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My black lab, now 17 weeks has been a delight since we got her 3 weeks ago...she is undertaking crate training which is going great! She sleeps through the night and wakes up dry, her house training is excellent also. Her obedience training is going ok...she is very good in the house, but on walks we can't get her attention when she comes into contact with other dogs or other people. She walks well and with the distraction of a treat she sits at the side of the road before we cross but as soon as she sees another dog, that's all she concentrates on. My wife took her to a class last night and she was distracted 90% of the time...how do we train her to learn to respond to us with other distractions around her? We have started doing some obedience training in the garden, and this provides some distractions as there is birds and children playing in a nearby park which she can hear but not see. She can do everything asked of her in the house like I say, we want to transfer this into public space now. Any suggestions or thoughts? Thanks!
 

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The more distractions you introduce at home, the easier it will be out in the real world. Remember that the intensity of a distraction decreases the further away you are, so in a training class you can move away from the group until the dog is able to focus.

For training at home, you can gradually introduce more distractions, such as another person doing something, like waving their arms, running around, throwing a favourite toy, or have a favourite toy on the ground or in your hand, throwing balls around, a bowl of treats on the floor etc.
 

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Several thoughts. Teach the dog loose leash walking, it will put the focus of the walk more on you, minimizing the distraction. Start your training in the park at a distance of 50 or 100 feet from people and dogs. Try using higher value treats like chicken or cheese or hot dog.
 

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My wife took her to a class last night and she was distracted 90% of the time...how do we train her to learn to respond to us with other distractions around her?
What are the class instructor's thoughts on this ?

Not trying to be snarky, but if you've enrolled in a class and paid someone else for their expertise and assistance .... then IMO they should be able to give you the best advice. Do you perhaps not agree with what they have already suggested to you ? Otherwise, you should probably stick to their recommendations.


EDIT: No offense intended, to the previous responses.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Several thoughts. Teach the dog loose leash walking, it will put the focus of the walk more on you, minimizing the distraction. Start your training in the park at a distance of 50 or 100 feet from people and dogs. Try using higher value treats like chicken or cheese or hot dog.
Ok cool, thanks for that...so I can see ur point within the park...but would loose leash walking not deter from the fact we have taught her to walk at heel? I thought about it this morning to be honest, to play with her in a big park or train on an extendable lead, as I don't completely trust her to not run away yet. So can you give me an example of some long distance training? How and when would I treat? As for those mentioned above...would that sit well with an18 week year old puppy...I thought dairy wasn't recommended for dogs? Thanks!


What are the class instructor's thoughts on this ?

Not trying to be snarky, but if you've enrolled in a class and paid someone else for their expertise and assistance .... then IMO they should be able to give you the best advice. Do you perhaps not agree with what they have already suggested to you ? Otherwise, you should probably stick to their recommendations.


EDIT: No offense intended, to the previous responses.
I see your point regarding this...however the woman who was the trainer, was a rather unpleasant woman who took nothing into account regarding any of our circumstances or experience with dogs. She gave no practical advice to help and just said my wife had to get molly to know her name before the next class. Which she knows all too well, not the problem that we actually have. The trainer was very focused on the running of the class, rather than helping individuals.
 

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Classes are not usually good for behavioural issues. They are there to teach obedience exercises, and because there are several people in the class, they can't give one dog with issues their undivided attention for long periods. That's not really fair to the other people who also paid for the class.

She should be able to give you some tips after class though, if she was unwilling to do that, then I would reconsider going to the class.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Classes are not usually good for behavioural issues. They are there to teach obedience exercises, and because there are several people in the class, they can't give one dog with issues their undivided attention for long periods. That's not really fair to the other people who also paid for the class.

She should be able to give you some tips after class though, if she was unwilling to do that, then I would reconsider going to the class.
Yeah. Agree with you there. She is improving, even since last week...this may just be a case of us expecting too much too soon. However...where could we seek advice or help for behavioural issues?
 

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If you really think you need it, then I would contact a good reward based trainer to come to your house and train with you.

I think you can find a lot of ideas just from reading online though, I have a reactive dog and all I did was find videos on youtube and read blogs to find ways to deal with it. I would do a search for "look at that" to begin with, and then maybe "behaviour adjustment training" (BAT).
 

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You're also talking about a young, 4 mos Lab who may be losing her baby teeth and growing her adult teeth, so her mouth is sore, adding to her distraction. Lab pups are high energy, intelligent, and playful. This can be a very common problem with Labs, and they grow out of it with a little training.

You might try tiring her out before class to help burn off that energy.
You could talk with some of the other owners after class, to see if there are other dogs with the same energy that could play before class to try to siphon away the distraction.
You could ask the trainer about play training session - which is training by letting puppies play. If she has never heard of it, don't try to explain...
One thing to try is to ask her to Sit, then let her say Hello to one person or one pup. Then ask her to Sit again, and let her say hello to someone else, and so on. Be sure to ask the 'victim' first. You might try this before class, but be aware that it can turn into a play session. Also, once you start this, your dog may not want to stop for regular classes....
(Keep telling yourself: In 3 years my dog will be perfect... In 3 years my dog...) :)
 

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You're also talking about a young, 4 mos Lab who may be losing her baby teeth and growing her adult teeth, so her mouth is sore, adding to her distraction. Lab pups are high energy, intelligent, and playful. This can be a very common problem with Labs, and they grow out of it with a little training.

You might try tiring her out before class to help burn off that energy.
You could talk with some of the other owners after class, to see if there are other dogs with the same energy that could play before class to try to siphon away the distraction.
You could ask the trainer about play training session - which is training by letting puppies play. If she has never heard of it, don't try to explain...
One thing to try is to ask her to Sit, then let her say Hello to one person or one pup. Then ask her to Sit again, and let her say hello to someone else, and so on. Be sure to ask the 'victim' first. You might try this before class, but be aware that it can turn into a play session. Also, once you start this, your dog may not want to stop for regular classes....
(Keep telling yourself: In 3 years my dog will be perfect... In 3 years my dog...) :)

Thanks those suggestions really good!

If you really think you need it, then I would contact a good reward based trainer to come to your house and train with you.

I think you can find a lot of ideas just from reading online though, I have a reactive dog and all I did was find videos on youtube and read blogs to find ways to deal with it. I would do a search for "look at that" to begin with, and then maybe "behaviour adjustment training" (BAT).
Yeah ur right, no limit to the help online, even this forum has been really helpful! Thanks!
 

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A dog being distracted by another dog is not a behavoiral issue, its natural. Sounds more like lack of socialization to other dogs to me. Try taking her to a dog park to get socialized and the overwhelming desire to run down the other dog will slowly diminish. Distractions are part of any good training regimen and a requirement for many certifications such as therapy dog, SAR, or even canine good citizenship. Once you have given her time to interact with other dogs then try using the high value treats to keep her eyes on you. Targeting is a good method, read the sticky.
 

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Honestly, a puppy who is over-amped by seeing new dogs is not a serious issue. Many puppies start my class this way, (and I have visual screens between dogs who are too excited and the rest of the room) By week two or three, they are able to maintain with other dogs fairly near and a clear view. I suggest using so-so treats at home, and saving the heavy duty great stuff for situations just like this. I've also found the "Look at That" game from Leslie McDevitt's book "Control Unleashed" is super for this sort of situation. Once your dog knows that a clicker means a treat is coming, when he glances at a dog, you can cue "look at that dog" and click before he has time to start barking or bouncing. Pretty soon, he'll automatically glance and then glance back, and presence of exciting dogs becomes a game he plays with you. As for loose leash walking - that is NOT the same thing as off leash. It simply means the dog isn't pulling. Personally I teach that way before I teach heeling, and find they don't interfer with each other. Now, I have to agree that you are paying one person for instruction, and asking a lot of other people for opinions. Not all training methods work with all other training methods and on line you are likely to get good advice and bad advice. Experienced and inexperienced. You can actually do your training program a lot of harm by mixing and matching too many different pieces of advice.
 

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A dog being distracted by another dog is not a behavoiral issue, its natural. Sounds more like lack of socialization to other dogs to me. Try taking her to a dog park to get socialized and the overwhelming desire to run down the other dog will slowly diminish. Distractions are part of any good training regimen and a requirement for many certifications such as therapy dog, SAR, or even canine good citizenship. Once you have given her time to interact with other dogs then try using the high value treats to keep her eyes on you. Targeting is a good method, read the sticky.

Yeah definitely think you are right, part from her litter mates she hasn't had much socialisation with other dogs so I think that's where the problem stems, a few weeks of this class hopefully this will soften...we've also met a few other dogs in the area and were going to let them play, so I hope that helps.


Honestly, a puppy who is over-amped by seeing new dogs is not a serious issue. Many puppies start my class this way, (and I have visual screens between dogs who are too excited and the rest of the room) By week two or three, they are able to maintain with other dogs fairly near and a clear view. I suggest using so-so treats at home, and saving the heavy duty great stuff for situations just like this. I've also found the "Look at That" game from Leslie McDevitt's book "Control Unleashed" is super for this sort of situation. Once your dog knows that a clicker means a treat is coming, when he glances at a dog, you can cue "look at that dog" and click before he has time to start barking or bouncing. Pretty soon, he'll automatically glance and then glance back, and presence of exciting dogs becomes a game he plays with you. As for loose leash walking - that is NOT the same thing as off leash. It simply means the dog isn't pulling. Personally I teach that way before I teach heeling, and find they don't interfer with each other. Now, I have to agree that you are paying one person for instruction, and asking a lot of other people for opinions. Not all training methods work with all other training methods and on line you are likely to get good advice and bad advice. Experienced and inexperienced. You can actually do your training program a lot of harm by mixing and matching too many different pieces of advice.
Online has lots of info, good and bad...just need to have a nack to what's good, and what's bad. I feel we have a good grasp on things in general, just the whole other dog experience is what's letting us down...think we just need to give her lots of socialisation with others. Puppy class tonight...let's hope it goes better this week!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Wife home from puppy class...and it went much better this week! A big improvement in how she was around other dogs, very pleased! Thanks for all your advice and help guys :)
 
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