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We have a very high energy dog. She is great overall, knows most of the normal commands very well when calm.

However she gets soo excited when someone comes to the door that she will not respond to anyone. We have tried to make sure she gets exercise before hand and that does not seem to help.

We can get her to sit and stay while the person comes in, she will remain calm, but once we release her or let the person come up to greet her she will freak out and try to lick and jump on them.

She has a really high prey drive, and is very difficult to break her concentration.

We recently got a pinch collar to help with training but have not started using it yet.

If anyone can give us ideas on how to correct this behavior that would be great.
 

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I have a small dog so this is way easier for me. I always ignore Josie and turn my back to her and ignore her while saying "calm down" until she calms down then pet her and say "good calm down". I do this every time I come home and my bf does it as well. Even in the kennel she gets no attention or let out until she is not barking and lying down. When people come over I tell hem to turn their backs to her and ignore her while I give the calm down command. It definitely sounds way easier than it is. Josie will get so excited that she pees when people acknowledge her but if they let her calm down all is well. She also got much better about it now that she is 10 months old. Were down to less than a minute of freak out time :)
 

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One of my favorite tools for door rushing is a ring full of keys, or a glass jar half full of coins. Shake the keys or the coins, and the dog will back away. This is used as a tool to break the focus. I use to do this with my dogs, and recommend this to clients. After a while, the dogs learn not to rush the door if they don't want to deal with the coins or keys.
OR ... you could just whack your dog in the head with a two by four. That works too.

After some conditioning, you can just set the two by four anywhere near the door to create a visual deterent.



Your "favourite tool" is based on FEAR, ... and you're actually recommending it to "clients" ? .. Like, REALLY ? ... Wow.
 

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If the trainer/handler is creative enough, almost everything can be trained through management and positive reinforcement.

In this case, keeping the dog on a leash, rewarding the dog for sitting and relaxing, and not allowing contact with visitors unti the dog has settled ought to work just fine. And if this training is important to the family and they want to speed up the results, they can intentionally set up several sessions in a row with cooperative human volunteers.

Obviously this path is going to take more time than training the dog to be appropriate right from the beginning and not letting this habit start, but it will still work.

The added bonus is that the dog will cross-apply sitting and calming down to other situations and will remain confident in his or her handler.
 

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Fear, ah no. Startle, yep. Sometimes a rose, pie in the sky, and rose colored glasses are ineffective when dogs are focused on barking and rushing the door. Just so you understand the practice is frequently used, read no. 4

http://www.ehow.com/how_7232216_stop-dog-jumping-doors.html

With dogs, everything cannot be goodie two shoe.
Spoken by someone who has a very poor understanding of operant conditioning and all the results you can achieve through successful control of reinforcement.

My problem with the "penny can" method of training (something is thrown at/near a dog to "startle" it out of its behavior) is that dogs are often way too smart for it. They learn to connect the sound to the object that makes it, and to associate situations where they get punished with the presence of the object and situations where they aren't punished with the absence of the object. This leads to a dog who rushes the door when certain family members aren't home or the penny can isn't in sight yet behaves nicely when it is. This creates a dog who learns that good behavior only needs to happen in the presence of the can.

Another problem with this method is that most dogs are too resilient for it. Once they've been startled, they usually recover fairly quickly and immediately revert back to the behavior they were doing. I see this with barking all the time. "-bark bark bark- -shake- ............ -bark bark- -shake- ..... -bark- -shake" ....... "-woooof- -shake".

A third problem with this method is that it usually doesn't eliminate the problem. A lot of people, seemingly positively, say "oh yes, now I just have to SHOW my dog the penny can and he immediately stops!" But that's not good enough for me. I don't want a dog who performs an undesired behavior but stops when he sees a punisher, I want a dog who chooses not to perform an undesired behavior anymore on his own.

A fourth problem with this method is habituation. Pretty soon, dogs learn that the scary noisy object isn't go to do anything more than make a scary noise, so they stop reacting it to it as strongly. Eventually they don't react beyond maybe a startle because the noise is unexpected. Despite what you may think, it's not the "startle" that suppresses the behavior, it's the fear associated with "startle" (and a desire not to make the "startle" happen again).

I'm assuming that you learned your techniques and formulated your thoughts about dog training from a trained professional that mentored you, right? You wouldn't do something as silly as create a dog training philosophy from a few episodes of a popular TV show, right? Clearly, you'd do a lot of research about dog behavior and training and go through the process of becoming a certified dog trainer before you started taking on "clients" ... right?



Anyways. I like to deal with jumping up by training an incompatible behavior, like sit, and then reinforcing that sit while removing all the reinforcement for the jumping up. This is often difficult to get guests to do, so make sure you and your family have the dog 100% trained not to jump up on your before you try to train the dog not to jump up on guests.

Basically, you are only going to give attention/affection to a dog that greets you by sitting, not by jumping up.

This video explains the concept for visual learners (I am one) and does it better than I probably would: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lC_OKgQFgzw You don't need to use a clicker in this process if you don't want to -- the dog will figure it out eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies guys.

I don't think i like the can method as i believe as someone said it won't eliminate the problem but only discourage it when the see the can.

She has been responding well to the pinch collar. I think we will try to use that while we have some people come over and get her to relax.

The main problem is that, she "KNOWS" what to do, she will stay calm when commanded, and remain calm until released then goes bizurk. Im not sure why and i have never seen a dog do this before. But she does it with a lot of things. I can have her lay down and she will let people walk by, nervous but she won't get up, if they are far enough away she will stay there calm. If i release her, then it goes out the window after that, she gets so hyper she won't listen to anything else.

Usually dogs will either listen or not, but she tends to listen when she wants to or when she knows she will get her way. Im really not sure how to correct this. I can have her do a 30 minute down with people around. However once i let her up again she tries jump on them, licking them, invading their space. If i try to correct her at this point, she doesn't care, won't respond because she is so hyper and focused. I have tried to make the correct stronger than her energy level it will move her of course but however it won't break her concentration. She just goes right back to it.

I have not tried the pinch collar yet, i am apprehensive about using it for this purpose alone as i feel she will just continue to pull and hurt herself i will leave her normal collar on in case she is not responding to the corrections. Also food had no effect on her, and she is normally very food oriented with everyday training.
 

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If you feel okay scaring a dog for a willy nilly reason like running to the door to protect/greet people, then i feel sorry for your poor dogs that get frightened every time and have to live in fear of you. I would prefer my dogs to actually know what they are expected to do and not fear me. Im sorry but "startling" your dogs and scaring them is the same thing, when you are startled you have a brief moment of "omg what happening" fear ... I resort to "scaring" dogs when it is a matter of their safety, like eating something that could kill them not simply running to the door barking.

also you apparently have not watched these television shows you have learned so much from that well.... as at the beginning of each episode it clearly states that they are being used by a trained professional and that the techniques should not be repeated at home. So good job on that one. Also ... if 8 years of television watching is part of your "credentials" i dont care how many certificates you have i wouldnt let you anywhere near any of my dogs
 

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You are misinterpreting what I'm saying. I am NOT saying, by any means, that my way is the "best" way or the "only" way of dog training. There are a lot of training styles quite different than my own that I think are valid. What I AM saying is that your way is ridiculous.

I apologize if that word is "hyperbolic" and makes you nauseous -- unfortunately, when words are accurate, I tend to use them.

Here's the thing about your "no one way" "i use all of the methods" "clicker training doesn't work for all dogs" "different tools for different dogs" etc.

While some dogs don't like the "clicker" part of clicker training specifically, the scientific principles behind it DO work for all dogs (and, get this, all animals!) That's the beauty of learning theory. If an animal gets rewarded for some behavior, the animal will perform that behavior more often. The variables that change among animals are things like WHAT is reinforcing, the attention span of the dog, how precise your timing needs to be with that dog, how "shut down" the dog is, how slow or fast you can work, how quickly that dog jumps over threshold, how excited the dog gets when you try certain things, how competitive you need to be with the dog's environment.

"Oh, this dog can't learn by being rewarded" is not something that happens.


Man, so much hyperbole is almost makes you nauseous. First, shaking a jar with pennies is not even close to throwing something at a dog. Not even close.
I apologize -- often when the "penny can startle" method is employed, the can is thrown/rolled near the dog.

Second, you don't just teach one person in the family to use the jar(if that is your tool of choice in a specific situation), you teach the whole family. Thirdly, after the dog has been exposed to the shaking jar when they charge at the door, they stop charging the door. Fourth, the object of shaking the jar is to alter their focus so you can give them a command. I dog locked into charging a door is usually not paying much attention to your commands, hence why you shake the jar to break their focus on the door.
Huh. This is the first time you mention using the jar to break a dog's focus and then following it up with a command. In your previous posts, you did not mention giving the dog a different thing to do other than jumping up -- except maybe "waiting until the dog is in a submissive state with it's ears back." It's really dangerous for you to give half-formed advice on the internet, especially when you're advocating methods that could be potentially harmful if not used correctly! Would you not agree?

Unfortunately, you're continuing to demonstrate your lack of dog behavior knowledge. You originally stated:

After a while, the dogs learn not to rush the door if they don't want to deal with the coins or keys.
Sorry, but if it's the interrupter/"startle" that's suppressing behavior (aka making it not happen again), it's a punisher -- not a startle. It's the dog's desire to AVOID that experience that's created the change in behavior.

I have 8 dogs that got very excited when the doorbell rang. A few shakes of the jar moves them away from the door long enough for me to claim that space(and give a command), and they no longer charge the door when the doorbell rings.
Again... this is not what you originally recommended and is different advice.

I have tried this method and it does eliminate the problem. Since you have never tried it, how can you say it does not? What you are doing is pre-supposing an event without even experiencing it. Sorry, that does not fly with me. And please, spare me the hyperbole. If you really have a good point, there is no need for the overblown usage of words to make it.
You're right that I've never personally tried this method, largely because I've had enough success with other methods that I've never had to resort to this before. I have had a couple different experiences with friends/acquaintances using this method before, which is where a couple of my points are coming from. The others come from a general knowledge of animal behavior.

If I say "Here are the four things about your method that make it something I would not use and would not recommend to other people", the way to "negate" that is to explain to me (and everyone else) why those four points I made are incorrect. Attack my logic. Tell me where, specifically, I've gone wrong -- especially if you want to correct my thinking about your methods. Saying "but it worked for me!" is not a valid style of argumentation.

Tell me why dogs don't tie the presence of a punishment to the presence of the can, how the behavior is eliminated to the point where you don't even have a penny can in sight anymore and haven't used it since the day you finished teaching your dog how to greet people at doors (how you personally got to this point with your own dogs would be wonderful -- what steps did you take to prevent this from happening?), and why dogs wouldn't habituate to the repeated use of a penny can.

The only one of my points you responded to was my third one, where you explained that you don't get a "bounce back" effect in your dogs because you redirect them after the startle and give them something else to do. I must say, though, that I'm still skeptical that you only have to use one shake of the penny can every time you've ever trained a dog not to do something with it, because they ALWAYS stop after the first shake.

A dogs body language is very different when they are "scared" as you state, or when they are startled(which is all a jar of coins will do to them). The body language of fear is also different than the body language of startled.
Ok, I'll bite. What's the body language of a "startled" dog? In what way does it differ from the body language of a "scared" dog?


I also learned some very valuable lessons from 8 years of watching several popular dog training TV shows

...

I also stay away from edited video's, as they never show a before and after so you can see where the dog started from.
?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Do you not see how those two statements are completely contradictory?

I also have three certification as well.
Don't take this as a challenge (because it really isn't), but would you care to name what organizations you have these certifications with?

Unlike yourself, I have a very open mind about learning, and can recognize a good tip no matter where the source it comes from. Being narrow minded, and learning only one way of teaching dogs would never serve me well. I've worked with too many different dogs with too many different behaviors and personalities to be pigeon holed into one narrow minded thought process.
Here's how my "open mind" works -- If I read something, and my BS detector goes off -- I'm going to challenge it. I'm going to say "hey, buddy, that's BS." I'm ESPECIALLY going to do this if I've got lots of knowledge that I picked up already with my "open mind" and if I believed a lot of the same things that you do BEFORE I read things and met people who believed differently and changed my thinking. Should you, however, respond with "oh, ok, here are a lot of salient points backed up preferably by research or, barring that, well analyzed personal anecdotes explaining exactly why this is not BS" THEN I will go "ok, maybe this isn't BS." Then I'll do more research on the topic and learn more about your techniques, especially looking for professional resources.

If you open your mind too much your brain will fall out.

This is just another style of teaching, and because you chose it, does not make it the best, the only way it is done. You need to recognize other trainers have different styles which can be just as successful as the one you chose. Some dogs are easy to train by the clicker method, and others do not respond that well. One of my dogs was great with clicker training, two others never got the concept, but did well with praise and petting. My other dogs did their best with treats. No one style of training works with every dog, every dog is very different. When you have 8 dogs in your household, it is really easy to see how different each is. When you only have one, you don't really have a perspective.
Returning back to how I started this, I don't believe my way is the right way the best way for everybody. I'm still learning things every day that make "my way" better for me. What I believe is that your way is the wrong way -- there is a difference.
 

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It appears that Dog Balancer has left the building. Some of what he said was correct, but it sure sounded couched in Dominance methods. For example, the penny jar is just a distraction method used decades ago. A clicker can accomplish the same distraction in a more positive way... but penny jars were pre-1986 (prior to Karen Pryor :) )

@CricketLoops: I'm not sure that Dog Balancer would know this but a scared dog (w/o fear aggression) may have a tucked in tail, laid back ears, possibly a closed mouth, wider pupils, and maybe raised hackles all the way to his tail. He may be a little crouched and have his head tucked. [I know that you know this... I'm just repeating for contrast.]

In contrast, a startled or surprised dog, who is Not scared, may have wider, more opened eyes, alert upright ears (Huh? What was that?), a neutral or upright tail (slow swishing is good), no hackles, and an opened mouth. This is what I expect when I yelp at a puppy who is play biting. If I get a scared response, then I have a different problem.

Back to the originally scheduled question:
When the dog gets excited, he misbehaves. Once he is excited, he is overwhelmed by emotion - in amgydala hijack - and training is not effective until he is calmer. Therefore, you have to slowly expose him to these situations when you can set them up as training exercises, to desensitize him (or Socialize him ) in these situations. For example, after you teach him to Sit.

1. Find someone who is willing to be mauled. Ask them to come over and give them some treats before hand. When they come in the house, ask your dog to Sit. Without releasing the dog, ask the victim to also ask the dog to sit (while still sitting), and if the dog doesn't react, then the victim gives the dog a small treat. If the dog jumps. licks, etc., pre-warn the victim either to break eye contact and turn sideways. If that doesn't work, ask the victim to say "No!" quietly (just to mark the misbehavior), then leave immediately.
2. Repeat the entire process in 10 min., with another person. And alternate people for 3 sessions per person, if ya'll have the patience.
3. Don't expect much progress immediately, but after the 2nd or 3rd day, you may see improvement.
4. Feel free to modify, based on what happens.

The pinch collar may help, but it is very difficult to use correctly, plus Rotts, Pits, and Labs are fairly indestructible, and after a month, the novelty wears off when the dog realizes that the pinch collar doesn't really hurt. I don't recommend it.
 
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