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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Help!!!!!

Hello. I adopted an ACD from a resuce that has contacts in TN about 6 months ago. Therfore, my dog came from TN. He's a little over a year old (about a year and a half) and is neutered.

From what I was told, he came from a person that kept him outside and didn't do anything with him. So the poor dog had huge culture shock when he got here because I live in an apartment. Don't worry he get's plenty of exercise. I started obedience training him the day I got him (just a simple sit) and then started socializing him a few days later. I know I was since he didn't have proper socialization I was already behind the eight ball but have been working very hard with him.

He started being reactive to other dogs pretty quickly. He was barking at them and would get in their face. While I definately didn't encourage that behavior, I didn't worry too much thinking it was just him being an undersocialized herding dog. Well he's gotten worse and has actually bitten several dogs. Sunday night he actually nipped a neighbor of mine.

He definately has high prey drive but is very good with my cat. He does not go out of the apartment without a headhalter on right now so he has to stay close to me.
Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks.
 

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Re: Help!!!!!

Hi!

ACDs can be a bit . . . tough. They were bred to herd cattle, which are far less responsive to herding than sheep, so some nipping is part of their job. Unfortunately, people aren't what they're supposed to be herding. I'm really just trying to tell you he may not be aggressive, just displacing some instincts.

I think you need a behaviorist to help you. Biting humans is a big deal, legally, and you could end up in big trouble, and he could end up in bigger trouble. This is no time to mess around. Please go to iaabc.org and choose from there. Anyone can call themselves a behaviorist, this group actually requires education and experience.

Until you get that help, keep him away from other dogs and people. I had a severely dog aggressive dog (not that I think your dog is DA, just for example) and he only got to the first dog he bit, after that, I just didn't let him near other dogs for 12 years. (Well, I also trained him not to act like a jerk, but management is key, too.) Use a thick, short leash and as much muscle as you need to. Walk him in areas where he's unlikely to see other dogs, at times other people aren't walking dogs.

What I'm saying here is, don't give him opportunities to bite. The more he does it, the more you're reinforcing it as possible behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: Help!!!!!

Thanks, yes I know. I'm aware of all of this. It's just really hard when I live in an apartment. He's not the first ACD I've owned. Though the first one doesn't count because I don't think he was told he was a Cattle Dog. He was super mellow and chill. Bailey is a true Cattle Dog. I'm learning. I keep him on a head halter all the time and really try not to let him react.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: Help!!!!!

Also to add a few things, he actually is fine with some dogs. Also he's startingto get more reactive to dogs he's been friendly too in the past. He hasn't drawn blood or done serious damage but yes I am keeping him away from dogs as much as possible. Also I forgot to mention I have an appointment with a trainer tonight. So yeah. It's more for agility but I'm definately going to talk to her and see what she says. I've nicknamed him the butthead. That's what he acts like a butthead.
 

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Re: Help!!!!!

I think Amaryllis gave really good advice. A trainer is completely different from a behaviorist. A trainer may be able to help, or they might make things worse. Anyone can call herself a trainer. Maybe you'll get a good one, though. Do you think you'll be able to tell? (Honest question -- some people can't.)

I keep him on a head halter all the time and really try not to let him react.
What do you do, specifically?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: Help!!!!!

Yes, I think i'll be able to tell. I'm honestly pretty dog savy. I just haven't dealt ever with reactivity or agression or extreme snottiness or whatever you want to call it. I have a head halter on, and carry treats. If he's not reacting a dog he doesn't like approaches I throw treats on the ground and tell him to find it. He enojoys that. The problem is if he's already reacting I forget to throw the treats on the ground and attempt to put him in a sit after I move him away from the dog he's reacting too. When I do that I'm generally not successful (then I feel like a failure). I need to remember to throw those treats.
 

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Re: Help!!!!!

I don't think it would be a good idea to give him treats when he is reacting. That will reward that behavior. I would suggest proofing your sit, along with "leave it" and a "look" (at me) cue, so you can refocus his attention on you when he is reacting, and then treat after he has stopped, and move on. You may also want to start sooner -- don't wait until he's already barking and lunging, start when he just looks toward the other dog/person while they're still far away.

I'm not a training expert though, at all. There are people here who know a lot more than me. Maybe you should look up threads with "reactivity" in them, to get more advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Help!!!!!

Thanks, no... I don't treat while he is reacting. Also I'm not just handing him treats. I throw them on the ground and tell him to find it. He's treated for "finding it". My theory is it's supposed to give him a job to do besides barking at the other dogs (again I could be off base here). His sit is actually excellet though he has been known to sit and continue barking. Even if I move quite a bit away. What I may try doing is literally walking him around the block so he's focusing on something else. I have ideas. I just want it to stop now, a quick fix so to speak. Unfortunately there aren't any.
 

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Re: Help!!!!!

There is no quick fix with a reactive dog infortunatly... Your kind of on the right track but with playing find it your redirecting him to a game which can help not reacting but think about it in the long run you have to have treats all the time and play find it whenever you see a dog.

Anyway steps for a reactive dog is dependent on how reactive dog is .... Start at open bar close bar "one of many terms" basically before dog see other dog you feed when dog is out of site you stop... This associates dogs presence a good thing rather then your dog reacting having any affect on the other dogs actions "leaving"

For the whys there can be so many most trainers will say forget the why and start helping the dog....anyway here are some why's. Under socialized during critical stage, bad experience , emotion fear , barrier fustration etc to name a few. See forget the whys :)

After few days weeks of open bar closed bar your dog will start looking at you when another dog appears now your dogs behavior is predicting the reward which is good! Practice a lot of focus work every time your dog checks in with you reward.... Your on the path keep it up you have a working dog if you can get him to focus on you with obedience and heeling that will become his job "his reward" any luck dog will not pay attention to any stimulus package " environment"

Good luck hope it made some sense :) but keep it up science base training works :)
 
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