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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have a 1.5 year old Miniature Dach. We would like to take her on more walks but every time we do she wants to kill anything and everything she sees. When I walk her alone she'll walk nicely beside me (no pulling) but if she sees someone else walking (with or without a dog) she'll charge in their direction and start barking. We have Frankie in a Harness when we walk her.

I've watched "The Dog Whisperer" and it seems as if all he does is give a calm 'sssh' and pull a bit on the leash. Frankie just keeps barking at them. I'll cross to the other side of the street but she still freaks out at them. I'll stay calm when approaching people, she still freaks. It seems she just hates anyone.

We'll be sitting on the couch, Frankie will be sleeping up on the chair, if someone walks by our Condo, she'll charge to the door and start barking at them. If she sees someone at the building across from us (a soccer field width or so away) she'll freak out at them.

If she's in the crate in the car all calm and someone walks by the car, she'll freak. She is just barking and charging at everyone and everything.
 

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If she is already freaking out the time for training has passed. She can't think when she's that worked up. I would work on "watch me" just say the comand and as soon as she looks you in the eye give her a treat. do this several times a day for the next couple months. and avoid situations that get her worked up. In the house I would suggest keeping her eather crated, in a room without people walking by the windows, or tyed to you on a leash.
 

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I'm going to hazard a guess and say that this is a case of fear reactivity. Your dog is afraid of things like dogs, people, etc., and wants to react to them before they possibly do something bad to her.

How long have you had her?
Did you socialize her as a puppy? Did she EVER like people?
Has she been around other dogs and has it been a good experience for her?

BTW, Don't listen to Cesar Millan. Yanking your dog's leash and scolding them will make it worse. A better show to watch for this kind of thing would be Victoria Stillwell's It's Me Or The Dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm going to hazard a guess and say that this is a case of fear reactivity. Your dog is afraid of things like dogs, people, etc., and wants to react to them before they possibly do something bad to her.

How long have you had her?
Did you socialize her as a puppy? Did she EVER like people?
Has she been around other dogs and has it been a good experience for her?

BTW, Don't listen to Cesar Millan. Yanking your dog's leash and scolding them will make it worse. A better show to watch for this kind of thing would be Victoria Stillwell's It's Me Or The Dog.
I'm thinking you are correct with the fear reactivity. We got her as a pup and she's always been frightened of everything. If we take her to a new place she starts to shake and shiver and will not settle down for a good hour or so. I took her to a pet store once to get the harness fitted and she was shaking the entire time. Other people's dogs will just wander around sniffing everything.

We did not really socialize her as a puppy. We took her to the 'animal hospital' a couple weeks after getting her, can't even remember what we thought was wrong--nothing was! When we where there the vet asked us if we'd taken her on walks/to strange places we said no. She warned us not to take her on walks/strange places as there are apparently a bunch of bad puppy diseases that they will not be fully immunizied for till their what 2nd shot? (6 months in) So we left her inside and just in the backyard. Didn't start walking her/taking her out till she had all her shots.

Cesar seemed like a bit of a hack to me. At the end of the show they have a segment where a couple months later they go back and check up on the dogs. All of them reverted back to whatever Cesar supposedly fixed. Some of his 'fixes' are pure TV tricks anyway. He got a dog to stop barking when someone walked by the house by enticing the dog with cheese. Who the heck is going to sit with a piece of cheese enticing their dog 24 hours a day?
 

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It's me or the dog is the greatest. It fills my DVR.

She doesn't crate, doesn't use electric fences, uses training harness, treats, and owners behavior for everything.

Great show.


I've seen her actually dealw ith dogs like yours many times.

It requires help. Get a friend to come over. Every time your dog starts to react negativly as your friend comes in the door. You friend leaves. You may also train the dog to sit and stay. And allocate a spot for you dog to sit and stay while people come in.

The walking method was pretty much the same. Have a friend walk buy, everytime your dog reacts, remove her from the walk and the person.

Victoria works wonders.

Also, 24 hours is a bit excesive, but all of these take time. and patience. I'd recomend doing it on a day off.

I remember one show she was working on a dog that barked, and the trick was ignore ite untill the second it stopped barking, and give it a treat as soon as it's silent for 3 seconds. They sat there for 20 minutes straight of dog barking. And you have to keep repeating over and over to reinforce it.
 

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tw1n, all the things you're saying are great but they don't address the fear issue directly. Before teaching the dog from an obedience POV, you need to change the feeling of fear.

Loading, what you need to do is change the association. Right now the dog doesn't think of people as a good thing. You need to change that.

  • Teach a solid "watch me" command in a quiet place. Start in your house, then work your way to the backyard, and then maybe to the front yard or to a low-traffic area of a park. Many people teach this by holding a treat up between your eyebrows, saying "watch me" and clicking/treating. I taught it by holding a treat in my hand and waiting long enough so that my dog looked up to my eyes WITHOUT the treat there. Whatever works for you.
  • Any time she sees a person/dog approaching, get her attention before she reacts to them. You might want to do this in a park where there are SOME, but not a lot of, people walking by. Use the yummiest treats possible - whatever she likes. Hot dogs, cheese, etc. all work great. Let her nibble on the treat as the person passes or feed her many small treats one right after the other. You are beginning to associate the approach of people with the taste of treats.
  • If possible get in touch with your local dog training club, as some clubs do offer reactive dog classes and things like that. Although I haven't read it (yet) you may want to look into purchasing Leslie McDevitt's Control Unleashed.
 

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There's a reason for the disclaimer at the start of 'Dog Whisperer'. The key to CMs corrections are timing, and body control - the corrections come just a moment before the dog begins the behavior, and he has enough body control to avoid hurting, confusing, or exciting the dog. Very nice, if you spent twenty years refining your technique; a nitwit like me stands a very good chance of creating a tense, anxious dog with neck trauma. I enjoy the show for entertainment value, but would never attempt the techniques at home. I'll second the recommendation for It's Me or the Dog; she uses positive reinforcement almost exclusively, which is both effective and safe.

Cesar seemed like a bit of a hack to me. At the end of the show they have a segment where a couple months later they go back and check up on the dogs. All of them reverted back to whatever Cesar supposedly fixed. Some of his 'fixes' are pure TV tricks anyway. He got a dog to stop barking when someone walked by the house by enticing the dog with cheese. Who the heck is going to sit with a piece of cheese enticing their dog 24 hours a day?
It's funny, but that's actually a positive reinforcement technique that you can replicate safely, and a good way to reduce her reactivity. You're trying to convert a negative association to a positive (or, at least, neutral) one; food can be very effective at that. Not every dog is food motivated, so you may have to find another reward, but the idea is to very, very slowly introduce novel things, and treat her with something she likes. My dog used to get panicked while riding the service elevator; I used treats to get her to relax, and now she likes to take naps at my feet on the cold metal floor.

Since you mentioned she wasn't well socialized as a pup, you're going to have to approach things very, very slowly. A single bad reaction can set you back quite a bit. Start by introduce people/things one at a time in controlled environments, and reward generously. Introducing places is more difficult, since they are, by definition, uncontrolled. Start by going places when you know there aren't a lot of people around. If possible, try to establish a 'safe zone'; some dogs like to hide between your legs when afraid. If you use a crate, bring it with you, and let her go inside. You don't want her to become dependent on it, but sometimes it helps to have a familiar, comforting 'place' to fall back on when encountering an unfamiliar one.
 
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