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Old 11-30-2012, 07:55 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Thank you Debbie, and Carina, for the links. I finally was able to get my computer going so I can really read through them now. I just got done with "What is a reactive dog", and it was very informative! I'm not really sure the difference between conditioning and desensitizing now because it seems similar to what I had read online and what the last trainer told me, to reward her for being around the stimuli before she reacts.


Is it normal that when I'm giving her treats (if she accepts it or is even interested in it) and a person is walking by (not too close, there's a big distance but she can hear them walking and see them) she goes crazy eating the treats off of my hand, finishes them real fast, and if I try to lag with 2 seconds in between treating her, she turns around and starts barking at the person or dog and once she is like that I can not get her back to my attention, even when I take her to the other side of the building she continues to lunge and bark even when she can't see them, it takes a minute or two for her to calm down being in a quiet place with no one in sight. And my fingers end up hurting because she's just munching on the treats i'm holding out to her, although she doesn't intend to bite me, she still gets my fingers while she's trying to get the treats.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:55 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Thank you I never knew about those trainers! San Luis Obispo is 40mins from my little town but if it helps us with this situation I wouldn't mind making the drive up there a couple of times.

For desensitizing her I was told to give her high reward treats whenever something happened or someone approached that she would bark at, but giving her treats before she barks. And starting with a big distance between her and the person and slowly moving closer. The problem is I find it works sometimes and sometimes it doesn't, I don't know what makes the difference when I'm doing the same thing, it's just different people that are around.

The previous trainer also said to have her exercise before training, like running and playing. So I did do that, had her run with me while I was on the bike or took her to run free at the beach, she was tired out but still barked like crazy at everything even things she didn't bark at before like birds, so it seemed to me like exercise tires her out, but at the same time makes her hyper. When it's a rainy day like yesterday and were just in home cuddling and sleeping most of the day, then I take her out and she didn't imidietally bark at the neighbors unless they made loud noises, but I was giving her treats so she actually didn't bark at all. That was rare! So I don't know if she needs a calming remedy.



By the way I've already tried the sentry calming collars, that one didn't work on her at all.


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I would say exercise is a good idea, but if it is making her "stressed" then yes, it could be that she will be worse after.

Remember, to try to keep her below threshold when you are working on desensitizing. Do not have the people come close too quickly. Do not expect it to work quickly. Keep your sessions short. Give her high value treats.

If she has gone over threshold, get her out of the situation. Don't continue. Back up, give her a break. When she goes into reactive mode, she and she keeps it up, that is actually teaching as well. It becomes "habit" and so it is the type of learning we call habituation. You want calm to become the default habit. So as much as possible try to keep control of the situation and don't push her over that threshold.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:58 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Thank you Debbie, and Carina, for the links. I finally was able to get my computer going so I can really read through them now. I just got done with "What is a reactive dog", and it was very informative! I'm not really sure the difference between conditioning and desensitizing now because it seems similar to what I had read online and what the last trainer told me, to reward her for being around the stimuli before she reacts.


Is it normal that when I'm giving her treats (if she accepts it or is even interested in it) and a person is walking by (not too close, there's a big distance but she can hear them walking and see them) she goes crazy eating the treats off of my hand, finishes them real fast, and if I try to lag with 2 seconds in between treating her, she turns around and starts barking at the person or dog and once she is like that I can not get her back to my attention, even when I take her to the other side of the building she continues to lunge and bark even when she can't see them, it takes a minute or two for her to calm down being in a quiet place with no one in sight. And my fingers end up hurting because she's just munching on the treats i'm holding out to her, although she doesn't intend to bite me, she still gets my fingers while she's trying to get the treats.
I know just what you are talking about, because Cadeau does this too, his intensity is so high and he eats the treats from that "stressed" point. Ideally, you want her to not be so close to her threshold. Distance has a big impact on that. Give her more space. At one training club I went to, they call our dogs "space-dogs" they really need more space than some to keep calm.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:17 PM   #34 (permalink)
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I know just what you are talking about, because Cadeau does this too, his intensity is so high and he eats the treats from that "stressed" point. Ideally, you want her to not be so close to her threshold. Distance has a big impact on that. Give her more space. At one training club I went to, they call our dogs "space-dogs" they really need more space than some to keep calm.
Could this be one of the reasons that it didn't work out at Petsmart training? Since we were using these methods, rewarding before she reacts and while hearing noises or seeing people, but since it's a store and we went on Sundays when it's full, it was always really noisy and we could only get so far away from people, just to the next isle or something. Could that be why the training failed? The last day of class we were able to walk in and she wasn't barking, BUT she was crying! crying and looking around really fast like looking for a way out, so I just rushed with her to the back of the store where the restrooms are and there was no people, I felt bad for her. But the trainer thought that was progress and it was ok.


Also, if she is reactive towards kids, dogs, and adults. When training her should I first do adults, or can I do adults and dogs at the same time? For instance, have a person with their dog walk by (starting at large distances). I don't know anyone that would be willing to help me just by walking up and down the street while I train Cici to ignore that person walking by until we get to the point where she can get close, so I was thinking to put an ad on Craigslist to see if anyone volunteers with their dog if they have a calm dog, but I don't know if that's a good plan. And I don't know if I should separate humans and dogs during first weeks of training.

I contacted three trainers from the website you provided that are in my area, I heard back from one and I will be giving her a call on Monday to talk about it. I feel like I need to give this one last chance on my own though, and incorporate everything I've learned from your responses. Instead of doing it at stores or parks where there's more than one person, I'll start with one person at a time so she doesn't get too stressed.

Ok so a few questions I have..
1. Can I do the classic conditioning training in my own property or does it have to be in a new territory? (I was thinking of being with her in the driveway while someone walks by on the street.

2. Should I work on one stressor at a time (i.e. dog, adult, child), or can I do adult and dog at the same time and she will understand not to be reactive to either even when they're not together?

3. With the training, am I supposed to expose her to different types of people individually? (i.e. their age, gender, or clothing like hats and umbrellas).

4. When we accidentally go too close and she starts lunging and barking, do I "drag" her away, or pick her up or is there a certain way to get her away? I've read some people saying not to pull the dog away because the dog will think "oh that person must really be dangerous if my owner is scared and trying to run away from them" or something like that. But when she's lunging and barking, dragging her by the leash is the only way I can get her away from the situation, I try calling her and saying "lets go" (I trained her that when I say lets go it means we're going to do a u-turn) but it doesn't work. I feel like she's hurting herself when that happens because sometimes she starts making a coughing/choking type sound.
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:58 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Could this be one of the reasons that it didn't work out at Petsmart training? Since we were using these methods, rewarding before she reacts and while hearing noises or seeing people, but since it's a store and we went on Sundays when it's full, it was always really noisy and we could only get so far away from people, just to the next isle or something. Could that be why the training failed? The last day of class we were able to walk in and she wasn't barking, BUT she was crying! crying and looking around really fast like looking for a way out, so I just rushed with her to the back of the store where the restrooms are and there was no people, I felt bad for her. But the trainer thought that was progress and it was ok.
Yes, I would imagine PetSmart had WAY too much stimuli for her, especially on the busiest days. I don't blame your PetSmart trainer for not recognizing that. This kind of behavior is something that only a small percentage of trainers really understand well. I was going to a good local training club and over-stimulating Cadeau. The trainers there tried to help me and many have many many years of experience working with dogs, but simply have not worked with many reactive dogs or at least didn't know they were working with reactive dogs.

Quote:
Also, if she is reactive towards kids, dogs, and adults. When training her should I first do adults, or can I do adults and dogs at the same time? For instance, have a person with their dog walk by (starting at large distances). I don't know anyone that would be willing to help me just by walking up and down the street while I train Cici to ignore that person walking by until we get to the point where she can get close, so I was thinking to put an ad on Craigslist to see if anyone volunteers with their dog if they have a calm dog, but I don't know if that's a good plan. And I don't know if I should separate humans and dogs during first weeks of training.
I think you want to present her with different pieces of the puzzle and watch for her to tell you what her threshold markers are. Again, try not to push her over threshold, but you should see signs of agitation. You want to keep her just below her reaction threshold. But you can often see signs of it coming before it does if you watch. You should not punish her for showing these signs, they are communication with you. You may notice things like lip licking, tension in her muscles, even low growls before she blows up. These are your signs, use them to let you know where she is at. And watch for these and other signs she may give you.

Quote:

I contacted three trainers from the website you provided that are in my area, I heard back from one and I will be giving her a call on Monday to talk about it. I feel like I need to give this one last chance on my own though, and incorporate everything I've learned from your responses. Instead of doing it at stores or parks where there's more than one person, I'll start with one person at a time so she doesn't get too stressed.

Ok so a few questions I have..
1. Can I do the classic conditioning training in my own property or does it have to be in a new territory? (I was thinking of being with her in the driveway while someone walks by on the street.
I think it could be a good idea to try your own drive-way in addition to other places. You will want to see if your drive-way may actually make her worse rather than better because it is her territory she is protecting. But again, you follow the same techniques in each place you work. Keep her below threshold and reward her there, get her out of the situation if you know she is going to blow.

Quote:

2. Should I work on one stressor at a time (i.e. dog, adult, child), or can I do adult and dog at the same time and she will understand not to be reactive to either even when they're not together?
One at a time seems like a good plan to me. After you have gotten somewhere, then you can try combining them.

Quote:
3. With the training, am I supposed to expose her to different types of people individually? (i.e. their age, gender, or clothing like hats and umbrellas).
Yes, you want to try all of this, but again, just start off simple. Don't try to add a lot to the mix now.

Quote:
4. When we accidentally go too close and she starts lunging and barking, do I "drag" her away, or pick her up or is there a certain way to get her away? I've read some people saying not to pull the dog away because the dog will think "oh that person must really be dangerous if my owner is scared and trying to run away from them" or something like that. But when she's lunging and barking, dragging her by the leash is the only way I can get her away from the situation, I try calling her and saying "lets go" (I trained her that when I say lets go it means we're going to do a u-turn) but it doesn't work. I feel like she's hurting herself when that happens because sometimes she starts making a coughing/choking type sound.
I know exactly what you mean, but you should be trying U-turns before she blows. When she is sub-threshold she probably can still listen to the command. Once she is not, then you don't have a lot of choices. You just have to put distance and so pulling her around is pretty much your only option. Do not be afraid to tell other people to back off you though if they are coming closer, let them know that you are working on training and she needs distance. It can be awkward to tell folks that, but it is something we do to help our dogs.

By the way, I want to say, this is a process. Cadeau is better, but he is not "cured" and I am not an expert on this, just someone who has studied it a lot to try to help my own reactive dog. I have taken a few classes working with him, paid a small fortune to go to Pat Miller's camp and I feel like what they do makes a lot of sense. Have I still got a reactive dog? Yes, but the main thing is that I now have strategies to deal with him that I did not have before and most importantly, I understand him better than I did before I did all this work, so I am less frustrated.

You are doing great asking these questions and trying to work with your little one. Too often people just give up working on it with the small dogs and keep them home and isolated.
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:28 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Thank you Carina I really appreciate all of the info you have provided me with! I'm going to really get down to business now and dedicate more time to doing the training right starting from the beginning. I will be keeping a detailed video record of her progress from day one of training so it can help me better see the progress and see if there's anything I can improve from replaying the videos .


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Old 12-03-2012, 07:57 PM   #37 (permalink)
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When walking her outside...hold the leash lightly...she can feel if you have any tension when holding the leash and she will react to it thinking she needs to sort of protect you. When she starts to bark, immediately turn around and walk in the other direction for a few feet...then turn around again to walk in the first direction...continue doing this until she learns that barking and pulling is not acceptable. She should catch on. When she stops barking give her praise and a small treat.
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:01 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Carina---What an informative thread! thank you for taking time to be so specific Carina. Your the best. I can use this with Sammie's reactive behaviour outside. I know it's from his attack. It stated right afterward. He was a little free spirit just laying in the sun in his stroller on a quiet Sat am and bam 2 labs snatch him from his stroller. The dogs lived across street so he is still looking and growling at that house on walks. The mean lab moved.
Penny has none of this so far, she is 14 mo now.
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:13 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Kandis i had totally forgotten about the lab attack, seeing how Sammy was at HH and the drive up and back i would have never of known. I have to say that my CM was the perfect traveler and was so good in HH, i can't wait to get kisses from him again...gosh i just love that boy!
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:52 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Thank you Debbie. That is so sweet. They only have one dog living there and he is real old, but he looks like the mean one, so Sammie thinks it the dog that grabbed him I guess.
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