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Discussion Starter #1
1. Some sites say LAT is you reward the dog for looking at you (including Feisty Fido), others say you reward the dog for looking at the dog and being calm. Which is it? I'm really confused.

2. What do you do until he gets it? We're getting a bad reputation in our neighborhood. I'm dreading walks. Our yard is the size of a peanut, so walking is our main exercise. At night it's easier because I usually drive somewhere to walk but daytime has to be around here. It seems he's getting worse, and he's acting up in other ways. I'm getting very frustrated and -to a lesser extent- embarrassed. The nice people recommend I take a training class. The others..... And I'd probably react the same way to a dog barking his head off at the end of a leash where he lunged to the end.
 

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Have you looked at the "resources for reactive dogs" sticky at the top of this section? Really good stuff there.

1. My understanding is that when using LAT you mark for looking at the trigger. In some cases, the actual reinforcement will come when the dog is looking back at you. Donna Hill has a nice instructional video based on McDevitt's book. (If no one gives you a definitive response, I'll check my CU book later this morning.)

2. Donna Hill has a few good videos on managing situations and there are some nice articles on Sophia Yin's site (I believe both are linked in the sticky). But, if I were in your situation, I'd skip the most troublesome walks, use the yard for potty breaks, and increase mental exercise. Nose work / scent games are fun, easy, and mentally challenging.
 

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Initially I will mark/reward for looking at the trigger. Most dogs, when they hear your mark (whether it's a clicker or a verbal) will turn to you to get the treat.

When they start anticipating the treat and looking at me before I have time to mark (which most dogs do pretty fast), I will randomly mark/reward either looking at the trigger or looking at me, or sometimes both if it is a very challenging trigger. I also tend to pretty heavily reward offered attention in puppies regardless of whether there is a trigger or not present.

I do this with all my dogs whether they are reactive or not. Ultimately what I want is a dog who knows that it's ok to look at stuff, but check in with me about what happens next, so it has to be ok to look at things first.


ETA: Also, try as much as you can to let go of guilt/shame. As long as no one is hurt, who cares if he is barking at the end of his leash? You're aware of it, you're working on it, you can't be expected to wave a magic wand. I mean, I get it - I have a teenage malinois and it doesn't get much more embarrassing than that as far as some of his reactions to strange dogs or people as he works through his teenage conflict. But he is what he is, and I need to focus my energy on helping guide him instead of worrying about other people's feelings.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ok, we had an interesting experience last night that made me think.
He pulls horribly on leash. Nothing was helping and I was worried he'd damage his throat. So we switched to a no pull harness- an Easy Walk. I've used a Halti, but not as strong. Anyways, we went to a local school to walk- I have 3 I rotate between. When we got there he was pulling horribly and I realized I forgot his harness. I decided to stay.
Well, a few minutes later, another dog entered the park, about 400 ft from us. He barked once, didn't lunge, and I was able to do some quick LAT and move on....something that had been impossible at a larger distance just the day before. He seemed much more animated during the walk. Then another dog appeared at about the same distance, and we had the same experience. We walked further, and a dog came in to the park probably 100 ft. from us. He barked a few times, no lunging, I was able to get him to sit, do some LAT, then walk off. Next we came across some sprinklers. Normally he shows no interest. This time he was playing, jumping, biting the water stream....my daughter and I were laughing our heads off.
Adding all this together I can't help but wonder- is it the harness? I'd MUCH rather work on pulling then reactivity. I guess the only test is to try it again and see. I still worry about his throat- he pulls hard. And I'm still going to take him to class in it because he isn't reactive to other dogs in class. A little obsessive, but not reactive. And I need him a little more quiet in class.
Has anyone heard of a dog reacting to the harness? Am I totally off base?
 

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It's not impossible that he feels more restricted or confined in a harness and that makes him feel a little edgier. My dog Maisy is far more reactive when she wears a Gentle Leader, so equipment can matter IMO.
 

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Dogs can react to things differently depending on the equipment they are wearing, which is exactly why some people like or dislike certain equipment.

It could have just been the day though, or your attitude, or something. You'd have to test it a couple more times to see.
 

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Well, a few minutes later, another dog entered the park, about 400 ft from us. He barked once, didn't lunge, and I was able to do some quick LAT and move on....something that had been impossible at a larger distance just the day before. He seemed much more animated during the walk. Then another dog appeared at about the same distance, and we had the same experience. We walked further, and a dog came in to the park probably 100 ft. from us. He barked a few times, no lunging, I was able to get him to sit, do some LAT, then walk off. Next we came across some sprinklers. Normally he shows no interest. This time he was playing, jumping, biting the water stream....my daughter and I were laughing our heads off.
Amazing, how dogs (and people) can benefit from the removal of aversives in training eh, :D.

Likely a factor too is the LAT itself (regardless of gear) is beginning to take hold, and your dog is beginning to generalize as well. Keep up the good work and remember tomorrow is a new and different day.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I compromised last night. I took him in the Halti harness, which is much lighter and simpler, with no underarm parts. Same behavior as in collar. We still couldn't have got close to a dog, but if they were within easy sight but not lunging distance I was easily able to do LAT...except for when he cared so little about the dog I couldn't get him to look *happy dance*.

I would have never guessed his harness was a problem. He wore it for at least 2 months without a problem. It wasn't uncommon for him to fall asleep after the evening walk in it. The reactivity is less then a month old.
I learned though, from a situation last weekend, he doesn't complain when he's in pain. My 3 yo daughter got into a emergency sewing kit my MIL gave me. Last time I used it was.....yeah, I don't sew. It was, I had thought, on top of a bookshelf I have to reach on tiptoe to get. Well, my 4 1/2 year old calls me over. "Frodo has a shiny whisker." I just kind of brushed it off but he was insistent. "Frodo has a shiny whisker right here, come look!" So I go look, and I don't see anything. I tell him this and he goes "HERE! (probably wondering if I have any working brain cells.) The straight pin had gone down the floor of his mouth, under his tongue, though and was protruding out on his lip near his jaw. We tried a couple of times to get it, but it was just too sensitive an area. (BTW, thank you to everyone who taught us bite inhibition. His jaws closed on my husband's hand and left no pressure or mark). So, 300 at the ER vet later....then he sleeps the rest of the day from the sedation and I'm up with him until 3:30.

Does this mean I have a 'soft' dog?
 

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Poor pup! I can't imagine getting a pin through the face. Glad you got him to the vet and he's ok!

Does this mean I have a 'soft' dog?
What do you mean? What part makes you think he might be "soft"? I would say we don't have enough information to tell.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Poor pup! I can't imagine getting a pin through the face. Glad you got him to the vet and he's ok!



What do you mean? What part makes you think he might be "soft"? I would say we don't have enough information to tell.
Yeah, sorry, my question wasn't clear.

I more meant if he feels...threatened? in some way by no pull harness, that it could trigger reactivity. That's what I meant by soft. OTOH, he hasn't shut down with my husband, who has zero patience with animals and +R unless it works quick.
What is meant by soft and hard anyways?
 

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Yeah, sorry, my question wasn't clear.

I more meant if he feels...threatened? in some way by no pull harness, that it could trigger reactivity. That's what I meant by soft. OTOH, he hasn't shut down with my husband, who has zero patience with animals and +R unless it works quick.
What is meant by soft and hard anyways?
Dogs can feel shut down by different types of equipment, or more reactive. I don't know that it makes them soft in temperament though.

I think of a soft dog as one who has a hard time handling pressure in training. If you correct, does the dog take it as information, or does the dog start to shut down. It's not always an easy thing to see. Some dogs are super obvious about it one way or the other, others are not. And it's a spectrum, so it's not like a dog is just hard or just soft. Watson is a pretty soft dog, but you can yell at him all day long when he'd doing naughty things around the house and he just wags his tail and doesn't care. Someone might think he's harder, because he's getting yelled at and it doesn't bother him, but that's just not a good situation to judge by.
 

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Dogs can feel shut down by different types of equipment, or more reactive. I don't know that it makes them soft in temperament though.

I think of a soft dog as one who has a hard time handling pressure in training. If you correct, does the dog take it as information, or does the dog start to shut down. It's not always an easy thing to see. Some dogs are super obvious about it one way or the other, others are not. And it's a spectrum, so it's not like a dog is just hard or just soft. Watson is a pretty soft dog, but you can yell at him all day long when he'd doing naughty things around the house and he just wags his tail and doesn't care. Someone might think he's harder, because he's getting yelled at and it doesn't bother him, but that's just not a good situation to judge by.
Yeah. Molly's the exact opposite. Molly is crazy, crazy soft in the house. If you yell at her in the house or she thinks you're upset at all (not just with her) or even yell at another dog she dissolves into this puddle of appeasement gestures and sucks up like crazy. I mean sometimes it's really enthusiastic sucking up, but there's a lot of grinning and sneezing and low head and ears and tucked wagging tail as she oozes her way to you (nd then bounds up into your face). In active training? There is no amount of correction that her response to isn't just "Oh, Okay!" as she bounces merrily on. She listens to the correction and makes use of it and cares, but it doesn't influence her self-confidence.

Kylie gets sad and droopy when she's wrong pretty easily. She can take a little bit but she gets sad and shut down pretty fast. If I'm upset in general she also notices and tries to make it better. She'll get over it if she can't, but she really is concerned about my emotional state. Sometimes she avoids, sometimes she cuddles up when she wouldn't otherwise, but she usually makes a sound call and usually gets some level of a little bit clingy.

Thud, meanwhile does. not. care. Yell at him, scream at him, turn blue in the face, pick him up and throw him (did that once in an emergency situation) and he just gives every impression of not having a CLUE that you don't like what he just did, much less any desire to alter his behavior as a result. He knows, man he knows, but he does not care. He wants what he wants, and if it's not what you what, tough crap.

So, Molly's biddable and sensitive but not soft.

Kylie is biddable and sensitive and soft.

Thud is not biddable, not sensitive, and hard.
 

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Yeah, I would put Watson at insensitive but soft. A withering look doesn't do anything, but once he gets that something is a correction he can melt down and is just be done with everything.

Hazel is much more sensitive, and will respond if you yell at her to stop doing things. Not sure about soft vs hard yet because she's a baby and I haven't really put any pressure on her in training.
 

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I really like how the above post makes it sound like I regularly beat and scream at my dogs. Or ever beat my dogs (I'll cop to the odd scream, but it's rare, I swear).

No.
/disclaimer.
 

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Yea, dogs are so different. Pip and Maisy are very soft.
Squash is a weird combination of hard and soft. At times he is like Thud and seems to not care at all. At other times he seems to be softer and check out - particularly in the ring.

Toast, on the other hand, just gets harder and harder and harder. I shudder to think how he would react to harsh physical corrections.
 

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Yea, dogs are so different. Pip and Maisy are very soft.
Squash is a weird combination of hard and soft. At times he is like Thud and seems to not care at all. At other times he seems to be softer and check out - particularly in the ring.

Toast, on the other hand, just gets harder and harder and harder. I shudder to think how he would react to harsh physical corrections.
He'd turn around and bite you in the face because it's physical and exciting? I'm basing that guess on Thud/my guess for him. Who ramps up HARD at that kind of thing and actually seems not to feel pain, anyway.

I will say at almost 3 he's more interested in what I want and more willing to give it to me. He grew a little bit of biddability with his brain. Still not soft at all, though.
 
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