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Jlacy
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I know this is a BC forum, but I’m asking here because perhaps you guys have might have more experience with high drive/very smart dogs. Hopefully, you can help me help her.

 

I have the quintessential over-reactive dog. This dog my Aussie or an Aussie Border X who I have had for over a year, her name is Peyton and she’s 18 months old and came to me by the way of a local shelter. She has a very high play and dog social drive.

 

She loves all dogs and her reactions are always just wanting to meet and play. She’s good on a leash until she see another dog then looses her mind, then pulls and whine, yelps, barks, bounces and for the most part ignores ALL my commands. She goes to the dog park frequently and has done so all her life with me. Nothing short of absolute exhaustion slows her down at the dog park. She is obsessively social to other dogs.

 

This is an smart dog. She is unbelievably quick to learn, holds a laser focus eye to eye contact with me, when she’s not in this "state". Rock solid and snaps her commands, sit, down, leave it, heel, stay, drop it, ring the bell, get your leash, look at me and more than I need not to list. If she sees another dog though, a switch is flipped and she get’s a very wild look in her eye and even her basics are all but forgotten.

 

Treats for calm behavior only serves to distract her for a few seconds, distance from the dog does not seem to matter, if she sees a dog, it must be met and played with NOW. A mild correction does not seem to matter, I've tried t-touch massage and nothing short of removing her out of sight seems to help.

 

At home she’s good, not overly hyper, likes to play with the other dog but not obsessive about it, she does not show any signs of being what she is outside of the home and sees another dog.

 

Peyton has been very well socialized. I’m comfortable taking her almost anywhere that does not have dogs. Get her around any dogs though and “Play Mode” kicks in and she seems as though she can’t control herself.

 

I have taken to her to a few different trainers and none of them have found a workable solution. Peyton is a very sweet, gentle, fun, playful and smart dog, who has never shown any sign of aggression towards anything. She does not chase squirrels or cats, joggers or bikes, cars, city buses, motorcycles. He’s ignores crowds of people, wheel chairs, flags blowing, people of all shapes sizes and colors and none of them spook her or does she shows anything more than a slight interest. She has a very solid “leave it” and all her basic commands for that matter are what I would call reasonably solid. Get her around other dog though, and she doesn’t respond to me at all or ANY basic commands.

 

Peyton would get her CGC is a heartbeat other than reaction to other dogs. Running up to dogs has caused some fights and she will bolt across the street to meet another dog instantly if not leashed. Not good, I know...

 

This needs to be fixed big time, but how?

 

Peyton’s back story can be found here if you need additional information on her. She's a housemate of Jax my BC who just got his CGC two days ago.

http://www.chazhound.com/forums/t105862/

 

 

Thanks

Joe

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This reaction will take time to fix but can be fixed. I would allow her reward be seeing other dogs but that means when she is going all crazy you turn around and leave the area. Literally as soon as she starts acting crazy you turn around and leave the area. When she finds her head you walk back to the area and if she loses her head turn and leave the area. You may want to try this someplace other than the dogpark though. Someplace with dogs but also easy to leave sight and sounds of the dogs. If you can get her to the dogs, she gets to say hi and play.

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Buy the book "Control Unleashed" by Leslie McDevitt and follow the program in the book. It is geared towards this type of problem. My young border collie was the same way when I got him. He still has his "moments" but has improved tenfold.

 

You are correct when you describe her as "switching modes." She is switching into instinct mode and there is no reasoning with her then. You need to keep her under threshold while you are training. ALL dogs have a threshold, even if hers is very low right now.

 

CU will help you immensely.

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Buy the book "Control Unleashed" by Leslie McDevitt and follow the program in the book. It is geared towards this type of problem. My young border collie was the same way when I got him. He still has his "moments" but has improved tenfold.

 

You are correct when you describe her as "switching modes." She is switching into instinct mode and there is no reasoning with her then. You need to keep her under threshold while you are training. ALL dogs have a threshold, even if hers is very low right now.

 

CU will help you immensely.

 

 

Ok, thanks, I'll try both. I just ordered CU directly from Clear but I doubt Peyton will read it.

 

This has always been her #1 problem. I've let it go untrained for too long. I dealt with it attributing it to just "puppy hood", but she's approaching 2 years old and even "I" have run out of excuses.

 

One trainer suggested I get her in class with other dogs. Bad idea, here's what happen. She was clearly over her threshold.

 

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Ok, thanks, I'll try both. I just ordered CU directly from Clear but I doubt Peyton will read it.

 

This has always been her #1 problem. I've let it go untrained for too long. I dealt with it attributing it to just "puppy hood", but she's approaching 2 years old and even "I" have run out of excuses.

 

One trainer suggested I get her in class with other dogs. Bad idea, here's what happen. She was clearly over her threshold.

 

 

Yup, Peyton definitely needs to read the book :rolleyes:

 

She's not ready to be in class with other dogs, you are correct. CU's "look at that" game should be very effective for her. She gets rewarded for looking calmly at another dog and then back to you. You're not restricting access to what she wants to look at, just requiring her to stay calm. I'm not great at explaining, the book will do a much better job.

 

2Devils is right, for now you need to remove her from the situation before it escalates.

 

Not much more than 6 months ago Ripley was not able to be in class with other dogs either, he would just get too excited. Now, he is in classes, coming to agility trials, and he is doing great.

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I am also a huge believer in CU. It should help you. I agree Peyton is not ready for classes. Don't worry, we've all been there. I think you might find some use in Dr.Karen Overall's Protocol for Relaxation. I know a lot of people with fearful/reactive dogs use it with great success. I've left a link, I don't know about the sites I found it on, but it's worth further research.

http://www.dogscouts.org/Protocol_for_relaxation.html

http://home.gci.net/~divs/behavior/appendix_b.html

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I've let it go untrained for too long. I dealt with it attributing it to just "puppy hood", but she's approaching 2 years old and even "I" have run out of excuses.

 

This is one really cool thing about CU - it's never too late for the program to be effective.

 

I reached a point with Speedy (different "issues") where I felt certain things were "ingrained" in him and it was too late to make any difference. CU turned me around on that right quick. Granted, there are some things about him that can never be "fixed", but CU taught me that improvement can always be gained and it gave me a whole new world of techniques to try with him. Now it's like having a new dog in many ways. And he's 8.

 

I'm not saying that you're saying it's too late, but I did want to say that CU can help with things that have gone on for a long time. It may take more commitment and work on your part, but it is totally do-able.

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This is one really cool thing about CU - it's never too late for the program to be effective.

 

I reached a point with Speedy (different "issues") where I felt certain things were "ingrained" in him and it was too late to make any difference. CU turned me around on that right quick. Granted, there are some things about him that can never be "fixed", but CU taught me that improvement can always be gained and it gave me a whole new world of techniques to try with him. Now it's like having a new dog in many ways. And he's 8.

 

I'm not saying that you're saying it's too late, but I did want to say that CU can help with things that have gone on for a long time. It may take more commitment and work on your part, but it is totally do-able.

 

 

I hope it's not too late at 18 months old. They say Aussies act like a fool for the first two years, then a light bulb magically turns on. I have my calender marked.

 

Peyton has always been a happy, playful dog. The smile in her eyes and on her face, melts grown men and I think she knows it.

 

Now, she has a full time forever BC to chase around all day, I hope this helps some. I don't want to change who she is, just for her to show some self control. This is really the last thing she needs for her CGC and other than this issue, she's a pretty well behaved dog.

 

I bought the book not the DVD's. I learn better from vids, are there any of these methods out on youtube or elsewhere I could try before the book arrives?

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I would just wait for the book, It explains a LOT, it is really a book that doesn't just teach games, but teaches about behaviors. It is a good read but you may need to read it more than a few times to really understand it.

 

The DVD is a help, it is a video of a Seminar that Leslie put on, and while it does help to explain things, it really is not something that makes sense by itself, it sort of explains the book better, but IMO the book is enough on its own.

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I bought the book not the DVD's. I learn better from vids, are there any of these methods out on youtube or elsewhere I could try before the book arrives?

Yup. Go to youtube and search for "control unleashed".

 

But IMHO the DVDs are worth the money. Leslie is very skilled at reading dogs and figuring out what each individual dog (and handler) need, and you can learn a lot from watching her do just that.

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Yup. Go to youtube and search for "control unleashed".

 

But IMHO the DVDs are worth the money. Leslie is very skilled at reading dogs and figuring out what each individual dog (and handler) need, and you can learn a lot from watching her do just that.

 

 

Thank you. I watched the CU videos and am a little confused over the concept LAT. I won't do anything until the book get's here and the book ships out today.

 

The good news is, I have that focus/eye contact with my Aussie like Leslie's Border. If I have Peyton in leave it mode, she freezes, looks at me, not what she has "left" waiting for me to release her to get it. We play this all the time for different things. My Border stares at the "thing" listening for me, Peyton holds a dead stare at me and listens as well. Both my dogs have a solid leave it except leave it doesn't work when Peyton sees another dog, so I need another approach. Leave it works fine for my Border and other dogs, just not Peyton.

 

Maybe LAT or something else in the book is the answer. The other good news is that Peyton will indeed redirect and sit and settle for a treat even in her play frenzy, so she's not so obsessed that even liver won't get her attention. I just need to find the right combination and timing and I'm sure this problem can be corrected in time.

 

Here's a vid at 22 days after I got her and it's been a year now. You can see her focus on me even then and a leave it at the end. It just as good now, but around other dogs it's a completely different story as you saw in class.

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Maybe LAT or something else in the book is the answer. The other good news is that Peyton will indeed redirect and sit and settle for a treat even in her play frenzy, so she's not so obsessed that even liver won't get her attention. I just need to find the right combination and timing and I'm sure this problem can be corrected in time.

 

The book will explain how Leslie developed LAT - and that is very much worth reading. For me it was a "lightbulb", anyway.

 

She does explain better how to teach LAT on the DVD, but if you are not sure after reading the book, let us know. I'm sure any of us here who use the technique would be happy to give you tips on teaching it to your dog.

 

It really can be taught a couple of different ways, depending on the dog.

 

There are a few things you can do before the book comes to prepare.

 

If you haven't done so already, load up a clicker with your dog. Technically, CU can be done without a clicker, but a dog who understands that the click is always followed by a treat and looks to you for a treat when he hears you click will learn CU techniques a lot faster.

 

Get a mat. I like the bath mats with the non-slip stuff on the bottom. They are perfect for a Border Collie sized dog. Don't do anything with it until you read about mats in the book, but go ahead and get one.

 

Start to watch your dog as often as you can in "observational" mode. Try not to make judgments of why your dog is doing certain things, but try to improve your observation skills. This is more difficult than it sounds. We tend to want to attribute motives to our dogs and we often fail to see little details that can give us tons of information that can be used to help them. So, try to do some observation in terms of, "he jumped on the door" instead of "he ignored me when I said to stay off the door". Or "he barked" instead of "he wanted to show the other dog that he's the boss". See what I mean? Developing this skill can improve your potential to help your dog effectively through the CU program. (FYI - I mean to do this in safe situations or even just at home) This will help you learn to identify triggers and learn to read your dog's thresholds.

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I was thinking that this little video might help you to understand what LAT looks like. This is not technically a "Control Unleashed" video and it's not official. I was just playing LAT with Speedy for fun.

 

 

ETA: A dog does not have to be on a mat to play LAT. I had Speedy on his mat to help him. This item was very high value and the mat helped Speedy to understand that we were playing a specific game.

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I was thinking that this little video might help you to understand what LAT looks like. This is not technically a "Control Unleashed" video and it's not official. I was just playing LAT with Speedy for fun.

 

 

ETA: A dog does not have to be on a mat to play LAT. I had Speedy on his mat to help him. This item was very high value and the mat helped Speedy to understand that we were playing a specific game.

 

 

Clicker is loaded. I'll get a mat in preparation only, thanks.

 

Help me get my head around the concept please. Do you mark the "look only" behavior while working below threshold, then reward the dog for looking "only"and not over-reacting? Is it that dog learns "look only" is the behavior that get's them the treat?

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Clicker is loaded. I'll get a mat in preparation only, thanks.

 

Help me get my head around the concept please. Do you mark the "look only" behavior while working below threshold, then reward the dog for looking "only"and not over-reacting? Is it that dog learns "look only" is the behavior that get's them the treat?

 

 

You want the "look" behavior to be just that, when I say "look" you look at something then immediately click them looking at that thing, Then looking back to you for the treat, so you are clicking them looking away.

 

To start out with you want to teach the behavior to something non stimulating (like a toy or she uses an X on a wall demo in the book), until you can get the dog to look at whatever you want by saying "look". Then you move on to more stimulating things but slowly as to not get them above threshold, then eventually you move to what arouses them the most and you work that from as far away as you can so they are below threshold and slowly get closer, anytime they get above threshold you move farther away or leave until they are settled.

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Just wondering, I have a mat already, but have only been using it in Spirit's crate, I don't think she even notices it's there anymore. Would I still be able to use this mat for CU training, or should I get a completely new mat?

 

Autumn

 

I would get a new mat, the mat should be the BEST THING IN THE WORLD! When my dog see's her mat come out she goes bonkers over it, if I used the same one for her crate I don't think she would be as excited about it. Only really good things happen to dogs that lay on their mat.

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Help me get my head around the concept please. Do you mark the "look only" behavior while working below threshold, then reward the dog for looking "only"and not over-reacting?

 

Simple answer: you should only play this game when your dog is below threshold. If your dog is overly excited or reacting, it's time for management, not training. (To be clear - this is specifically within the context of the CU program)

 

Once your dog is fluent in this game, you can use it to prevent an "over-reaction", but the dog must know the game thoroughly before you can expect it to work for that. And you will ease into that type of application.

 

Is it that dog learns "look only" is the behavior that get's them the treat?

 

No, although that is the mechanism through which the dog learns LAT. LAT is actually a behavior chain.

 

What the dog learns (in the context of the game) is that he looks (at whatever) and then by default orients to you.

 

Of course, this comes through a lot of repetition of - dog looks (at whatever) - click - dog orients to you - treat.

 

Does that make sense?

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Just wondering, I have a mat already, but have only been using it in Spirit's crate, I don't think she even notices it's there anymore. Would I still be able to use this mat for CU training, or should I get a completely new mat?

 

Autumn

 

I would either get a new mat to use for CU, or use the mat in the crate for CU, but get a new one for the crate.

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To start out with you want to teach the behavior to something non stimulating (like a toy or she uses an X on a wall demo in the book), until you can get the dog to look at whatever you want by saying "look".

 

One other nice way to start to capture the "look" is to have a family member (someone well known to the dog who isn't particularly exciting), stand across the room behind the dog and quietly clap or tap his or her feet on the floor. When the dog turns to see what the sound is about, you can click (as the dog looks at that person) and then reward when the dog looks back for the treat.

 

That's a nice jump start to the game, and it is sometimes necessary with a dog who wants to nose touch anything you might present for the dog to look at!

 

Edited: To correct grammar

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One other nice way to start to capture the "look" is to have a family member (someone well known to the dog who isn't particularly exciting), stand across the room behind the dog and quietly clap or tap his or her feet on the floor. When the dog turns to see what the sound is about, you can click (as the dog looks at that person) and then reward when the dog looks back for the treat.

 

That's a nice jump start to the game, and it is sometimes necessary with a dog who wants to nose touch anything you might present for the dog to look at!

 

Edited: To correct grammar

 

Ok, I think I have a proof of concept. Peyton is spooked by storm drains. She'll hit the end of the leash every time if we get too close.

 

I took LAT and applied it and Peyton learned when she looked at the storm drain she got a treat. This took all of 5 minutes and I'm 1000% positive she got it. That didn't help "much" on the spooky part, but she clearly was looking at the drain, and looked back at me expecting a treat sometimes even before I could click. No question at all that she understood what it took to get the treat. (Peyton is just amazingly quick to teach anything) So it looks like LAT will work for her, I just need to figure out how to work this for her and other dogs.

 

The second and most important part is how to maintain the behavior without a click and treat. The next time we go out and walk by that storm drain, I better have a treat, because she will be looking for it. :rolleyes:

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So it looks like LAT will work for her, I just need to figure out how to work this for her and other dogs.

 

The CU book should help you with this.

 

The second and most important part is how to maintain the behavior without a click and treat. The next time we go out and walk by that storm drain, I better have a treat, because she will be looking for it. :rolleyes:

 

Time, time, time, and repetition. I mean months, not days or weeks. Trust me - it pays off and you do get to the point where you don't need to have treats on you, but it won't happen overnight and it can't be rushed.

 

Once you have LAT on cue and you play LAT with a lot of different things - some neutral and some significant - that kind of fluency will come with repetition, repetition, repetition.

 

Think of the reinforcement in LAT as a bank. If you make 5 "deposits", you don't have a whole lot of reinforcement history to "draw" on. "Draw" out too much too fast, and there is nothing left. But say you have made 500 "deposits". Now you have a reinforcement history you can draw on. You can stretch if necessary.

 

So, I'd plan on having a treat with the storm drain for a solid month and then reassess the situation. You might find that it happens faster. Reading your dog will help you make that determination.

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how it works is by counter-conditioning, If by looking at storm drains enough and getting treats storm drains no longer become scary after enough time and treats, It is the same with the dog over reaction, by slowly getting clicks and treats for calmly looking at another dog and getting treats and slowly getting closer and closer to them she is counter conditioned to be calm and look at them and then look at you for a treat. That is why time, repetition and staying under threshold is so important for this to work. Right now I wouldn't even worry about a time table on getting rid of the treats it will be a LONG time.

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