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Thread: Please fill me with hope

  1. #1
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    Default Please fill me with hope

    Hi,

    We have a 10 month old cavalier who we got from a dog charity at 5 months old.

    We have a few issues with him:

    - he is a reactor when on the lead when he sees other dogs (very loud and constant barking while also lunging on the lead). I am working on this by clicking as soon as he sees a dog and rewarding with tasty sausages.... Has anyone had success with this strategy?

    - oh the car journey - he squeals and barks like mad and when I park up. He is in the boot behind a dog guard. I don't get out of the car until he us quiet. I only open the boot when he is quiet and sat down and then give him treats for being quiet.

    The main issue we are struggling with is the excitement when he is out of the car with LEASH pulling! Can someone please see if I am doing the correct things to deal with this?

    I use a pet clicker and some treats (usually dog food or peanut butter). I save his highest value dog treat for use when he sees another dog to associate seeing the dog with tasty food and eventually being quiet - hopefully!

    Anyhow, it takes me 15 minutes to get 200yards. The moment he pulls, I either stop dead and wait for him to show good behaviour, or I sometimes turn around and walk the other way until he pulls again, by which time I turn and go in the opposite direction. When I use the stop dead methos, he usually sits down albeit 2 yards in front. I treat him for this - should I bring him back to my side and then treat??

    I look like a complete idiot walking 5 metres one way and then back again. Can someone please fill me with hope that he will eventually get the fact that loose Leash walking means that he can carry on walking.

    My hardest part is to get him to focus on me. As soon as I walk forwards, all he seems bothered in is the feather or leaf that is on the floor near the carb, so he's always trying to go off at a 10 - 11 o'clock angle.

    Sorry for the long post

    Please someone fill me with hope. It's draining me but I know I need to keep going to get a better dog. We love him to bits. We also have another of the same breed, and it's 2 fold when they are walked together, so I do 1 at a time now... Until they are well behaved!

    Thanks

    Mark

  2. #2
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    Oh dear, our Sophie has been cloned and you have her!!! I have no words of wisdom about the barking, especially when I get out of the car. Oh, what a racket!!! The poor thing acts like she is being abandoned for life.

    For the walking, there are two things that bring Sophie under control. One is a prong collar, which I don't like using because her ear hairs get tangled up in the prongs, and some people freak out over them even though the dog is not in pain. I have not used it in years and don't even know where it is anymore.

    My next (and best!) investment, was the EasyWalk harness by PetSafe. http://www.petsafe.net/easywalk It works very well and she now wears it all the time, instead of a collar. The latch in the very front of the chest pulls her back toward me. It did not take her long to figure out this harness was my friend and not hers.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by waldor View Post
    Oh dear, our Sophie has been cloned and you have her!!! I have no words of wisdom about the barking, especially when I get out of the car. Oh, what a racket!!! The poor thing acts like she is being abandoned for life.

    For the walking, there are two things that bring Sophie under control. One is a prong collar, which I don't like using because her ear hairs get tangled up in the prongs, and some people freak out over them even though the dog is not in pain. I have not used it in years and don't even know where it is anymore.

    My next (and best!) investment, was the EasyWalk harness by PetSafe. http://www.petsafe.net/easywalk It works very well and she now wears it all the time, instead of a collar. The latch in the very front of the chest pulls her back toward me. It did not take her long to figure out this harness was my friend and not hers.

    Good luck!
    Oh no! Its so embarrassing and frustrating at the same time. Have you tried the method whereby you don't let them out of the car until they are quiet? I've started putting him back in the car if he kicks off again, but if i do manage to get 100 yards away and then he kicks off, i just ignore him and treat him when he is quiet again.

    The hardest part is keeping his attention. Its funny you mention the harness - i do have one and i actually tried it out again last time. I however want to try and get him to learn to walk properly on a normal lead, however i did get better results on the harness, so i may have to resort to that. As a side note, when i connect the harness and he pulls, it pulls the whole front loop round towards me, is this meant to happen, or is the loop meant to stay on the front chest even when pulled?

    Hope you manage to progress - every walk is a burden isn't it! It should be great fun but at the moment its far from that. Still, ill keep working on it!

    mark

  4. #4
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    There is a good video on the Easy Walk website about proper fitting. I find they work very well - it's better for a Cavalier to be walked on a harness, and I find a back fastening harness encourages them to pull: they go into husky mode and think they are pulling a sledge (that's me!)!

    Rather than just stop when he pulls, try walking backwards - this automativcally brings the dog walking towards you, then don't treat until he is level with you in the position you want, and only then rewrd and start walking forwards. They soon get the message that pulling literally gets them nowhere!

    I have the same problem with my rescue of barking at other dogs. Ruby is very jealous of other dogs coming near me, and I think her barking is warning them off. With yours it may be that he was never properly socialised with other dogs and doesn't know how to handle them, so through fear warns them off. My method is to see other dogs before Ruby does, get her attention with a treat and walk her past them. If she barks and pulls, she gets nothing - if you produce a treat to distract when your dog is already barking, you are telling him that you approve of his behaviour. Ruby is much better at training class, where she meets the same dogs every time - this might help with yours if you have a good reward-based class nearby.

    With the barking in the car, it might help to practise at home rather than when you are actually driving anywhere. Put the dog in the car, sit in it yourself for a bit, then leave for a short while and go back and reward any quietness, gradually increasing your time away. And with barking while being let out of the car, carry on refusing to go any further until the dog is quiet. If you don't already do it, it might help to teach the dog the command 'Wait', so that he focuses on that rather than barking.

    Don't know if any of this will help - I'm battling with some of the same issues, but what works with one dog may not work with another. Somewhere in her past (she is 7 years old) my Ruby has discovered that if she barks loud enough and long enough she gets what she wants - and it's an uphill struggle to disabuse her of this belief!

    Best of luck!

    Kate and Ruby

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by markyyyyyy View Post
    Have you tried the method whereby you don't let them out of the car until they are quiet?
    mark
    Yes, this is exactly how I do it. Sophie knows, but she is such a diva princess that she tries to get away with it. She knows I will not open her car door until she has sat down on her seat.

    As a side note, when i connect the harness and he pulls, it pulls the whole front loop round towards me, is this meant to happen, or is the loop meant to stay on the front chest even when pulled?]
    Yes, this is exactly how it works. The dog learns quickly that it is counter-productive to pull ahead, because they end up facing us. I think I learned about this harness here at CavalierTalk, I really cannot say for sure, but it has been wonderful. When Sophie gets her monthly bath, I toss her harness into the washing machine with a load of laundry.

  6. #6
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    Something else I will mention, is that while training your dog, be sure to incorporate hand signals at the same time, with the verbal commands. Sophie became deaf at five years of age, and those hand signals were a blessing. In fact, I taught her a few more after we realized she had become deaf. It was easy, since she was accustomed to seeing the hand when she could still hear.

  7. #7
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    Thank all for your help and input. I can certainly tell a difference with the easi walk harness on. He seems to look at me more frequently but it looks very awkward when he walks - this may be due to the fact that the clip at the end of the lead is quite bulky, so i'm going to get a lead with a smaller end to see if it 'looks' a bit more fluid when he walks - it looks like its a bit awkward at the moment, a bit like a show pony!

    I went down to a local place today to get to see other dogs in the hope that i can make him associate a dog with treats, however it back fired big time as someone asked me directions to somwehre and round the corner came a dog! All hell broke loose! I'll try again tomorrow!

    Patience is a virtue, right?!

    Thanks again!

    Mark

  8. #8
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    Hi Mark

    Realised you hadn't posted for several weeks - how are you getting on with your youngster?

    Kate and Ruby

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