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Bodmin had a bad start today

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by LittleMow, Oct 26, 2020.


  1. LittleMow

    LittleMow PetForums Senior

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    So, at the start of our 6am walk a couple with a Golden came round the corner (about 5m away). Too late to turn back, we tried to keep his leash loose, so I went down to give him some chicken. I was in front of him, OH holding lead, he took some chicken, but I could see he was going to go, so I stood back out the way. He starting growling and lunging.

    The dog passed and we carried on. Bodmin then started do that weird breathing, like he was having a bit of a panic attack. He was shaking as well. I went down to try and settle him, he just didn't seem to recover like he normally does, so we decided to take him home. At home he seemed unsettled and he curled up into a small ball.

    His normal response to dogs is to want to greet them, he's very enthusiastic, it always appears playful (though could also be some anxiety?) this has on occasion lead to growling/lunging/barking - when we pull him away. We now just distract him by throwing down chicken and using this to lead him away. This works most of the time. The few dogs that are out at 6am he pretty much ignores now, they are normally the same set of dogs. If it's a new dog he sometimes really focuses on them and it can be hard to get him to stop. It rarely leads to the aggressive response. Except if the dogs a Golden, this is the 3rd time he's had this response to a Golden. Each time the Golden hasn't so much as looked at him, before he starts, and the growling hasn't been a response to us trying to pull him away.

    Trying to think what I could have done differently and was the strange breathing related to the other dog or a coincidence? Been going round and round thinking about it. Am I overthinking it?
     
  2. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    It sounds like you have a good plan in place for him; 6am walk, lots of chicken. Try not to beat yourself up. Loki responds very badly to black labs unfortunately they seem to be everywhere! Hopefully someone more experienced can help but don’t bear yourself up.
     
  3. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel Banned

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    Sorry i cant help either but try to relax and, as boxer says, don't beat yourself up over it. Take care xx
     
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  4. LittleMow

    LittleMow PetForums Senior

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    Thank you. We've been doing really well lately, as soon as I saw it was a Golden I thought this is going to be tricky. A few days ago 2 Dachshund came out of a house and walked right past us, he was interested in them but with the chicken we were able to just carry on. I suppose the difference between a Golden and a Dachshund is quite vast :)
     
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  5. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Trying to picture the scene ...

    Did you keep walking or stop?

    The breathing/shaking might be a release of tension once the “danger” has passed.

    Were you between him and the other dog?

    Btw Jack’s bff greyhound had a big anxiety “thing” for big black dogs.

    Jack isn’t happy with Airedale’s after one attacked him.
     
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  6. LittleMow

    LittleMow PetForums Senior

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    The dog came round the corner, other side of the road, we stopped. I was in front of Bodmin, I crouched down to him, he didn't want to take his eyes off the dog though, he was looking round me. He took some chicken, then lunged forward. The other dog didn't look at him until he started growling.
     
  7. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Ok.

    Does he know “watch me”?

    Or keep going next time, using a silly, happy voice and waving chicken under his nose?
     
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  8. LittleMow

    LittleMow PetForums Senior

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    He has a look command, but not what I would call a proper watch me, more of a glance really. It's something we started work on in the early days, but never really progressed to being able to use it outside with distractions. He is so intent on keeping an eye on 'the scary thing'. I think keeping moving may have been a better option and it works well when we have plenty of space and I scatter the chicken in the direction I want him to go in, say 'find it' and he normally does.

    Thank you :)
     
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  9. LittleMow

    LittleMow PetForums Senior

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    Seems it fairly normal for dogs to take a dislike to a particular breed then.
     
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  10. Teddy-dog

    Teddy-dog PetForums VIP

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    Don’t worry. You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s hard to be perfect with a reactive dog all the time! You just have to learn and adapt and think if you could change anything.

    I used to have a big problem with eye contact with Ted. He would lock on and it was so hard to get him to look away. He does know a watch me command but he would only do that if we were a good distance away. If we were on a narrow path then I had no chance so would get as far away as possible and scatter treats on the floor (make sure he sees them drop in front of his nose) and then try and block his view.
    It was very hard, in the beginning, to keep him walking past another dog while distracting him with treats, he was soo intent on staring at any dog that was in view. If we kept walking past, I would have to have a treat on his nose and make sure he didn’t finish it before the dog had gone because he was very quick to jump out and lunge at the other dog! So I found it easier to stop, get distance and scatter at first. Now he’s less reactive, I can usually keep walking and just feed him treats. He doesn’t lock on to dogs like he used to (very occasionally he does if it’s a very excitable dog).

    It takes a long time but he will get there :)
     
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  11. LittleMow

    LittleMow PetForums Senior

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    Thank you @Teddy-dog. It's so good to hear how you and Teddy have progressed. Do feel like with Bodmin we're starting to get things right. He's also very intent on staring at the other dog. In the early days could get next to zero focus from him, now he'll often glance over to me when there are dogs in the vicinity. To us that's huge, so trying to focus on the positive.

    Scattering the treats does seem to work best, but sometimes, if other dog is too close, damage limitation is in order. Walking while treating is something that needs a bit of practice, he's in the habit of stopping and so am I. Will work on this.

    Thanks again, Teddy sounds like a great dog :)
     
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  12. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    I’ll second the advice from @Lurcherlad .

    Keep moving, preferably to put more distance between you and the other dog, even if it means going back the way you just came. I really think that if you stop then you give your dog more time to focus on the issue and it may even be that by stopping you’ve signalled to him that there is an issue.

    If you can do this then maybe your dog will learn that you will help him in these situations, and be less likely to try to deal with it himself.
     
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  13. LittleMow

    LittleMow PetForums Senior

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    Thanks @Linda Weasel, we're going to work on my treating while walking skills. Been thinking it through and will definitely try to keep going next time. It all happened so quickly, I do agree that I probably didn't help by stopping and I'm not 100% sure why I did.
     
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  14. Teddy-dog

    Teddy-dog PetForums VIP

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    I think if you can keep moving in a direction where you can create more distance then definitely keep moving. But some paths where I walked were quite narrow and we would have to pass a dog and I found stopping worked best because I could get Ted to focus on the treats on the ground. Asking him to take something from my hand was a no in the beginning when he was too locked on to another dog - he would just dodge past my hand. Luckily he has a really strong association with ‘find it’ so looking at the floor worked!

    another useful thing might be to teach Bodmin the ‘touch’ command. I didn’t do this straight away but it does help with breaking that focus. Ted loves touching my hand and he’s very responsive to it so if another dog comes along I can ask him to ‘touch’ and it breaks that focus on the other dog and I can direct him away :)
     
  15. Torin.

    Torin. PetForums VIP

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    I use floorsniffs as @Teddy-dog is describing for those sorts of situations too - there's a lot of narrow paths around here where you can't keep moving unless you turn around, which isn't always positive. My other trick is licky treats - I use those smoothie pouches aimed at human babies. Then dog can't grab treat and eat it while doing the thing you're trying to get him to not practice, dog has to stay at the treat dispenser to get the food. It's really easy to squeeze so lightly that only a tiny amount of taste comes out, and then dog has to put extra focus in to get the reward.
     
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  16. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Since what you're doing is working, I'd keep doing it. And yep, keep moving, that has worked for him before, keep doing that too. For some dogs it's near impossible to break that focus if all they have to do is stop and stare, but if they have to move, it tends to help them re-focus.

    Shit happens, they have good days and not good days as we all do. There are steps forward and you'll think you have it all figured out and then have a bad day. It's all good, all normal :)
     
  17. LittleMow

    LittleMow PetForums Senior

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    Bodmin is really well turned to his 'find it' cue, it's one of his favourites and very well ingrained. As long as he sees the treat fall he'll generally go for it. So good that we can now use some of his cues when distractions around.

    We're at my mum's now so his happy as Larry with his spaniel friends and the beach :D

    Thanks everyone :)
     
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