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Home Forums THE LOUNGE Dog Section & POSITIVE training (woof woof!)

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    It occured to me that many of us animal lovers also have dogs and I thought maybe all info, tips and hints could be regoupred here

    I would like to emphasize that this is a POSITIVE training thread and any training advice using electric collars, prong or shock collars has no place here. Nor has ‘popping’ the dog (!), or yanking, slapping, shouting or any ‘negative’ physical interaction.

    This has come about as my new arrival, a 6y9m old male, black, collie/lab cross (we think!) rescue has come with some issues.

    His history is pretty much unknown.

    He is a dream in the house now (after 3 weeks here) he is great with the cats and the bunnies and seemingly with people. He has obviously had a lot of good education (I believe him to have been with a disabled 20 year old for his first 6 years), sits, stays, comes, plays fetch (and brings the ball back!) all with enthusiasm, a waggy tail and is obviously intelligent.

    The problem I have is he is VERY reactive to other dogs in the street. (I believe more like dominant barking, rather than fearful)

    We are currently binge watching Zak George  on youtube and going for walks with a ton of turkey in a pocket. And any reaction to another dog means we turn around and walk to a distance where he is ‘compliant’ with a “sit” and “look” up to my face.

    He is socialised to a certain extent as he is good in close contact with some dogs (at the moment, beotches) ETA “girl dogs”, BB alters if you write bitc… 

    All training walks are preceeded by lots of exercise or fetch to ‘get that pent up energy out’ !!

    I know it’s early and we are making some small progress (baby steps!) but I wondered if any of you have had the same problem and if you were able to resolve it relatively quickly with positive methods, how? and over how long?

    Give me hooooope! Please.  


    Hey! I love seeing your posts about your rescue dog

    I don’t have a dog of my own, but faced this exact same problem with the rescue dog my grandmother adopted a few years ago. Back story, after my grandfather died I went to go live with my grandma for a summer and we adopted a rescue lab, Barley, for her, so I was there for his first 3 months in his new home. He was about 4 at the time and we think came from an abusive background. He was also a love-bug at home, although a little skittish at first espeicially if you were holding a long instrument like a broom or hose ( It makes me so sad how cruel some people can be…)

    Outside he had the same problem, would lose it when he saw any other dogs and howl and bark and try to get at them. Interestingly, he was much better off leash although still nervous (is Baloo ok with dogs off leash?). We worked on the same sort of positive reinforcement that you are doing, treats given to him when he watches you instead of passing dogs, etc. But I think what helped the most was time. He got better slowly, but after about two months we progressed to him only growling at worst towards other dogs. And now he loves other dogs, you would never know he was that barking maniac!

    My interpretation of it with Barely was that he was scared of the other dogs and not confident we could protect him, so he had to lash out. Once he trusted us more, he would be more calm around other dogs. My evidence for this is that Barely still barks at other dogs on walks when he is walked by someone he doesn’t know, or someone he has only known for a short time. The longer he is around a person the less he barks on walks…

    Sorry if this isn’t much help to your current situation, but just wanted to let you know that there certainly is hope! It is so great you have given him a loving home, and I think that that in itself may go a long way to helping your problem Happy training!


    Vienna it sounds like you have it all well under control The only thing I can add is in addition to Zak George try watching some youtube videos from kikopup. She has some good videos on proofing behaviours and teaching dogs to be calm etc and uses the same or at least a very similar technique for reward based training in making it easy for the dog to succeed by taking a step back and so on.


    I sound more positive when writing than i do in reality Az !! LOL
    TB it certainly does help, thanks, and gives me hope.

    Im thinking also that the more he sees the same dogs in our neighbourhood and gets to know the surrounding area it will get better too as he will know from afar that he’ll get treats.

    Any tips on hierarchy in the house within animals….? He is very food aggressive with a full bowl (normla, he was starved for 5 months) when the cats go near but he lets them lick the empty bowl.

    Should i leave this be, or feed the cats treats before i give Baloo his bowl?


    I think I’d feed Baloo separate from the cats. Food is after all the most central need a being has. It has to do with survival among animals. But if he shows food aggression/ resource defense against you, it must be dealt with.


    Absolutely agree with you there bam.
    Nope no agression against me at all. I can take a full bowl away. Put my hand in it and take away a bone too.
    I do it nearly every day too just to make sure something invisible doesn’t build up over these crucial first months.
    That was an absolute must for me !

    Ok. So, who has advice against a dog phobia walking over bridges where you can see the water or traffic below !????! (Grooooan)
    He was soooo freaked tonight walking over the bridges. EVEN with a hand full of turkey in front of him….. (it was dangerous he was pulling off the tiny pavement into the road!!)

    And i have a few bridges near me, living near a motorway and a canal !!



    Could you find a bit of a quieter/less busy bridge to do training on? I did bridge training with Effi in the woods, on a bridge across a stream. Again and again until she forgot it was scary.

    If he can focus on you it’d be good.


    Hmmm yes. Think ill start in middle of road and work our way towards the edges…… over time…. hey ho !!


    Maybe teaching him heel (teaching him to walk right next to you with his shoulders never passing your knee, and when you stop, he sits automatically) would work, and stop walking for a second every once in a while? He would spend most of his time paying attention to you to see when you stop so he sits automatically when you stop, and won’t really pay attention to the bridge.

    We never walked Eevie over a big bridge because one time when we were having a picnic next to a river, she slipped out of her harness. She saw geese and ducks swimming in the gross dirty river, and the edge of the river was kind of steep because the river was low. Without hesitation, she jumped right into the river. I guess it was deeper than she expected because she belly-flopped right into the lake, and the look on her face said “I immediately regret this!!” and we couldn’t stop laughing at the poor dog. She swam right back up to us and we caught her. She was so smelly and dirty that she had to stay in the trunk of the car the whole ride home and was crying the whole time. She would do it again in a heartbeat, because she never learns from her mistakes. (She also jumped off a mini walking bridge in the woods, but the creek under it was all dried up for the summer, and we got lucky with no wet dog, but muddy pawed dog instead)


    Reese, that must’ve been so scary! 

    Vienna, I think it’d be great if you could teach Baloo heel, he’ll be focused on you until he gets his treat and his release-command. 

    We got Effi a winter coat today so she can keep her little behind warm when winter strikes. Not that it has a lot to do with positive dog training, but at least on the first pic it’s evident how intensely positive she’s feeling in her new coat. 

    I’m longing for snow now and minus 12 degrees C (10 F). 


    Grrreat idea Vienna!

    I certainly could use some help with Otis… He’s my first puppy and I guess it shows, he’s a mess. The first (and worst) problem we have with him is, you guessed it, leash pulling. It wasn’t such a problem when he was smaller, but he’s 6 months now and weighs 40 lbs. I can’t really take him for walks anymore because he’s way too strong and nearly rips my arm off when he gets going. I’ve tried to get him to focus on me, but he’s not interested in treats, or toys. All he wants to do is pull his way to the horizon. We’ve just gotten the backyard cleaned up so he can get some of that energy out, hopefully it will get him to calm down enough so I can work on teaching him some leash manners. Any tips are greatly appreciated!
    He also loves to play keep away with things he isn’t supposed to touch. He doesn’t seem to have any sense of when he’s “in trouble”, if we come after him whenever he’s stolen a blanket or a piece of clothing, he just gets more excited. The only thing that sort of works is if I growl at him. Then he will (sometimes) calm down, put his ears back and act kind of submissive, for about five seconds. I’m trying to teach him “drop it”, it works sometimes and he gets lots of praise.

    I know most of this is typical puppy behavior, but I would still appreciate any advice! He’s so bad we’ve considered renaming him “Notis”.

    Vienna: I’ve been watching Zak George as well! Poor Baloo, I don’t blame him, bridges are scary. Hopefully he’ll get more comfortable with it after a few more times, teaching him to heel is a great idea!

    Bam: Effi looks so cute in her coat! I’m sure she’ll learn to appreciate it.

    Reesebun: That sounds like a mess! But at least she came right back to you.


    Hazel, Can I have some advice on drop it? We taught Eevie drop it because she is always getting on the counter! Now that she knows drop it, she goes on the counter even more because she thinks that if she steals something off the counter and chews it up, she gets a treat. She will only drop it if we say “drop it”, then hold the treat up to her face. This is a constant thing she does now. No matter how clean the counters are, she always finds something. What should I do?


    Popping in to say I LIKE this thread.


    Counter surfers are the worst, right?? Otis does this constantly, too. She sounds like a smart girl, or rather an evil genius.

    I would say the important thing is not to offer her the treat while she’s still being naughty, as in she’s still holding chewing/something inappropriate. Only after she’s released it should the treat come out. Maybe even have her go through a few other commands before giving her the treat so she doesn’t connect it with the undesired behavior. The way we taught Otis to drop it is not positive training, so I don’t know if it’s okay to talk about? I’m only bringing it up because Reese mentioned that her pup won’t drop it unless presented with a reward. Vienna, if you’re not okay with it, just let me know and I will remove it. If he grabbed something he’s not supposed to, I would put my hand over his muzzle, and put my fingers and thumb into his mouth from the sides. I didn’t apply enough pressure to hurt him in any way, but it felt awkward to him and he would eventually drop whatever was in his mouth. At that moment I would say “drop it” and then give lots of praise. We also taught him “off”, which means get your paws off the counter, again lots of praise when he complies.

    I think it would help if you practiced “drop it” with things she’s allowed to play with, like her toys. When she drops it, give her a high value treat (and like I said, don’t offer the treat before she actually drops it). If she’s got something off the counter, I would again get her to drop it, but only praise her verbally. That way she knows she did the right thing, but she also doesn’t get a high value treat which might encourage her to do it again. Or as I mentioned above, go through a few obedience commands after she dropped it before giving her the treat, so she loses the connection.


    Now that she knows drop it, she goes on the counter even more because she thinks that if she steals something off the counter and chews it up, she gets a treat.

    She sounds like a smart girl, or rather an evil genius.

    Although I she likely does associate the treat with “drop it” rather then stealing and chewing BUT she’s creating scenarios where you’ll mostly likely say “drop it” ie TREAT. Smart.
    Ive speculated about my sisters dog doing something like this too. Where he does something he knows he shouldn’t but gets rewarded when he stops.
    How old is Eevie?
    Maybe you need to mix up how many times she gets a treat for “drop it” so it’s less predictable for her? You can reward with your words or affection.


    He also loves to play keep away with things he isn’t supposed to touch. He doesn’t seem to have any sense of when he’s “in trouble”, if we come after him whenever he’s stolen a blanket or a piece of clothing, he just gets more excited.

    That’s annoying but cute at same time, Hazel. Do you have trouble keeping a straight face?

    Getting some of that energy out in the yard should help, I think. After he’s expended some of that, could you do some short leash training sessions with him at home?  You mentioned him not being interested in treats or toys, is that just when you’re trying use them to help couteract his pulling? Is he interested in them at home?  That would be valuable in training sessions. 


    Vienna, it sounds like Baloo has come a long way! I wasn’t aware of his first 6 years history, only the more recent damaging history. Im glad he’s had that life earlier on.

    Do you have some friends with male dogs you could work with around him? I think it is so hard to work around these issues (reactive to dogs) when on a walk because it’s somewhat unpredictable environment for the owner (meaning, you don’t know who is out and about) and it’s a majorly stimulating environment for a dog. So getting that focus could be an up hill battle – exhausting. When the walk is supposed to be enjoyable bonding time for you both.

    Like Bam mentioned she did bridge training with Effi in a quiet, out of the way spot. – could you do similar with the reactive to dogs issue?

    @Thorbunny, that was a great outcome with Barley! Interesting that he was better off-leash. Ive seen that a bit with my sisters dog. He is good with other dogs generally, but sometimes on leash he’s more uncertain. Im interested to know how Baloo is off-leash too! Vienna, have you been able to take him to a dog park at all or is it too early days for that?


    Sorry to now be spamming this thread.   I wasn’t able to get to it until now.  I’ve mentioned my sisters dog a few times (1yr old border collie) and will be asking for some thoughts about his behaviour at some point. He’s a lovely dog & bit of a hoot. But has a couple of behaviours he needs work on.  His major one is barking and lunging at cars. I did find a video that features a dog behaving exactly like him. 

    I have a dog at home too.   Hunter, 14yr old tenterfield terrier. He’s only been living with me this past year. He’s actually another sisters  dog (and husband) but with young kids, they weren’t able to give him the attention he needed and asked if I was willing to take him.

    He’s been overweight for a long time but he has trimmed down a fair bit now. I was a bit apprehensive about having an older dog lose weight but the vet mentioned about the risks of pancreatitis in older, overweight dogs.

    Im now walking him fairly often with the border collie I mentioned.  He wasn’t continually socialised with other dogs, so he barked at most other dogs we came across and at people if they looked directly at him. But the more exposure he’s gotten, the better he’s become. 

    Now, he walks with this other dog, even becoming more playful with him when off-leash and we often come across a group of dogs in an area they can be let off-leash. He copes quiet nicely. You can teach old dogs new things.  


    Thanks for the suggestions! Eevie is a bit more than 1 year old. The problem with telling her to drop it and not give her the treat is that she won’t drop it unless you hold the treat up to her. If you don’t give her the treat, she will play keep-away until you catch her. When you do catch her, you have to pry her jaws open and she will growl and bite (She is a really good girl though! she is not a mean dog). We keep her tired and active too because she gets more naughty when she is bored. 


    Is it food she had taken off the counter that you’re trying to get her to drop? Or random items? 

    ETA: I guess whichever is irrelevant really.   Do you think she is snatching stuff off the counter to initiate a game? 


    Anything she can pick up! She might be trying to play, but it is really annoying!


    Just popping in late tonight to say I will write more tomorrow at a more decent time of the day.

    I reckon Reese though it’s NOT a good idea to take something out of the mouth of a dog that’s growling and could bite!. He should make the decision to leave it on his own and to do this you need to follow Zak George’s advice and train with a tug toy. Make it ever so exciting for him pull pull pull tug tug tug, and then hold the toy still and do NOT move until the dog becomes bored. When he does he will slacken his hold on it and leave it, so you clicker or say the word “leave” and give oooooodles of praise. Do it again and again.

    Jersey, pop away like a little bag of popcorn and spam away like a tin of…. spam !!! LOL.
    Lunging at cars is worrying.
    Have you checked Zaks video with the dog who is obsessed with lunging and biting trees !!!!!??? Could that help you ?

    Baloo has been off lead with two beotches in a dog park type enclosure. It went well. (Id checked his reaction when he was not with them… he is polite! Which is what gives me hope!)

    He was in a public place yesterday (a sports hall) on an SPA open day…. it didn’t go well… soooo many distractions and dogs and people, he was the only one making a scene (and me with my hotdogs in my pocket trying to appease him!!!) if i wasn’t so upset, I guess I’d think it funny.

    I’m going to get professional help….. well it worked with Henry !! ( )


    I’m going to get professional help….. well it worked with Henry !! (  

    Are you thinking to have someone come work with you and him at home or booking him in to a school?

    Jersey, pop away like a little bag of popcorn and spam away like a tin of…. spam !!! LOL.
    Lunging at cars is worrying.
    Have you checked Zaks video with the dog who is obsessed with lunging and biting trees !!!!!??? Could that help you ?

    Biting trees. lol.
    I watched this one which pretty much is Danny but as a GR rather then a BC. The similarities in this dog and Danny were uncanny.
    Coinicidentally, has a bit in it that demonstates what you described for ReeseBun at the 5:20 mark, so I knew exactly what you were talking about. 

    One of the 1st ZG vids I watched had rabbits in it.  Did you see that?  The zoom in on faces of these domestic rabbits in a park somewhere.    

    I feel like we might need a separate thread for video commentary. Not just his series but of the ones you end up watching by other people that are related to the topic. Ive tried not to watch too many as I’ll find hours have slipped by.
    I literally clapped my hands when I watched one last night and the dog made progress on what ever it was being taught. I was so proud.
    Their faces and how they cock their head from side to side when curious and interested… it’s so adorable.


    Vienna, thanks for the advice! Earlier I said she does drop-it perfectly. The problem is that she is taking stuff constantly now because she wants treats and will not drop it until I show her a treat and say drop-it. We do not pull stuff out of her mouth is she is growling and biting.


    Are you thinking to have someone come work with you and him at home or booking him in to a school?

    Hmmmm, dépends who I find. I’m happy to do the work, I just need an interpreter and aide to find out what’s winding him up and advice on steps to take! Dominance? Fear? Frustration at being on a lead !!
    He can’t continue going round barking like a rabied angry writhing crocodile on the end of a leash !!

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