Vehicle and dog reactive rescue dog.

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Sue28
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:09 pm

Vehicle and dog reactive rescue dog.

Post by Sue28 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:17 pm

I have a very complex little girl who in her young life suffered a lot of trauma and loss and spent her first 12 weeks in a kennel. Pippa and I are getting professional help but I wondered if anyone else with a collie or collie Cross has been through similar problems and what have you done that has worked to solve the problems. Pippa is intelligent but has the attention span of a goldfish and when she goes reactive you might as well talk to the wall. We happy for any advice or games we can play :D

JudyN
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Location: Dorset, UK
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Re: Vehicle and dog reactive rescue dog.

Post by JudyN » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:36 pm

Hi, and welcome :D

I've no experience of collies, but would it be possible for you to give some more details please?

- How old was she when you got her, and how old is she now? Is she spayed, and who else lives in the household (humans and animals)?
- What do you feed her? (Brand and variety)
- Could you give a full run-down of her daily routine? When she gets up, gets fed, walks - how long, how often, on or off lead, what you do. Also training, games, playing. What games do you play, and what does she love best?

Also, what have you tried with her so far, and for how long, and what has the professional suggested?

The best resource/guideline for reactive behaviour is behaviour adjustment training - this link might be helpful: https://www.training-your-dog-and-you.c ... ining.html
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Sue28
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:09 pm

Re: Vehicle and dog reactive rescue dog.

Post by Sue28 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:52 pm

This is a long story sorry. Pippa was born in Ireland and was abandoned in kennels as a young pup without her mother. I fell in love with her death row photo and I had to have her. Her big brother Dougie is also from the same place (he is 4 and lacks confidence as well but no explosive problems). Pippa came to me on a greyhound transport with another puppy and she was supposed to be 16 weeks. My vet believes she was 12 weeks on 31st March 16. Pippa had another 2 older dogs to guide her as well at this time as well as Doug and she settled well and seemed confident and playful. We had to move house in Nov 16 due to neighbour problems. Again she seemed fine. Had shown interest in cars but nothing explosive just looking. We then lost our old girls to old age within 7hours of each other on Christmas Eve 2016. This rocked our world. It hit me and the dogs massively. I was ill and the dogs seemed in shock. This was the start of the explosive Pippa. We asked the vet for help and was reffered to a behaviourist for her car chasing. Unfortunately her plan made Pippa worse. Pippa now became dog reactive on a lead. We tried Agility but people got sick of her barking so we were guided to leave. We have done lots of positive road work with treats that works sometimes but not others depending on what mood she is in. She's worse in the dark. We have tried her at sheepdog training. She has natural ability but cannot take commands and the trainer was worried she would run until she dropped. We are now trying dinner in a roses box with a hole in and trying to get her to play more. In the house she is a normal dog but the outside world is a night mare. She is off the lead a lot in places where I know she will not meet a lot of other dogs. I put her on the lead when I see one and she barks her head off. If we then walk with this dog for 5 mins she will be it's best friend after the initial noise of the meeting. I works shifts so she unfortunately does not have a routine routine however she has never known any different. Pippa is proving a very complicated little girl who desperately wants to do the right thing but her mind takes over. She was also nipped on the ear recently at the dog club we go to and had to be sedated and her ear cortorised as it would not stop bleeding. She is now terrified at the vets. We have got a trainer behaviourist at the moment and I'm working on things as much as I can. Some days I just want to shout at her and yell and get upset. It's not her fault I know but it's hard living with it. She is my 5th Collie so I'm not new to the breed. Some days I think I want to claim benefits for her ADHD.

Sue28
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:09 pm

Re: Vehicle and dog reactive rescue dog.

Post by Sue28 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:57 pm

She is 3 in Jan. She lives with me and Dougie her big doggie brother. She has a local own brand fish and potato grain free food. Full meat no derivatives or colours or anything like that. She is allergic to grain and any animal that eats grain. She vomits bile if she has a meal with her allergens in. Her favourite thing is eating with cuddles coming a close second. We just trying to increase her desire to play. It's slow progress.

Sue28
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:09 pm

Re: Vehicle and dog reactive rescue dog.

Post by Sue28 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:11 pm

I've had a quick look at the BAT page and after reading it I think this is what we are using in the training we are doing at the moment.

Oh and yes Pippa is spayed. This had to be delayed until after her first season as she was late to mature and thin. One of the conditions of her rehoming was she was spayed before she had her first season but my vets refused on medical grounds. This was accepted thankfully

Pippa also has a good basic obedience and is gobby but fine in kennels when I'm on holiday. No cars about of course. She hates haltis throwing herself on the floor etc when we have tried them. She was terrified of fireworks this year and sat shaking on the sofa. We have also done a bit of cani Cross recently but have had to stop the road work as her training has re started. Don't think I've missed anything 🤔

jacksdad
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Re: Vehicle and dog reactive rescue dog.

Post by jacksdad » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:31 am

poor pup.

Some or all of her "hyper" behavior and lack of attention is very possibly a side affect of anxiety. not all fearful dogs cower and shake. Some become aggressive, some "hyper" and lack attention.

Unless you have a plan that leverages play, I am going to suggest playing for the sake of playing is probably not the most pressing issue/goal to put your focus on. At least outside. If she is relaxed indoors and will engage in play there, go for it.

trying to get her involved in activities with other dogs/dog sports, if you haven't ended this effort, i would strongly encourage you do. At least for the time being. it would be ok to develop a plan that helps her be more comfortable with dogs, and maybe revisit participating in a dog sport. but as a starting place, i wouldn't suggest it.

I going to suggest that you shift your focus to making her feel safe. now, technically we can't KNOW how she feels, BUT we can make some very good educated guess that she is feeling safe. she will be calmer, more responsive, you will get more attention, and she may even choose to engage in some play. none of those things can happen if she is not feeling safe.

To help her with anything she is afraid of, and if you get an over the top reaction to something, even if visually it doesn't look like fear (shaking, cowering, trying to get away, drooling etc) I would suggest assuming fear until you are willing to bet real money...lots...that it is not fear. The reason, we tend to make better choices. Anyway, to help her, a common approach is combining Desensitization and Counter Conditioning. I wrote up a description here how to get started viewtopic.php?f=4&t=23843

are you working on any exercises to teach her to relax? One way I approach this is to ask the dog to lay down, then start rewarding anything that is a behavior that suggests being relaxed. a deep breath and sigh, blinky/sleep eyes, being in a down and hind is leaning over on a hip vs looking like the dog will launch at any moment. Any time you see those or anything else that suggests relaxation, a SUPER yummy treats happen. And SUPPER yummy treats happen frequently to encourage the continuation of those behaviors. we can affect and encourage some emotional states because they have quantifiable physical attributes that can be observed as behavior.

another option is to follow Dr. karen overall's relaxation protocol. http://dogscouts.org/base/tonto-site/up ... xation.pdf

Are you working on teaching her to focus on you?

I know you list something that didn't seem to work. Often this isn't so much because the idea was horrible/wrong etc, but that you dove into the "deep end of the pools" before your dog had the skills needed for that activity. So back this up, start over and I would submit the plan focus on her being comfortable going about "life". help her reach a point she can walk down the street and be relaxed, go to a park and enjoy a walk and sniff with you....and be relaxed etc.

Car chasing, the best place to start is to teach her an alternate behavior that you can cue (just like you would cue a sit, down etc) when you see a car coming, then reinforce the heck out of it as the car passes. don't make the mistake at this stage of just one treat. you want to have a PARTY, one treat after another as fast as need be to. as she improves this of course changes, but you have some history to over come.

have you and your vet discussed the possibility that she maybe a candidate for medications such as prozac? I know some people will recoil in horror at this suggestion. BUT...it is ONLY a suggestion to talk with your vet, they are the ones that can determine if the dog is right for medication help and which medication. I have worked with several clients who have had their dogs on prozac, it makes a HUGE difference when combined with a solid training plan for dogs that struggle with life. some dogs do end up for life on it, but many do not and only need it a short time, then are weaned off it. Done right, dogs are NOT "zombies", you can't tell just by looking at them that they are on meds. my vets dog started out with us not even being able to look at her. now...she run and plays with dogs, people etc. if my vet didn't tell you her dog was on medication for anxiety, you would never know it. my own dogs was for 3 years. helped with his fear of people. a couple weeks ago we had to make an emergency vet run, prior to being on prozac he couldn't have handled the vet visit and he would NEVER have gone up to the vet of his free will. But he did.... and he has been off it for a year now. just an option to think about, discuss with your vet and one not to fear. when it is the right course of action, it is NO different than if you have to give pain medication for an injury. Again, something to think about and talk to your vet.

you mentioned you are already working with a professional, so I have tried to share thoughts and ideas. if you want more detail about something I mentioned, I would be happy to provide it.

Sue28
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:09 pm

Re: Vehicle and dog reactive rescue dog.

Post by Sue28 » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:32 am

Jack's dad thanks. We are using play to try and use her brain and tire her out. Then progressing to toy play and increasing her confidence. Letting her win tug of War and find the toy. I'm amazed how much she is enjoying this.

I see you say cuddling them is OK as it doesn't reinforce her being scared. Pippa loves cuddles and feels safe when held. I can stop her barking when I cuddle her in but I thought this was wrong and would make it worse.

The first thing that was tried was to remove the vehicles completely and just start 50m from the road and move closer. Within the first week she had redirected the car chasing to dog reactiveness. Resulting in two things to battle.

New way seems to work 90% of the time in daylight but worse in the dark. I use a squirty cheese so it's on tap reward as long as she needs it.

Once Pippa reacts she goes from 0 to 100 in a second and is hard to bring down.

jacksdad
Posts: 4879
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:48 pm

Re: Vehicle and dog reactive rescue dog.

Post by jacksdad » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:37 pm

Sue28 wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:32 am
Jack's dad thanks. We are using play to try and use her brain and tire her out. Then progressing to toy play and increasing her confidence. Letting her win tug of War and find the toy. I'm amazed how much she is enjoying this.
Probably just wasn't clear what you were doing and in what context. Had an image of trying to get her to play at a park...which based on what you have posted possibly was asking too much...if that is what you were doing.
Sue28 wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:32 am
I see you say cuddling them is OK as it doesn't reinforce her being scared. Pippa loves cuddles and feels safe when held. I can stop her barking when I cuddle her in but I thought this was wrong and would make it worse.
it is never wrong to do something to end fear. but let Pippa guide you. doesn't matter if you think it should end the fear, if it doesn't based on Pippa, figure something else out.

I had one dog all I had to work with was protecting him and in some cases literally putting my arm around him. his starting place with me was a complete melt down on a dirt road, nothing but him, me and the trees. He improved because I kept him safe, didn't ask him to deal with more than he was ready for and he within a few months was able to go on regular walks downtown in an open mall...lights, people, cars, noises, other dogs...all I had was giving safety and comfort.

If some tells you that you are "reinforcing the fear" or some such statement when you are doing something that clearly gives relief... they are out of date and do not understand the things they need to if they are taking money to help people with fearful dogs.
Sue28 wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:32 am
The first thing that was tried was to remove the vehicles completely and just start 50m from the road and move closer. Within the first week she had redirected the car chasing to dog reactiveness. Resulting in two things to battle.

New way seems to work 90% of the time in daylight but worse in the dark. I use a squirty cheese so it's on tap reward as long as she needs it.

Once Pippa reacts she goes from 0 to 100 in a second and is hard to bring down.
The distance Pippa needs to not react to cars is 100% set by Pippa's observable behavior. in the ideal, if this is fear, you MUST keep the distance that only triggers the smallest possible sign she is aware of cars, such as ears going up and head turning toward where the car is. this is about as much of a reaction as you want. even less if you can learn the signals she gives off.

Now, sometimes that is simply not possible. this is where using an alternate behavior comes in. she will KNOW the car is there, but if you have trained her to NOT be looking at the car rather look at you, perform a trick, etc...something/anything other than look at the car, you should be able to be closer if there are physical limitations for getting the ideal distance. you do have to really train the behavior first without the cars, use other things that are distractions to lay the foundation. Once the foundation is laid, then you can try setting things up with a car.

Keep in mind, that we can control more than we think. go some place that it is just you, a car you 100% control over, and Pippa. Train there. in this environment you can control if the car moves, and it it does, how fast, and you can control how close, and how long Pippa is "exposed" to the car.

some trainers will insist that Pippa needs to learn to be able to look at a car moving, this maybe true....down the road. But right now you NEED to be training alternate behaviors and controlling the environment as much as is possible to prevent her from practicing the unwanted behavior she performs to moving cars. something is reinforcing the behavior, if it wasn't you wouldn't see the reaction. that something may not be anything you are doing/not doing..most likely it's not anything you are doing. So preventing Pippa from practicing and getting good at the unwanted behavior is a highly critical first step.

Part of this could be fear, but there is also the possibility that it's over excitement and frustration not being able to chase then control a moving object. remember, herding dog. This is why the alternate behavior to do when a car is around and NOT looking at the car is more critical now.

later, when she has learned to relax, is less likely to react to cars while performing an alternate behavior....THEN you can revisit the stay calm while watching a moving car.

it doesn't matter if she is reactive to cars and dogs, the principles for addressing both are the same. application might need adjustment, but the principles are the same. this makes your life easier.

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