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Stare Down

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Owned-By-Hendrix
Training Dog
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Tell us about yourself: Dutch Shepherd Owner.

Stare Down

Post by Owned-By-Hendrix » Mon Oct 05, 2015 6:48 pm

H has started staring down other dogs on walks. I really do not like behavior and have been combatting it for months. I don't care if he doesn't like the other dogs, I'm not putting him in socialization situations, but like humans I need him to be neutral until a threat is present.

This is what happens: we're on a walk and there's a dog and handler walking on the other side of the street, roughly 4 car widths apart from us. Second H sees the dog his posture goes up - perks up, alert, tail high. And he starts what I call "eye effing" the dog - won't look away. One of two things happen - dog looks at him/issues its own "eff off" and triggers a reaction from him, or dog walks off and he's whirling around to stare at it retreating and preventing forward movement. I do not let him stop and stare - we are constantly moving. I arc around other dogs which helps a little. He will not maintain a "look" command under this and I would prefer he doesn't do a "look" at me every time we pass a dog. There's times he alerts me to things behind me so his focus needs to on his job and not eye effing the other dog. He seems to react more to bigger dogs than smaller dogs.

This isn't a reaction of fear. This is him challenging every dog because this is "his space". I think in his head he's reciting the Lion King "whatever the light touches in my land" which is BS. Besides issuing a "leave it" command and corrections for non-compliance, any ideas how to reduce this? Most of the time this does nothing but put us both in a bad mood because it doesn't work. I'm thinking there's a key somewhere here - another command I can teach or a conflicting behavior to train - and I'm just not seeing it. There are times we won't have 30 feet between us and I really would like to pass a dog without a dragged out High Noon Showdown from Derpmeister.
Kay
(Pepper's Look-A-Like)
(Tyson's Soul Twin)

Stacy_R
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Re: Stare Down

Post by Stacy_R » Tue Oct 06, 2015 6:21 pm

Owned-By-Hendrix wrote: This isn't a reaction of fear. This is him challenging every dog because this is "his space". I think in his head he's reciting the Lion King "whatever the light touches in my land" which is BS. Besides issuing a "leave it" command and corrections for non-compliance, any ideas how to reduce this? Most of the time this does nothing but put us both in a bad mood because it doesn't work.
Wow...H and Tyson really are soul siblings... we struggle with this too. One thing I do is when I see him even BEGIN to key in we reverse direction for a few steps and then reverse again. Lather, rinse, repeat. I've also used food drops. But you have to be on it and start dropping food before he has a chance to key on the other dog. I haven't been very consistent, so Tyson's struggle is really my fault. But I feel your pain.
~Stacy
Mom to:
Tyson - DS mix (Hendrix's Soul Sibling and Dinga Roo's long lost twin)
Baby Ruth - Miniature Schnauzer
Snickers - Miniature Pinscher
http://www.rescuedme.org

Raven
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Re: Stare Down

Post by Raven » Wed Oct 07, 2015 1:16 pm

I'm hardly the one to offer fool-proof advice on this....

Create a behavior the same as you would under normal circumstances, including working up incrementally with non-trigger distractions, until he offers a conditioned (automatic, no questions asked) response. Then gradually work that into the problem scenario. Once established, use the cue only for the stare down.

I trained Thor with a behavior when he sees/hears dogs getting walked past the house. This particular thing wouldn't work for you since you are out on walks and might proof cumbersome...that said, though, it is a default behavior of Thor's. I DO have to offer a cue but his response is automatic.

I don't do this, but plenty do-----train to use a tug as a distraction in the face of a trigger, which seems doable while on walks.

I could be wrong, but I prefer to engage Thor with something other than a tug or toy (like me and heel work, me and OB, or me and a cue) when he wants to rip another dog/animal apart. To my way of thinking, allowing him to tear into something seems counter-intuitive. I could be entirely misguided on this thought, though.

I, too, feel your pain.
Though I can only hope to become the person who my animals believe I am, the things that they have taught me have made me a better human being. ~~~Sharon~~~

Raven
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Re: Stare Down

Post by Raven » Wed Oct 07, 2015 1:17 pm

Moving to Behavior.
Though I can only hope to become the person who my animals believe I am, the things that they have taught me have made me a better human being. ~~~Sharon~~~

Owned-By-Hendrix
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Re: Stare Down

Post by Owned-By-Hendrix » Fri Oct 09, 2015 10:38 pm

So I've been trying toys (thanks for the suggestion Sharon!) and I've gone through every toy in the box and none can hold his interest more than the other dog. I could train him to have more drive for a specific toy but I'm trying a mix of methodologies before I start drive building.

When out walking I find his threshold and work about 5 feet before that. I see him staring at the dog, I tell him leave it with a pop from the ecollar. The second he looks away praise like we just won the lottery. This generally gets him to perk up like "what?" but of course he goes back to staring. So I wait and "leave it", pop with the ecollar, and second he looks away praise. If he doesn't look away and maintains eye staring I lay on the ecollar until he does. Took a few tries with a few "I mean it" higher level zaps but he started to get the idea.

Another thing is he is a horrendous marker - part of him being him - so I let him indulge for X amount of time on a walk then we start doing things my way. I started lowering that time every walk by 30 seconds and he can only eliminate when I give him a command. He can't even stop to sniff a pee mark if I decide it's time for walking and not sniffing. This has really helped him listen to me when we're out, especially when dealing with other dogs and crossing them. Before you could tell he really didn't give a flying F if I told him to leave it. Now he realizes he's not boss all the time and is behaving himself. Also showing him what "leave it" meant when he was staring at another dog (and up until this point "leave it" meant "step away, stop harassing something, stop biting the toy, stop physically interacting with a thing") has helped him realize what I mean when I say it, but part of me wonders if I should use this as another command like "eyes off" or something, but the simpler part of me says to leave it as "leave it".

We'll see if this works. I love the toy idea but realistically the toys he has that I can carry aren't high enough value and one that would work is too big to carry. If this doesn't work I'll build drive for one I can carry and try again.
Kay
(Pepper's Look-A-Like)
(Tyson's Soul Twin)

Dutchringgirl
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Re: Stare Down

Post by Dutchringgirl » Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:22 pm

This is were a turn on heal may help. This is what we did to teach the dogs to ignore everything during Ring Sport training.......

work on a good solid heal, and while in heal the dog always looks at you, we did this by having a tug, Thalies favortie, in our trial vest pocket, peaking out so The dog can see it ( use what ever the dog likes), so the dog knows the tug is there and wants it and looks at you. If the dog breaks your look, do a quick turn around and walk the other way, if the dog keeps the look, reward. If you use the ecollar, as you turn, give a bit of a "bop" so he comes right with you on the turn, Do this a gazillion times until the dog always looks at you until released. I mean the velcro type of heal too, where as you turn, the dog still sticks to your leg.

This is how we teach the dogs to ignore everything else. The ignoring of other stimuli will help with the "socialization" so when walking where there are others, the dog will ignore them and look at you until the others have passed.
Lisa, Thalie CGC & Sadie, Cookie the Basset, CT
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NewlyDutched
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Tell us about yourself: Amira, human of Serafina (angel of destruction) Mal/GS and just welcomed home Bruno my first Dutchie!

Re: Stare Down

Post by NewlyDutched » Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:33 am

Sera, my Mal/GSD had some leash aggression issues at about the 1 year mark. I used our local dog park to solve the issue. I would check it out from the car for a bit to make sure that the right kind of energy was going on in the fenced dog park area, then park farther away and work OB on leash. Having a place where I knew there would be dogs not focused on her and I could control the threshold was really useful.

With her, it didn't take long. She is pretty low drive and was always very dog friendly off leash. Best use I've found for the dog park!

Owned-By-Hendrix
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Re: Stare Down

Post by Owned-By-Hendrix » Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:55 pm

So this is one of those times where I can tell H's lines. We've had great success with him seeing small dogs and ignoring them - in fact he made a friend yorkie - but any dog that is close to his size or bigger gets the "threat down" I've started calling it. Training wise it's like running into a brick wall several thousand times.

Before: hackles up, growling, direct and intense eye contact with a stuffy posture, body alert. Second the dog met eyes burst into action - barking, snapping, lunging, the works - and as the dog passed would flip himself around to keep barking and lunging until way after we or the other dog left - you could not get him to move.

Now: will remove eyes for one second and back. Hackles up but silent, body not as stiff but not completely loose. Will still attempt to flip around to watch dog but if I tell him to keep going will turn around and walk for about 5-10 feet before checking behind him and needs to be reminded to keep moving.

With him this, deep down, is a purely "dominant" behavior. He sees another dog and wants to fight to establish pecking order because a dog as big as him is a threat to his status. There's a bit in here and his history that I would argue probably goes back to his exposure to dogs (as a puppy he got along really well with small dogs and as he got older we began meeting larger dogs but he was in "punk" mode so that never went well), or nervousness around larger dogs, or even just the fact he seems to key into certain body types (high tail, forward ears, body angled a certain way) from across a football field faster than on a neutral large dog. However, as of this moment, I realize this is a very big part genetic, with exposure and training fails adding into the mix, and the very reason why I tell new DS puppy owners to really look at the lines and understand what it means to the dog.

As of this moment my training plan is make him understand that that behavior is in no way acceptable to me via prong corrections and praise for neutral reactions (looking away, restraining a threat gesture to a dog, or just walking calmly). I've also had to ask myself what is the end picture I want to see from him - totally ignoring the dog, walking by with slight attention in body and glancing at dog, or staying in a heel and staring it down, etc) and treating/showing him what I want. Once I'm sure he gets that this behavior isn't tolerated, I'll see if I need to start supplementing another behavior for him to do so he's not tempted to regress to genetics. I'm hesitant to do the attention heel because when he's on duty his attention is better served watching the environment than my face. Several times while heeling (no attention) he's alerted to me a potentially painful/fatal something in the environment which has allowed me time to get us away from it. But it is something I'm playing with implementing if we need to.
Kay
(Pepper's Look-A-Like)
(Tyson's Soul Twin)

Raven
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Re: Stare Down

Post by Raven » Thu Oct 29, 2015 2:24 pm

Glad to hear of progress! Yea! to both of you. Baby steps, a plan, consistency, and knowing your dog. They work. Along with lots of alcohol.

:wtg:

Post further progress. I'm sure there will be more improvements.
Though I can only hope to become the person who my animals believe I am, the things that they have taught me have made me a better human being. ~~~Sharon~~~

Will1492
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Re: Stare Down

Post by Will1492 » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:00 pm

Henry has a memory like an elephant. He will ignore other dogs until they bark at him and then it's Defcon 1, full scorched earth response. There have been dogs that he has not seen in literally months and he goes off on sight. Usually a pop of the collar and telling him "quiet" stops the behavior, but he still clocks the other dog until he is out of visual range. I have found that it's the little dogs that get the response from him.
We had a neighbor who has a female GS that he loved and would tolerate anything, she would take his toys and he didn't care. Our other neighbor had a male Boxer and he played with him every day.

Owned-By-Hendrix
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Re: Stare Down

Post by Owned-By-Hendrix » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:27 pm

I'll tell you guys a scary story that happened a few weeks ago and why I dislike the attention heel for what H does. We were out on a nature preserve bike path one day as the sun was setting. H kept alerting to something in the woods behind us, whirling around and staring into the bush. It was in a thicker area that I couldn't really see what it was so I chalked it up to a bunny or a hiker passing us. It wasn't his normal danger alert, just one that is similar to when he hears a bunny in the underbrush, so I wasn't concerned. About 20 minutes later (and fighting H who kept whirling around to something behind us - and ignoring the noises I heard because I thought they were "animal" noises) I turned around to see a guy standing four feet behind us - and right when I turned he made a lunge towards us. Because H was turned around, he got between us and basically let hell rain down on the dude, who ran off. I reported the incident and turns out apparently there had been some rapes in the area around the time I was out.

Now, I have experience with H in an attention heel reacting to something. He's much slower to react and isn't as keen to changes in the environment. If he had been in an attention heel there would have been precious milliseconds lost that were crucial to avoiding the collision of the dude and I (and if my dog needed to bite, I would have been in the crossfire of it, not to mention possibly wounded if the dude had a weapon). For any other dog, I would go with an attention heel in a heartbeat. But because of his job, I can't.

Now we can walk past dogs at a distance without trouble - he still eyes them but will disengage when I tell him leave it. We're working on getting closer and I've noticed when we're out with Jakai who is very neutral to dogs, he doesn't even think about trying to react unless they get too close for his comfort. He's proven he can make the choice to look at them and not react, it's just he doesn't want to. But I wouldn't trade his stubborn butt for anything.
Kay
(Pepper's Look-A-Like)
(Tyson's Soul Twin)

Raven
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Re: Stare Down

Post by Raven » Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:48 pm

Why would a guy approach so closely when you had a dog with you on alert???? Geesh.

In other parts of the world (India, for one) folks don't prefer a focused heel. If a dog can handle it, or has been trained that way, I prefer the dog be able to take in the surroundings while obeying in a heel.

There's been posts on here about ignoring our DSs when they go on alert, thinking they're reacting to something unimportant, or they're testing you by not obeying a command to quiet, or whatever...and your story, Kira, is another great example how we need to consider that our beasts might have something to tell us that we don't know about.

Good boy, H. Glad you're okay, Kira. :)
Though I can only hope to become the person who my animals believe I am, the things that they have taught me have made me a better human being. ~~~Sharon~~~

Owned-By-Hendrix
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Tell us about yourself: Dutch Shepherd Owner.

Re: Stare Down

Post by Owned-By-Hendrix » Wed Nov 25, 2015 4:45 am

Most people when they see H think he's cute and not intimidating... I've had so many people get the shock of their loves when they attempt to grab (yes, grab) him for a hug and he snarls (no lunges or anything other than a snarl because I step in). I actually had one person try to scare him because they thought it would be funny but they got the scare of their lives when they jumped out screaming at him and he went on the defensive, ready to rumble, and they had to deal with him and I pissed off. So, the guy coming up behind us was probably trying to scare off H or test the waters, but after a while you'd think there would be a better target. I mean I'm glad it was me and H because we train for this, but still!

And it was a lesson to me to not be so cocky. I saw H alerting like he does to wild life and didn't think twice about it even though his alert changed. H and I know how to work as a team but he can't compensate for my ego lol.

I agree but I also see the benefits of an attention heel through distractions. However, I also see the limitations. It is a great tool. Just for H's application it isn't prudent.
Kay
(Pepper's Look-A-Like)
(Tyson's Soul Twin)

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