Impulse control around other dogs
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Thread: Impulse control around other dogs

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    Impulse control around other dogs

    Do you ever have those days when you think you've done everything wrong?? Today was definitely one of those! I have a 5 1/2 month puppy who is lovely. He was great visiting grandparents over christmas and even convinced my dog hating grandma that they're not so bad. He has brilliant impulse control around food and toys. He will drop, leave and wait around even his favorite toys, food and the cats. His problem however is getting far too excited around other dogs! He's had plenty of opportunities to play with friends dogs and is generally very good with them. He's obviously a bit over the top and puppyish but he respects other dogs body language and will back off if he annoys them too much. Generally I haven't allowed him to greet many other dogs on the lead other than at puppy class (He graduated this about 2 weeks ago) because many dogs don't enjoy the company of puppies which is reasonable (He annoys me sometimes too ). This hasn't stopped him desperately wanting to greet every dog he sees. He turns into a frantic front leg paddling monster. He's only small so he can't actually drag me over to any other dogs but if we're trying to pass one on a narrow path it's quite a problem. He goes completely deaf as though I don't even exist. I often try to walk away and get him to sit which he will do if the dog is far enough away but after that point it's game over. It's disrupting to walks and I'd really like to nip it in the bud before it becomes too ingrained or gets him into trouble with another dog. Ironically if we're indoors with another dog he will settle and listen to commands in the presence of another dog. I wonder if this is because his puppy classes were indoors but outside he doesn't associate other dogs with having to obey commands? Sorry for the long post haha I'm just getting frustrated as I spend a lot of time and effort training him and feel like we don't get anywhere whereas I have friends who have done literally 0 training with their dogs and somehow they're relatively well behaved!

    He's also not brilliant at loose lead walking. He walks fast, so if you're not walking at a brisk pace then his lead is not loose. I can encourage him to stay at my side but as soon as he's rewarded he resumes his fast walking.

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    Senior Member Lillith's Avatar
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    Re: Impulse control around other dogs

    A lot of that is simply because he's a puppy. They are exuberant and want to meet and play with everyone and everything they see. I am willing to bet as you continue to work with him and he grows older and more experienced, he will begin to look more to you for rewards rather than other dogs. My dog was the same way and still is in some regards, but at 1.5 years old he is beginning to grasp the concept of LLW and ignoring distractions.

    And yes, he can obey commands around other dogs indoors or in a class setting because he has been heavily rewarded for doing so frequently, where as "real life" scenarios on a walk have not. You don't see as many dogs outside as you do in a class setting! Dogs do not generalize well. Go to an area where there are dogs, if you can find one, but set up far enough away so he is not wanting to go and see the other dogs. If he can't do that, then just practice outside in your yard or something, then add the dogs at a distance. Slowly decrease distance until he can walk past a dog with no reaction. Note, this may take months or years!

    Even without that "set up" scenario I imagine your dog will "get it" after he's done a bit of growing up. Mine has, and we don't encounter dogs too often on walks.

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    Re: Impulse control around other dogs

    Thanks Lillith! That makes me feel a lot better. There seems to be a lot of people online who have "perfect puppies" and claim dogs never grow out of any behaviors! Good to know that if I keep up with everything hopefully once day it will click like he did with house training. There is a dog cafe near to me so I may go and hang around there at a distance and see if we can get some focus back haha.

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    Senior Member TGKvr's Avatar
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    Re: Impulse control around other dogs

    Oh man... this is my dog so much. When she was a pup she would engage with EVERY dog she met, exuberantly jumping on them and playing. It was SO HARD to keep her focused on me. Well now she is 2 1/2 and... we're still working on it. She is definitely MUCH better, though. Instead of being completely deaf (haha), she's like... only half deaf. She will sit nicely next to me around other dogs, and especially if she's on-leash, but as soon as I praise her, she gets wiggly and tries to pull me to the other dog. So, it's a work in progress but she has come a long way since the days when it felt hopeless. It is certainly a challenge though, so I totally empathize with your frustration. Hang in there - dogs learn at different rates of speed, and with consistent exposure to these scenarios, he'll eventually get it.
    If your dog doesn't like someone you probably shouldn't either.

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    Senior Member Lillith's Avatar
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    Re: Impulse control around other dogs

    Quote Originally Posted by Beddylove View Post
    Thanks Lillith! That makes me feel a lot better. There seems to be a lot of people online who have "perfect puppies" and claim dogs never grow out of any behaviors! Good to know that if I keep up with everything hopefully once day it will click like he did with house training. There is a dog cafe near to me so I may go and hang around there at a distance and see if we can get some focus back haha.
    Then they are lying, lol. Or their puppy is shy, so not that interested in meeting others. Really, its the adolescent phase that's the worst, so ask them about their "perfect puppy" then, lol!

    Like TGKvr said, dogs learn at different speeds. Some REALLY struggle with the whole "not everyone is here to play with you" thing. I have seen very, very few young dogs and puppies who have grasped that concept!

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    Re: Impulse control around other dogs

    Quote Originally Posted by TGKvr View Post
    Oh man... this is my dog so much. When she was a pup she would engage with EVERY dog she met, exuberantly jumping on them and playing. It was SO HARD to keep her focused on me. Well now she is 2 1/2 and... we're still working on it. She is definitely MUCH better, though. Instead of being completely deaf (haha), she's like... only half deaf. She will sit nicely next to me around other dogs, and especially if she's on-leash, but as soon as I praise her, she gets wiggly and tries to pull me to the other dog. So, it's a work in progress but she has come a long way since the days when it felt hopeless. It is certainly a challenge though, so I totally empathize with your frustration. Hang in there - dogs learn at different rates of speed, and with consistent exposure to these scenarios, he'll eventually get it.
    Thanks TGKvr! Good to know we're not the only one to have this problem! It doesn't help that he's so cute people always bring their dogs over to say hello haha but I'm glad yours is better these days.

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    Re: Impulse control around other dogs

    Quote Originally Posted by Lillith View Post
    Then they are lying, lol. Or their puppy is shy, so not that interested in meeting others. Really, its the adolescent phase that's the worst, so ask them about their "perfect puppy" then, lol!

    Like TGKvr said, dogs learn at different speeds. Some REALLY struggle with the whole "not everyone is here to play with you" thing. I have seen very, very few young dogs and puppies who have grasped that concept!
    Yes I feel some people must exaggerate how good their pups are! I'd rather mine was outgoing and confident rather than shy so I shouldn't complain really. Haha I hope his adolescent phase isn't too extreme. He's not even started cocking his leg yet so hopefully the humping stage isn't too soon around the corner!

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    You can help your dog by never letting any dog greet your dog on leash. EVER. If someone comes toward you with the "let my dog meet your cute puppy" you need to be off putting and say no

    Currently your puppy is getting a "puppy pass" by other dogs. In another two months that pass may welle xpire.

    Any puppy class that allows puppies to play or greet in class in not worth anything. Socializing a puppy means exposing them environmetally to people and other dogs and "things." It is not (and never should be) about physically greeting dogs or people. Socializing means teaching the puppy that you are still way more important than all this other "stuff."

    It is a difficult job, but you need to work on focus. Your puppy needs to focus on you when asked no matter where and no matter what.

    Your dog is small. He is friendly. If you met me on a path, I would give you a flaming earful if your dog jumped on or physically contacted my dog, even as you were excusing him by saying, "But he's friendly." . Hopefully my earful would be before my dog gave your pup a lesson...

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    Re: Impulse control around other dogs

    Quote Originally Posted by 3GSD4IPO View Post
    Your dog is small. He is friendly. If you met me on a path, I would give you a flaming earful if your dog jumped on or physically contacted my dog, even as you were excusing him by saying, "But he's friendly." . Hopefully my earful would be before my dog gave your pup a lesson...
    Wow. A little harsh, dont'cha think ??? I can't see where the OP claimed their dog was jumping and contacting other people's dogs, nor can I see where they've asserted to anyone 'but he's friendly', nor can I see where the OP wouldn't think it would be a problem if it did happen. They're conscious and aware of the possible danger, and willing to solicit ideas from forum members and do the work to address any relevant issues preemptively. That's why they're here.

    Nice to know your dog would take matters into it's own hands against a stranger's tiny 5.5 month puppy though, instead of peacefully deferring to you.

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    Re: Impulse control around other dogs

    Thanks petpeeve! I was going to say the same?!

    I have never let my puppy approach a strange dog precisely so he doesn't have to meet dogs like 3GSD4IPO's.... Our puppy class was also very well structured which is why he associates indoors = calm obedience around other dogs. With it being a fairly wet/windy winter so far he's not experienced this outdoors yet. As for never letting anyone approach with a dog I think that's a bit OTT. I live in a nice community and if people want to come and talk to me about my puppy I'm happy to and if that mean our dogs get to have a brief positive interaction then that's fine by me even if it means a little extra work getting my puppy to focus on me in the long run.

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    The issue is that in spite of all the training, jumping on or at a larger strange dog can be dangerous to the small dog.

    That was my point. Yes. Earful you would receive from me. Better that than a larger dog giving the wee pup a grab and shake that would likely be life ending for the wee pup!

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    Regardless of your nice community, please read this book, "The Other End of the Leash." It is well done and an easy read. In there you will learn precisely why dogs should not greet on leash.

    I see nice people with dogs at my local park. I still NEVER allow greetings between dogs. Ever. Dog fights.. even a quick snap and growl/bark are not worth it. Ever.

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    Re: Impulse control around other dogs

    Honestly, it's just a little impractical to say "never ever ever let your dog greet another dog on leash". I get where you're going with that, but... it's just not reality. It sounds like you're coming from a perspective of IPO where, yes, your rules for your dog will be different from those that are simply pets. But for most of us, or at least for me, there are many situations we encounter where we meet other dogs and it's our responsibility to manage those interactions and to teach appropriate greeting behavior. I haven't read that book yet (it's on my list), but the fact remains that it's just not realistic to expect people to *never* allow their pets to greet one another.
    If your dog doesn't like someone you probably shouldn't either.

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    Re: Impulse control around other dogs

    I tried really hard to avoid off-leash greetings and my dad would take my dog out when I wasn't home to reprimand him and let my dog greet EVERY dog. So my dog then started throwing tantrums whereas before he was just excited and hopeful. So I definitely agree that for your average pet owner it's more constructive to teach your dog how to greet and how to leave the other dog alone, especially if you have family members who aren't on board with training.

    There have also been plenty of situations where I'm training my dog and I THINK another dog-walker has gotten the memo that I'm busy and not looking to greet their dog but then I turn my back for two seconds and suddenly a pom on a flexi leash is begging for my dog's treats. If that happens it's too late to stop my dog saying hi so I just wait til he looks back to me and then call him, reward him for coming, and resume training.

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    Senior Member Lillith's Avatar
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    Re: Impulse control around other dogs

    Quote Originally Posted by Beddylove View Post
    Thanks petpeeve! I was going to say the same?!

    I have never let my puppy approach a strange dog precisely so he doesn't have to meet dogs like 3GSD4IPO's.... Our puppy class was also very well structured which is why he associates indoors = calm obedience around other dogs. With it being a fairly wet/windy winter so far he's not experienced this outdoors yet. As for never letting anyone approach with a dog I think that's a bit OTT. I live in a nice community and if people want to come and talk to me about my puppy I'm happy to and if that mean our dogs get to have a brief positive interaction then that's fine by me even if it means a little extra work getting my puppy to focus on me in the long run.
    I also agree that it is your choice whether you allow greetings on leash or not. Some dogs do not greet well on leash because they feel the leash restricts them, so they get worried and may lash out aggressively. It's important to know your dog in that regard, and that your pup may change his feelings about on leash greetings as he moves past the puppy stage.

    Also, to be on the safe side, you may want to restrict your dog's on leash greetings to dogs that you know in the puppy stage. Young dogs go through a series of fear impact periods. So if your dog is in one of these fear impact periods and has a bad experience with a dog, he may be afraid of dogs for the rest of his life or require counter conditioning to feel OK about them again. I generally avoided meeting strange dogs during those times, like, walk across the street to avoid them. He had dog friends that he knew, so he only got to see them when I knew he was in a fear period!

    For your training purposes, I may just not allow greetings until you know your dog can focus on you during walks. If someone asks to pet him, just say something like "We're in training right now, but thank you!" and continue on (and then later you can rope those people into helping you teach good "all four on the floor" greeting behavior, lol).

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    Honestly, it's just a little impractical to say "never ever ever let your dog greet another dog on leash". I get where you're going with that, but... it's just not reality.
    I don't understand this statement. I owned many dogs over the years before GSD's or IPO and I never let my dogs greet other dogs (on or off leash). This included Standard Poodle who went hiking with us off lead and several dogs of various mixed breeds that served as companions and went everywhere with me.

    I did not start competing dogs or doing formal training until around 2006... Had dogs for 40 years before that.

    What is "impractical" about not allowing dogs to meet on leash? Or is that an excuse to allow your dog to rush up to another onleash all the while yelling, "Don't worry! He's FRIENDLY!" I suppose that IS easier than training your dog...

    Now that the world has gone soft and PC about everything it is worse. I have a breed that will DIE if it reacts with teeth to your rude behavior with your untrained dog! It will ALWAYS be the German Shepherd that is at fault (or other 'dangerous' breed).

    And after your dog is hurt the societal implication will be my dog is "dangerous" because it damaged another dog and it "might hurt a child." No amount of evidence to the contrary will be enough. No one will listen to the fact that dogs scrapping is not aggression towards people.

    So then no one wins. You lose because your dog is damaged (or dead). I lose because my dog is now dangerous and must be PTS. Meanwhile the biggest loser will the two dogs.

    NEVER let your dog greet another on leash. It forces an unnatural greeting and invokes tensions that can quickly escalate to the point where instead of making excuses you are making apologies.

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    Re: Impulse control around other dogs

    Quote Originally Posted by 3GSD4IPO View Post
    I don't understand this statement. I owned many dogs over the years before GSD's or IPO and I never let my dogs greet other dogs (on or off leash). This included Standard Poodle who went hiking with us off lead and several dogs of various mixed breeds that served as companions and went everywhere with me.
    You literally have another thread where you're complaining about other people walking up to you with their dogs and letting their off-leash dogs approach yours. You must have a very short memory if you think that your dogs have never met other dogs.

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    No. Even in that instance, my dog NEVER made contact. The point of that thread was that people STILL TRY and it is UNWELCOME.

    My dog does not go out on leash and MEET other dogs (make physical contact, nose to nose and all that...hmm... junk).

    Approach me with your dog on leash? Fine as long as your dog stays by your side and does not go up to my dog. That is actually part of the CGC test.

    OTOH if your dog starts to haul you along up to my dog with the intent to make physical contact, you are going to have a problem and that problem will be me.

    So, no. I do not allow it. I never have.

    It aggravates me no end when someone still does this after being warned off and then excuses it with "He's friendly!"

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    Re: Impulse control around other dogs

    I'm standing strong with 3GSD4IPO on this matter. I've trained my dogs for 25+ years for general obedience all the way to his sport level. I don't let my dogs ever contact other dogs as well as do nearly exactly as he does. I go maybe even a step further by carrying pepper spray. Exactly as he says " tolerance" , keep your dog under control at your side, which ever side you choose, I'll keep mine on the other. Mine can heel and behave equally well on either side and can change sides with a single voice or hand signal. This app't group we ( my dog and I) live in has 50-75 dogs in it at any given time and the most ignorant, rude, clueless people I've run into in my 75 years. Before you jump in say " why don't you move." Let me say " why the **** should I move to accommodate these #######. " . I've lived here longer than all but a couple and I choose this location for my reasons.

    There is no reason at all to let a 90 pound dog or a 3 pounder run down the hall off leash or even on the end of a 20 foot retractable. I've been knocked down at least half a dozen times while carrying groceries or other objects by these rude peoples' equally rude dogs. Not once has anyone offered to help clean up split gallon of milk or help pick up off the stairs. I probably scare them off with my vociferous yelling. Tough, just because I'm a cranky old guy doesn't mean I'll can't make a lot of noise in your face about your rude manners of you and your mutt. If you can afford to live here you can equally afford basic dog training. Especially since one of the best training facilities in the area is less than two miles away.

    I've stopped being nice to people and dogs here and no longer say " hi.... " to their dogs. I'm sick of it. We go to training classes 3 days a week for fun and enjoyment with my dog. Even there we stand off from others even though through training the dogs may sit, stand, down or just heel right next to each other. No jumping or rough housing permitted. Just interaction being in a crowd. Probably unrealistic since when do you see a crowd of people with trained dogs? Haha the end result is that we can wade through these messes without problems unless the other starts it. When people see that can come out of my pocket, I can tell you they move on very quickly and leave us alone.

    So carry on ....IPO, we'll walk along side you ....at a peaceful distance. Haha

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    Re: Impulse control around other dogs

    I am not intolerant of other people and their dogs. Dogs are dogs, and training is a process. Dogs in training need to go into public for an assortment of reasons from exercise to going to the vet to getting into the car to go on family vacation to just plain needing to go to the bathroom. I'm also not rigid in that I expect my dogs focused on me ALL THE TIME. I think that sort of mental demand is downright inappropriate to expect of the vast majority of dogs. Let them sniff, let them look around - they need the release of that pressure.

    I am pretty intolerant when training appears not to happen and people tend to believe things like 'it's unreasonable not to let dogs meet on leash'.

    ...?

    No?

    No, it's not.

    It isn't even hard. Dog's on a leash. Attached to you. Create distance. Move on.

    On leash greetings aren't good for dogs. Regardless of training you're riskng unnatural body language/greeting behavior and an issue, or barrier frustration at the times the dogs don't get to meet, or - Well, I could go on, but the point is there are TONS of risks and actually zero rewards/benefits. This dog you dog sniffed and 'said hi' to isn't now their friend. They do not then get to play and romp and expend energy together. They may or may not ever see each other again. What even is the point? And how do you claim you can't avoid it? I spent all freaking weekend in a horse barn with 50-60 other dogs and people. My dogs didn't meet a single other dog, on leash or otherwise.

    Actually, heck, I've had this set of dogs for 5 years and in that time none of them have MET a single other dog on leash. FIVE YEARS in vets offices, petstores, training classes, hikes, walks, and not once did I do the 'stop and greet' thing with them.

    Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. Roger Caras

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