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So Myla and Bella were with me in the front yard doing some yard work. They were down stays and doing nicely. When I went to move the sprinkler, they both got up (they love the sprinkler). I tried to get to them but by that time, they noticed another dog walking on the other side of the street. Of course they all sniffed each other and the person walking the dog on the leash started to say please get these dogs away - she kept saying it over and over again. To their credit, they did not panic and raise their voice. Although they were very uncomfortable with what just happened. They had a 6 foot leash on them, a prong collar, and an e-collar. I called for both of them 'here' but as you can imagine... they didn't. Some growls were exchanged, altough I think most of them came from Myla. I don't believe any of them got close enough to bite. I didn't run over there b/c I didn't want Myla and Bella to know that there was fear. I used the e-collar on both of them. I got a whole of them and corrected them right away using the prong collar and e-collar. I walked away after that and said sorry to the walker and dog. Nothing else was exchanged. I put Myla and Bella back into down stays once we got back onto the drive way. Made them stay there for about 10 mintues.

Please tell me your thoughts about what I could have done to handle the situation differently - if it were to happen again.

Thank you!
 

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Re: Thoughts about what I could have done differen

I cannot speak to the use of the E-collar since I've never used one.


I think the best way to train is to interrupt behaviors BEFORE they happen and not wait to correct them afterwards. At least, I've had the most success that way. My dog listens very well but if we are out front and I am gardening then he is tied up. That way I never have to worry about him being hit by a car or going to meet another dog or scaring someone who walks by (he is friendly but some people are scared of dogs).

So a very easy solution to this problem is to buy some tie outs and a couple of stakes and stake them out with you. That way they there will be no possibility of them going across the street and they will not learn bad habits like crossing the street and breaking their stays. When you see someone going by with their dogs you can put your dogs into stays and toss them treats to reward them for their good behavior.
 

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Re: Thoughts about what I could have done differen

Thanks for the idea. I thought having a dog on a tie out in a yard is teaching them bad aggressive behavior?

Normally I have very watchful about when other dogs/people are approaching. But this time, my back was turned, and it was too late - they were off.

Should I have ran over there instead of walking? Should I have put them in a sit stay while the other dog was walking away instead of me walking Myla and Bella away?
 

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Re: Thoughts about what I could have done differen

maybe i am being dense, but if you are so concerned about this and you cannot keep them in your yard or call them back on voice command, I am not sure why you would not have them leashed or on a tie out? Do you get so little traffic that you did not think this would ever happen? As someone who does alot of leash walking, i have to say I would be really aggravated if two free dogs approached me and Kali while we were walking. Even more so if the contact was prolonged because the person did not have control of their dog. Because by that time, Kali would be reacting, and there would be problems. I think it is great that you are trying to maintain calmness and thinking about how to handle it again, but really i think the core problem is that they did not respond to you nor did they stay in the yard when something is more interesting was outside of it.
 

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Re: Thoughts about what I could have done differen

Dear lawhite,

This is why I get so frustrated with this website. I ask for help and I get belittled. I know it was my fault and as a walker myself I too would get upset about two free dogs. I did what I thought was best. I am asking for suggestions on how I correct the situation. <u><u>Not asking for people to point out my mistakes again</u></u>. Normally, when I see a dog or people approaching the house, I make sure they are in their down stays and paying attention to me. This one time, I was moving the sprinkler and the moved and then they were gone. And I understand that all it takes in one time. That is why I admit it was MY fault and why I am ASKING FOR ADVICE! And yes, we don't get much traffic without warning.

How else am I going to correct the mistake if:
a) I don't ask for help - not reminding me of the mistake!
b) If I don't put them in the front yard and correct the situation.

Someone else mentioned to use a tie off while in the front yard and while they are doing their down stays. And if you noticed in my next post, I asked about the tie offs and wondering if that would be teaching them bad aggressive behavior towards their yard, etc. Because that is what I have been told by trainers - not to do. So next time, please read all posts and offer advice so others can learn from their mistakes.
 

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Re: Thoughts about what I could have done differen

I could be missing something, but for me there is a difference between putting my dog on a long line and tying it to the tree in my front yard while I am out there doing yard work and tying my dog up and having him live tied up as a permanent form of housing him. That difference could be what has you confused, maybe? Living tied up can cause a dog to be aggressive, but being staked out for 20-30 minutes with their person right there is not going to cause any harm (as long as the dog is in a safe area and can't be harassed by people or other dogs).
You did ask for what other people thought. I read it as an invitation to comment in general on what had happened and not just asking for advice on how to correct the situation. I wouldn't see it as belittling, but you do have the responsibility for not putting your dogs in a position that their training and/or your supervision can't back up. That is just my opinion, and I don't offer it to belittle you.
Sheilah
 

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Re: Thoughts about what I could have done differen

Thank you Sheilah,

Yes, I was asking for thoughts. But thoughts about what I could have done differently about handing the mistake that I made. Guess I should have worded it differently. Yes, I jumped on lawhite b/c of my past experience on this website about how people offer advice. To me, it doesn't seem like advice. How you and the other posted write their comments, it was then followed up on things that I need to know about training and maybe doing for the next time they are in the front yard with me.

To answer you question about the difference b/w living tied up and just out on a long lead.... I was thinking there is a difference. But I do and understand your point. I will try that next time. Something else I would like to ask: Is it better to train them together or seperately? When I am on a walk with them, I like to have them in down stays, sit stays, here commands, etc while out in the open with distractions. But I do that while both are with me. Should I spend 10-15 minutes per dog and do all of that?

Thanks again for how you offered advice and your thoughts.
Barbi
 

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Re: Thoughts about what I could have done differen

I have two gsd's and they behave much better one on one, so I would train separately and together, there is never too much training! I agree with both sides, dog walker and dog owner. My dogs are reactive if one comes up on them. If they were aggressiviely approached, my dogs would act aggressive. If a dog approaches all happy, tail wags, my dogs are more inclined to play. If my dogs were loose, as yours, they would go after a dog aggressively, not in play mode, so there would be fur flying! Now if my dogs were alone without each other, the way they act is totally different. I am getting an invisible fence installed in our front for just those times as you described, and I will still have my dogs leashed, it will be a security blanket when they are out front. Just in case something enters our yard...
 

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Re: Thoughts about what I could have done differen

excuse me but i was not belittling you.. i was confused and thought i was missing something. i thought maybe you lived somewhere that there was little to no traffic or there was some other detail that i was missing.
 

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Re: Thoughts about what I could have done differen

Originally Posted By: lawhitemaybe i am being dense, but if you are so concerned about this and you cannot keep them in your yard or call them back on voice command, I am not sure why you would not have them leashed or on a tie out? Do you get so little traffic that you did not think this would ever happen? As someone who does alot of leash walking, i have to say I would be really aggravated if two free dogs approached me and Kali while we were walking. Even more so if the contact was prolonged because the person did not have control of their dog. Because by that time, Kali would be reacting, and there would be problems. I think it is great that you are trying to maintain calmness and thinking about how to handle it again, but really i think the core problem is that they did not respond to you nor did they stay in the yard when something is more interesting was outside of it.
I have to agree. I think the best way to keep this from happening next time is to keep them on leashes at least since your yard isn't fenced. It's good that you didn't run over to them but at the same time I would think that if you trust them enough to have them loose in the yard with you, they should know enough to stop and come to you when told the first time.
 

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Re: Thoughts about what I could have done differen

It sounds to me like this was a very unexpected accident. You have probably been in your yard with your dogs many, many times without any kind of incident - and that's great. But this was, unfortunately, the one time things went wrong.

I think you reacted reasonably well by not screaming and running, which would have probably been very confusing to your dogs and could have escalated the whole ordeal. The person walking her dog also did well by remaining calm and asking you to come get your dogs. Many people would feel very threatened when two large dogs rush them and their dog, and many people carry pepper spray or sticks on their walks to physically defend themselves against being rushed by loose, aggressive dogs.

For a bad situation, in my opinion, both of the humans handled it very well.

Your question was what you could have done differently or what you can do to prevent this from happening again. I think the easy answer would be - never have your dogs in an area that is not enclosed unless they are on long lines, on tie-outs, or under absolute control.

Absolute control is a relative term. Since our dogs are still dogs, it's really hard to talk about absolutes or 100%. If another dog or a squirrel running across the road is interesting enough to your dog, he might ignore you - even if you get a down or stay 99% of the time otherwise. One command you could work on is an emergency down. Another is a really, really solid recall practiced around distractions such as other dogs. Do you have any friends or family who could act as the dog walker passing your property while you work on these behaviors with your dogs?

Personally, I think I would probably opt for long lines when you're outside doing yard work since you're going to be more busy with what you are doing than with keeping an eye on your dogs 100% of the time. Using a long line tied to something while you have your dogs with you is not the same as keeping a dog tied out and it does not create aggression. The long line just serves as a way to reinforce any commands and stop the dog from running off and making contact with another dog.
 

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Re: Thoughts about what I could have done differen

Originally Posted By: MylaBellaSomething else I would like to ask: Is it better to train them together or seperately?
Yes.
When I'm actively training (in a class and doing daily homework) it's one dog at a time, and the other dog is put away so I can focus all my attention on the dog I'm working with. BUT I've also started working with the dogs using the other dog as a distraction, and I think that's helpful too, although it's a different sort of training - more about paying attention to me and tuning out brother or sister than learning and practicing new skills.
 

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Re: Thoughts about what I could have done differen

CassidysMom,

Thank you so much for your advice. Yes, normally they are in the front yard with me and nothing. I have used Myla as a distraction with working with Bella and the other way around. I need to do more of it though. I will get a long line and use it next time I am working in the front yard. Now I completely understand the difference b/w leaving the dogs tied up and using it to help reenforce a behavior in case they want to leave again. I was thinking about heading back to training class. They both have been through 2 classes and our trainer has come out to the house to help with some behaviors, etc. They have a class we can do once a week for an entire year that works on reenforcement as well as off the lead work. I'm really thinking about that.

Once again, THANK YOU. I couldn't sleep last night just thinking about what happened and how I could have changed things. This was the first thing that I did - check the website and now my day is starting off pretty good! Too bad I have to start off with a faculty meeting ;(

Barbi
 

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Re: Thoughts about what I could have done differen

You are placing yourself in a situation where you can face huge liability issues if your dogs harm another dog or God forbid a person. I would seriously recommend that you practice off-leash training in a secure fenced area where your dogs will have the freedom of off-leash work and where you will have the peace of mind to enjoy them in an off-leash setting without being concerned about constant distractions from the street. There are some pretty good underground "fenceless" solutions available that are not as expensive as physical fencing. You may wish to check that out.

I learned this the hard way because one day I was out in my front yard with one of my dogs just doing some yard work. A neighbor had his dog walking with him off lead. The neighbor's dog charged onto my property and attacked my dog. My dog sustained serious injuries and that neighbor paid a very expensive vet bill as a result. I learned that not only do I need to make sure that my dogs don't have the opportunity to bother others on the street but also that I have an obligation to keep my dogs safe on my own property from others who are not responsible. I fenced in my entire backyard after that and I don't let my dogs in the front yard (which is not fenced). It has worked very well. They have freedom and I have peace of mind.
 

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Re: Thoughts about what I could have done differen

Barbi, I would add my agreement to everyone else and say that you need to train the dogs one at a time. Not only that, but you need to train them away from home and away from the other dog. It is really important in multi-dog homes that each dog leave the property one-on-one with the owner, so they can learn how to operate out in the world without the other dog.
I think a class would be a great idea. I have so much fun taking different classes with my dogs. It's a great way to spend quality time with each one and I have made so many friends this way. Just remember, one dog per series of classes!
Try it. You'll love it!
Sheilah
 

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Re: Thoughts about what I could have done differen

Thank you Sheilah! I will do more one and one training!!!

Barbi
 

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Re: Thoughts about what I could have done differen

What you could've done differently would be to just walk up to your dogs calmly (while they were sniffing out the other dog), grab their collars and walk them back into your yard.

Shocking the dogs with an e-collar while they engage with other dog(s) gives them a BAD experience. It's the worse thing you can do, since they'll associate the shock with the other dog. Now, they are much more likely to act more aggressively the next time they see another dog.
 

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Re: Thoughts about what I could have done differen

Interesting thought about using the e-collar. Thanks for making me think about the e-collar like that. I will remember that if this were to ever occur again. I was telling them to leave if while using the e-collar. That was the phrase my trainer told me to use before using the collar.
 
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