Dog reactive staffie girl

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Dog reactive staffie girl

Post by Lolapup on Fri Jun 15 2018, 10:20

Hi .  I found this forum so interesting as I have a reactive staffie.  Again she was fine as a pup and then became reactive with other dogs.  I really hate it and I know I am on edge when I walk her as people just dont understand, although some are lovely and understanding.  She is not a big staffie but just reactive.  I sent her away to boarding kennels to try and get her out of the habbit of lunging and snapping at other dogs.  This taught me how to deal with her but I have to say it is easier said than done.  I have her on a long lead and when I see another dog coming I then entice her to look at me and I give her a small piece of cheese and try to keep feeding her until the dog has passed.  it works to a certain extent, but if I wasnt there bribing her she would want to bite the other dog.  Although I had her off the lead one time and a dog appeared from nowhere and you can imagine my heart was in my throat when I saw this dog and recall just got forgotten!  Anyhow the good news is she just played with the dog although a bit rough, so I know she is happier off the lead but I just cant trust her to be off the lead.....what a dilemma aye.  I love that little dog but I have to say I wish I had thought twice about getting her.  We have another staffie, who is the exact opposite.  She is gorgeous, and brilliantly behaved apart from the fact she jumps all over people and when we have visitors she has to be shut away because not everyone wants a lump of a dog on their lap with her tongue in your ear or mouth! Any comments would be most welcome!

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Re: Dog reactive staffie girl

Post by LizP on Fri Jun 15 2018, 20:43

Hi Lolapup,

I've created a new thread for you as your situation is a bit different and it's easier for people to answer you directly.

To me it sounds like you're on the right track, using a long line and distraction. I'd suggest adding a couple of other ideas to your tool kit.

The first, and probably most important, is to try and work with her at a greater distance. You need to find that distance where she's aware of the other dog and is wondering what, if anything, she needs to do about it, but that they're not so close to each other that the stress is such that she has to react. This achieves 2 things - firstly it allows her to be in a position to make good decisions, with your guidance, while being aware of the other dog. That means you can reward her for those good decisions and give her something to work for. Don't forget that a reward is always heaps more effective than a bribe, as with the latter you don't actually have to do anything whereas with a reward you need to think what you need to do to get your cheese, etc.

The other big thing is that it means you're working in a zone that both you and her feel safe. You don't need to worry that she'll bite the other dog because you're far enough away, and she doesn't need to get too stressed about the other dog for the same reason.

The distance depends on how she feels and should change with time as she learns to cope. It's what I call the 'uh oh' place, the place where she's looking, head up, but isn't really tense otherwise. If you see hackles up, that stiff wag, tense forward movement, etc., then you're too close.

My preferred method (after quite a bit of experience!), is to keep the dog moving while focussing on you. Keep drawing her towards you, either for food reward or for play (something to practice at home and in quiet environments first). Use the 'watch me' command combined with 'this way', so asking for mental focus and also for the feet to follow you, so that she's with you and moving in random directions, keeping the movement calm and smooth. I personally find that asking the dog to sit or stand still is less effective - even with 'watch me' it has something to do with its mind but not its body.

It also gives you something to do, and gives lots of opportunity for reward.

If you do find yourself in a spot that's too narrow or whatever and there isn't room to work without getting to close, remember you can always turn round. It's an option we're not very good at thinking about and takes a bit of getting used to, but it is very helpful. Not only does it give you time to find a more suitable place, it also takes the pressure off and gets rid of the confrontation. Some dogs don't care much for others following them but just about every one I've worked with prefers that to the face to face confrontation.

What you should find is that, but teaching her that she can cope at that 'uh oh' point, she starts to relax more and that point gets closer. She is then learning that she can, rather than that she can't.

It takes time, but for me it does work!


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Re: Dog reactive staffie girl

Post by canarydog on Sat Jul 07 2018, 17:58

Hi Staffie Girl!

I have the same problem with my APBT. My dog is a rescue, he has been treat trained by the rescue team.

First of all i would say "Know your dog". For ex. I distinguish dogs in many ways since they all their own personalities, temperaments, and specific breed traits. I distinguish between vicious and aggressive, aggressive and dominant ect....

My dog is more dominant and or protective. I tried the treat trick, (which I believe is a terrible way to train aggressive, dominant dogs) and it didn't work for the sole reason that my dog's desire to engage super ceded his desire for a treat in that instance. In addition it put me in a compromising position while walking so I couldn't control my dog.

Is their a happy place for your dog around other dogs? My dog reacted much more positively with limited aggression at his adoption center. So I would bring him there initially more frequently. I noticed he was much more constrained at the vets and animal shelters, than in a park, so i would bring him here as much as possible. This also helped me gage his reaction and identify triggers.

Sounds like your dog reacts mainly because he is restrained, which could put him in a fearful or protective mode. Try walking her with a group of dogs that you know. Understanding that she will initially be reactive, do not keep her in the pack but behind. After, a while she should determine that the dogs are not her enemies but her pack. When walking her(if possible) gage the other dogs reaction to her aggression. If the dog does not react in an aggressive manner try walking behind or with the other dog. Once again see if she calms down and walks normally without any outbursts. I have asked many people if they would mind if I walk my dog with theirs provided theirs was friendly and my dog would calm down and behave normally when he realized the other dog wasn't a threat.
Also, I noticed the more dogs he saw on the walk, his aggression would usually decrease as he became more comfortable.

As for the walks, keep yourself between you and your dog, so that your dog would have to go around you to the other side to go after the dog. Carefully watch your dogs demeanor well before the two meet. My dog sticks his neck out stares directly into the other dogs eyes, instigates the fight. When i notice this I immediately gain my dogs focus on me. I would work on my dog healing. Ex., I would turn 90 degrees for a few steps turn 90 degrees again for 10 steps, 90 degrees again basically walking in rectangles, the whole time getting my dog to focus on me.

Main thing is controlling your dog and getting her to focus on you. Do not avoid the other dogs, do your best to walk through not allowing your dog to engage. As soon as the dog is past immediately begin commands with her a sit or down.ect... This reinforces pack structure and continues to work on her obedience and focus. The more you work with her and expose her to other dogs the better she will be.

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Re: Dog reactive staffie girl

Post by gillybrent on Sat Jul 07 2018, 19:29

Hi canary dog, nice to meet you. Please introduce yourself in the new members'forum.

Why do you think treat training is so terrible?

Most reactive dogs are not 'dominant' and are mainly 'uncetain'. That being the case, your reaction dictates your dog's reaction. Therefore, if you train a dog to focus on you rather than a dog, you increase its confidence in you being able to handle the situation & avoid a 'reaction'.

I would NEVER expect a reactive dog to be comfortable in a 'pack' environment, that's something to build up in trust. Don't put them in that situation until you have worked out your dog's tolerance levels.

To start with, avoidance is crucial. Then, once your dog can focus, you can begin to get closer to other dogs & eventually interact.

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Re: Dog reactive staffie girl

Post by canarydog on Sun Jul 08 2018, 17:03

Hello Gillybrent, thank you for the welcome!

Before I reply, I don't want to get into a pissing contest, (which happens all to often on boards) especially when I will be willing to bet we have a lot more in common about dogs and training than not.

I waiver on treat training depending on breed tempermant and nature of training. Ultimately it is bribery, and from what I have seen the dog doesn't neccessarily care about the command only the reward. Every time without exception I see trainers who use this method the dog always will look up to the handler expecting a treat. Things like bomb detection, agility training, obstacle courses ect.. I can see advantages. In terms of obedience training in particuliar advandced obedience training, personal protection training, ect.. where the dog needs to be extremely focused and disiplined I don't like the treat training. If you can get your dog to respond instantly to your commands with out a reward seems to me you are at a considerable advantage. There are just way to many times that you are not in training mode, don't have access to treats, unpridictable events occur that it is paramount that your dog adhere to your command or a potential catastrophy could happen. A simple example would be say you are coming home from shopping, your dog id waiting at the door, you open the door at that sudden instance your dog sees an other animal and bolts out to attack it. The same time a car is coming down the street, at that moment I would much prefer my dog adhere to my come or no command through disiplined and positive reinforcement than to get a treat. Don't forget the dog also has motivations and depending on how it prioritizes its motivations depends on whether it does what he wants or what he is told. So in this situation, if the dog has a stronger motive to attack than to receive a treat, he could soon be in a bad situation.
The other aspect is as always, know your dog. Do you have a soft medium or hard dog? Stable or unstable? Confident or fear biter etc..? Not one training approach fits all.
Finally what breed of dog do you have. Again know your dog not all follow under the criteria that the dog was initially bred for, but certain traits dominate certain breeds. I wouldn't use treat training on fighting dogs, ABPT, Tosa's Pressa's , large flock gaurdians Ovarchkas, Anatolians, Kangals, Tibetian Mastiff's or protection dogs like Neopolitno Mastiffs, Rotties, Bordeau's.
I guess I don't know what you mean by uncertain! The situation, what the other dog is doing, your dogs ability to read the other dogs body langauge. There are dogs that just don't like other dogs, dogs that have a more dominant personality that feel inhibited do to the leash restraining them, dogs that show no restrained do to the leash and fearful dogs that do not enjoy the walk.
I guess it it is our definitions of Reactive and Uncertain that I am confused about. I agree in general with you but not fully. A dog is first and formost a pack animal, and therfore is naturally confined to pack structure. Now my dog is a rescue that was supposedly dog friendly. In his enviorment at the shelter he was, it was certainly his happy place. The first couple times I took him out on a walk he was undisiplined and extremely uncontrollable when seeing other dogs. I asked if he had any dog aggression and they said no and while the handler was holding him he lunged at another dog, She immediately cranked him, no treat traing in that instanced. None the less I got to know my dog and I began to work with him extenssively on his dog aggression. What I did notice that for the most part he wasn't like Game bred Pitbulls in the sense that he could be trusted with other dogs once the sociallization was accepted I didn't have to worry about him turning and kiling another dog. So I idetified that my dog can and does get along with other dogs, now the question is why is he aggressive on the lead and can I walk him with other dogs in a more peaceful state. Knowing that he can get along with other dogs it was a matter of finding the right dog to socialize him with. I introduced him to my sisters lab, he immediately went after her, she yelped and hid behind my sister. I had my sister walk her dog I followed, correcting my dog when neccessary. My dog soon realized that the lab wasn't a threat and we began walking side by side. Soon after they began walking as pack dogs do. Finally, after I was sure he was ok with her, I took my sisters lab, gave my sister my dog to handle and walked. Know I can see if my dog is really ok with her dog or just behaving himself because I was in control. He passed that test and finally, I was in a gated area, told my sister to let his leash go, he just wanted to play, i let the lab go and they played. Never a problem since. Point being I can read my dog and can interpret his body postures. Once I realized that he can get along with other dogs, the trick at that point is to introduce him to the right dog at the right place and gradually and in steps.
I agree to a certain degree avoidance. Again, if your dog has a happy place this a a great place to start.
Focus I agree with but depends on what you mean. When walking him in an unknown place or a park with strange dogs ,focus is paramount. The more he can focus the more he will pay attention to you the less he worries about other dogs and his surroundings.
If you can identify other dogs that are more friendly, tollerant and pack dogs the socialization is much easier.

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Re: Dog reactive staffie girl

Post by gillybrent on Fri Jul 13 2018, 18:13

As you say, we agree on quite a bit.

I like trwat training, but you don't have to continually offer a treat. Once the dog has 'got it' you only offer a treat every other time, then every third etc, using vocal or tactile praise. Eventually the dog's happy to respond without a treat at any time.

By 'uncertain' and 'reactive I mean a dog that is not inherently aggressive, but has a certain amount of fear, or uncertainty (no other word I can use) about certain other dogs.

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Re: Dog reactive staffie girl

Post by LizP on Sat Jul 14 2018, 08:21

Hi canarydog,

I'm afraid there a fair bit with what you say that I don't agree with. It's not a 'pissing contest' - we're careful on this forum not to let things get out of hand - but I have several years of experience with a wide range of dogs and have also studied animal behaviour for a long time, partly professionally and partly through a passionate interest.

I agree with Gilly, treat training is not a problem at all if done well and I'm really surprised to hear you think it is. Just stuffing treats into a dog's mouth because he looks at you adoringly I agree isn't good training, but having a structured method that asks the dog to do something and in return he gets something he likes is the best method I know, and most modern trainers would agree. 'Something he likes' is often a treat but can also be a toy, praise, physical interaction, or often a combination.

It is the reason most of us do lots of things. We go to work to get paid. If you're lucky that you love your job so much you don't need paying, you will get something else rewarding out of it.

Dogs also need 'paying', especially when they are asked to do something that is hard (in their view) or when there is a stronger pull (you or the rabbit) or when they are stressed (another dog). The training in advance is so they understand what they are being asked to do, so they know they'll get their reward, when they are asked to do it for real in hard situations.

Good training is all about making what we want the dog to do ask easy as possible for him to do it, to set him up to do what we're asking as willingly as possible. If treats achieve that objective, then great!

On the question of being 'not in training mode' and not having treats with you I'd say two things. Firstly, you are always in training mode, whether or not you know it. Everything we do with our animals, all the time, is in the same mode for them. They don't think 'oh, this is/isn't training, I have to act appropriately', they just respond to us as they feel best at the time. And that's all dogs, regardless of breed, category of dog and regardless of temperament. What they feel is right may be influenced by their breed and their experience, but that reaction is always the same - what is the best response for this situation? Our job as owners is to guide the dog to the response that is best in our view, in our world, whether we are in concious training mode or not. I would even argue that dogs learn more from us when we're not actively trying to teach them than when we are, so being aware that you are constantly teaching isn't a bad thing!

The second point is that, because the treat should always come after the dog's response, and because (as Gilly says), you should be able to reward sometimes but not always (what's called a variable schedule of reinforcement, and what makes gambling addiction so strong), you dog won't know when you ask whether he'll get his treat or not. If you train correctly, you should get the same response whether or not he gets a treat this time, provided you're not asking too much of him. And that is the key.

It is so important that we don't put our dogs in situations that are too much, too stressful, too tempting, and expect they can cope with it. It drives me nuts when people say 'but he should be able to' and therefore get cross that he can't. Teach he to and he can, otherwise you have to accept what he is able to and no more. Asking a fearful/stressed/reactive dog to cope with a pack falls into the 'too much' category, but work with him gradually building up and he will often be able to learn that he can do it.

Your scenario of opening the door and the dog rushing out to attack another falls into the same category. If you have a dog who might rush out, then it's unfair to put the dog in the situation (as well of course as being irresponsible towards others). Especially when dealing with tricky dogs, it's a question of thinking in advance, planning, avoiding, managing, etc, all the time.

I could write heaps more but a) that would probably bore everyone rigid and b) I need to go out now.

Sorry about the lecture, it's something I'm really passionate about! Smile


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Re: Dog reactive staffie girl

Post by canarydog on Sat Jul 14 2018, 17:16

Hi Liz thank you for responding!

My "pissing contest statement" was to let everyone know that I wasnot trying to inflame the board nor do I want others attacking me. Just to be clear.

I to am very passeniate about dogs, all animals in fact. I am no longer into personal protection training or advanced obediance training. I to have experience with a wide range of dogs, mutts, Brittany Spaniel, Labs, Eng. Bulldogs, Pressa Canario, Fila Brasiliero and currently a rescue APBT. In addition, I was a vollanteer at the zoo when I was younger.

I completely agree with reward for the dog, mostly in the way of praise, but also treats, toys etc... I had to attend traing training classes (which to me wasn't necassary, because i was going to train my dog myself) as part of my agreement with rescuing my dog. This was simple and basic obediance training using treats as rewards. My dog had already mastered the commands prior to the training but I brough him there more for proper socialization than training. I wasn't a big fan because I felt that dogs were only motavated by the treats. Keep in mind, this is a kennel, recue, mobile vet, dog store that rescued dogs as well. My dog trained there using treats. My dog mostly acted civil and well behaved at the pet resort, and responded to the trainers commands. No problem here so far. Problem arises when there is a big and/or dominate dog.
I can read and control my dog, but i always worry about others. One lady had an absolutley gorgeous APBT. Dog was people friendly, suspicious of other dogs, particuliarly dominant dogs. We are in a group training, I am keeping an eye on her dog as it relates to my dog given the nature of the breeds. Her dog is in a down stay, and we are suppose to walk around her dog. Her dog is fine until my dog comes by, now I can see it but she doesn't and trainers are with other dogs. Her dog lunges at mine I pull my dog away right before the attack and yell NO. Point is (Serious dogs require Serious owners) the dogs desire to attack superceded his desire to eat a treat at that particuliar point in time. She grabbed her dog and I proceeded to command my dog to heal. Again I go back to KNOW your dog, understand the breed, what is it bred for, and please understand Genetics. Not all dogs do what they were bred for, but they still carry that trait. In case of ABPT, if you have a poorly bred dog, you can have a potencial time bomb on your hands.

When you and/or Gilly or any other members tell me that you have great success with this I beleive you, I don't believe in a one size fits all approach. In the wild wolf pups, canines learn by watching and trial and error. If they approach to soon make to much noise or aren't dowstream of the wind, and they lose the opportunity for a meal that is not a positive learning experience. It is a valuable learning experience none the less.

There is no question that rewards are a motivator for humans as well as animals to do things. But I am a huge Dawinian and without doubt all creatures are motivated to survive, and what is the best mode to accomplish that? In terms of most canines and Apes, our physical limmitations require us to form packs as a result evolution has shaped our brains to be more empathetic and social. Since our enviorments are no longer hostile, rewards have become an increaingly motavational force.

Your second point i agree with.
"It is so important that we don't put our dogs in situations that are too much, too stressful, too tempting, and expect they can cope with it. It drives me nuts when people say 'but he should be able to' and therefore get cross that he can't. Teach he to and he can, otherwise you have to accept what he is able to and no more. Asking a fearful/stressed/reactive dog to cope with a pack falls into the 'too much' category, but work with him gradually building up and he will often be able to learn that he can do it." Agreed. My point regarding socialization is simply know your dog. Even though when I walked my dog outside of the pet resort or vets office I knew he would react, I also knew he could socialize as well, because I have seen it and I identified his happy spaces. Now I need to determine where is he best behaved around other dogs and where is he most likely to react? I determined which enviorments he reacted most positively and I would bring him to that enviorment where he was happy and not tense. I could easily begin positive socialization. Notice that he is NOT put into an unfriendly no chance to win enviorment. There are many dogs he plays with, one he doesn't get along with. But he is now much better in social situations than when I first got him from the pet resort, without treat training, which in this instance didn't work for me.

"Your scenario of opening the door and the dog rushing out to attack another falls into the same category. If you have a dog who might rush out, then it's unfair to put the dog in the situation (as well of course as being irresponsible towards others). Especially when dealing with tricky dogs, it's a question of thinking in advance, planning, avoiding, managing, etc, all the time".

You are missing my point here. All of what you say I agree with, but there are other variables that we miss. We are only human after all. My point here is simply you come home, you have your hands full, you struggle to get the door opened, you are holding the door opened with your knee as you twist to get in and at that moment your dog bolts. The point here isn't whether or not your dog is trained to stay in until you give him the command to go out or that you aren't paying aention to your dog. More that situations that were don't and/or expect can happen at an instance, one that can potentially put you or you dog in harms way, it is this extreme point hat I am refering to.
Thanks again for responding to my post.

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Re: Dog reactive staffie girl

Post by LizP on Sun Jul 15 2018, 07:25

Don't worry, you don't come across as attacking anyone. We're all up for a good, reasoned discussion so your thoughts are very welcome (even if we don't necessarily see eye to eye Laughing).

It sounds like we are pretty well on the same page - although I still can't agree that treats when used well can be 'terrible' for any breed of dog. To my mind, whatever motivates the dog most is the reward he'll work hardest for and if he's more motivated by food than by me to start off with, well so be it, especially in a situation where you don't know the dog well, such as in kennels (I'm a volunteer) or with a newly adopted dog.

Just quickly on the last point, the dog rushing out, I'm not at suggesting that everyone will have that perfectly trained dog who won't rush out of an open door if there's something to rush out. What I am saying is that if you have a dog that will go for something (another dog, a person), then you can't afford to have that human moment of not paying attention. If needs be, you have to set up some sort of 'air lock' system, whereby the dog can't get to the front door when you open it with your arms full of shopping. We rehomed a dog- and human-aggressive dog some years back (sadly no longer with us) and if he'd got out he would be been destroyed and we'd have been up before the courts, there was no question he was dangerous (aka screwed up, poor man). That's an extreme case but even now, I think Chaos would probably rush at another dog, probably not attack but would look like it, so when we open the door we are aware and take precautions, keeping him away from the open door.

'Know your dog' is spot on, but there are times that a rule of thumb is also needed. When first rescuing a dog, when someone's not got so much experience, when something happens to upset the dog's balance - in cases like this a general rule isn't a bad thing and generally speaking I'd always say using treats as one of the main training rewards is good.


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Re: Dog reactive staffie girl

Post by TychoMum on Mon Jul 16 2018, 12:19

Hello, what an interesting post. I have to say I identify my dog to behave like the following comments from canarydog:

"My dog is more dominant and or protective. I tried the treat trick, (which I believe is a terrible way to train aggressive, dominant dogs) and it didn't work for the sole reason that my dog's desire to engage super ceded his desire for a treat in that instance"
When Tycho gets above his threshold he rejects any treats, it is like he is possessed by an evil spirit, he is almost unrecognisable.  

"My dog sticks his neck out stares directly into the other dog's eyes, instigates the fight."
Exactly, my dog challenges all the dogs, he lowers his head, stares at them and raises his ears and tail, it is like he is telling them ' I can kill you, what you are going to do about it'


"Now my dog is a rescue that was supposedly dog friendly. In his enviorment at the shelter he was, it was certainly his happy place. The first couple times I took him out on a walk he was undisiplined and extremely uncontrollable when seeing other dogs. I asked if he had any dog aggression and they said no ... So I identified that my dog can and does get along with other dogs, now the question is why is he aggressive on the lead and can I walk him with other dogs in a more peaceful state."

My dog is a rescue too, we were told he was not aggressive towards other dogs, in a new environments he is not really bothered about other dogs, I have seen him walking next to other dogs on the grooming place, pet shops and shelter, he has made 2 friends that he knows are not a threat to him, he smell them for 10 seconds and then ignore them, he does seem to not know how to play with other dogs.

We had a session with a behaviourist last week, she brought a 10 months old puppy, Tycho lunged quite fiercely, the behaviourist told us to walk him in circles as soon as he starts to challenge the other dog, which we did until he gave up and he managed to sit close to the other dog and ignored him, not even looked at him anymore, it was very interesting.

Last weekend in the park, same thing with a dog, Tycho lunged, pulling so badly that he was basically on two legs, while the front legs were up to the air and he was moving almost like a fish while biting the leash  raised eyebrows  my partner walked him in circles few times to break eye contact with the other dog until Tycho bit the leg of my partner, it was not a puncture but he had a bruise, probably a Category 2 bite. After the realisation of this, he became most well behaved during the rest of the walk.

We are aware that this would take a long time, and now we are even thinking he might have been training to be a protection dog? thinking

He is obedient, lovely and affectionate at home, does not pull during walks until he sees another dog and challenges it every time.

I know quite a few of you have given me your opinion and tips, I really appreciate them, every bit of info helps. Thanks all
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Re: Dog reactive staffie girl

Post by canarydog on Mon Jul 16 2018, 14:58

Hi tycho:
Our dogs are very similar. I would guess the reason for the circles while approaching another dog is twofold. Main reason is to regain your dogs focus, in this case through commands and second it acts as a trained by session and reinforces pack structure. I basically did the same thing except circles I did squares with the sole purpose of getting my dog to focus on me. Had a little success simply because it shortened the distance between him and the other dog and reduce his heightened state. My pressa was very similar but there was a difference. My pressa absolutely meant business. But I had been training him as a pup which included 3 leveled of obienience and personal protection. So I could control him. My dog go into a heightened almost loopy state, so it is imperative that I first calm him down in order to work with him. In a calm but stearin force I command easy usually I am in front of him trying to get him to look into my eyes. My purpose is to get him in a calm state by reassuring him and through focus. I alllways walk through the making my sure I keep him to my right away from the other dog and making sure he maintains focus after we passed. Once he is calmed down I give him a sit command praise him and continue on with the walk. I do this for 2 reasons. One to calm him down and the other to reassure pack structure. He still need to follow me lead. A lot of repetition is important. In addition I also discovered that my dog was much less reactive with smaller more friendly dogs. I would ask the owners if I could walk with them, I f I knew my dog would be ok . I noticed that when walking with other dogs he was more relaxed and almost non reactive. Key for me was to find the right temperaments dogs.
.the good news is that to this date he is much much better. Not where I want him, but much better. I don’t give up and I knew that because he had been in a social situation prior to me that I knew he could be social. I needed to first find a comfortable place to ocialize him, in my case the pet resort and map a. Also I needed to find dogs that he could get along with him, my sisters labs worked well. Then a couple of group walks. Finally a lot of repetition walking him in the park. Good luck hope his helps.

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Re: Dog reactive staffie girl

Post by canarydog on Mon Jul 16 2018, 15:18

To Liz and gillybrent:
I don’t know how I forgot my main objection as to treat training, so I want to give you observation and would like your opinions on my observations. I can’t speak for anybody dog but my dog has literally become “ Pavlov’s dog”. Last night while eating dinner, my dog decided he wanted some of my bbq. (Of course I didn’t feed him from the table), I ignored him and then he proceeded through give me his paw, immediately sit down and wait for his treat. When I take him to the pet resort, where I rescued him, almost like clockwork he will sit in from my of trje handler waiting for a treat. Lastly when I first got him I was walking by a pizza/sandwich shop. As the lady was coming out with her food, she saw my dog and asked if she pet him. I said yes, as soon as keno smelled her food he immediately sat down waiting for a treat. All three examples he immediately sat expecting a treat and aniticipated a command before it was given to get the treat.
My questions to you are : Is this normal or expected behavior? Has he been over stimulated with treats? I realize that neither of you know my dog or the training facility, it is his behavior and reaction i am most interested in.
I noticed the same reaction from the other dogs during my mandatory training sessions.
Finally how would you approach his training and what would you do different?

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Re: Dog reactive staffie girl

Post by gillybrent on Mon Jul 16 2018, 18:41

He hasn't been over stimulated, just never taught NOT to expect treats. That's why I said before that once a dog knows a command you begin to reduce the treats - first, every other command, then every third etc etc. Replace treats with physical praise & eventually with verbal praise.

After a while the dog will perform the required action without praise, purely because he KNOWS it pleases you.

I can't comment specifically on your dog because I don't know exactly what you've done or how far you've got.

What would I do? If I wasn't really happy with what he knows, I'd start from scratch & work, with treats, to build his confidence and his acceptance of what you want from him. Again, I'd use treats until the required action is performed every time, and then reduce treats as said before.

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Re: Dog reactive staffie girl

Post by LizP on Mon Jul 16 2018, 19:25

The other thing I'd add is that it sounds to me like he's been given treats with no structure, in other words that he's been given food for offering a behaviour without having been asked for it, and as Gilly says, all the time.

We are so inclined to praise, to encourage, to reward that it's often easy to forget what is actually being rewarded, if anything at all. Just listen to the number of times someone will say 'good boy' (or girl!) when all the dog has done is stood there. It then becomes completely meaningless as a reward, it's just white noise.

What I would do is also go back to basics but have very clearly in your mind WHAT gets a treat. What gets a treat is when you ask for something and he does it. Nothing else will get one, only a response to your request. If you ask him to sit and he does, that's fine. If he just sits in the hope of getting food, that's not.

Any behaviour that you haven't asked for, even if it's a good one, gets ignored, especially pestering. What you should find, if you are strict with yourself, is that he will learn what works and what doesn't.

To start off, to make the point as clearly as possible, I would treat each time he gives you the right response to a request so that he can learn what works. When you have that behaviour nailed so it doesn't need reinforcement, THEN you can start skipping treats and only reward sometimes. You don't need to count, make it random so like a slot machine he doesn't know.

If he's learning something new, then you need to reinforce all the time so he has to work it out.

So it's the three Rs - request, response, reward - without either of the first two, he doesn't get the third.

If there is anyone else involved in his life, so other family members etc., they too need to do this, otherwise it's not fair to expect him to learn a new rule with one person but not with others. It's tough to start off with, for you and for him, but it does soon become a habit and you then both have a happier life for knowing what's what.


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Re: Dog reactive staffie girl

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