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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.
 

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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 !

SuperG
 

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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 !


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.
 

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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.
 

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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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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!
 

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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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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.
 

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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

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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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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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

It must feel real good!
 

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We did a lot of conditioning with treats and focusing exercises as a pup now 16 months old we can sit relatively close to a dog who is not paying attention to him in class. If there is something that i see him focus to much on i can jiggle his leash real light he look at me and we will play the focus game with treats-many. I will also say what a cute,pretty or handsome dog that is and it does put him at ease. I also make sure there is no tension in the leash. If someone needs to walk by us we practice some training exercise i put a treat on the floor and tell him to leave it or sit down sit down- works very well. I do have to pay very close attention all the time it can get tiring and tiring working on not getting stressed. Even though in class he appears comfortable being near certain dogs im sure he still would react in a second if he thought his space would be invaded. It is when we are out and about that is the real challenge. Where if a dog is focusing on max as we are walking- our focus is out the window -sometimes and where "leave it "and a correction wearing his prong collar keeps him from escalating. This works well that i was using a fursaver collar. We are back to a prong collar again on walks as spring is in the air. At the beach is great as he is preoccupied with a ball or traing exercises he rarely notices others dogs who may off in a distance. Last night my son's friends mom got a new puppy - adorable bull mastiff-and brought it over my house when she came to pick her son up -of course pup stayed outside. We were all sitting on the porch steps with the pup and max was in the house watching the pup through glass in door. He only barked once but was quiet the whole time. There are times were i thought we may putting this dog reactivity behind us and then i get reminded we still have much more work to do. We signed up for nose works which we love and tracking which we did not start yet. It is suppose to give them confidence and i feel this area is his strength.
 
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