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 Post Posted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:28 pm 
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So Jim, riddle me this one, I'm sure you'll be able to come up with some possible solutions...

Sadie now has a new way of dealing with strange dogs. Instead of the previously standard blood bath, she has decided it's much easier to avoid them entirely. And I don't mean give them a little leg run when we walk by, I mean bolting into the woods as soon as she hears them coming. Last night was the second time I've definitively noticed her doing this. If she is off leash and she realizes another dog is coming down the trail, which is way before I notice anything, she runs away. She's not acting spooky per se, more like she is making a definitive decision to not associate with the strange dog. Calling her back to me is useless, yesterday she stared right at me when I said "come" and turned around and ran away, even though she has a pretty good recall. Once they're gone, she comes back and we continue on as usual. She doesn't do this when we are hunting. As always, she is completely fine with hog dogs, even if she's never met them. She also doesn't do this on leash. She's always stiffened a bit when we pass overly excited dogs, but for the most part she just keeps moving forward and ignores them, and certainly doesn't try to bolt.

My first reaction was this helluva lot better than attacking strange dogs. Of course it isn't "normal" behavior, but nothing about Sadie is normal, so I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. But I'm starting to worry it could turn into something dangerous. Both times this has happened in the Greenbelt with plenty of woods to run in to, but what if she did this in a more populated area, or in an area of the Greenbelt near the road? She's usually on leash in those situation, but what if she slipped out of her collar? She isn't going 10 feet off the trail, she is booking it, probably getting 50 to 100 yards out.

To complicate matters further, I hate making her stay close to me when she is off leash because it contradicts what I ask her to do when hunting. I've made a point to let her go off and explore to reinforce her following her nose in the woods. The only way I'd know to fix this is start rewarding her for staying close to me, making that more rewarding than avoidance, but obviously I only want that at certain times. Oh the quandaries of the urban hog dog...

So, any other thoughts on what to do? I was thinking just keep her on leash during our hikes in the Greenbelt, eliminating the need for her to make a decision, but she loves running and exploring, I hate to take that away when the opportunity arises.

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- Inspiration for my next project from TBH

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 Post Posted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:02 pm 
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Admittedly my experience is with Labs and I have only begun in this crazy Lacy world but I see the blatant disregard for your command as the bigger issue here.

If I am wrong I hope someone explains to me why and how to properly deal with this so I don't mess up my pup.


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 Post Posted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:28 pm 
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I would keep her on a long lead. When she takes off give her a good jerk and "come". I think she will still hunt when the cut collar goes on!

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 Post Posted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:46 pm 
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bboswell, she typically has a very good recall, so I guess that's what made me realize the depth of her new quirk. I'll address the recall issue with some refresher courses. But her refusal to obey despite knowing what I was asking makes me nervous. She only ignores me like that when she is in "the zone," which in the past has always included aggression, so this is just a variation on the same old reactivity issue. That also indicates to me that it has the potential to become extreme.

I know this sounds anthropomorphic, but I mean it in the most basic way. Despite all her early socialization, she "feels too much" when faced with strange dogs in an urban environment and needs an outlet. It is fight or flight. Maybe the trick is thinking of a substitute behavior to replace her instinctive response?

Robby, I probably will do more leash work with her, maybe start exposing her to more dogs again. Besides, if she knows not to mess with or fight strange dogs while hunting, surely she is distinguishing between a hunt and a hike. But I can already see a legion of hog doggers shaking their heads as I turn my dog from short range to microscopic range.

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"You must be a very small minority no matter who you hang around with. Maybe you should start a magazine, Vegetarian Hog Dogging Monthly, find some like-minded individuals."
- Inspiration for my next project from TBH

True Blue Lacys: http://www.truebluelacys.com
More Lacy Pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/julieanna/sets/72157605027566732/


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 Post Posted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 5:17 pm 
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I see what you are saying.

Yet another example of the need for a new mind set when switching from dogs that rely on commands to dogs that think for themselves!


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 Post Posted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 7:30 pm 
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I know I have a mutt (Lacy/Walker) but Ruby has been doing something similar even when she is on a leash. She'll actually move from the heel position over to my right side if it is an option. She'll either stand on the other side of me and if the dog approaches her, she'll snap a little at them. Put her with dogs she already knows and she is fine. I'm interested in the answer to this one.


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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:41 am 
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Okay, here is my take on it, based on what I -think- has been done with Sadie in the past. Correct me if I'm wrong about that.

In the work you have done with the trainer (whose name I can't remember) was she disciplined for being aggressive to other dogs? If so, I suspect -that- is what is causing her to want to avoid the other dogs. When on leash, she knows running off isn't an option, but off-leash, there is nothing to keep her from seeking the safety of getting the hell away from the possibility of punishment. A dog is constantly evaluating "fight or flight". If she has been shown that fight means correction (pain), then she is naturally going to lean towards flight. Fighting and correction has never been an issue hunting, right? and so she has no fear when she meets up with other dogs for a hunt. It's only the new dogs on walks and parks and such that have resulted pain for her, so that is what she reacts to. It's not that she is afraid of -them-, it's that she is afraid of being corrected.

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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:33 pm 
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Jim, no doubt that is the issue. She is clearly making a choice, that fighting is not worth the consequences. I guess what I need to figure out is if there is something other than fight or flight for her.

She actually has been punished for fighting on hunts, but a big part of that punishment was getting put up. She now knows that if she wants to hunt, she has to play nice, end of story. For her, hunting is a rewarding enough activity to make good behavior worthwhile.

I've done variations on that since she was little for fighting outside the woods. In puppy class, the trainer would send her to time out when she jumped another puppy. The problem is that's exactly what she wanted, to not be near the other puppies, so if anything it was a reward. Same with putting her on lead or leaving the dog park or whatever when she got older. All of that involved being removed from the situation, which wasn't a punishment to her. And getting to play and socialize wasn't a reward, so there was no incentive to behave. Allowing the behavior extinguish itself was certainly not an option either, primarily because it is too dangerous but also because I think she does get benefit from fighting, so it is self-rewarding.

Flight is most definitely preferable to fight. I wish I could create a third option, like she has when hunting, but I can't figure out how to do that outside of the woods or a bay pen.

_________________
"You must be a very small minority no matter who you hang around with. Maybe you should start a magazine, Vegetarian Hog Dogging Monthly, find some like-minded individuals."
- Inspiration for my next project from TBH

True Blue Lacys: http://www.truebluelacys.com
More Lacy Pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/julieanna/sets/72157605027566732/


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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 7:48 pm 
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I think you need to find a truly super reward: maybe it's food, or maybe it's a tug-of-war with a special toy that is only used for this specific situation, but something she will do anything to get. Then choose a behavior that is incompatible with both flight and fight, 'shape' to get that behavior whenever you come into range of other dogs. In fact maybe a tug-of-war with something special would accomplish both... it's a reward and a behavior at the same time. But I'd give it a lot of thought and choose carefully so you can be consistent if you start down that road. And I'll look up behaviors that others have used to replace aggression.

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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:57 pm 
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Julie,

I dont think keeping Sadie close to you off leash when you are just going for a walk/hike will affect her obedience when she is on a hunt. She knows when it's time to hunt for hundreds of reasons plus she is in a different "drive" when on a hunt compared to a stroll.

And like Jim said, I feel she is just avoiding the situation when strange dogs are approaching most likely due to how she was corrected for dog aggression. I don't know how she was corrected for dog aggression and you don't have to tell us but with that type of behavior a simple "no" didn't fix it!? At work depending on the situation and circumstances we have to "up" our corrections depending on what the dog did. Often we will see dogs completely shut down and avoid the situation the next time it's presented resulting in us building the dog back up. I feel avoidance can be shown on many levels, some low enough where we as owners can't recognize it. Avoidance is based from fear and fear doesn't always come from punishment.

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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 10:31 pm 
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Chris, I thought you knew all the gory details about Sadie's aggression issue. And for those who may have missed it, I do mean gory, she's bloodied up more than her share of dogs and people. It's been an issue to some degree since the day I brought her home, and over that time I've tried socialization, desensitization, pack behavior, distractions, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement... you name it. Well, I have never tried beating the crap out of her or shocking the living daylights out of her, but this spring I did start working with her on a pinch collar. That was combined with changes in my behavior, more structure at home and increasing the use of her job as an outlet. But when we were in public, working around strange dogs and people, we used the pinch collar to get her attention. And that is exactly how it was used, as a quick correction to focus her, not as some sort of labored and drawn out punishment. And though it seems the most logical explanation, we haven't had lessons since June and this didn't start until September, so I feel like something else has had to come in to play? Maybe I'm just over thinking it.

Also, even though she's is a lot better, she doesn't pick flight over fight every time. She actually sought out a fight two weeks ago when Lucifer and Ares got in to it while Steve was loading them up for a hunt. Sadie was sitting on the porch and Ollie was in the driveway, but she ran out, jumped Ollie and dragged her under the truck. Obviously there were extenuating circumstances, but still.

Jim, that is essentially the reason I hesitate to use a tug. Tug is actually what Lamar uses as a reward for his dogs because it does give them the physical release. And part of me thinks it would combine the best of both worlds as a reward and an outlet. But I worry about ramping her up rather than pulling her away, especially around strange dogs that might try to join in the "fun." If you find anything regarding that, definitely let me know, because even her favorite treats haven't worked in this situation.

_________________
"You must be a very small minority no matter who you hang around with. Maybe you should start a magazine, Vegetarian Hog Dogging Monthly, find some like-minded individuals."
- Inspiration for my next project from TBH

True Blue Lacys: http://www.truebluelacys.com
More Lacy Pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/julieanna/sets/72157605027566732/


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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:00 am 
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I use the tug game all the time. The key is that you DECIDE when to play, not the dog. I also teach my dogs (when I have more than 1 wanting to play..wife's dogs don't count because she never played with them when they were pups so they have no desire to play with people while I love raising and training pups, my wife doesn't..she leaves it up to me so guess who the dogs like better?) to work as a team on the tug. No fighting with each other is allowed. My fondest memory is of my pit bull, Annie, and all 8 of her pups PLUS two catahoulas all pulling on a huge rope (think it was intended for horses) and me and my friends pulling the other end and the dogs winning! :)) Pit bulls and american bulldogs love this game and it does NOT make them aggressive at all. You also have to decide when to STOP and take the rope with you when you quit the game because it shows the dog that you're the boss. Also when the dog is a pup, you have to teach them that you will sometimes stop the game suddenly if the dog gets too excited. They do learn to moderate their behavior.


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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:32 am 
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I agree with what Ted is saying, especially about the tug. You should introduce that in an isolated setting, starting with getting her to consistently give the tug-toy to you. Clicker is perfect for that. Once she will give you the toy on command, you add in the tugging. Once you can stop the activity and get the toy, then you can start introducing distractions. I'd start with dogs she knows, and then ramp it up little by little, only adding tougher distractions when she is doing well at the level you are on. It's a long process, but not compared to all you have invested in her so far, and I don't see any downside to trying the approach. At minimum, you'll get a good "give" and another outlet for her prey drive.

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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:08 am 
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We actually play tug a lot inside while it's raining. If I can't get in a walk I figure it's better than nothing. She has several rope toys around anyway, and I guess I just sort of present it to her and get all excited and she can tell from my body language and tone of voice that we're gonna play tug. I have also used it as an opportunity to practice her "leave it" command. We can be right in the middle of a rough game, her groaning and squeaking and pulling with all her might, and if I say "leave it" she'll let go immediately and sit. I'll usually make her stay for moment and then jump back in.

So I think we have the base already built. And we have tried it a few times with Lamar. We had a lot of training session in the parking lot at Kroeger right after work when there would be lots of strangers and loud carts and stuff. We'd be on one of the grass islands, have her sit and if she stayed focused on me when someone began to approach we'd start to play tug. The goal was to keep her in the game while they went by. The first couple times she's stop playing altogether to watch the people. By the end she would keep playing, but she definitely wasn't as excited as usual. Still, I think there is potential.

I do worry about the strange dogs running in and trying to play. Both times she's run off into the woods, the other dogs have been off leash as well. I think that might have something to do with it. Especially since dogs in Austin don't have the best manners. Well, they are usually sweet as can be, but they don't understand other dogs telling them to back off.

If only I could figure out a way to bring a pig on our walks :ymdaydream: And that wouldn't be so weird in Austin. We've actually come across a pig before on one of our walks. For some incredibly stupid reason, this lady decided to bring her pot belly pig to the dog park. Sadie and I came around the corner and there was Wilbur. Sadie was so shocked with delight that she froze and I was able to grab her. I didn't even bother walking her past, I just picked her up, which was like trying to carry a mini tornado. The whole time the pig's owner is saying, "Oh no, don't worry, Wilbur loves dogs, he won't hurt her!" I couldn't even respond. That woman had no idea how close Wilbur came to being a pulled pork sandwich.

_________________
"You must be a very small minority no matter who you hang around with. Maybe you should start a magazine, Vegetarian Hog Dogging Monthly, find some like-minded individuals."
- Inspiration for my next project from TBH

True Blue Lacys: http://www.truebluelacys.com
More Lacy Pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/julieanna/sets/72157605027566732/


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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 11:02 am 
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Julie that's hilarious... talk about cluelessness. It doesn't come close to that, but I had Cannon at the park awhile back, and some guy had a young female pit there, and it became clear from all the attention she was getting that she was coming into heat. Cannon ignored everything else in the park, and the guy kept trying to shoo him away, and when he did that, other males would try to sneak in. After asking him a couple of times if she was in heat and getting a shrug, I finally told him "You know, Cannon here isn't fixed, so unless you want a litter of mixed breed pups... " He finally got the message and left.

Having picked up Cannon when I knew he was going to get into that 'zone', I have a vivid image of you walking off with Sadie going crazy in your arms. Almost like Steve jumping that coyote...

I've been staying away from the dog park lately.. because he is still intact, Cannon pisses off a lot of male dogs just by showing up.

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