll catch on quickly that not reacting brings good things.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks to everyone for their help and suggestions.

I have had snuggly, snooze by the fireplace, dogs for years. They have all been adult rescue dogs that needed a calm quiet home to feel safe.

Ole is something entirely different. When exhausted he does snores by the fireplace. When he is awake, he is so energetic and inquisitive it is humbling to work and play with him. I want to do the right things so that I can improve his impulse control without damaging the awesome parts of his personality. So thanks.
 
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