Calling Mr. Dweck...need advice
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Thread: Calling Mr. Dweck...need advice

  1. #1
    mombear is offline Senior Member
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    AngryCalling Mr. Dweck...need advice

    First things first. How is Wes doing with his dew claw and everything. Hope he is doing lots better.

    Okay here's the problem:
    Last night I took Parker to obedience school, fourth class. The other three classes he was pretty good. Did take after a GS in the first one had to trade places. Last night he went after this one next to us, Pepper, trade places, then went after Stella Pyreneese. (These dogs are not doing anything just standing, sitting or laying there) Each time he tries to bite them on their back. He has angel wings (HA) and if it was on him it would be right behind them. I asked the instructor what might cause him to do this. He said, "I don't know" (he's a smart aleck anyway I can't stand him but can't throw $89 away and Parker is learning things). I asked him if there was anything I could do to stop it. He said keep the dogs attention on me and if he starts looking at another dog to get his gaze and say "No" loudly. I wish I knew why he did this, he did it in the first classes he went to when he was a lot younger. Are there just dogs who do this kind of thing and I'm just going to have to live with the fact that he is not dog friendly? He gets along fine with my other dog Linus. He does the same back biting to him but it's not vicious, it's just play biting. Can you please help me? Anyone who wants to chime in is fine.

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    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    Sounds to me like he is initiating play. Do you take him for a good long walk before the class? If he is a little less wound up he will pay better attention.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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    YellowJakesMom is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mombear View Post
    First things first. How is Wes doing with his dew claw and everything. Hope he is doing lots better.

    Okay here's the problem:
    Last night I took Parker to obedience school, fourth class. The other three classes he was pretty good. Did take after a GS in the first one had to trade places. Last night he went after this one next to us, Pepper, trade places, then went after Stella Pyreneese. (These dogs are not doing anything just standing, sitting or laying there) Each time he tries to bite them on their back. He has angel wings (HA) and if it was on him it would be right behind them. I asked the instructor what might cause him to do this. He said, "I don't know" (he's a smart aleck anyway I can't stand him but can't throw $89 away and Parker is learning things). I asked him if there was anything I could do to stop it. He said keep the dogs attention on me and if he starts looking at another dog to get his gaze and say "No" loudly. I wish I knew why he did this, he did it in the first classes he went to when he was a lot younger. Are there just dogs who do this kind of thing and I'm just going to have to live with the fact that he is not dog friendly? He gets along fine with my other dog Linus. He does the same back biting to him but it's not vicious, it's just play biting. Can you please help me? Anyone who wants to chime in is fine.
    If you "get his gaze" and then say "No!" loudly, what have you punished?

    Him looking at you.

    One of the many reasons aversive training methods don't really work - we rarely punish what we mean to punish, and even if we do it tends to be at the wrong time.

    I would start by teaching a "watch me" command. Do you have that already? If not, sit down with a bag of treats, wait for him to look at you and reward. Pair with command of choice (look, watch, etc). When he fixates on something in class, ask him to watch you, give him a command (down, sit, paw, spin) and reward. Use your command to redirect his attention, not punish him.

    I agree with BBD too - more exercise before class, it sounds like playing. Also, keep busy during class! While the instructor is talking do puppy push-ups (sit, down, sit, down, sit, down). If you use hand signals this is easy to do, or you can whisper Practice stays. Practice laying down and being petted. Keeping a reactive dog thinking about other things is always a good solution.

    Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy

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    I'm working on the same issue with Boomer. He is leash reactive to other dogs; although he plays wonderfully with the same dogs when off leash. Have you read the book Fiesty Fido by McConnell? It is pretty much the method our trainer/behaviorist has us using and it is working AMAZING. Basically its about counter conditioning your dog. They see look at another dog and don't react = YUMMY TREATS. Of course there is more to it than this, but its a quick read and extremely helpful. Basically this is what I do at class. When Boomer is checking out another dog, I'll do a watch me and he gets a treat. I treat him and do the watch me BEFORE he gets too intense with looking at the other dog. I do this every single time (he gets WAY too many hotdogs, but its working). But if I slip up and he lunges at another dog, I turn and walk away. Keeping him busy during class helps alot too; like someone said we'll do pushups while the instructor is talking. Also, I notice a HUGE improvement in his behavior when I run him before class AND when I DO NOT FEED HIM prior. He pays much better attention to me and my treats. Goodluck. I don't believe any dog is past help or just won't get along with other dogs. He might not ever run and play happily with them, but you CAN counter condition him to expect wonderful things (treats) every time he sees another dog and doesn't act like a maniac.

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    YellowJakesMom is offline Senior Member
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    Awesome suggestion Jennifer! I love McConnell's books - they completely changed the way I interact with my dogs

    Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy

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    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    Fiesty Fido! I forgot about that one! Yes, that is a great book.

    If you "get his gaze" and then say "No!" loudly, what have you punished?

    Him looking at you.
    Exactly! This trainer sounds like a doofus.

    I can tell you what is pretty much standard protocol with a lot of the experienced trainers at our club when two dogs are staring at each other - and staring at each other is very often how it starts:

    Step in between them.

    You don't have to say anything. They get it. It's doggie body language, and they totally understand. Try to cut off their eye contact with the other dog. Or, try to cut off the other dog's eye contact. Either way. It sends a strong message without being punitive.

    Now, you don't want to step in between two dogs that are already going at it, because they will likely unintentionally include you in the melee. The key is to be very, very attentive to your dog at all times, and head off problems BEFORE they happen. Always be aware of what they are looking at, who they are trying to sniff, where their attention is. Altercations are often reported as "coming out of nowhere," but the great majority of the time there was a warning signal that the owner missed.

    If possible, keep their attention on YOU one hundred percent of the time. Shoot for 100%, anyway. If this means using an entire bag of cheese or hot dogs and saying "watch me" one million times in one class, so be it. Been there. Done it. LOL

    I like to call myself the human Pez dispenser. Kevin ridicules me for this, but who has the boys' undivided attention? That's right! Me! Mwaa ha ha ha!

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    You have had some excellent suggestions to help with this.

    I am going to offer another opinion on why it is happening. Jefferson does this to Teddy. It is not exactly play. Not aggression either. But I think it is a dominant posture.
    Jefferson puts up with a boatload with Teddy. Teddy wants his food, his toys, his attention. Jefferson usually gives any and all to Teddy. But occasionally, Jefferson will bite him on his back and pin Teddy down. He will do this when he is tired of Teddy being in his face.
    They play together all day--play bows, bitey face, wrestle, chase, etc. This is behavior is different. If I don't break it up, humping generally follows.
    “If I know every single phone call you’ve made, I’m able to determine every single person you’ve talked to; I can get a pattern about your life that is very, very intrusive. And the real question here, is what do they do with this information that they collect – that does not have anything to do with al-Qaeda? And we’re gonna trust the president and the vice president that they’re doing the right thing? Don’t count me in on that.”
    Joe Biden, 2006

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    dweck is offline Senior Member
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    Connie already posted my solution-of-choice: Break the eye contact. Even if you've got to step RIGHT IN FRONT of your dog to do it. I've seen handlers do a bob-n-weave for 5 minutes straight, maintaining the position directly in their dog's gaze. We asst handlers do this a lot, too, when people aren't paying attention.

    The easiest problem to fix is the one you've avoided altogether.

    I'm with her (Connie) 100% on the advice, execpt for the food, which I've never used in training Wes. We work on praise which, although may take longer, has, IMHO, a better effect, as I don't need to make sure I've always got food on me. But am never w/out my voice.....

    YMMV.

    Kelrobin Cleveland Street Denizen, CGC, RN [Parker]

    "Dear George: Remember, no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings. Love, Clarence" -- IAWL Screenplay (1946)

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