Behavior Issues - Seeking Help
Overall Duke is a very well adjusted and great 6 month old boy, but he's developed a bad habit. After we 'meet' another dog, he gets excited and starts to bark at me, jump around, lunge at me, and try to pull out of his harness. I think he's mad he's not allowed to play with the dog longer. He can also act like this when we run - even a light jog across the street lately has been a trigger. I've tried the passive (turn away from him and ignore it), the positive (praise him when he doesn't do it), and he negative (grab him by the collar and 'bad dog'); nothing has worked. We live in an urban environment with a lot of dogs and he's been on leash since day 1. I will try to run him more off leash, but I work from home 3 days a week and he gets a lot of walks every day, so I don't think it is too much pent up energy.
I have a 8 month old male and he does almost the same thing but he does not bark or lunge at me but does a lot of hopping around. I also live in a pretty urban environment and we do encounter a lot of dogs. It seems to be a lot worse when the other dog is acting exited or aggressive. I have had to deal with this in my previous boxers as well, I found that as they mature mine have generally gotten over it with time and I do not respond to their excitedness by reacting with excitement as well. I kinda think that encourages the behavior. I also walk mine everyday. Sometimes I will make it a point to stop and talk with other dog walkers until my dogs settle down around other dogs "meaning there is no playing with other dogs going to happen" they will learn it can be trying and frustrating but it does get better.
I noticed my pup at a young age would do that if we were on the harness for a bike ride.
When I walked with him I always used a slip lead and never had that issue. I'm a big believer in no harness for walks. Just my opinion but it gives them to much freedom at a young age. With the slip lead I was able to have total control.
Once he learned how to walk correctly with the slip lead, i trained the focused heel off leash.
The funny thing is, the only time he will still occasionally pull to meet another dog is when he is in the harness. If we are walking off leash, he will walk right by.
Well of course he is "mad??" That's nothing new." :)
But if you are walking him on a harness?? You have "Zero Chance" of giving him a "Correction of uh any kind??" NA d the more he gets to practice this bad behavior, the better at he becomes! The time to "fix" this is now!
And I will admit sigh ... that I am (apparently) not as a good at "Dog Training" as I thought??? Apparently I was really good at "puppy picking!" Even my nightmare people hating send you to the ER, OS WL GSD! So yeah, ... if I don't have a dog that presents a clear and present danger to others?? I get lost kinda odd but whatever.
Still even though my PIA, Bella ( FEMALE, APBT/Boxer) has me a bit baffled as it were. One of the things she does do well ... is walk well on leash! PIA that she can be, one of the things she can do well is walk well on leash!
So training that, I have down and it is not "Dog Dependent!" But even so with her I had to adapt, and with her, I also wound up using a "Prong Collar On!" But it was more for "refinement" than the basic's.
You can't effectively correct your dog with a harness?? And a proper correction would be a slight tug "Sideways." You can't do that with a harness and your dog already knows that, so as long as you keep using a "Harness??" Your gonna keep getting the same results?? So you need to do something different!
My primary tool of choice is a Slip Lead Leash. If you work rescue (which I did) that is the only "tool" they will let you use on there dogs! And admittedly it is a bit "tricky to use" but it is also quite effective!
I started a thread here to help others, it was all the info I could find at the time?? Maybe there is more info now but I don't know?? And you will see also info about "Prong Collars" ... people kept asking, so I put that info in there also. And much to my surprise I wound up using it! :)
Still although I could have done the same with a "Prong Collar" I suppose?? I wound up using a SLL, to let Bella meet a very nice little Yorkie!
Dog Park situation, and because Bella is such a "Tool" I have to go there to let her run. But I try to go when no one is there, Dayton is a small town so it's not that hard. But I did see car and no owner or dog??
So we went into the "Big Dog Part" as I could see no one?? And surely if there were any little dogs in there they would be in the ... little dog area??? Well ... it turns out there was someone in there! And they were not in the little dog part!!
I swear to GOD, I just don't get how some people can be so freaking clueless! At a Dog Park you don't know who brings what in there??? But whatever at any rate out of the brush I see a women approaching?? Bella was close to me and on leash (because she is well an A-Hole) and although I did not see anyone?? I knew there was someone in there somewhere with something??
Well there was and it was absolutely the cutest little Yorkie I have ever seen! :)
The owner was very nice ... although clueless! And her dog came out of the "Brush" and headed straight towards Bella!" OH CRAP! As regards other dogs?? I have seen (possibly barrier aggression??) Some very very bad behavior from Bella!!
As much as I don't trust ... dogs, I do not know and will protect my dogs! I am just as "Anal" about keeping dogs I have care of from hurting uh .. killing other peoples dogs! And a Yorkie vs a Boxer/APBT mix?? Well that is not really a contest!! But I was trapped and here they come!!!
I quickly grabbed up Bella's leash (SLL) and I applied I gently upward pressure to the leash, so Bella's ability to attack if she chose was greatly resisted! Now if she did a "foot scoop" and a spin and the Yorkie would be safe!! But it was not necessary. The Yorkie just walked right on like hey no big deal! And Bella was pretty overexcited but not bad! I just held Bella's head up and the Yorkie sniffed while I sigh, talked with the owner.
After a few minuets I relaxed a bit. And I was surprised to see the Yorkie butt sniffing Bella and Bella had no response! :) She did great!!
Now I was not willing to let Bella and the Yorkie run freely?? Cuz this was already too much for me! But Bella did good! But had Bella been on a harness?? Yeah ... Good Luck with that! :)
At any rate ... you might want to reconsider using a harness?? And have a look here.:
Near as I know that has all you need to know on using a SLL?? Bella still has me a bit "baffled??"But anything you can train using a leash ... she has down pat! :)
This would be my st. poodle. He is better now but not always great. I had to teach him to ignore other dogs & their people. I actually think it was a combination of over excitement and some fear. It was like ok hold me, well St poodles are big,in fact he stands slightly taller than our boxer but not as heavy. I used some of the positive training methods. (I had tried my usual correction methods). When I see a dog approaching I say Look at that..and keep talking while putting him in a sit. When he is calm and ignoring I lavish him with treats. I'm not a treat person didn't use them on my boxer in training but this worked. I even went as far as if we were in our driveway and someone came by or stopped and he ignored he got a boatload. There are so many different ways of training now days and I like to use a combination of them. My poodle is a very sensitive sole and I did use a pinch collar on him when teaching a loose leash walk. While it worked for that part I think it was detrimental on approaching other dogs/people as he would get so excited he would pinch himself and then a light bulb came on in my head and I thought maybe he is starting to associated that pinch with seeing others. That is when I went to the positive method of "look at that". I do not allow the meeting of other dogs, I prefer he just stay in his own space and I find that actually works for us as I can walk with the other person and their dog calmly. (other dog must be calm too). I think if you take him out and keep socializing him in different places it will help even more. I also learned that certain learned things don't necessarily work in a different environment, so if you do training in more social and different environments eventually it all sinks in. Your boy is young and will soon be in those teenage years so keep at it and I bet your going to have one awesomely trained guy.
Thanks for all the suggestions :) I figured the response would be to try something different than a harness, but I have always used a harness due to boxer's strength and propensity to pull. When I take him out for a quick bathroom break, I use a collar, but any walk of length I have always used a harness. I guess I can give the slip lead a try though. As tough as it is, I think ignoring the behavior as much as possible is the answer too...and yeah he'll probably grow out of it. Trying to think back to my last boxer, but can't recall this particular issue. Anyhow, thanks for the suggestions, I think it was helpful just to vent a little on here :)
I agree with the venting thing for sure! My male boxer like I said is 8mos old and he is a handful! I found myself yesterday giving myself a 10 count he was being pretty bad yesterday. He started out by jumping in my car after he used the bathroom with "yard candy on his feet" and our day just got worse from there! I just keep telling myself this is just a phase then we met some dogs out on our walk and the hopping and pulling began, then I was "trying" to do some yard work and had to keep stopping and digging mulch out of his mouth and whatever else he could find dirt, sticks ect ect!Puppies!
If one chooses to go in that environment?? Then one has an "Obligation .. I feel, to make sure there dog" does not cause harm to the ..."Clueless??" And assuming the dog doing the meeting, is a "Balanced Dog" ie non aggressive! If "your dog" is or can be "aggressive??"
In order to make that meet and greet successful, you have to be able to control your dog! Now doing this a couple of days ago, was "not" my plan! But sigh Mr. Yorkie was incessant! So you know ... there you are??
It was not my plan to meet another dog ... but "Crap Happens." And SA, (Situational Awareness) ie head up eyes and ears open!
I saw Mr Yorkie and his owner emerge from the brush and Mr Yorkie made a Bee line for Bella! Bella was on a leash, dragging it and kept her close cuz I suspected there was someone in the Park somewhere??
And at this time she was on a SLL. It was easy to control her with a SSL, I just kept a slight upward pressure on the leash, to keep her from being able to suddenly grab downward! So Mr Yorkie, could safely check her out! I was surprised that after a couple minuets, Bella Relaxed and I was even more surprised that Bella allowed (after a few minuets) Mr Yorkie to sniff her butt without issue!
It was pretty cool but other people were coming and I wanted to get out of there! Bella however did great! On the other hand ... when we trying to leave someone else way on the other of the Dog Park, was coming in!!
I told them wait ... we were leaving! They had three dogs and one was on a "Flexi Leash" (a sure sigh of the Clueless!) And those dog's had an "ATTITUDE!" And yep sure enough ..."this" was now the "Bella" I was expecting! As she met "Aggression Agitation" with the same!
I would have expected them to leash up there dogs and wait till we got out?? But instead they leashed them up and brought them in "anyway!" They did ask if "Bella" was safe and I said ... "I don't know??" :)
I gave them space as they entered and Bella was actually not that bad?? But clearly it was not the same as "Mr Yorkie!"
But my point here is that for me ... Dog to Dog introduction was much easier with the SSL then it would have been with a "Prong Collar" maybe?? A "Prong Collar" is a two edged sword. It can take "Drive" out of a dog, or it can put "Drive" into a dog. It depends on how it is used??
So with the "pinch thing" and your dog, that may be what was happening?? But I don't know??
And the "look Me" thing?? Sigh .. I never gave a crap with "My other dogs" but things change?? And "now" it's something I need to "understand!"
Sigh ... I wish I'd gotten my "Boxer Female Puppy" and then I could have continued to be the same "Arrogant Tool" I always was! But you know, times change and dogs ... pass on. :(
And I am not a "Gold Fish Person" so you know ... Adapt or move on as it were. I had thought that my formerly (Human Aggressive GSD) was my pinnacle but "apparently" not so much?? Sigh ... my "Bella" has thus far "proven" to be much more of a challenge then I expected ... but she does walk on leash. Live and learn I suppose?? :)
Yes Chip its live & learn. Each dog is different and so your training methods must be modified or adjusted. This St. Poodle is sensitive. I don't know how to explain it but he just "feels". He comes to me for reassurance, after hat he is ok. I think the pinch collar on him made him more fearful of strangers/dogs and he "felt" the pinch and it hurt so he feared it and associated it not with the collar but with people. Now on a flat collar or mrtingle, he has been so much better. He will come at my side and sit waiting for me me to say its ok to say hello or if I choose to just keep walking. The look at me brings his focus back on you. So I had to modify my training of him, went to flat collar and treats and you know I wasn't up to treats but he became more interested in them then what was going on around him, so it worked. I seldom have them now but if I do I reenforce his good behavior or we just engage in a little play as he does like games. I am liking many of the positive training methods though I do modify. I like this trainer Susan Garrett, she makes a lot of sense to me. Her methods work but they take a long time ...(to me anyhow).
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