Almost 7 month old Pup

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Lotsaquestions
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:58 am

The barking and lunging has been since his odd day, but before then he did start becoming more interested in dogs on a lead again. There wasn't any vocalisation, but he was staring wistfully and sometimes sitting down and refusing to move.

Peaking at 10 months? Oh god, I had hoped we were experiencing the worst of it already. Ok then, I've got my alcohol, now I'm going to go shopping for the most interesting dog toy I can find in the hopes this one works...

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:24 am

I think I might have undone everything we've been doing in regards to dogs :(.

I had been walking him with the old dogs for a while, and whilst there he could play with a couple of puppies that joined us. But for the last three weeks I've been taking him to other places with fewer dogs, but more interesting things to do. I did this because at the local park we ended up just standing in one position for a while, which seemed to get a bit tense. If no dog was playing with Merlin he would just pace, and we couldn't play ball because another dog always stole it.

All was great. He was playing with me, running with me, doing amazing at recall and the odd dog that was there he had a play with or sniffed and left alone. But now this past week he's gone right back to being dog obsessed. He will spend the entire time just looking for them, literally standing still and scanning for dogs. He no longer plays with me, he ignores me almost completley to the point where he just wandered off near a road which he's never done before. Its like he's 6 and a half months old again and its taking over his entire being.

What I want to know is should I keep taking him to places with fewer dogs and just ride it out, or go back to the old dog routine? Is this reversion because I have starved him of dogs or is it just the ups and downs of teenagehood? I have become completley inconsiquential to him when we're out, whereas at least before he always wanted to keep me in sight. Now he will happily roam all on his own, and has lost sight of me twice and just carried on. We've emergency purchased a new padded longline and harness but they have yet to arrive. His current longline I no longer want to use because he got it tangled around himself and yelped (its a thin rope one so tangles easy).

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JudyN
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by JudyN » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:15 am

I can't really comment on the dog obsession because Jasper doesn't have that issue, but I'm sure you haven't undone the progress you have made - there are always going to be temporary setbacks and regressions. My guess is that Merlin is still in the peak of adolescence and to be honest, not worrying about losing sight of you a couple of times is to be expected. I've known people who have had to wait for their dog to come back for a couple of hours!

I'm thinking about a time we used to walk J occasionally from a pub in the New Forest. Each time we went there, he would spot and chase deer, and after the first two or three times he would be on full alert, completely ignoring us and in full hunt mode, before we'd even stopped the car in the car park. Other places we went he might be excited about the walk and be on the lookout for deer, but this was a different level entirely. So we stopped going there which was shame as it was a brilliant pub! Walking him in places where he was less likely to see a deer diminishes his obsession to seek them out, it doesn't make him more keen to find them (though if he does find one he certainly wouldn't hold back). And I expect if we only walked him places he knew there were lots of deer, he'd ignore us on every walk. So if the same applies to Merlin, reducing his opportunities to meet other dogs won't increase his obsession, even if playing with other dogs is always going to be his favourite thing ever. Like humans, he'll eventually learn that he can't always get to do his favourite thing ever.

ETA: I don't know what you say to Merlin when he can't play with another dog, but one expression I've found useful is 'Not today'. I use the same tone of voice I would if I was telling a child that he can't go to the park today, so it's not a command as such, it just conveys what's going to happen. I tend to use it if he asks to go the long way round the heath, or wants the last bit of my cream cake (that's not happening any day :twisted: ) or similar. It might be a useful one for your situation if you're not using something similar.
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Lotsaquestions
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:08 am

JudyN wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:15 am
I've known people who have had to wait for their dog to come back for a couple of hours!
I think I would literally have a heart attack if that happened, a few seconds out of sight is more than enough!

I don't actually say anything if he can't meet / play with a dog as I've just been walking past quietly and rewarding when he focusses on other things. If he can meet the dog / person I've been saying 'say hello' which he picked up pretty quickly. Perhaps I'll try 'not today' as we walk past / spots a dog on a lead to see if it works.

I hope you're right about not increasing his obsession. It is a real shame because the first few times we took him to new places he had an absolute blast, but now he's just hyper focussed on looking for dogs. He'll get to any patch on grass, no matter how small, and assume a dog will appear and will sit down and look for it.

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:34 am

Took him to a country park at half 7, was almost empty, he managed to coax a 13 year old staffy to come over to him somehow and they had a play. Unfortunatley he was highly reactive to any and every dog he saw. Normally its bark at the first one because he's full of energy and excitement, but after that he can control himself. Today it was every single one without fail, and when he saw three spaniels he started to growl which meant his frustration was building higher than it had ever built before.

I took him home, and because I'm the most unlucky person in the world, he ran into a collie and a springer who were being walked OFF LEAD along a busy mainroad. He barked at them and they came over and tried to get him to play, so I had a dog on a short lead who desperately wanted to play with two dogs right next to a busy road. That wasn't fun. When the man got the dogs to leave so we could walk on, Merlin just sat down and wouldn't move. I had to carry a 10kg stroppy, tired crazy dog the rest of the long way home.

I just don't know what to do to help him. I've reordered another adaptil collar but tbh I have no idea if they even work, its more a 'hedge our bets' type thing. Treating after he passes dogs seems to have zero effect anymore, and taking him away from dogs (so they are out of sight) when he barks just makes him more frustrated. He is completley disinterested in me and toys, and I've tried every single recommended types of toys I can find.

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by JudyN » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:22 am

When he sits down and won't move, if you just waited him out, standing at the far end of the lead, looking the way you want to go, but not saying anything, how long would it be till he got fed up and followed you? If you haven't tried this, it could be worth doing so. Take a book with you :wink:
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Lotsaquestions
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:15 am

JudyN wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:22 am
When he sits down and won't move, if you just waited him out, standing at the far end of the lead, looking the way you want to go, but not saying anything, how long would it be till he got fed up and followed you? If you haven't tried this, it could be worth doing so. Take a book with you :wink:
We've tried it before, he just starts rolling around the grass and then slides along the floor like a caterpillar kicking forward with his back legs. It is as ridiculous as it sounds, its how he has his tantrums and he's done it since he was really young. If its on pavement he just won't budge unless we drag him, which I don't want to do at all. I've even put out a trail of cheese to get him to move, but he won't, and we end up picking him up. I've walked off once with my partner holding his lead and hid behind things, he moves at first but then wises up to the game and stops.

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:00 pm

Ok today I scoured the net and I've found Kikopup's 'give in to lead pressure' training which I think might help, so he sees lead pressure as something he doesn't need to fight which I think is his problem atm. I pull him past dogs, he pulls back or sits down. He sussed the game pretty quickly, so perhaps some practice on that once a day will help.

I've also always done its yer choice with him, and his self control there is amazing which makes me wonder why it isn't outside. So I upped the ante today and put something super valuable on the floor (duck and tripe treaty strip) and, well, he was terrible :lol:. He reacted exactly the same way he does with dogs - whining and barking and sitting down sulking. Eventually he had the self control to leave it alone and got it when he didn't pull towards it and I said ok. I am hoping if I do this once a day he might exercise his self control muscle and be able to deal with frustration better. I was worried it would make him guardy over a super special prize, but that didn't happen (I did a drive by add treat just in case anyway).

If anyone knows any other good self control games that I can do that are fun, because I don't want to just put him in a stay for ages or tell him to 'leave it' with food.

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by JudyN » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:22 pm

Lotsaquestions wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:00 pm
Ok today I scoured the net and I've found Kikopup's 'give in to lead pressure' training which I think might help, so he sees lead pressure as something he doesn't need to fight which I think is his problem atm. I pull him past dogs, he pulls back or sits down. He sussed the game pretty quickly, so perhaps some practice on that once a day will help.
That video looks good :D I still think that with Merlin being so bright, though, there's going to be times when he'll get bored of the 'game' and do his stubborn tantrummy thing. In which case I think you just need to take a longer book, and a flask of coffee, and your next meal.... :wink:
If anyone knows any other good self control games that I can do that are fun, because I don't want to just put him in a stay for ages or tell him to 'leave it' with food.
I trained J to stand on a carpet tile. Then I'd get him to stay at one end of the kitchen, put a treat at the other end of the kitchen, put a tile in front of him and asked him to stand on it (front legs only as he's so long). Then I put another tile in front of him and got him to move to that, then took up the first tile and put it in front of him... gradually, we worked our way down the kitchen till he could get to the treat. That was fun!

Then there's recalling past food - him one end of the kitchen, me the other, treat in between, call him to me without eating the treat en route.

But remember dogs are very situational - if you've trained it in the kitchen, it might not work in the front room, let alone outside. And also, smart dogs know all too well the difference between a training situation and a real-life unplanned one. In the above games, if I accidentally dropped a treat instead of deliberately putting it down, he'd grab it before I had the chance to say anything :lol:
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:36 am

That tile thing sounds brilliant, Merlin will love playing that game. Will give that a go! I think recalling past treats is beyond him atm though :lol:

I've done some give in to lead pressure work this morning on his walk. He wanted to chase some pigeons. It took a while of him staring whilst at the end of the lead, but eventually he gave in and the lead went lax. And, amazingly, he then walked past the pigeons by my side. I wasn't expecting that at all and gave him no command to do so! Jackpot of treats for that :lol:

I also took some duck & tripe treat sticks with me for work around dogs. I decided that treating after the dog has passed just isn't working for him right now, so instead I asked for some attention from him / giving into lead pressure and held the chewy treat as he chewed bits off it. It worked amazingly. He saw a few dogs he couldn't meet, and he sat there happily chewing on his chew as the dog went by. Then later I didn't ask him for a 'watch me' when a dog went past, but waited to see if he would turn away on his own. He did eventually and he got the tripe stick. Although he was still very, very keen to meet the dog he never escalated beyond keen. No vocalisation or jumping or stress.

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:24 am

I've started to train (note retrain!) a 'let's go' command since his former one (this way) I burnt out with using it as a soft recall. I realised now that he's likely gotten worse because I've been needing to drag him away since he's so used to ignoring 'this way'. I'm also charging the word 'doggy' since I've also been tentatively saying 'good boy' as he spots a dog which has now become a cue to stare and get frustrated :lol: Half the time he trains me, a swear.

My sequence of events (in my mind) when I go back to walking him properly (he's poorly atm) will be:

See dog -> get a good distance away before he sees -> say 'doggy!' when he spots the dog and give him lots of treats as the dog is passing (apparently this also works for frustrated dogs, I thought that was a fear based thing only!) -> say 'let's go!' if he barks and then treat when the dog has passed / is out of sight.

Is this sequence of events alright? I am hoping that I can edge his frustration back from frustration and into happiness, and from there try and improve his impulse control so he can cope with not getting to everything he loves.

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:46 am

Merlin is still barking at dogs, but its now progressed to two different types of barking depending on the dog. I was wondering if anyone has any advice on how to deal with each type.

Type one - frustration / excitement barking. This is when he whines, barks high pitch, bounces around. Its obvious all he wants to do is meet and play with this one. I'm going to follow the advice Jacksdad gave in another thread, with training an amazing 'watch me' and treating as soon as he sees the dog and he's still on a loose lead.

Type two - Macho barking. This is a recent development (three ish weeks) but it seems to be going nowhere fast. If a male dog (it is always ONLY boys and not every boy) stares at him or growls at him despite being far away from each other Merlin launches into an angry, deeper, growly barking. He has met male dogs off lead and on lead and he's never launched into it when they are close, its always like a 'What you looking at?!' when they are far apart. I don't think its fear, but its also not excitement. When the other dog looks away Merlin acts like nothing happened, but if the dog stares at him again then he'll get worked up again. This is the main reason we were told to have him neutered, but I want to sort it just incase it has become a learned behaviour.

The type two reactivity also happens if two male dogs (Merlin and another) pull towards each other in excitement wanting to play. And its both dogs that end up going into it. So they can start off by both being excitement reactive, then both decide to have a go. He NEVER does this with girls, it is always strictly whining with those no matter how much they are staring. They could bare their teeth and he wouldn't care. He went from turning away from dogs staring and having a go, to locking on and giving what for back at them. He did it once, and we did some BAT work and then he didn't do it again for a bit. Then out of the blue he went crazy at a white boxer, then after that he went crazy at a whippet who was staring at him. In total I would say he's done it five times now.

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by jacksdad » Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:00 am

make sure you keep a distance from the other dogs that won't trigger barking. Just like fearful dogs there will be a distance that your dog won't bark, but will show awareness of the other dog. perking up of the ears, tail going up etc. you need to stay at that distance. cue the "watch me/look at me", then reinforce as necessary to hold that as you move for distance.

BUT before you get to that point you need to be build the behavior. start in no distraction, living room. when you are ready to bet $100 he will respond on cue, move the back or front yards which ever you have and if both go to the one that is the lower distraction to start. build the behavior until you are ready to $100. then if you have both, move to yard that is a little more distracting...repeat...build until you can bet $100

if your dog has a buddy, use your dog's buddy to help practice. your dog works for 1 minuet. gets to play for 2, dog works for 1.25 minutes, gets to play for 1.75...dog works for 1.5 minutes, gets to play for 1.5 minute. concept. notice that working gets longer, playing gets less during the session. after the session let the dogs play. build this over several sessions though.

walk your dog at odd times. odd times being when there are less dogs out walking. dinner time may not be the best time for a long walk, but an hour or so after most people have gone in for dinner is often a good time. or go places most people don't take their dog. the idea is to not have your dog dealing with dog after dog after dog after dog to start.

on walks even if there isn't a dog, practice the "watch/look at me" a few times through out the walk. even though there is no dog there is distractions, other people, bird noises, car noises, smells etc.

when tried and true approaches don't work, the reason is often because we jumped criteria too quickly. watch me works great in the living room, so next walk we use it on a real dog across the street as we walk. that is too big a jump from no distraction to the "real deal" and sets everyone up for failure.

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:06 pm

I've been doing the working / playing with his doggy friends for a few months, and he's brilliant at responding to me when he's around other dogs because he knows he gets to have a play afterwards. Its only when he sees a strange dog when he's on his own that he acts up, and he can't control himself like he can with his dog friends. For example he can do off lead heelwork and watch me's around 20 other dogs on his group walk, but one strange dog on the other side of the road and he can't. Its like he has an overwhelming need to greet a dog, but once greeted, even a week later, that dog is no longer so much of a trigger.

I'll keep practising his watch me, he's great in all locations and all distractions except in the presence of a dog that he doesn't know. Hopefully with more practise we can crack that. Unfortunately I don't have much chance to practise at distances where he'll only take notice with strange dogs, it is generally the case that they appear on the street and I just have to quickly build distance but he needs more than just 'over the road'. I've thought about standing outside of the local park a little way away and just practise there watching the dogs go in, but I worry doing that will just make him frustrated in watching the dogs go and have a great time whilst he's stuck watching them. Do you think it would be a good idea letting him run around the park and have a blast then after he's got his energy out we just stand a distance away and watch?

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by jacksdad » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:12 pm

Lotsaquestions wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:06 pm
I don't have much chance to practice at distances where he'll only take notice with strange dogs...
this is where the art and creativity of dog training comes in. there is a way to do this, you just have to find it. you know your environment best so think about the principles needing to be applied and then find a place that will allow you to them to practice.
Lotsaquestions wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:06 pm
I've thought about standing outside of the local park a little way away and just practice there watching the dogs go in..
You found one possible way a few sentences later.
Lotsaquestions wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:06 pm
... but I worry doing that will just make him frustrated in watching the dogs go and have a great time whilst he's stuck watching them.
excellent that you thought of this possible issue with your idea.

How I would do this, soon as he sees the dog, cue the watch me...treat, treat, treat, treat,treat,treat,treat,treat, treat...pause. if during the pause he stays looking at you treat, treat, treat. if he looks away then back..treat,treat,treat,treat,treat,treat. basically to start, when you pause anything he does OTHER than what you don't want gets a treat. sit, down, looks at you, stands there, looks at other dog, etc provide it isn't a behavior you don't want, treat, treat, treat.

now, since you are looking for your dog to do a behavior to earn the treat, even if the other dog is gone, keep reinforcing behaviors that are alternate to the unwanted. if the unwanted is lunging, barking, trying to get to the other dog, alternate behaviors would be look at you, not barking, siting, going into a down, just standing, looking at the other dog and back to you.

you will also notice I didn't say "treat", but treat, treat, treat, treat, treat. indicating more than one treat. sometimes to get a behavior jump started the first time it is offered we give 10 sometimes 15 treats one after the other (cue cool and the gang... "There's a party goin' on right here, A celebration to last throughout the years, So bring your good times and your laughter too, We gonna celebrate your party with you, Come on now...)

when teaching new behaviors or trying to overcome and unwanted one, initially we need to NOT be stingy. one treat to make an impression and build value may not be enough.

I would also look for your dog to offer the look. if your dog sees another dog, turns to look at you BEFORE you can say "watch me" this is EVEN better than you asking...Treat, treat,treat,treat,treat,treat etc.

Keep the session short. if there is a lot of dogs going in and out. you might make the session 3 dogs and take a break. if there is infrequent, you might start with a 5 minute session, then take a break.

in exercises like this quality over quantity. you aren't looking to do this for 1 hour strait. work in small chunks, go for a walk in areas there are less likely to be dogs. keep an eye out for that offered "watch me" and if given, treat,treat,treat,treat,treat.

as NOT doing the unwanted behaviors become more the normal, you can start backing off how many treats given. But don't go from sessions that earn 15 treats for one dog to 1 treat "overnight", cut back in a planned incremental fashion. Today seeing dog and turning an looking at you or turning on cue of "watch me" gets 15 treats. the next day it earns 13, the next it earns 12 etc. or if changing it from day to day is to quick, change it per week. this week it's 15, next it 13, next it is 12 etc.

Think about what your end goal is. See dog do???? and for how long. and make sure that is happening before you worry about weaning off or cutting back treats.

in between dogs, have something planned for your dog. game of tug, a chance to do a silly trick etc. something that keeps your dog engaged with you.

if your total planned outing is an hour (training + walk/exercise) breakup your training sessions. train for 2 to 5 minutes, go for a 15 minuet walk, come back train for 2 to 5 minutes, go for a 15 minuet walk.
Lotsaquestions wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:06 pm
Do you think it would be a good idea letting him run around the park and have a blast then after he's got his energy out we just stand a distance away and watch?
sure. But don't make him too tired.

We should always make sure basic life needs are taken care of before training. has your dog gone to the bathroom, had a chance to burn a little energy, if it has been too long since a meal, get them some food, just don't fill them up. life needs have to be taken care of if you want training to success.

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