View Full Version : Advice please

3rd May 2008, 12:02 AM
Our newest member Dj is a wonderful dog very well behaved and responds well to commands...except for one problem..when we are out for walks he goes wild when he sees another dog and barks like mad..nothing distracts him not even food or me calmly kneeling in front of him and trying to get him to look at me:confused:He is not aggressive towards them but it is very embarressing.He is fine if we meet dogs in the vets etc and great with my dogs.
It is getting so I don't enjoy walking with him as he is becoming worse instead of better and I am sick of the looks I am getting from other dog owners. He was so bad tonight he had the other two(Gus and Pippin) joining in and they didn't even know why they were barking!
I don't think he was walked much before he came to me, but he does walk well and if he pulls and I stop or tell him to sit/stay /wait he will respond.But when there is another dog he is only focused on that and nothing else!

I love him to bits. He has settled in so well otherwise.

This is becoming a real problem:(

Any ideas?

3rd May 2008, 12:59 AM
PM Tara (TKC) and she should have some suggestions. :) One thing she will say is -- you will definitely need to walk him on his own to work on this issue and may need to walk him separately from the others for a good while and perhaps by preferance permanently.

It definitely isn't unusual to get this kind of behaviour when you start adding more dogs to a walking group -- if one starts the others join in. ie -- You are beginning to get pack behaviour and he will very likely get the others to start doing this as well. Lily is a barker and reactive with other dogs and that often gets them all to start in when walking. I have worked a bit with Lily on this -- basically training involves one on one with the dog, lots of work on reinforcing the look command and then getting the dog to sit and treating every tine another dog appears at a distance; also have other dogs keep their distance. A dog that looks at you rather than the distracting other dog won't be barking at that dog. Gradually the dog will start to look to you the minute another dog comes along -- it becomes an ingrained behaviour as the dog learns nice things happen when another dog comes past.

All this does take time. I'd really suggest getting DJ to a training class at DTI though -= the basic group socialisation will go a long way towards starting to deal with this, and Tara and Lisa can work directly with you as well.

Unfortunately more dogs cannot always be handled as just one more addition -- often you do need to walk the dogs separately rather than in a group. A group can be very hard to control when you get beyond two dogs with one person.

3rd May 2008, 11:17 AM
Thanks Karlin, should have said that I walk them with my husband ,never alone and we usually walk two and one to each of us,switching dogs every walk eg. Gus/Pippin,DJ/Gus,Pippin DJ. Last walk I just took DJ and I did take him off on his own when he got very vocal,even though there was no other dog around.I met up with them further on and he was fine when he seen them,he sat and waited,but then we met another dog a few minutes later and he was off again!

I will try working with him on my own and see how it goes.

PS. I will pm Tara.

4th May 2008, 08:02 AM
A chink of light at the end of the tunnel! I walked them last night with my husband as usual.We all left together and I was taking DJ one way and he was taking Gus and Pippin another.....I say... WAS, Gus nearly had a fit and then refused to go without me just sat down! We decided to go together and just leave going different ways for today,we will leave at different times or walk Gus and Pippin and then DJ.

Anyway,When DJ came to stay with me he had an extendable lead and collar,I have him on a normal lead and harness. My husband suggested he has too much lead,so I shortened it right back and walked him right at my side.After a bit of pulling he soon got used to it and settled down.We seen a dog on the other side of the road just as we were arriving home and when he started barking,I pulled on the lead and said "No,Good boy".I kept repeating this for a minute.. and.. HE STOPPED! We had to wait to cross the road as the dog passed and he stayed quiet and calmly walked accross the road and home,not bothering with the other dog.
A long way to go,but there is hope.

4th May 2008, 12:39 PM
I have the same problem and just when I think it's better, it starts up again. My new method is a plastic bottle with coins to jolt her out of the zone, and treats for when she stops. It's very difficult for me to walk just one, the others get so sad, and there is no assuring we'll even see another dog.

4th May 2008, 01:36 PM
He sounds like his is having a wonderful time :D but I can understand it being a problem for you.

Already great advice has been given. Another possibility would be to take him to some obedience training. I see lots of new people coming along to my dog clug with dogs that sound very similar to DJ. You can see the poor handlers all full of despair & apologising to everyone around them, explainging "this is our last hope". Then within a week or so there is this wonderful transformation. We do lots of work very close to other dogs, that desensitises our dogs & makes them disinterested in engaging in a negative way with other dogs. We do very close "meet & greets" where the dogs must sit or drop in close proximity to other dogs. We also do weaving in and out a huge circle of other dogs & their handlers. If you can find a club that does this sort of stuff & you have the time to take DJ along, I think it would be a huge advantage.... and it is fun.

4th May 2008, 01:37 PM
I have the same problem and just when I think it's better, it starts up again. My new method is a plastic bottle with coins to jolt her out of the zone, and treats for when she stops. It's very difficult for me to walk just one, the others get so sad, and there is no assuring we'll even see another dog.

I might need to try that.....I too will find it very hard to walk just one as they all get so excited and happy when they see the lead and if I leave the house with one dog there has to be someone at home or the other two would tear the door down! As my husband and I walk them together,I may just keep doing that making sure DJ is on his own with one of us. We both enjoy our walk together with them in the evening after work and it will become more of a chore if we have to go on our own.

4th May 2008, 01:39 PM
Thanks caraline, thats sounds like fun. I will look into it.

4th May 2008, 11:14 PM
The best way to train for this is IMHO not to startle the dog from barking, including with corrections, which only tends to work a few times and won't work at all for a really reactive dog (like Lily!) -- but to actually address and change the context for the behaviour and thus extinguish it, not deflect it. Also, punishment (corrections or startling noises) often tends to only make the dog fearful of that one context -- when it is with the handler who does the punishment. Worse, it simply confirms to the dog that its fearful, wary or too overexcited reactive behaviour is exactly appropriate because bad or startling things happen when other dogs go by.

You want the dog to stop associating other dogs with something they should react to, and instead do the dog equivalent of a shrung and a 'so what' -- or else, think 'hey, there's a dog so it's time to check in and look at my owner to see what happens next'.

This is a training issue and like any attempt to address behaviour, takes time and dedication. The key is 1) socialising the dog in a wider context so it stops getting overexcited by dogs seen across the road (eg attending a class or two), and 2) Taking the time to train the dog so that it always responds quickly to 'look!' , 'sit!' and a downstay. A dog that knows 'look', and which will go into a sit or downstay, and remain looking at YOU, is not a dog that is barking at other distractions.

**This does work.** I have worked enough with Lily that I can always get her to immediately look to me and about 50% of the time now, she will choose to immediately sit and look at me, and stop barking. Now that she has these two behaviours well learned as a foundation for addressing the dog issue, my next step is to take her *alone* and work with her in the park where I know we will encounter other dogs, and to get her back to obedience classes where there are other dogs around and where after a few classes, I know she will very quickly stop seeing them all as things that need to be barked at.

I know her ability to settle down is totally contingent on the amount of time I will put into working on this with her. For whatever reason she is easily overexcited at almost any situation and barks in excitement. But I know she is smart and food motivated and trains quickly once she gets a concept. I had to spend much of a summer working on her frantic barking inside the car every time we go to the park. She used to bark nonstop once the car stopped in anticipation of the excitement of getting OUT of the car :rolleyes:and by rewarding her the instant she stopped barking, even for a few seconds, by letting her out -- I gradually reduced this to about 1 minute of barking now til she remembers... she doesn't get out of the car til she stops barking. I tried corrections at one point -- startling her, then little leash 'pops' (jerks), hoping for an easy fix and to see if they would help at all. She did not care -- like many reactive dogs with poor self control, I think you could have throttled her and she'd have started barking as soon as you removed your hands form her neck. :rolleyes: So what did work with this frustrating behaviour? Time, patience and positive rewards based training. This was such an eye opener for me about a whole philosophy of training -- it is truly 100 times more effective to get desired behaviours by motivating the dog to work towards your goal, not trying to scare the dog into conforming. :)

6th May 2008, 09:00 AM
Thanks everyone for all the advice.A short lead and a gentle... 'No' with plenty of reassurance seems to be doing the trick. He let a dog pass right by him last night.He barked a little at first as the dog came round the corner suddenly,but, we reassured him..saying 'No' firmly but quietly and telling him 'it's ok'..which is our words for when the dogs get worried/excited. He stopped barking,sat, and then after we petted him and told him'Good boy' walked on calmly.
This is the only problem he has, he is fine with children etc. and doesn't get worked up over anything else.
I will keep working on this of course,so that both he and I can enjoy our walks with my husband and Gus and Pippin,whom DJ loves to be with. I can't believe how well he has settled in and can't imagine life without him.