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Old 26.02.2011, 17:29
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Any tips to stop a dog from misbehaving in public?

Our Newton is a great pug, from the Tierheim, so we don't know much about his background. During our walk today as we came around a corner we encountered a guy walking his dog OFF the leash, with the dog about 5m ahead of the owner. Newton went into a frenzy of barking, jerked his leash, the brake came off, my daughter grabbed at the line, trying to regain control, and took quite a bit of skin off in the process. A friend told me that Newton reacts as if he is scared of other dogs, so how do we get him over that? Yes, Newton has been trained and my daughter has done a dog training class so that's not the problem, and yes, the chap should have had the dog on a leash especially since it was in town, but we are bound to encounter this type of person again so would appreciate any tips you can give.
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Old 26.02.2011, 17:41
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Re: Any tips to stop a dog from misbehaving in public?

What I would suggest is when Newton starts barking, turn direction and go back the way you have come from. When he stops barking then you can turn around and go forward again.
If he does it again, then start the whole turning around and walking the other way again.
This is a very effective way of curing this problem.
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Old 26.02.2011, 18:16
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Re: Any tips to stop a dog from misbehaving in public?

There are many dog clubs around that run classes - this would really help.
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Old 26.02.2011, 18:42
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Re: Any tips to stop a dog from misbehaving in public?

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Old 26.02.2011, 18:44
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Re: Any tips to stop a dog from misbehaving in public?

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Yes, Newton has been trained and my daughter has done a dog training class so that's not the problem...
But Bobby, that is indeed the problem. Newton may have been through a training class/classes, but as long as the behavior persists he is not 'trained'.

Training is a long process. For many of us, it's a life-long process.

From your description it sounds like Newton is showing classic reactivity or fear aggression - I know how frustrating this is, as I have been there, done that, am still doing it.

(To give you an idea, my Hooligan and I have been working on her reactivity issues for 4 years now. A casual observer would say 'Goodness, what a well-trained dog!' - I know better. We've made huge strides forward, and she can handle most of the things that used to set her off - but her training is, and likely always will be, a work in progress. Training is something we do every single day, training classes are an on-going activity.)

But because reactivity/aggression is a very complex behavior, I am hesitant to give you concrete suggestions, as you must tailor your approach to Newton's personality and learning patterns, as well as to the specific trigger/situation. Addressing the wrong cause, reacting in the wrong way, can lead to further ingraining the behavior.

Which is why I would first suggest that you go back to basics with Newton, and work with a behaviorist. You would probably benefit by a mix of one-to-one sessions as well as a group class. A behaviorist will help you identify trigger situations, anticipate Newton's reactions, learn how to distract from the behavior before it starts, help you proof his new skills in a variety of situations. Hooligan and I would never have made the progress we have made to date if it was not for the help and support of our trainer.

As you are looking for an appropriate trainer/behaviorist to help you, a couple of books that I have found valuable:

'Click to Calm, Healing the Aggressive Dog' by Emma Parsons -
'The Cautious Canine' by Patricia McDonnell (I'm recommending this as reactivity is generally a fear-based problem.)
'Fight! A Practical Guide to Treating Dog-Dog Aggression', by Jean Donaldson

'Bringing Light to Shadow' and 'How to Right A Dog Gone Wrong' both by Pamela Dennison (these deal mostly with dog-human aggression but have many useful ideas that translate to dog-dog aggression as well)

'Stress In Dogs' by Clarissa von Reinhardt and Martina Scholz - a general discussion of canine stress issues - which is what is underlies reactive behavior.

'Calming Signals' - the classic discussion of canine body language, to help you to understand what Newton is telling you so you can take action before he starts to act out.

And a good all around training manual: 'How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves' by Dr. Sophia Yin.

---

In a nutshell, I have dealt with Hooligan's reactivity by first learning to read her body language so that I can anticipate her outbursts. Short term, I manage her behavior so that she is not put into a trigger situation. If I see a trigger on the horizon - and I am always scanning the horizon, as well as using the eyes in the back of my head - we arc wide around, out of Hooligan's 'no fly zone'. If that is not possible, we turn around and go the other way. Managing the situation, avoid triggers at first is critical, because every outburst further ingrains the behavior.

Long term I use distraction to help her develop self control. If a trigger cannot be avoided I distract Hooligan from the trigger, keeping her focus on me, not the thing that is about to set her off. We do this by a game with some of her team training moves - in other words, asking for another behavior, one that she finds inherently rewarding. You would need to use a motivator specific to Newton - some friends use a toy for instance.

Even longer term, I have worked to change the association. When a trigger appears on the horizon, well before Hooligan's posture starts to signal fear, I give her a special treat reserved only for these situations. Over time, she has learned that the trigger does not mean something bad but rather something very good. Instead of lunging and barking, she now remains calm, turning automatically to me for her treat.

That's a very condensed version of four year's work - and specific to Hooligan's behavior and motivators. Newton may need an alltogether different approach - which is why you really should work with a trainer/behaviorist.

A side note on flexi-leads - are you using the rope kind, or the flat ribbon kind? I have found that the flat ribbon are far kinder to the owner. If you have to grab the line, you are less likely to get that painful rope burn. You also might consider going back to a standard lead, and work on Newton's loose-leash walking skills. These kinds of exercise keep his focus on you (not the trigger), and many people find a short line gives better control is situations like you describe.

Wishing you and Newton all the best.

Last edited by meloncollie; 26.02.2011 at 19:12.
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Old 26.02.2011, 18:54
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Re: Any tips to stop a dog from misbehaving in public?

kamarate,

I am very much opposed to the approach CM uses, as he relys too much on flooding, fear, and force. I would ask anyone who follows his television show to do two things:

1. Read this article:

http://drsophiayin.com/philosophy/dominance/

2. Turn the sound off and watch his show again. Without the distraction of his very charismatic commentary, watch the body language of the dog.
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Old 26.02.2011, 19:00
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Re: Any tips to stop a dog from misbehaving in public?

I admittedly know nothing about dog behaviour, but you must admit the results he gets are very impressive! I incorporated a few of the basic pieces of advice he gives into my walks with our old dog. It did mean I was able to let him off the lead around other dogs, which I'm sure he preferred. What's the fun in going to the beach if you can't run around and fetch the ball out of the sea?

Still, a very interesting article, thanks for the link.
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Old 26.02.2011, 19:04
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Re: Any tips to stop a dog from misbehaving in public?

Kamarate, please bear in mind that his results are what you see in a heavily edited short television program. Not in real life. What he calls 'calm submissive' is often learned helplessness, or total shut down. Why use such techniques when there are better, kinder, more effective ways of training your best friend?

Another article:

http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/ex...lar_by_televis
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Old 26.02.2011, 20:02
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Re: Any tips to stop a dog from misbehaving in public?

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Kamarate, please bear in mind that his results are what you see in a heavily edited short television program. Not in real life. What he calls 'calm submissive' is often learned helplessness, or total shut down. Why use such techniques when there are better, kinder, more effective ways of training your best friend?
'Kinder' is often relative with alpha-oriented pack animals. Not saying you have to be physical, but you DO have to be the alpha, and you have to do it in a way that a dog understands. Not always easy since we're not dogs.
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Old 27.02.2011, 16:26
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Re: Any tips to stop a dog from misbehaving in public?

Thanks for the very helpful advice, I'll keep you posted.
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Old 27.02.2011, 18:07
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Re: Any tips to stop a dog from misbehaving in public?

In such a - very common - situation, when everything is sort of stucked I would consult with a very experienced trainer, like Hans Schlegel or so.

Not knowing the background and where the behaviour comes from makes it difficult and needs - in my opinion - an expert.
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Old 27.02.2011, 18:26
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Re: Any tips to stop a dog from misbehaving in public?

The point is with a misbehaving dog is that you must reinforce good behaviour.
To me there is nothing worse than badly behaved dogs or badly behaved kids - they are usually not stimulated enough.
When dogs know their position in the "pack" they are so much happier and more relaxed - so much bad behaviour can be really stressful for a dog.
It is possible to train a dog with encouragement and being calm.
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Old 27.02.2011, 21:02
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Re: Any tips to stop a dog from misbehaving in public?

What we see on telly is an edited version. I agree with Cesar about the "touch". At the right timing, it will snap the dog out of its fixation and get its focus back on you but even some professionals get it wrong let alone us dog owners.

I know Frau melloncollie is not a fan of Cesar Millan However, alot of his theories (about establishing leadership, keeping the dog calm submissive) have benefitted lots of dog owners out there today, including myself. Some of his theories are outdated (and he's probably read about the criticisms against him) hence, in the later seasons, he has also used other tools like positive reinforcement, food etc. There's a lot to be learnt but there are just as many things we really shouldnt take at face value from Cesar Millan.

One small contribution on top of what melloncollie has said: dont be so quick to put it as aggression. Most dogs who react this way (as well as the OP's) arent actually aggressive but are anxious / insecure. Its best to engage a professional to determine his triggers etc. Is this the first time that it has happened??

Your dog might have gone to school - so has mine. But training is a lifelong process to reinforce what they've learnt since puppyhood. The dog needs constant daily stimulation and socialisation. For example, my dog was never afraid of bin bags / rubbish by the streets. He was socialised with them when he was younger. A few weeks ago, during a walk in strong winds, cardboards got blown and toppled over startling him. Ever since then, he would bark non-stop at anything put out on the streets, especially if they suspiciously looks like they are about to topple on him.

It took alot of de-sensathising practices (every other hour or so daily for about a week!!) before he's returned to ignoring them. Thank goodness. My point is simply, the other dog or something around the environment that your daughter/you didnt pick up triggered Newton off - no one's fault at all - dont be so quick to pin it as aggression. Only 10-20% of dogs who are aggressive are ACTUALLY true red-zone cases.

In the meantime, try creating a positive association for Newton for other dogs even before they approach. We as dog owners should always try to control if not, create the environment for our dogs. If you see dogs from a distance, make him sit and focus on you. Treat and reward when he's focused and treat AS the dog is approaching and walking past. That has worked for my dog's dislike of little children - he now just automatically looks at me when he sees tiny human beings approaching as the association of tiny human beings = food has been created - and he simply ignores them when he used to bark or run away from them (most embarassing!!!!). Also - see if you have any fellow EF dog owners near you who will be up for practice/socialisation sessions with Newton. I see that you arent that far from me, am happy to bring my Oskar and meet Newton and go for walks together.
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Old 27.02.2011, 22:03
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Re: Any tips to stop a dog from misbehaving in public?

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Hans Schlegel or so.
http://www.20min.ch/news/kreuz_und_quer/story/26943338
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Old 27.02.2011, 22:08
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Re: Any tips to stop a dog from misbehaving in public?

do you know him in person? I train with him since many years and enviousness ins his best friend... but isnt that with most of the successful people...



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Old 27.02.2011, 22:31
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Re: Any tips to stop a dog from misbehaving in public?

Frau Summerrain and I will have to agree to disagree about CM , but I think we are on the same page as to the importance of using positive training techniques - and on their long term effectiveness.

Positive training uses classical and operant conditioning to change how the dog views a trigger, and then teaches an appropriate alternative acceptible response.

The key to truly changing a behavior lies in changing the cause behind the behavior. Until you resolve the cause - be it emotional such as stress, fear, uncertainty, or physical such as hormones, illness - treating only the behavior is not a cure, only a supression of the sysmptons. And suppressed behavior can come back - quite literally when speaking of things canine - to bite you on the proverbial.

Techniques that use fear, punishment, flooding, or pain suppress symptoms - but do not address the underlying cause behind the behavoir.

I prefer the approach that behaviorists such as Ian Dunbar, Jean Donaldson, Particial McConnell, Sarah Fisher, Pam Dennison, Karen Pryor, Sophia Yin espouse; I have seen their techniques work, time and time again, even with severely damaged dogs.

I would ask all those who follow the dominance model popularized by CM and the like to please, look at the science - understand that the model upon which 'dominance' and 'alpha' constructs are built was based on flawed studies. In the intervening decades our research and understanding of natural, not captive, wolf packs has progressed. Newer studies - most notably also work by David Mech the author of the paper that started the whole 'alpha' meme - have backed away from the original conclusions, and put forward alternative understanding of social hierarchy within wolf groups.

And - this is very very important - the domestic dog is not a wild wolf. Nor are humans dogs. We cannot interpolate behavior from social interaction with species members to inter-species interaction.

We need to treat dogs like dogs. Not like wolves, not like humans. We need, though, to teach them to live in a human world - and teach them humanely.
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Old 27.02.2011, 22:32
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Re: Any tips to stop a dog from misbehaving in public?

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do you know him in person? I train with him since many years and enviousness ins his best friend... but isnt that with most of the successful people...



No I do not know him - but curious about your post, I googled him - and this was the first result.

As with any choice of trainer, one needs to decide if the approach is right for you and your dog.
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