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Flipping out at a dog behind a fence

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Indiana

1278977
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 16, '13 7:48am PST 
I'm at a loss here and am hoping you guys might have some good ideas as to how to fix this problem...

Along our morning walking route there is a house with a very large and protective Rottie that rushes the fence when we walk past. Jumping, barking, trying to get over the very small fence, the whole deal. At first I think Indy was just a little taken aback by the whole thing and we'd walk past and it was fine but after this happening over and over and over again it's gotten to the point now where he is now absolutely crazed when we get near the house with the dog outside. His hackles are up, he barks and lunges and pulls at the leash like a mad man and there is NOTHING I can do to get his attention. He won't even pay attention to me for a hot dog and I'm pretty convinced he'd learn to drive my car if it meant he could have a hot dog so his focus on this other dog is SUPER intense. I've tried getting his attention before we get near the house but he starts getting fixated probably a good 50 yards out so even if I get his attention early he starts ignoring me well before we get there. Even If the dog isn't there he just stares intently into the yard like it's going to suddenly materialize and he wants to be ready for it. Same thing when we're on the opposite side of the road (4 lane divided highway) on our walk back. We get near that part and he's staring intently across the road just waiting for this rottie to come at him.

Since it's dark out now in the mornings our walking routes are a little limited by where there are street lights so we're not wandering around in the dark. Also, I'd much rather deal with the problem than just avoid it forever. Short of picking him up and carrying him past the house (which I have done just to make my life easier) I'm not really sure what to do. This is the only dog that gets this sort of reaction out of him and it's only when he/she is behind the fence. We've been near them while the owner is walking the dog on a leash and it's a non-issue. There are also plenty of other houses with dogs barking at him from behind fences and really couldn't care less.

Any ideas?
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Cohen CD RE- ADC SGDC- FDCh CGN

The Monster
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 16, '13 8:11am PST 
I'd pick up and read Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt while paying special attention to the Look At That game. I'd turn my morning walks into training sessions. At first you can set up camp so you're below Indy's threshold and go from there. It'll likely take you a good couple of weeks, at least, to work through the issue. In the mean time, I would avoid passing by the house if you're not actively working on LAT, or some sort of conditioning/desensitization exercise. Play tug on your front yard, toss a ball around a bit, do fun, energetic obedience drills, or take another route, etc.

Edited by author Wed Jan 16, '13 8:11am PST

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ARCHMX Asher RL1X RL2X RL3X RL

we will dance in- the ring without- words
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 16, '13 8:17am PST 
If he starts fixating at about 50 yards, you need to start working at about 55 yards. This may mean a change in your routine as until he CAN pay attention at 50 yards, you are not going to be able to get his attention at 45 yards.

Do you have a car? Could you drive close to said house, get him out and practice walking him (with LOTS of rewards for focus) to 55 yards, then asking him to turn and go back to start, then to 53 yards, repeat, then 51, then 49, go back to the car and party.

Take a small (5 min) break and start again at 53 yards and go to 47 and party.

Third round start at 51, go to 45 then party and quit for the day.

The next session, start at the middle (start at 53, go to 47) and continue in that vein.

These calming curves are perpendicular, at a closer distance than what you want and both dogs are participating, but it may give you an idea of how to set up the exercise.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeBebSiS0NU&feature=player_embedd ed

(a second link to the same video)

http://www.reactivedog.com/post/services/reactiveclassesdv d/

ETA I second the Control Unleashed book, just make sure you have the right amount of distance.

Edited by author Wed Jan 16, '13 8:19am PST

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Indiana

1278977
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 16, '13 8:22am PST 
Thanks Cohen. I'd love to play with him in my yard but unfortunately I live in a 3rd floor condo so no yard for me. The house is also very unfortunately situated so that, if I want lights where we walk I kind of have to go that way. I will definitely pick up a copy of the book! We've been dealing with this for a while so I can keep sucking it up while we get this figured out.
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Indiana

1278977
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 16, '13 8:34am PST 
Thanks Asher! The path that we walk along/runs behind the house is alongside a fairly substantial road so there really aren't any parking options. But the house is only maybe 3/4 of a mile from my house so walking there isn't an issue.

I got an Amazon gift card for Christmas that I had managed to control myself and not use yet so I just ordered the book!
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Opheila

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 16, '13 6:03pm PST 
In the meantime, Home Depot has flash tags that can easily go on a collar and perhaps a flashlight for you. I'm sure there's some way to train him to ignore the rottie but know it's hard...we have two neighborhood dogs, one with an electric fence and the other who's chain reaches the sidewalk. We walk a few blocks any direction to avoid both those houses
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Jackson Tan

Lad about town
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 16, '13 9:16pm PST 
I'm having a similar problem at the moment where my dog is just laying down and refusing to go any further when we go past this one house, especially at night because his eyesight isn't what it was. When I can chivvy him to walk on the other side of the road he's fine, though. I've carried him before too so I know what that's like. The best thing I've come up with so far is going into the middle of the road and jogging past to keep his attention. He likes to run and keeping him in motion seems to help. The hardest thing is just getting the distance between him and the house to give him his jogging reward! I find perpetual motion helps though so they can't stop and fixate, maybe you can get some cheese whiz or something so you can reward and keep moving at the same time.
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Clyde

Ice cubes? YES- PLEASE!
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 16, '13 10:19pm PST 
Sounds a bit like Clyde, only smaller. smile
He's friendly to most dogs, but he's very mean to those few others. Nevertheless, we often encounter those few yard dogs that he goes absolutely bonkers at. I find the best solution with him is to ask him to touch my hand with his nose for a treat as soon as he notices "arch-nemesis-dog". It redirects his attention to me and if I give a stream of commands, he won't get too intense. If I let him become over-aroused to the point where he refuses food, I simply stop and slowly build pressure on the leash until he backs up and hopefully sees me. It usually breaks focus enough for me to slip in a re-directing command he will listen to. Another tactic I use is just start running, whether or not he is being pulled along a bit. Dogs are awful multitaskers and can't have an explosive reaction while galloping along behind the handler. laugh out loud
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Indiana

1278977
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 17, '13 7:52am PST 
Ophelia - I have a flashlight at home but wanting the lights isn't as much about seeing as it is about feeling safe. The area is mostly a lot of independent neighborhoods that aren't connected except by these paths along the major roadways and the community isn't big on lighting them all. The way with the streetlights is also where there are people. Dark and lonely just feels more dangerous. I like to think that the area where I live is pretty safe and suburban-y but I've encountered people out walking during the middle of the day that have given me the willies so I'd rather not push my luck on a dark an deserted path. Indy is awesome and has a ton of good qualities but being protective is not one of them, unfortunately.

Jackson - Indy will lay down and refuse to move when we see people walking toward us or when there are people behind us. I've always assumed it was a herding thing and just turned it into a down-stay until they pass. Having a house be the trigger seems much harder to deal with though! I've tried running with him past the house and it does help a little bit to move past it faster but he still gets a little huffy and worked up and really wants to pee on everything when we get past. Definitely a good option for the interim, though...I just need to stop being lazy about running for 5 seconds, I guess.

Clyde - Thanks! I actually did try the whole "touch" thing last night and it worked pretty well! It's not something I'd ever taught him so we worked on it for a couple of minutes while we were at a safe distance from the house and then crept up closer and closer: sit-touch-treat, move closer, sit-touch-treat, move closer. We managed to get within the fence-line of the house that way which I think was a pretty good sign! Then we got too close and the rottie came rushing. My fault, I hadn't realized he was out. Anyway, we turned around and I let him calm down and we worked our way back to a pretty good proximity again and then left before the rottie could come out again so we could leave on a high note. Obviously the sitting part is less than ideal but I think the more we practice the better he'll be at doing it while moving.
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Jackson Tan

Lad about town
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 17, '13 7:49pm PST 
Jackson is the same about peeing on everything when we run past the house. The moment the dog starts barking behind the fence he tries to bolt faster than I can run too. He really scared himself one day when he broke his collar, he realised I wasn't on the other end and was sitting at the other side of the barky dog house peeing and shaking off, the poor thing.

I do carry him past more than I probably should. Shhh don't tell anyone. laugh out loud

And you're right, the drop probably is herder behavior. I have done the same thing and turned it into a down when he gets stressed by something.
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