Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,927 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
First off, I need to be sure I'm interpreting things properly, I'm pretty sure I am, but here is the issue: Caeda is pretty good on leash, more so on a long line or flexi. On a really short leash, not so good, but not horrible (only really bad looking for a bathroom spot). The big trouble comes around other dogs. SUPER excited, pulls like a nightmare, chokes herself off, coughs gags etc, and it seems to feed on itself, ramping her up more. We met the new neighbours dog yesterday, she was bonkers, rude etc. Once I finally got her to sit we let her off leash for a minute (we were in our yard, and her recall is pretty good, so we decided to take the risk). No problem, she was still hyper and excited, but FAR more appropriate and polite in terms of dog interaction (thankfully the dog was about her age). I will add that she used to go nuts if she even SAW another dog, now we can get within about 10 feet or so. Anyway, does this sound like leash reactivity? Am I understanding the leash reactivity issue properly?

We have put a lot of effort in, I fully admit my training hasn't been perfect, but I'm getting convinced its more that just my shortfalls (unless my shortfalls caused it, I don't know). My biggest shortfall has been gaining access to dogs with owners who will cooperate on an on leash training session, a shortfall I've got pretty minimal control over in my defence.

So, is this leash reactivity? If so (or even if not), what have you guys got for tips? I have the book "Feisty Fido" by Patricia McConnell, which I'm going to start reading tonight. Any reviews on how good the advice is in there? Any other tips?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,240 Posts
I don't know much about it really, but my dog is reactive to cats, leash or no, so one day I took her to a street I call "cat alley" with some treats on-hand, since she is pretty food motivated. I got her attention with the treats, and if she kept her attention away from the cats/stayed calm for a certain amount of time I rewarded her. She did pretty well with it but I haven't had a chance to do it again because the owners were kind of weirded out that I was standing around with my dog near their cats. If anyone has any thoughts on this method feel free to share ^^
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
717 Posts
Does Caeda get much socialization off leash with other dogs? I found that with my very drivey dogs, they are much better 1) off leash and 2) are great at our big GGNRA (golden gate national rec area ) park that has packs of dogs being dog walked by professional dog walkers-- that way they have the chance to interact with the full range of dogs/ and behaviors (the good and the bad, and learn how to handle them)...
I define leash reactivity (I could be wrong) more on the aggressive end of things-- my male boxer would grow and snarl at other dogs ON leash but was not like that off leash, where he had the opportunity to sniff and smell and interact normally with the other dog....
Sometimes it is important to let the dog ...be a dog, with other dogs.... (that is what I do appreciate about dog parks...)....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Leash isn't the direct cause but definitely adds up to it. Small physical corrections annoy the her and get her jacked up even more which is what flat collar pressure does - I'd use a really long leash and hook her up on a body harness until she is trained well enough. There should never be pressure on a collar unless it's from you and it's intentional so body harness helps both of you here. Long leash decreases the number of "pops" and "jerks" so she won't be so stressed and of course it allows more freedom since she's obviously interested in the environment. Definitely see Mike's food video and use techniques there to keep the dog engaged with you, gradually decreasing the distance of other dogs. You will use food and (later on) toys to keep the dog focused on you, just make sure you do it gradually without breaking the "threshold". I know you love Mike's work so definitely stick to his food/engagement techniques and gradually increase distractions (other dogs in this case). The aim there is not to let the dog have fun with the environment in a "polite way", it's to keep him engaged with you until you issue a "free" command. This way you use environment as a reward for obedience - distractions become your tool rather than enemy. Hope this makes sense...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,927 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Caeda gets a bit of off leash socialization with other dogs, since we have had her there have always been dogs roaming the property (problem with them is none of them are EVER on a leash or tether, and aren't trained at all), we also do dog social once a week for an hour on Friday nights. She has actually improved a lot since we started that though at social she's a beast until we can let her off. She's actually perfect around the cats!
Sassycat, we've pretty much using many of those techniques from Mike's vid, she does really well until 5-10 feet (depending on the other dog and her mindset), or occasionally she does well including an initial greeting before she reaches threshold, but when she does there's no getting her back unless we remove her (or the other dog, and with the loose dogs on the property that's pretty hard to do). I used to use a harness for this kind of thing but since we started training to the pulling harness (for canicross/bikejoring) I'm a little worried that she'll pull even worse. We "try" not to have leash jerks and pops, but of course she kind of does it herself with the lunges :p My only worry with the longline is that she tends to run in circles around a new dog....we had quite the tangle one time :p

I did once manage to get her to stay in a down, then release her to go play with another dog in our yard. I was lucky in that case though, the dog wasn't too pushy. Rewarding with play with the dog is pretty tough at home...no fences. I'm working hard on recall protocols, she's pretty good even when in drive, but far enough from perfect that I can feel my blood pressure rise as soon as I unclip her. I really don't want to be "that owner" whose dog gets hurt or killed because it was let off leash in an open area before recall was solid enough.

So what I'm gathering is that I need to do what I'm doing, but just more and better...heh (I knew it would be my shortfall). Using the environment as a reward absolutely makes sense! I need to be a little faster in taking advantage of it and be better prepared with more varieties of treats and toys right on hand, ready for the unexpected run-ins. I might be able to recruit the older dog on the property for help....he HATES Caeda, but he loves us and loves being petted. He is fine with Caeda until she gets close and gets her crazies. We limited contact with him because he growled and snapped at her close enough my heart almost stopped, and he's big enough to kill her with one chomp. I guess limiting the contact instead of using that old guy was kind of ignoring the problem :p Again, my shortfall.

Thanks for the input, it helped me think about it. I think I am somewhat on the right track. Biggest problem is that I need to muster more patience and look harder for a cooperative dog/owner to help with this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
You do indeed have a training environment problem, you need a large open space with no strange dogs around and I mean no strange dog smells or strange dog barks in the distance (as much as that is possible). You're probably doing everything right, but have a control issue far too early so she never really got past basic-basic obedience. Not being in control and not being able to gradually introduce stressors can be a major issue in training. You can make 95% of her energy productive in a fun way, but only if during training you have 100% control of the environment which means enclosed areas, long/short leashes and control of other dogs. You won't see stray dogs badgering Mike while he's working sits, stays and downs :). After some time you should be able to have a down-stay in a dog infested area with other dogs all over Caeda. It's great if you can train in group with other people and dogs, this way Caeda gets used to ignoring other dogs around but there should not be strange dogs going in and out running around as they like. If you can somehow manage the environment your training sessions will give far better results.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,927 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks SassyCat. Grrrr I need to move, the landlord actually encourages all of the tenants to have their dogs roaming, and thinks we are idiots/strange/cruel because we don't let Caeda. I want to work on engagement with her outside more thoroughly, so I guess I'm going to have to take the half hour trip into town to work on this stuff.
I did do a basic obedience class with her, and she very quickly got used to THAT location and THAT set of dogs. Off leash at dog social she's great (on leash not so much) Recall from rigorous play, solid stay, instant down, no problem. The trainer is playing with the idea of doing a level 2 obedience class, but that could be far off. I could enroll in basic obedience again, but its in the same location. I should perhaps talk to the people at dog social a little more and see if they want to start a training group, though I would be worried that the trainer there would get annoyed thinking I'm trying to take business from her or something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,349 Posts
Do you have a busy pet store that allows dogs? (PetCo, PetSmart type)?

take some really good treats and go to the store; not inside the store. Start out on the sidewalk at a far enough distance that she isn't reacting to the dogs and then inch closer a foot or two at a time as long as she is staying calm and sitting on command. If she reacts to another dog, back up until you are at a calm distance and practice there again. Then move 1-2 feet closer. Repeat.

It sounds like you just have a really annoying/sucky housing situation as far at the neighborhood dogs go. I would ONLY have Caeda outside on a long line. I use a 50 foot leash in a blaze orange nylon. Stronger than a flexi-lead and much safer as the flat nylon leash material won't cut you or take off a finger. Horse lunge lines work very well and are sold at every farm supply store (like TSC). At that length of leash (on a harness, not collar), she will barely notice she is leashed and yet you still have a fair amount of control and of course the all important stop-before-the-road control.

I used to use a harness for this kind of thing but since we started training to the pulling harness (for canicross/bikejoring) I'm a little worried that she'll pull even worse.
Not necessarily, she should be able to learn the situation differences. I trained the foster Luna to walk on a harness (regular nylon walking harness) and to do weight pull (on a padded pulling harness) and she caught on. She also acted better on a harness around other dogs (she was extremely reactive) than a collar and it was far safer on her neck when she did go nutso.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,406 Posts
use a front attach harness - or one with two points of contact like the Freedom. Read Leslie McDevitt's excellent book Control Unleashed and pay a lot of attention to the discussion of thresholds and the Look At That game. You may actually need to get in the car and drive to a dog free area for your walks for a while.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,927 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Nope, no busy pet store, we have two (one is associated with the feed store), they do allow pets but both are fairly quiet and not many people bring their dogs in, so I could be sitting there for 5 hours before we see a dog.
Thanks for the input on the harness Shell, good to know it won't screw things up with the weight pull (which we did in our yard and is now not possible). We also have a nice orange (well...dirty orange now) 50 foot longline, I actually got the webbing and clips from the farm supply store and stitched it heavy duty myself). We like long "exploratory walks" on the flexi since it keeps legs from getting tangled, longline for in the yard play usually.
We do the dog social, and she's a nightmare on the leash (regular short leash) in there too though she has improved a lot, she actually will calm when dogs aren't in her face.

Good point Pawz on the front attach harness, but it'll only be for practice time and short leash walks, we had her on the longline with it once, had to do an "emergency stop" and it was pretty ugly, we're lucky she didn't get hurt. We've also noticed, snugged up she can still twist it around a fair bit. Might give it another go though!
Its going to suck going to a safe dog free area, that's an extra hour a day of driving...might have to do that even to get her to go to the bathroom since we can't get it to leave us alone for that long.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,927 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I just had a thought that leads me to a question:
Caeda also gets pretty agitated when those dogs I'm having a problem with are wandering outside of our house (even 20 or 30m away). Barking, running window to window etc (I really can't blame her!). Now to the question: Would working with her in the house when those dogs are outside help in any way in terms of her on-leash mindset about other dogs that she is restrained from playing with or will it just help with her indoor "reactivity"?
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top