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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
'Lo all!

Nina's an excited/frustrated greeter. Very enthusiastic, partly due to age I believe. We've been working on a rapid-fire "Look At Me/Watch Me!" method ever since I adopted her, because she becomes excited when she sees other dogs, or running/screaming small children, and occasionally a VERY interesting stranger across the street on a walk. She had improved a lot by the end of the summer and wouldn't lunge on-leash so much, tended to focus on me when I had a rapid rate of asking her to Watch, but still needs work.

This tends to be improved with hard exercise before we go out on the town, but since it's been a long, very cold, very icy winter, we haven't been able to do our conditioning - and as I write up a little agenda of spring training, I'm looking for advice on what technique would work better for her, or perhaps a combination of the two.

She's not aggressive or fearful - she just gets extremely enthusiastic, especially if the other dog barks at her. LAT is much closer to what we were working on, and to a video of a young APBT in training similar to her age with similar triggers, however if there's something that will tip her threshold, we do bail, and I jog her another direction with a positive, up-beat tone of voice.

I don't want to confuse her with methods, but I'd also like to choose one that would be more suited to her personality. Ideas? Opinions? Experiences?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
She is bonkers over her tug. When I'm playing with it outside, she might pause for a moment to notice someone or something across the street but then grabs it back and keeps playing, unless there's a huge distraction.
 

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Ok, so this is what worked for me and it might work for you...
Soro is a total food monger but when he was younger there was also that challenge of him getting over threshold with a distraction if there was any pause in rapid fire treat delivery. I still used food extensively for LLW and distraction training. But in conjunction I also used high value tug toys. What I did was whenever there was another dog or person approaching I would engage him in a game of tug and 'tug him past' the distraction. Still at reasonable distance from the distraction of course. I found that this worked better than food in a lot of instances, especially those including excited dogs on the other owner's leash, because although food is a reward for him it still didn't provide redirection/release/outlet from that pent up energy and excitement over seeing another spazzy dog. Tugging did. I looked like a crazy person doing it, but it was worth it. Like with food rewards, I eventually delayed when the tug toy came out and we were able to calmly approach dogs closer and closer before I engaged him. Eventually I just rewarded him after passing calmly. By then I switched back to using treats almost exclusively.
 

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You can use BAT for a frustrated greeter. The reward would then be to take a few steps closer to the other dog, rather than away like you do with a fearful dog.

It may be worth going through the steps of BAT, to teach her the polite way to approach other dogs and as a result she may be calmer when she sees other dogs.

However, personally I prefer my dogs to not have any value for meeting other dogs. I don't see any value in meeting other people and dogs on walks, so I prefer my dogs to focus on me by default when we see others. If you do BAT, you will have a dog who will be much calmer when you meet other dogs, but you will also create a lot of value/interest for meeting other dogs.

Working in drive (with toys) is the easiest way to work through distractions. Food play is also good, and rapid fire rewards. And of course stay below threshold, and also work on impulse control ("it's yer choice" on youtube) and general distraction training.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I tried the distraction via tug method today and it worked wonders. A postman crossed close to us on our side of the street and despite her interest in strangers, she immediately engaged in some light tug with me.

Also, I found it helps to "pull" her through a distraction by saying "let's go!" in a positive tone and jogging lightly. I'll keep to those while on walks.

I think I'll reserve BAT for meeting manners with dogs and ESPECIALLY young kids. Then I'll probably do some LAT when we visit our park for sessions, get her used to just chilling and watching kids and other dogs.
 

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So glad to hear it worked! I forgot to mention, I also kept a quick pace when tugging past distractions, so good on you for thinking to do that.
Seems like this might already help you a lot. But other small things that could help: 1. Keeping high value tug toys only used during walks and hidden until needed. 2. Switching them up every now and then.

Good luck :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks!

I've got two tugs we rarely play with since she can tug with her flirtpole, so that's good. Never stops her thirsting for them, so it's definitely her "Woo-hoo!" when there's a distraction.

Because of the cold, I haven't walked her in so long that she might not be as bad as I remember. According to my mother, she passed two dogs walking across the street and while she was interested, one she just looked at and kept going and the other she only started going towards because it was parking at her. I'll probably do a test walk after establishing the LAT game with her and see was level she's currently at - which distractions require a tug and which ones are good with Mark + Treat.
 

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I use a combination of BAT and LAM (Look at Me). Instead of looking at the thing that is exciting, I get Snowball to look at ME because I him focusing on me to be rewarding, not focusing on the other dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Exactly what I did last summer. I think she was just too high-strung then to take to it well, but I'm thinking of giving it another go.

I've been enjoying the tug distraction, but the only problem is of course when I have her take it, she pulls the direction we're coming from, digs her paws in, and typically either wants to go backwards or stay stationary and has very strong shoulder muscles.

So basically we either just end up awkwardly tugging, stationary, across the street from the distraction, or I trip over her trying to get her to trot and tug along the sidewalk with me at the same time. So usually I just drop it, but then she refuses to carry it even a few steps, so I go back the few steps to pick it up and keep going if the distraction is still visible/within range. But of course she wants to go backward and pretty much we end up repeating the process. She hats holding a rope unless I'm engaged physically.
 

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So basically we either just end up awkwardly tugging, stationary, across the street from the distraction, or I trip over her trying to get her to trot and tug along the sidewalk with me at the same time. So usually I just drop it, but then she refuses to carry it even a few steps, so I go back the few steps to pick it up and keep going if the distraction is still visible/within range. But of course she wants to go backward and pretty much we end up repeating the process. She hats holding a rope unless I'm engaged physically.
In this case I would 'bait' her with the tug while passing the distraction (if that would hold her attention) and then reward her by letting her grip it and tug it when you're past the distraction.
 
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