My rescue dog is getting aggressive

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DianeLDL
Posts: 832
Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 4:16 pm
Location: Maine USA

Re: My rescue dog is getting aggressive

Post by DianeLDL » Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:21 pm

gwd wrote: my only suggestion would be a bit less worried about labeling things, "dog in house, girl, lady", classical conditioning would be simply to have been aware that there was something that would set sandy off.........click, treat and retreat.......or, if you felt that he was well under threshold, click, treat, walk fast by the scary thing. think Pavlov's dog. ........bell, food, drool......bell, food, drool.......bell, drool. .....all with no talking!

I think you tend to be very verbal and it's really not needed at this point. even if you were move on to LAT you don't need to have different words for each 'scary' thing. this isn't doggie rosetta stone and you're not actually trying to teach him English!.
gwd,

My OH would definitely agree with you that I talk too much. :lol:

It must be my studying languages (especially when I lived in Israel and had to learn Hebrew, and of my Jewish friend in Albuquerque taught her dog commands in Hebrew). I even tend to talk to myself aloud all the time. And, in school,I was always put on notice for talking during class. :oops:

So, i need one word for a cue. After treating Sandy and when we need to get away, i do consistently use "Let's go."
He knows "wait" as well as my signal to go, ie, cross the street. He knows "close" to stay next to me as when on the sidewalk.

So, as in a previous discussion, non-verbal cues are best. And too much talking, as my OH would attest to makes my voice blend into the background. Sand probably hears: blah, blah, blah... :idea:

I appreciate it and will follow your suggestions on our next walk. :D

Diane
Sandy, Chihuahua mix b. 12/20/09

jacksdad
Posts: 4885
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:48 pm

Re: My rescue dog is getting aggressive

Post by jacksdad » Sat Sep 21, 2013 11:16 pm

no need to have a verbal "cue" or "label" when doing classical conditioning. In fact things work better if there isn't any confusion of what is causing the food to happen, which talking can do. was it the other dog or something you said that made the food happen? Also, if you click, you left the world of Pavlov (classical conditioning) and entered the world of Skinner (Operant conditioning). there is no click in classical conditioning.

The "rules" are....

Scared dog has to "acknowledge" the other dog..aka evil dog. while we can NEVER know 100% what our dogs are actually looking at, your best bet is for your dog to be looking in the direction of "evil dog".

once scared dog "acknowledges" evil dog...give it a 1 to 3 second count. better to be a little slow, than too fast in providing the food. remember, scared dog doesn't even have to look away from evil dog or to you...just get the food to scared dog. The reason for the delay in giving food is to ensure that it is clear that "evil dog" makes food happen, and not food makes "evil dog" happen. as that would be bad.

once evil dogs is no longer the object of scared dogs attention..scared dog looks away..evil dog is out of sight etc...food stops.

The key and goal is to create that link of "evil dog" makes something GOOD happen. Verse something your dog is doing such as siting, not barking, looking at you, being "calm" etc that causes food to happen. with time (couple weeks, couple months, maybe a little longer) your dog starts putting it together..."evil dogs" make good things happen...."evil dogs...not so evil...when other dogs are around they make good things happen to me", I like dogs. But don't let the "I like dogs" fool you into thinking your dog now WANTS to now play or be social with dogs. that may or may not ever come...but that isn't as important as scared dog no longer flipping out over just the sight of other dogs.

How do you know if it's working....when your dog see's the formally "evil dogs" and turns to look at you for the food verse staring at the formally evil dogs. no cue or guidance from you. simply scared dogs sees other dogs, chooses to turn to you and expects food to happen. Dog over there, means I get food...wooohoooo.

Of course...this all works best at your dogs safe distance, but the nice thing about classical conditioning....small reactions are not the end of the world. yes, they slow down progress, can set you back etc...but they are "ok" in the sense that the most important thing is building that link of "evil dogs" makes good things happen. you HAVE to be consistent about that, it is that constancy that is MORE important then "perfect calm" behavior and will over come any "toxic" side affects of the occasional over threshold. provided they are truly occasional.

If you are getting a reaction...then you are too close...get more distance, start over.

When your dog starts giving that "auto watch" that is when you can start moving skinner (operant, click for behavior etc) back into the "driver seat" and start looking to get back into "what do I want my dog to do when other dogs are around". Because you have changed how your dog "feels", and now you need to replace that old behavior of lunging and such with something else we would rather our dog be doing.

It took a while with Jack, his reactive behavior was pretty ingrained and "fueled" by a lot of fear of unknown dogs. I would say it took a better part of a year before he really showed some solid progress and generalizing that other dogs caused good thing to happen.

on the other hand, one of my neighbors, her dog was attacked when younger and suffered some pretty bad puncture wounds. which of course soured him to other dogs. It took him about 6 weeks to achieve his break through and change of "opinion" of most other dogs. not all, but most. Now, her dog shakes with GOOD excitement when he sees my dog and a few others and ignores most other dogs...but still has some fear of some dogs. but her walks with her dog are not longer the stuff of night mirrors. she has done nothing else except..."evil dogs makes food happen to scared dog"...and it made all the difference.

Suzette
Posts: 1516
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:45 am

Re: My rescue dog is getting aggressive

Post by Suzette » Sun Sep 22, 2013 6:43 am

Jacksdad, that was SO informative and helpful! I also am a talker and your detailed explanation showed me that I am yacking far too much at Piper while working with her on certain behaviors! :oops: :lol:

Starting today, I work on ME so I can work better with her. Thanks!! :D
My avatar is Piper, my sweet Pembroke Corgi. b. 5/11/11

DianeLDL
Posts: 832
Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 4:16 pm
Location: Maine USA

Re: My rescue dog is getting aggressive

Post by DianeLDL » Sun Sep 22, 2013 7:29 am

Suzette wrote:Jacksdad, that was SO informative and helpful! I also am a talker and your detailed explanation showed me that I am yacking far too much at Piper while working with her on certain behaviors! :oops: :lol:

Starting today, I work on ME so I can work better with her. Thanks!! :D
Jacksdad & gwd,

I ditto everything Suzette said. :D

Your explanations have helped clear up a lot for me, too. I guess we have to train ourselves as much as we do Sandy and Piper. :D

Thanks,
Diane
Sandy, Chihuahua mix b. 12/20/09

hollyhal
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:30 pm
Location: Indiana

Re: My rescue dog is getting aggressive

Post by hollyhal » Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:48 am

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU all for this discussion. You give me so much hope, and make me actually look forward to taking Chico out for our harrowing walks (after dark, trying desperately to avoid people and dogs). I love thinking about how working with fearful dogs can be just as rewarding as other kinds of training, like agility and schutzhund--I can only imagine how very satisfying it will be when I can actually see Chico make progress and start associating dogs and people with good things. So, classical conditioning it is, for as long as it takes!

DianeLDL
Posts: 832
Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 4:16 pm
Location: Maine USA

Re: My rescue dog is getting aggressive

Post by DianeLDL » Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:20 pm

Holly,

Thank you for brining up the subject, too. As you see, I learned quite a bit from the discussion, too.
That is what I like about this forum: continually learning things about our dogs and how to be better owners and trainers to them.

I have been putting these ideas into practice over these last several days. It helps to understand the rational behind them.

Just remember that it isn't usually a straight line, there may be three steps forward, two backwards, and even one sideways. It takes time and patience and consistency, and from what I have been reading here on the forum, eventual success. :D

I also try to avoid running into other dogs, but often, it is the dogs behind a gate or a window barking at us, that will spark the reaction. And something that doesn't help as someone mentioned to me in the general chat, is our reactions. I noticed that sometimes, when I am anticipating a dog barking at a certain house, my body language may change. I might hold the leash tighter or walk faster. So, iI know that I have to work on me remaining calm and relaxed.

Let us know how you and Chico are doing. :D

Diane
Sandy, Chihuahua mix b. 12/20/09

hollyhal
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:30 pm
Location: Indiana

Re: My rescue dog is getting aggressive

Post by hollyhal » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:15 pm

Hi again to all you helpful people. I THINK, although I'm not totally sure, that we may have had a slight breakthrough last night! OK, for the past month I've been trying out a few of Leslie McDevitt's ideas from her Control Unleashed book, especially the "Look at that!" game. (Which of course goes right along with what you all have explained here so well, about classical conditioning, and helping Chico associate good feelings with the scary stuff on our walks.) So last night, well after dark, I took him outside and as soon as we got off the porch, he saw (before I did) two people walking on the sidewalk across the street. He started barking and lunging, so I calmly turned him around and went back to the porch. He continued barking and looking at the people, but then, on his own, he sat down and whipped his head around to look at ME for a treat! Holy cow, he has NEVER EVER even noticed my presence when he's been worked up like this before! So of course I gave him lots of treats and told him he was a good dog, and as soon as the people were gone, we commenced our walk. :D :D :D

I told my skeptical husband about it when we returned--I said, "Mark my words, a year from now, Chico will be at least a LITTLE bit better!" (This would be monumental, as he has been getting worse over the past couple of years. But I really think we're finally on the right track.) Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience. I hope the original poster is having some success too.

jacksdad
Posts: 4885
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:48 pm

Re: My rescue dog is getting aggressive

Post by jacksdad » Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:24 am

that sure sounds like progress and a break through to me. well done to you both.

gwd
Posts: 1958
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:33 pm

Re: My rescue dog is getting aggressive

Post by gwd » Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:53 am

hollyhal wrote: he sat down and whipped his head around to look at ME for a treat! Holy cow, he has NEVER EVER even noticed my presence when he's been worked up like this before!
it's those kinds of moments that are so rewarding, especially when you're working with a reactive dog! ....

It's not as dramatic, but it's those 'lightbulb' moments that I LOVE when i'm working with someone else's dog. it's that moment that you see the dog 'get' the behavior you're shaping. and you can almost see the wheels turning in their head. if the dog could speak they'd say, 'eureka'! ........it's those moments that make training so gosh darn fun.

in your case it's particularly rewarding because it's your dog and you're on the path to helping him have better coping skills with things that stress him. .....well done! click and treat yourself!
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victorianpaws
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Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:38 pm

Re: My rescue dog is getting aggressive

Post by victorianpaws » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:59 pm

A lot of people have given you some really great advice and suggestions!

But in respects to your roommate, I have a few more suggestions. :) Think about what your roommate is thinking when they are in the same room with the dog. Are they thinking, "This dog hates me, he is making me paranoid in my own home"? Or any sort of negative thoughts? When people think negatively, they act negatively in their body language and composure subconsciously. Dogs communicate a 100% through body language, and energy. So put your self in your dogs shows; here's this man who is projecting negativity at me, I have no clue why and I'm terrified already! Get away from me! Go!

As awful as this is, a trick is the same one teachers and parents have used forever. If you don't respond to someone bullying you or bothering you, eventually they stop. Suggest to your room mate to completely ignore the dog. No talk,no touch, no eye contact (don't kill me! It's a good method on Cesar's part!). It will take time, but neutrality is the best method. Just a suggestion though :)

Doggtime
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:33 am
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: My rescue dog is getting aggressive

Post by Doggtime » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:01 am

This has been a very informative thread thanks to everyone for posting in such detail. It is not a problem I am experiencing but learning about the different kinds of "conditioning" will be good to know I am sure. I hope to add one thing about the room mate-- about body language. Hopefully this is not too much to ask but be aware that the dog reads body like we read a book. Try to get room mate, when ignoring and not making eye contact, to also take a "submissive" posture. This means shoulders hunched, head down, body curled inwards, fingers curled in (but not fisted), slow small steps angled away from the dog. Think of the opposite of how one stands to confront something aggressively. It need not be excessive and weird looking lol, the dog can read small gestures quite well. Good luck, hope it helps. :)

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