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Tips on meet-and-greets?

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I just posted another thread in which I praised my 6-month-old for being a generally well-disposed dog.  The caveat being when he's meeting other dogs or humans: his enthusiasm to get to them overrides his ability to be calm.  Obviously, it's no fun to have the dog run to the end of the leash, pulling and squirming, every time another dog or human comes within 20 feet.

I think a lot of this is developmental, so I'm not taking it too seriously, just trying to work at it slowly and diligently and progressively.  In that vein, though, does anyone have any exercises/training tips that can help with a calm meet-and-greet? 

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Keep working diligently on this.

You don't mention the method you are using, and there may be a more effective way to train him.

 I strongly recommend the book "Click To Calm",  ( run, don't walk, to the nearest bookstore or order online immediately, I say :)). This book taught me the best method to use when dealing with reactive behavior, and I have used the techniques on several dogs, always with success. 

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Thanks, D'Elle -- while I don't see myself ever using a clicker, I will definitely check out the book and see if its techniques can transfer over to us non-clickers.

What I'm doing now is trying to take advantage of training opportunities.  For example, when I'm on a walk and see someone else with their dog, I try to keep Finnegan's attention on me as we walk generally towards them.  At some distance (say 30 yards), I have him sit or lie down next to me and give him praise/treats when he turns his attention to me (either on command or naturally).  I stop all praise when he looks at the dog, and try to get his attention.  If he's doing well, I move in a little closer and repeat the assessment.  If I get too close and he can't handle it, we back up and hang out/play/walk around in a zone where he's still able to be calm and attentive to me and I praise him when his attention is on me.  My hope is that we can continue to make the distance closer and closer.  The hard part is when there's no opportunity to do that, like when the dog walker approaches me.  

Also in more general terms, we do the Karen Overall Relaxation Protocol, and are working at it in all sorts of places.  Just this afternoon, I took Finnegan to the soccer fields across from my office and we watched little kids play soccer (with themselves and two off-leash chihuahuas) while he was in a down/stay.  We were about 50 yards away from the action and Finnegan did super.  Observant of the action, but still totally able to listen to me.  

Finally, in super general terms, I am working on forging a deep bond of respect and trust between Finnegan and me.  I was lucky that I had such a bond with the Aussie I put down last summer.  If I can replicate half of that, then I'm way ahead. 

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by the time your brain computes to you to click your mouth has already spit it out..hands and verbal I find are much more readily accepted - and you always have them with you..


I would simply not allow him to get in this state of mind. Place the collar in your hand, he can't lunge then, and simply hold him by it, while in a sit, until the other party has moved off to where he can win - behave. Slowly reduce the tension on the collar as he improves. It takes time, lots of time. You can also, while holding his collar teach him this a good thing. Hold collar, treat, take hold with other hand, treat...So when you are holding his collar he cannot move and he doesn't feel it as a correction.

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A physical clicker is not necessary, of course. A word or sound works just as well as long as the sound is consistent. I prefer a clicker but I know others who are good dog trainers who don't use one.  The protocol is what's important. For me, the use of the clicker comes much faster than my mouth because I am so trained to use it that it is automatic. 

Also, the clicker is only used for the original training. Once the dog is trained well in the wanted behavior,  it's not necessary to always have it on you. I think that is a common misconception some people have on how clickers are used.  Not saying anyone here has that misconception, but I've encountered it a lot when training people to train their dogs.


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