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Discussion Starter #1
Well, despite my leash training work my troublesome collie mix shelter mutt has been banned from our walking spot. I can't totally blame them although the guy was a jerk about it... But I went out for our walk today and there were several people walking about. As I was walking through the graveyard to avoid people on the road through the graveyard, he peed on a headstone. One of the owners/workers yelled from across the cemetary that I better pick that up. I yelled back that it was just pee. Guy was yelling something else I couldn't hear so I walked closer, not wanting to be a bad neighbor. He chewed me out, said my dog is a menace, he threatens everyone around and he doesn't want dogs peeing on graves and if he ever saw me there again he'd call the police.

So, now I'm screwed. My back yard is about 6x10 so he can't exercise there. I can't really walk him around the neighborhood since he lunges at cars. The cemetary was the only place I had to go and now I can't go there, and if he doesn't get exercise he just goes crazy indoors.

I was pretty depressed trying to figure out what I'm going to do with this dog. I broke down and called a local trainer found on the aptd site and scheduled an initial consultation next weekend. Despite my attempts to limit his leash aggression, it's getting worse and I have concluded I don't have the slightest clue what I'm doing. I told her what was going on and she felt that he's not really aggressive and could be helped with a lot of work. It's gotten to the point where it's pretty severe though, and when he gets worked up like this he'll even snap at my other dog if she's near. The trainer said that's not really aggression either so much as redirecting frustration. But on walks he'll still just go ballistic. He's still reactive with cars but not as bad, but people and other dogs, he goes nuts. I can't blame others for not wanting him around, when he does this it's a bit scary to watch.

One thing the trainer asked about was how he reacts if there is a dog off leash that comes up to him while he's on leash. I told her that he'll strain and bark, but if the other dog comes up he'll commence sniffing and he's fine, normal doggy reaction. Same with people, if he's in the house, he may bark when a stranger comes to the door but he's fine with them, not the least big aggressive. Still, to the people I walk by when I take him on walks, he looks extremely dangerous and like he's about to attack. But, she felt that based on what I said he's not truly aggressive, and that during the evaluation she'll try to figure this out as the approach for true aggression vs frustration is very different.

So, this is mostly a vent, been a bad day :) But I do have two questions.

1) Has anyone worked with a trainer on something like this, and do you know what kind of results I can expect? He's a fast learner, but his behavior right now is pretty severe. In addition he can be a nut at home if he hears people or car doors outside, he flips out. Can these things be addressed?

2) Any thoughts on how I can get him some exercise? Cemetary is out so my only real option is to walk him along the street, which has just as much possibility of running into people and dogs, as well as cars (which he's already been hit by once when he got away from me and went for it). Without exercise he's going to make himself and me crazy...
 

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Does he have any drive to go after a flirt pole? I think that'd be in option, even in a small backyard.

Don't know if you have a treadmill, but that's an option too.

Once you start working on the leash reactivity, you can fit him with a backpack. That'll give him something to do.

Only other thing I can think of is early morning walks when there aren't cars on the road. I'm talking 5 AM-ish..
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Does he have any drive to go after a flirt pole? I think that'd be in option, even in a small backyard.

Don't know if you have a treadmill, but that's an option too.

Once you start working on the leash reactivity, you can fit him with a backpack. That'll give him something to do.

Only other thing I can think of is early morning walks when there aren't cars on the road. I'm talking 5 AM-ish..
That's a good suggestion. he's never really been into toys, but maybe I could teach him to fetch. even in a small yard 20 minutes of fetch would be decent exercise.

No treadmill so that won't work, unless I take him to a gym :) I honestly think he'd be ok in a dog park off leash, but no way I'm taking that chance until I can get him under control. I have considered early morning walks. One nice thing is that I work from home, so during the late morning early afternoon there is probably not a lot of traffic or people about and I might be able to walk him along the road safely. Ish... Honestly cars are his least troublesome problem, I can get him to sit as they go by with some hot dogs and his threshold for cars is pretty short (maybe 20 ft). It's more running into other people or dogs that I worry about, I don't want to get a reputation in the neighborhood about being the guy with the dangerous dog.
 

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I find it ironic that if it was poop, you probably could have just picked it up and moved on - but pee is what got him mad.

Either that, or I guess he thought you were lying?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I find it ironic that if it was poop, you probably could have just picked it up and moved on - but pee is what got him mad.

Either that, or I guess he thought you were lying?
yeah I know, I think he was just making excuses because he thought my dog was dangerous... I mean, they see me walking all the time, always with my little roll of baggies clipped right onto the leash and most of the time carrying a bag full of poop...
 

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I hear ya gnarfle. I wouldn't want people forming preconceptions about my dog, either.

While you're waiting for the trainer, it might be a fabulous idea to start on some attention exercises. I don't know how much dog training you've done, but keeping a dog's attention on you diverts his attention from the things he aggresses towards, lunges at, etc.

You start in a quiet area (such as a bedroom) and work your way up slowly.. backyard, front steps, maybe down the corner on a very quiet morning. But leave the more advanced stuff with lots of distractions for when the trainer comes.. for now, on your property would be just fine.

A lot of people teach attention by saying "watch me!" and holding the treat up to their eyes. I hated that method, to be honest. Instead, I held the treat in my hand.. my dog stared and stared at it and then eventually looked up at me (as if to say, "umm, ok, you know I'm here still, right?"), and BAM at that second I clicked the behavior and treated. She now knows that attention=treats, and when we're passing something scary outside (she is timid) she sometimes will look straight up at me. I know there are some members on DF with dog-aggressive dogs who use similar strategies when walking outside.

So, if you wanted to start that for now, that'd be excellent. Goes faster if your dog is food-motivated.

You may also want to implement NILIF, because if the dog realizes he must do something to get something, I'd venture to guess he'd be more willing to give you his attention.

I find it ironic that if it was poop, you probably could have just picked it up and moved on - but pee is what got him mad.

Either that, or I guess he thought you were lying?
Eh, as the property owner he has the right to say who can walk there and who can't. And I'd suppose that he knows people will complain to him and get upset if they saw a dog peeing on their loved one's headstone (those things are expensive, too).
 

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Well, I'm glad you took the initiative to get outside help. I hope you get some favorable results in a timely fashion. Whether or not you can change your dog's behavior will be largely dependent on you and your commitment. If you can't fully commit to what the trainer asks for, be honest about it. There's no point in wasting her time and your money for something you don't want. On the other hand if you are committed, yes, with hard work your dog's behavior can change, and hopefully your trainer will arm you with a few tricks to prevent the behavior from starting/escalating in the first place.

Keep us updated.
 

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Eh, as the property owner he has the right to say who can walk there and who can't. And I'd suppose that he knows people will complain to him and get upset if they saw a dog peeing on their loved one's headstone (those things are expensive, too).
Yeah, but I never heard of anyone saying pee was worst than poop. That's the thing that got me.
 

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I'm really interested in your post. You really seem like you're doing the best you can.

I didn't see this mentioned, but if you get a second (yeah right, most of us are just struggling to survive in this crazy economy) go to your library and check out "The Other End of the Leash," by Patrica McConnell.

I used to get really frustrated with my boyfriend's dog. I just didn't get her. After I read that book, I started figuring out what her triggers were, and slowly we were able to start a bond.

I just thought I'd suggest it, since for some reason it really spoke to me. Maybe if you know what you're looking for communication wise, it could potentially help in the long run.

Now, Patricia not the only one to look at. I'd look at Ian Dunbar and Jean Donaldson, too.

I'd also like to say that I know you know your dog. I mean, you're doing the best you can.
 

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my dog Snickers lab/collie mix (12 years old now & 110 pounds).... was banned from puppy training school when he was 6 months old (bad trainer?)..... so i can do the LOL thing .... I know how it is .... give your dog time .... can you post pics of your pup?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yep, here he is. I honestly have no idea what he is, collie/sheltie/something. He's a pretty dog though, and very sweet most of the time. If I can just get the leash behavior taken care of he'll settle into a much nicer dog. I'm more concerned about overall behavior though because I think he tends to be a nervous/fearful dog and that I'm not really sure how to address.

I will make the time to do what I can. I'm hopeful with some consistency he'll make improvements quickly, I think my biggest problem has been not being consistent (i.e. not a lot of time, taking both dogs out at once, trying to get them exercise rather than focusing on training). I'm just hoping I can get through this without him going crazy from lack of exercise.

Maybe I can break into a dog park in the middle of the night :)
 

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Yeah, but I never heard of anyone saying pee was worst than poop. That's the thing that got me.
Perhaps in this case, it is -- poop just falls to the ground onto the grass, pee (assuming it's a leg-hiking male dog) is going to actually fall on something.

I know what you're saying, since you can't "clean up" pee, but I'm just trying to look at it from another perspective. :)

GNARFLE -- (sorry don't mean to type in caps like I'm screaming just want to make sure you see this, lol) when you say fearful/nervous what exactly do you mean? How is he around people, other dogs, is he timid in new surroundings? What is his first response to a novel stimulus? Just trying to get a feel for your dog, because although I've only dealt limitedly with leash reactivity I HAVE dealt with timidity.

To keep him entertained, you might want to feed him half his meal or so from a treat dispensing ball. They can keep a dog occupied for a while, and they drain energy while the dog works for food. Is doggy daycare an option 1 or 2 days a week?

He is very cute, BTW :)
 

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Perhaps in this case, it is -- poop just falls to the ground onto the grass, pee (assuming it's a leg-hiking male dog) is going to actually fall on something.

I know what you're saying, since you can't "clean up" pee, but I'm just trying to look at it from another perspective. :)

GNARFLE -- (sorry don't mean to type in caps like I'm screaming just want to make sure you see this, lol) when you say fearful/nervous what exactly do you mean? How is he around people, other dogs, is he timid in new surroundings? What is his first response to a novel stimulus? Just trying to get a feel for your dog, because although I've only dealt limitedly with leash reactivity I HAVE dealt with timidity.

To keep him entertained, you might want to feed him half his meal or so from a treat dispensing ball. They can keep a dog occupied for a while, and they drain energy while the dog works for food. Is doggy daycare an option 1 or 2 days a week?

He is very cute, BTW :)
He hates kibble unfortunately... He eats well, but mostly because he knows if he doesn't the other dog will come get it. Kibble does not motivate him at all. I have a kong I stuff with peanut butter or cream cheese and freeze, and he likes that but not for very long, he gets bored with it after about 10 minutes. Never really been into toys much either. He is very food motivated for special treats like hotdog.

Nervousness, he's fine around people and dogs (off leash). He is friendly and never seems anxious. What makes him anxious though is unusual stimulus. For example, loud trucks outside cause him to bark, pace and whimper a bit. Same for car doors, people/dogs walking by, etc. I guess it's hard to say if it's really fear, or what. All I know is, if he hears a dog bark in the distance, the garbage truck pull up, the neighbors car start, etc he will just start to run around, jump up on the windows, bark, whimper/whime and pace. When he's on the leash outside, his reaction to these things is more aggressive, barking snarling lunging.
 

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It will take a lot of work and progress is slow but he will come around
My Casper is very reactive (I haven't watched animal planet since I adopted him) but with attention exercises and redirecting him he is making progress
Good luck with your pup he is adorable
 

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My chi has a lot of fear and she will start barking at other dogs on leashes out for walks too. Everyone is always just like oh its always the chihuahua but we are trying to train her (have had trainers in) but its hard to get the public to understand that you are training her you want to let her go up to their dogs because thats what she needs but everyone walks away.

I imagine your trainer will want to do some set up situations where you plan on meeting someone you know (maybe her) with a dog on the street. All of those things definitely can be address and she will probablya ddress them at first.

Secondly, for energy do you know anyone with a treadmill? You could get him going on that. If you have a large bathtub you could even put him in that but he looks pretty big so that won't work. Or someone with a pool.
The other thing you could do some agility type training in the back yard. I know it isn't large but you could get a few sticks to stick up and teach him to run through them (even if its only 3 or 4). I'm not sure how old he is, but you could teach him to do jumps one at a time too.

Or.. if all else fails. Walk him at night or very early morning (if it fits into your schedule).

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Do you hand feed your dog his food? I have started doing this to build their focus and make them work for their good. You can do a bunch of commands with him to get him to focus. I don't give out many treats to my crew (occasionally I do though) and they work for their food and will do anything for a kibble now.
 

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I'm no trainer, so I don't have much helpful advice - but I just want to say that I think you are trying your best and I really respect all the effort you are putting into this dog.
Alot of people would have just given up.
 

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Yes, I'm hoping part of the plan is to do some set up situations with a well trained 'bait' dog so to speak. I think part of the problem I have is that when we go for walks I have no control over the environment and it's hard to be prepared, sometimes other dogs just pop up and surprise us. I also think my trying to go the other way or giving a wide wide berth to other people/dogs has just sensitized and frustrated him more.

I should probably just walk him and get him one of those dogs in training vests. At least then people would not feel compelled to comment on his behavior and would probably understand that although my dog is flipping out it's something we're working on...
 

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This may be more helpful once you've expended other options but perhaps a herbal supplement (or even Rescue Remedy? not sure if it's useful in a situation like this) could help him calm down and keep him focused on walks.
 

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Careful with Rescue Remedy. Some formulations have xylitol.

as for leash reactivity,

Curb is correct. commitment is key.

Some things that may help you with him are exercises to help him with his ability to control himself.

an example would be

Work on your focus and downstay. Get those really solid.

then have a time everyday where you put him in a downstay and place a high value treat right in front of his nose. Cue him to focus on you. If he goes for the treat cover it with your hand and give a no reward marker. Get him to focus on you again. Once he has held a solid downstay and focus for 30seconds click and reward. Work on this in a distraction free area untill he will stay down and focused on you for an extended period of time. Then change location and start over. Always do this when he is on leash. Keep changing location and adding distraction until he has fully generalized what you want him to do.

then its time to bring in the trigger, other dogs. have someone with a dog come about fifty feet from you while you work on this exercise. If he breaks his focus or his down, cover the treat and give the no reward mark.

Use this in tandem with whatever your trainer suggests if you would like. You may want to ask her about it to make sure it won't conflict with your training program.
 

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You have been given some good advice here. Zim has given you something you can do NOW. I would also teach this dog to lie down.. anytime anywhere you ask for it. And BEYOND lie down, teach him he cannot EVER stop doing what you have asked UNTIL you ask for something new or give him a release word. You can start this work at home in the house and then in the back yard and then move to the front of the house and so on.

You have to be very solid on follow thru on this which means EVERY time NO exceptions.. even if you answer the door or the phone,.. the dog is not allowed to break the command and if he does, you put him back where he was, as he was and repeat but shorten the duration. When a dog breaks a command it is YOUR fault because you ahve presented the dog with something beyond his threshold ability.

As to the Cemetery, around her you cannot walk your dog in the cemetery at all, ever, period. I am surprised you were not told to leave on day one of being seen there by any of the maintenance people.

People get offended at dogs peeing on head stones or peeing or pooping on graves, even if you DO pick it up. It is just basic good manners to never walk a dog in a cemetery or grave yard.
 
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