Dog doesn't like men.... why?

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CharlieBrownMommy
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Dog doesn't like men.... why?

Post by CharlieBrownMommy » Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:09 pm

I have a Terrier mix that I have been training for a while to be my service dog. I got him from a rescue last year in November. I don't know much of his past besides that he was dropped off at a park and the owners drove away and left him. He walked right up to a family that was there and wanted to play. They took him home because they just happen to be a foster family for homeless dogs.

He is doing great with training and walks well on a loose lead, but certain things seem to spook him. There are some men he doesn't like. He will back away from them and try to hide behind me or get away. But other men he is just fine with and happy to get pet. I haven't noticed any specific traits in the men he is afraid of. One was a creepy man who was homeless, and he scared me so that is understandable. One was a leader at my church who is a very nice, calm, sweet man. Another was a director of mine (I do acting), and he is also very kind and nice. There have been more, but those are some specifics I can remember. But again, I can't seem to find any pattern to it... Any idea? How can I help him? We see men all the time, and I can't stop taking him places with me, he is a service dog. I can't desensitize him to every man he ever meets, that takes time. I know how to get him used to and ok with a person, I have done it a couple times, but I can't do it every time he is spooked. Sometimes I just want to continue with my business and I am sure the man doesn't want to stop and do desensitization work with him....

The other thing is manicans. Those dolls in store windows or just inside stores that the store uses to display clothing. He is TERRIFIED of those. I have never seen him so afraid of an object. His tail goes between his legs and he hides behind me and pulls to get away. Like I said he is normally excellent on a loose lead. I want him to be ok with these things because I often take him to the shopping mall and there are always manicans there. Any ideas on this one?


I am doing great with training otherwise. He is very smart and loveable and loyal. It is just these few small ish things that have me baffled at this point. I seem to be able to easily train the complicated things, but these simple things are what I get stuck on! :?

emmabeth
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Re: Dog doesn't like men.... why?

Post by emmabeth » Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:17 pm

You do need to take the time.... don;t force him to face men he doesnt like because if you think him backing away and trying to hide is a problem, you just wait until he is trying to actively BITE men he doesnt like, or you because you are forcing him to confront them.

I have to say, I am a little uncomfortable with the idea of people training their own service dogs, because it strikes me that then folk are actually expecting their dogs to do the work before they are fully trained for it. Whilst I love the idea, i think the practice isnt proving out to be as good as it could be.

There is no way around this, you HAVE to take the time - taking him to places where he will have to cope with men he finds scary is going to create a MUCH bigger problem, you HAVE to desensitize him to men and if you don't have the time, then quite frankly, you haven't any business training your own service dog.

It might seem like a huge issue right now, that you will have to avoid certain places for a while, send other people to do certain errands or change your routine, but it may only be a few months before you CAN take him to these places.

If you have to deal with fear aggression (which is one step away from where you are now, especially with a terrier cross) then you are looking at many months, potentially YEARS of trying to fix the problem and no real guarantee that your dog will be suitable as a service dog at the end of it. Look at the amount of work Jacksdad has put into Jack, its taken him 18 months or more to get Jack steady with other dogs and the work with humans is ongoing. He has made FANTASTIC progress because Jack was extremely reactive to other dogs and people, but it doesnt take much to MAKE a dog that reactive in the first place!
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

CharlieBrownMommy
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Re: Dog doesn't like men.... why?

Post by CharlieBrownMommy » Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:33 pm

I know that a lot of people are uncomfortable with people self training their service dogs. But this is something that I know I can do and it is happening no matter what other people think of it. And I do my very best to avoid men he doesn't like. If I see his is spooked, I walk away. I am working on desensitizing him. But it is a long process, and I know it is. I know that he and I can do this. I know it takes at least 2 years to train a service dog, and we have been working on training for about 6 months. I have done endless research on service dogs and dog training. I have been working with/training dogs since I was 4 years old. I know a LOT more about dogs than the average person. I am autistic, and people with autism have one or two passions they know way too much about. One of my passions is dogs and training them. I am not just a random person who knows nothing about dogs or training and is trying to train a service dog. I know what to do most of the time, but I just need pointers. If I see that other people say to do what I was thinking of doing, I am able to confirm that my thinking was correct.

Any ideas about the manicans? those are objects. But not objects that I can work with at home like i would other smaller objects such as a hat or cane. I am thinking of just going to a store that has very few people in it. Then finding a manican and walking up to it. when I see he is spooked I will walk away and walk a few yards and turn back and walk towards it again. OR should I stop the second I see he is spooked and stand there and wait until he is calm, reward him, then move on? I know how to do it, I just need some tips....

CharlieBrownMommy
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Re: Dog doesn't like men.... why?

Post by CharlieBrownMommy » Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:37 pm

Or walk towards it, stop and wait until he is calm, then walk away a few meters and come back? Or walk away and come back a few minutes later? What do you think would be best?

Erica
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Re: Dog doesn't like men.... why?

Post by Erica » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:49 pm

There's a wonderful video about BAT training floating around somewhere...I bet you can find the original on Youtube. Basically, though, you find a place with a mannequin without your dog, then come back with him. You walk toward it, and as soon as the dog notices the mannequin, whether he reacts or not, you IMMEDIATELY turn around and run happily away a few meters, then treat. You're allowing him to leave what scares him, yes, but it works as desensitization. Holding him there until he "calms down" is not ideal...if you're scared of spiders, do you want me to hold a spider to your face until you calm down? Will that make the spider not scary?

Anyways, as I said, check out the BAT training thread. :) It seems particularly appropriate for your situation.
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

CharlieBrownMommy
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Re: Dog doesn't like men.... why?

Post by CharlieBrownMommy » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:49 pm

Thanks! I looked up BAT training and it does seem to be exactly what I need for both men and manikins. Thanks so much :mrgreen:

emmabeth
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Re: Dog doesn't like men.... why?

Post by emmabeth » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:33 pm

I am not for one minute saying YOU can't do this, but theres been a couple of times now where you have said you don't have time to do something, or you can't do something you need to do (such as getting up in church and leaving).

I think it is a VERY good thing if people can train their own service dogs - fairly sure it is not an option in the UK, though happy to be corrected on that point - but what I doubt is, that many people can train their own service dog, when they are currently without a dog, and need a dog to support them to places/in situations to train their dog.... so you are effectively relying on a dog who isnt yet trained.

It IS hard to take the time, and it is hard to do things like get up and walk out of a building or tell people to back off and be assertive about it, or abruptly end a conversation because you have to take your dog away. These things are difficult for people without ASD's, I know I find them difficult with my minor level of social anxiety issues.... but to train a dog properly you need to be able to do them. I am sure you can, but I am not sure everyone who tries this can.

I would definitely look at BAT and also clicker training - direct your geekiness at those and you will find you make good progress!

I do apologise if I come across harsh, it isn't meant that way but I do have to be clear with people (And not just you, but all the other people who will read your thread but never post!), if you don't have the time or cannot/won't MAKE the time to do a thing properly, you are probably better off NOT doing it. There is a reason service dogs don't come cheaply, and it is because as well as excellent training, it takes TIME to produce a reliable, rock solid, steady dog.
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

CharlieBrownMommy
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Re: Dog doesn't like men.... why?

Post by CharlieBrownMommy » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:42 pm

Yes, I understand. I am a person who, when i put my mind to something, I will do it. It is really hard for me to be so out there and assertive and stand up for myself But training him is also helping me be more out there which is really hard due to my autism. I know I can do this, so I will force myself to be assertive, walk away, and really do this. I admit I have been a bit lazy and saying I don't have time or won't do certain things. But I now realize that I MUST do these things and I WILL, no matter how difficult it is. I am learning new things every day. And I am not depending on him yet, I know he still needs training. I work tasks at home, but never in public until he has it solid at home. I am just so glad that I have the motivation and the skill to do this. I am glad I found this site because I have been needing to talk to people who really know what they are talking about when it comes to training. I don't know any other real trainers around here. So thank you. I really do appreciate all your help! :mrgreen:

emmabeth
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Re: Dog doesn't like men.... why?

Post by emmabeth » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:44 pm

Excellent, good stuff :) I am glad that the process of training him is helping you!
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

jacksdad
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Re: Dog doesn't like men.... why?

Post by jacksdad » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:52 pm

As for the mannequins. It's possible that BAT could work. I would urge you to do some reading up on BAT before trying it. some of the keys to BAT is really being able to read your dog and using that to work right at it's threshold and then letting your dog make the choice to turn away.

CharlieBrownMommy
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Re: Dog doesn't like men.... why?

Post by CharlieBrownMommy » Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:35 am

I have been reasrching a lot about BAT and I think it is what I need. Thanks you! :)

ladybug1802
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Re: Dog doesn't like men.... why?

Post by ladybug1802 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:00 am

I think BAT would be good too.....but as a point to remember you really need to make sure that your dog is NOT at a distance where he reacts. So its not a case of whether or not he reacts, you need to be at a distance where he will LOOK at the object but not react, then as soon as he makes any movement indicating he is taking his attention away from the object (which could be as slight as a blink or a yawn as a calming signal, or could be as obvious as a head turn), you then click if you are using a clicker, or say a word such as "YES" and trot bacdkwards with him following, then treat him. The idea is that the dog eventually learns that he can remove himself from a situation he finds stressful, and that by looking away from the scary thing, instead of staring at it, he gets rewarded.

i went to a seminar by Grisha Stewart on BAT here in the UK recently and it was so interesting.....I do 'stealth BAT' out on walks quite a lot! People look at me like I am mad at times, but often people say things like "Dol you fancy training my dog too!"

jacksdad
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Re: Dog doesn't like men.... why?

Post by jacksdad » Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:37 pm

just my 2 cents, "stealth bat" is what most people should be learning if they are doing this on their own verse with an experienced BAT trainer. Finding a good dog to "play" off isn't as easy as it sounds. and Gisha mentions in one of her DVDs that if done right the fearful dog quickly learn that that particular example of their trigger is no longer scary. So needing many other examples of the trigger are necessary to proof the voluntary turning away.

CharlieBrownMommy
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Re: Dog doesn't like men.... why?

Post by CharlieBrownMommy » Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:56 pm

Yes, I do realize that the correct distance is very important with BAT training. The good thing is that he has only ever seen a few manicans so he hasn't had time to react any more than just backing away. Same with men because I have been doing my best to avoid them. He is not afraid of or reactive towards dogs, thank goodness. He just wants to play with them. So it is a matter of getting him to pay attention to me rather than want to play with the dog we are walking towards....

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