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Old 09-29-2014, 05:57 AM   #1
shauna159
 
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Dog barking at other dogs when out for a walk

When i take my 6 year old shih tzu out for a walk and we meet other dogs he goes into a barking rage, i have tried not tighten the lead as he will sense something is wrong.

Any ideas or tips on how to help this situation as it?s got to the point i don?t want to take him out.
I also have a yorkie he is grand he doesn?t even look at other people never mind dogs.

Thanks Shauna
:eek

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Old 09-30-2014, 06:37 AM   #2
Emma D.
 
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Hi, this is called "reactivity" and it's a fairly common problem for dog owners. B.A.T is an acronym for behavioural adjustment training and it involves slowly conditioning the dog to the trigger (other dogs in this case) starting from a distance (the "threshold") and increasing the proximity as progress is made.

B.A.T is a PR-handler friendly approach and is successful more often than not.

Part of the B.A.T style involves a game called Look At That, or L.A.T. You'd stay above threshold and point out the trigger to your dog. When your dog acknowledges the trigger, you praise, making a positive association between dog and trigger.

To be honest, I prefer my dogs to ignore stranger dogs and people. I don't encourage them to acknowledge dogs or people when we're out walking. I have (or had) a dog displaying reactivity caused by fear due to introducing her to a lot of dodgy dogs as a puppy.

I tried several techniques and methods of training for two years before shutting down the computer and ignoring the pro-method advice (the preachers of entirely positive, entirely negative, leader of the pack, pro-Cesar, pro-Victoria methods). As soon as I took a step back, forgot all the advice I'd been getting given online, in books and from trainers who hadn't seen enough of my dog to know any better, I made immediate progress.

By working with the dog with methods that work for the dog, as opposed to trying to make your dog work with methods you want to use, you can get permanent results, solid foundations and even a "quick fix". I always recommend using the method or technique that the dog works best with.

I use a mixed method of praise and verbal reprimand for the majority of my dogs. I have two that respond better to a different method. The method they respond better to would fall under the PR category of training, in that being verbally reprimanded for making a mistake (i.e lying down when they've been told to sit) gets them confused and they start panicking and going through everything they know hoping to hit the jackpot.

While I personally prefer to acknowledge wrong with reprimand as well as right with praise, working on the theory that if they know what not to do as well as what to do they'll be more reliable, I encourage my two "softer" dogs to work with the method they can understand best, which is PR. They are less reliable than the others and they are more likely to make mistakes more often, but a dog can be made reliable using PR -- it just takes longer in my experience.

PR is more socially acceptable now than a lot of other methods of training. However, if you're interested in some different techniques which involve corrections as well as the aforementioned threshold/praise/L.A.T then let me know and I'll get back to you. I recommend having a swing at B.A.T as working with that technique for a while will let you know if your dog needs firmer handling (corrections) or if he will work well with the PR techniques.

Once you've decided on a technique to use (note: all "established techniques" such as B.A.T can be modified to suit your dog), it's then time to ensure your dog is getting adequate physical and mental exercise and training. Often an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) is the cause of behavioural problems in dogs. Hypothyroidism doesn't commonly affect small breeds but can occur in anything with a thyroid gland and can be controlled with medication and identified with blood work.

ETA: As a confirmation, it's next to impossible to successfully train a dog using entirely "negative enforcement" -- which is correcting unwanted behaviours using something called a "leash pop" (lead snap) or verbal reprimanding. A lot of the time, using sound to distract is lumped with the negative enforcement technique but TBH it can go both ways if you change how you handle it. I have used bottles filled with pennies to stop my dogs from barking at the door. Because I'd follow it up with praise and a treat for the immediate silence, and because I'd rattle the bottle as soon as anybody yapped, it didn't make anyone associate doorbell = fear. "Negative enforcement" for unwanted behaviours has to be accompanied by equal or greater positive enforcement for wanted behaviours. The reason negative enforcement is an unpopular factor in training now is because people were going to extremes with it and breaking laws by hitting/kicking/beating their dogs. If you correctly factor in negative enforcement by using it at the correct time, at the correct level, with the correct dog, then a combination of negative and positive works better than solely positive and (naturally) solely negative. It's an easy method to misuse and a lot of people would rather be safe than sorry and just stick to 100% PR.


Last edited by Emma D.; 09-30-2014 at 06:53 AM.
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Old 09-30-2014, 08:39 AM   #3
diamah
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Many dogs can handle some negative feedback, such as smacks or leash pops, or pennies in a jar, or a squirt in the face. Whether they are as joyful as dogs who are trained using positive reinforcement only is certainly debatable. Unfortunately, the huge downside of even mild aversives is that they can cause a dog to shut down entirely or become increasingly reactive. As you said, Emily, using positive reinforcement does take time and patience; sadly for our dogs, many people lack patience and hop from method to method, till we find out that yelling or shaking a can or giving a sudden yank seems to stop the behavior in that moment. The satisfaction that provides means that we repeat the behavior, and we never notice the dog's stressed body language or that he's actually getting worse. Till maybe he snaps and bites someone or attacks/kills another dog.

Positive reinforcement and management avoids those pitfalls; it may seem slow but it does more than simply suppress unwanted behavior. Creating positive associations with things that frighten or stress our dogs creates lasting change because it changes the dogs emotional response. And it has the added benefit that it won't make behavior worse if one gets a soft dog, or if one makes a mistake in timing. It also creates a stronger bond between us, rather than the dog learning that mom or dad may, at any time, do something scary or painful.

Emily I'm sure your intentions are good, but your advice is not the best if it includes using aversive methods.

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Old 09-30-2014, 10:21 AM   #4
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Hi Thanks for all the reply's.. i will take note and try what method that works best on my dog,and i appreciate any ideas and tips as i have a keen interest in dog behavior. and i what to enjoy the walks i have with my dogs.the only problem i have is getting his full attention on me and not the strangers.

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Old 09-30-2014, 11:46 AM   #5
Emma D.
 
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Shauna, high value food or toys can enable you to get your dog's attention, though if you've lost his attention and can't get it back without a high quality distraction, it indicates you're over threshold and need to move back.

Diamah, I appreciate you have a different opinion and know you're with the majority. Forums would be useless if we all said the same thing. Incorrectly using any method can create negative experiences for both dog and owner. My two "softer" dogs who I have to implement a 100% PR method onto have triggers that cause fear, whereas my others are more stable.

This isn't because of the method of training but because of the way the dog is, and the way the dog is means she works better with 100% PR than with a more balanced method. She can't handle being corrected for messing up.

The problem I've noticed with the majority of people who use negative enforcement is they use it wrongly. Instead of saying "no, you've done the wrong command" they say "no, that's not how you sit". They use correction before the dog knows what she's meant to be doing, and then they just scare the dog because she's trying something new and getting corrected for not knowing how to do it.

That's the most common problem I've personally noticed. The other is excessive corrections, like hitting/kicking. I've never seen any "type" of trainer condone that kind of correction, it tends to come from owners themselves who've found they get a quick and wanted reaction from the dog when they do it. The problem is that IS a reaction caused by fear, and it's going to create more problems down the road while never actually solving the original problem.

I'm not sure if you were saying my dogs were scared into being quiet by the bottle or just using the rattle bottle as an example like I was, but my dogs are exposed to all kinds of noises and have no aversion to loud noises. It just interrupts the barking, gets their attention and enables me to praise them for being quiet instead of praising them while they're barking or standing around for twenty minutes, leaving my guest at the door until they stop barking. I used the bottle early on to nip the yapping in the bud and haven't had that type of tool for around 6 years now because the first dogs don't bark anymore and any new dogs follow suit.

I was giving Shauna the advantage of more options while just recommending she use the PR method of B.A.T. I'd never recommend anything other than PR without being asked as incorporating punishment is more complicated than just saying "no".

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Old 10-02-2014, 08:08 AM   #6
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Emma thanks for your help and advise

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Old 08-01-2015, 09:43 AM   #7
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I have a highly reactive dog and need help with this too ! she's a one yr old mix that looks like rottie shepherd.. but i have no idea what she really is.
she's gorgeous though, but has the worst growling fits with new dogs or people.. and sometimes tries to bite…. if they get too close. I really need help, and I'm desperate to learn from people here..

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Old 08-08-2015, 01:03 AM   #8
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Dog Training:
http://www.dogtrainingcoursesonline.com/

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Old 08-08-2015, 01:04 AM   #9
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Dog Training: http://www.dogtrainingcoursesonline.com/

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Old 11-14-2017, 08:58 AM   #10
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There's a site I've gotten real valuable info off of, they have a whole E Book section https://mav4life.com/collections/learn (some are free and some are available on Amazon) with lots of reading material for your pups. I particularly had to read the Dog Aggression e book for my pup, he was barking unnecessarily at other dogs and being very aggressive towards other animals and humans alike. Wasn't good, but research definitely helps and just have to work on training

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