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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've read with interest many posts on aggression. Ellee is quite well behaved and we are on our way to level 2 obedience and is great with people and other dogs.
However, Ellee has a few aggression issues. The first, and WORST, is aggression toward cars. During a nice, easy walk, she goes crazy when a car approaches. I've tried everything from sit, stay, rewarded with a treat, to "NO" and holding tight. She is on a harness, but I'd be devasted if she ever broke loose from that.
Typical of being a Sheltie, she also tends to bark....a lot. This happens most when "dad" leaves the house, even if just going to the garage, and when the vacuum or hairdryer is going.

Any help with either or both issues will be greatly appreciated.
 

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The car issue is a hard one to tame. My male Sheltie has some of that chase in him but, apprarently only when I'm not around. One tactic that you can try is stepping between her and the car. Break her line of sight to let her know that the car is not hers...it's yours and she has to sit, pay attention to you and the reward comes when does those things.
For the barking, try yawning. That tells her that the hairdryer, vacumn, dad leaving etc. is boring....nothing to be concerned about at all. Give minimal attention...don't talk to her or look at her while she's barking. You can also start working on the quiet or enough command. My approach to that is slightly different....while they are barking, I'll interrupt them by waving a tasty treat. The instant they stop, I say "Enough" and then treat. With practice they catch on pretty quick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the quick reply.
Ellee's aggression is INTENSE toward the cars!!! I'm going to try tastier, more inticing treats to break her attention. Stepping between her sight and the car is not enough.
The best that has worked so far has been to pick her up and make her watch the car. No emotion from me. But, that doesn't solve the problem and I certainly don't want to pick her up the rest of her life. So...we'll try bologna or make her liver (we used that during obedience training...tasty). What do you think about using treats with the hairdryer and vacuum? Like putting them near and working up to it? I was concerned that that would be rewarding bad behavior.
 

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If her reaction is that intense then you're much too close to the car. The training needs to be done at a distance....even if that means one or two blocks away. You need to stop at the point where she is first aroused.
Treats for noise desensitizing will work in certain situations ie; teaching a gun dog to accept gunfire by feeding him his daily meal and firing a gun at 1/4 mile away. You don't have that option of moving the hair dryer that far but, you could certainly try shutting the door and have someone treat in her in another part of the house while the hairdryer is on.
I prefer the 'it's not a big deal approach'....kid, get over it....by ignoring the behavior entirely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Last night, with the hot dog bites in hand, Ellee and I went for a walk. The sit, stays were better and she seemed to pay more attention to what was in my hand than the cars, though see did watch intensely. Problem not solved, but better. The trainer from obedience is coming over for a few private lessons, so we'll see how that goes. We start herding and agility, so maybe with a real "job", she'll be less inclined to go after something that brings her no reward.
The yawning helped a little with the hair dryer, too. Don't know who yawned more. Me or Ellee....LOL.
Thanks.
 

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Have a friend help you practice by driving the car, that way you guys can control easily how close the car is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
We've tried that...and it seems to make it worse, like we are "egging" her on.
One thing I failed to mention is that this only happens in our neighborhood. If we are out visiting...like the dog park...she is fine. The cars don't phase her at all! I'm thinking this is more of a territorial thing. Any other thoughts? Thanks.
 

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Then you didn't do it right ;)

Start far enough away so that she is calm. click & treat. SLOWLY move closer as long as she is not reacting. If she reacts, you went too fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
We'll go a little slower. Perhaps we'll enlist the help of a friend with a golf cart. Should we move closer to the cart or should the cart move closer to us? Or both?
We've worked a little with the clicker and treats, so we'll continue with that avenue.
 

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Is it cars or golf carts that she doesn't like?

I'd start by you moving closer, then repeat with the car moving closer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Both...anything moving pretty fast with four wheels. When I say fast, I mean around 20 to 25 mph, as this is strickly a residential area. We are on the sidewalk and have an area where few cars travel, so the experiment with the golf cart would only be interupted by a car pulling into a driveway.
 
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