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Old 03-03-2017, 07:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
Dominance Arising
 
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Gotta question

OK, so my girl is coming on 3 in May. She is environmentally sound for the most part. She doesn't flinch in gun fire) keeps working her trail if on one or blinks and does nothing if with me), fireworks she watches like everyone else, had snow mobiles roar right by her while working a trail and she kept working until I stopped her so she wouldn't get hit accidentally, she will work through a crowd of people no problem... But...

She is not one for individual affection from new people, which I am OK, but not OK with her barking at them if they show intent to pet her. Yes, I stop them from doing so, but people are in general, dumb, and even on a trail urban wise, I see people reaching out to pet her as she goes by them.. Usually a single bark at them is all it takes if I haven't been able to stop them beforehand.. She has a deep deep deep bark that I've had multiple LE tell me they love because it is the bark that makes bad guys pee their pants and come out hands raised.. But not good for SAR..

She is still a bit protective of the car.. I mean if I am standing there talking to someone and they approach a little too close she barks.. I know discernment is coming and I see it slowly happening, but while I don't have a problem with her barking in the car if I am not there or someone is attacking me (lol) I would prefer she accept that I say it is ok for people to be there.. She will hush when I tell her to, so the car is a small deal compared to barking or being 'sharp' when someone wants to pet her.

If people are polite, and wait for her to make the greeting she is ok.. The day of the snowmobiles, she came up on a group of people by their snow mobiles, most helmets on. She gave pause, but a word of 'find him' and she moved on ignoring them. She took the goodies from the stranger who had hid for her (a snow mobile trail) and he pet her head while she ate. When he got up and thought about petting her again, she gave a bark and left him, it wasn't her usual 'MANNERS' bark to those infringing on her space, but more of an over the shoulder bark. She met all the snow mobilers but no one wanted to pet her, haha..

So, question... What can I do to help her get more comfortable with introductions.. Or should I? She is a SAR dog but not a lab or golden, she is a strong GSD so I expect and like the aloofness, but the bark is disconcerting and I don't want to add stress to a possibly charges situation.. Ya know?
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Old 03-03-2017, 10:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
Broke the Bark Collar
 
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Re: Gotta question

it’s been quite a few years now, but at least on paper this sounded similar to my current dog.

of course since i don’t do SAR, i’m not as concerned as you might need to be, since at times i see no problem with my dog barking at strangers who get up close to him without checking with me first.

but i don’t want him barking at an approaching person who is not trying to confront or interact with him and it used to be a problem, so here’s the basic plan i used :

using the "3D" approach....

went out in public. where people were walking around, but not highly concongested areas. i started tieing him out and after a few minutes I moved away from him.

started out with about 4-5 ft of separation. enough that i couldn’t reach down but close enough that he knew he was still “with me”, if you catch my drift.

then i pretended to ignore him but still gave intermittent OB (downs, sits, stands, putting his head down, etc). whenever i knew someone was gonna pass by close, i’d give him a ‘good’ marker when he ignored them. right after the ‘good’, i’d go over, untie and quickly reward with a yes. one rep - end of drill - then move to another spot.

after he repeated a few of these single reps, i would wait until two people had passed that he ignored before ending the set.

then i started doing it in more crowded areas. and added more 'meets' and distance from me when he was tied.

then i would do it in front of a convenience store where i could go inside but still watch him but quickly walk out if someone approached that i didn’t like. we have a lot of those kinds of stores around here.

key points in this process was increasing time and distance, but also watching out for people who approached so that i could let them know i was training and that he was not just tied out waiting to be petted, etc
- many times i felt like i was teaching other people not to pet a tied up dog, so patience will be required !!

my goal was to make him learn he was still “with me” and i was controlling the interactions even when he wasn’t physically with me

- (maybe) one difference between your situation and mine is that i will still allow him to bark at people i did NOT want getting into our space and trying to force themselves on us. easy to set up those situations because those kind of people are obvious to me before they get close //LOL//
- but he knows the difference now

this worked for me. doing a lot of this made him ignore people who passed by and he will now even tolerate (stay quiet) when people jog by close, so i consider it a successful method for my dog the way i want to handle him……i still do it occasionally for proofing, but not nearly as often as i used to. but whenever he has been tied out. i ALWAYS give him a BIG party when i get back to him.

if he DID bark i never corrected until he had done it well for a couple months. then, if he barked, i walked over and gave him a quick hard fast POP and took him away and CONSTANTLY ignored him for about ten min. over about the first year this happened at least 5-6 times but prob less than ten, hard to remember.
- you WILL get your share of two legged ankle biters....need to get on the parents and not be shy or PC with them. the way you handle it is important in my opinion. at first you may feel like an ass but your dog WILL notice and appreciate it

this separation/tie out method worked a LOT better (for me) than just trying to control him when he was on lead and next to me moving around. that approach never saw much progress.
…BUT, with that said, i didn’t start this until he was non reactive when walking thru crowds, so i don’t know if this (prep) stage would be necessary for you and your dog.

but maybe a similar approach might help your dog ??

a “lesson learned” for me that might apply to you :
- when i firrst started, i tied him out with a very short lead. this was wrong for him. it put too much constant tension on the lead. maybe it made him think i was trying to teach him an object guard //rotflmao//
- it worked MUCH better when he had at least four feet of lead to the post.

also, i would make sure the problem is just him being unsocial and not being a resource guarder. there IS a difference here and from what i’ve read from your posts you seem like you would recognize the difference right away. if the behavior is at all connected to resource guarding i would take an entirely different approach.

- also, the dog needs to be comfortable being tied out so you might need to start it somewhere other than in public since some people never tie out their dogs.
- this dog had no probs with that because i would often tie him out when i was working with another handler. he knew it just meant “stay put”…. i’ll be Baaack

for what it’s worth, i also used an *Ecollar this way, but he was always too Ecollar savvy for me to feel it was doing much good.
*note.....a mistake i made early on with Ecollars; not using it enough in NON-training situations… my bad

i laffed when you wrote the part about the hide who tried to pet again after being found. i need to tell people all the time once they have met my dog don’t expect to be “best buds” with him the next time they see him

way more detail than you might need, but for me, details are important….at least it’s a method i’ve used that you might wanna try on……ymmv

getting back to your Q ….
- actually, all this rambling was not specifically tied to “introductions”, but i do have some methods about that type of interaction also.
- and i have already posted before about that situation MUCH EASIER than the above type of training since the handler always has 100% control of the situation
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Old 03-03-2017, 10:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Gotta question

Misty said
"She is not one for individual affection from new people, which I am OK, but not OK with her barking at them if they show intent to pet her. Yes I stop them"

Stop HER from barking!

When you proof off of food or critters on the trail then why not do the same with people?!


It's also possible that she is being possessive of "her" trail since she seems ok walking with people in general.

"I'm busy having fun, leave me alone!"
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Old 03-04-2017, 11:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Gotta question

Natural barking is base on from frustration or fear, in your case I see no frustration at all, it is generate from fear, or one would call it high in defense or low threshold for defense. You can minimize it by showing her there is nothing to fear about, have strange people feeding her, petting her, condition her to have no fear of strangers and the barking should be less.
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Old 03-04-2017, 01:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Gotta question

MUCH easier to (1) teach a dog to bark than to (2) teach it not to.
the first is much easier than the second

actually, fearful dogs will rarely eat treats from strangers and sometimes not even from their handlers. at least that has been my experience. it's one of the ways i evaluate how fearful they are
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Old 03-04-2017, 01:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Bob Scott said:..." I'm busy having fun, leave me alone!"
I have actually thought that might be a part of it on the occasional bark at someone intent on petting her while running a trail..

Rick, you have brought up some very interesting thoughts and things to try..

I don't believe it is resource guarding when on the trail, she is 30ft in front (shorter I urban) - except if it is trail resource guarding and she is 'focusing'.

I do need her to get more comfortable being 'staked' out. I've done it before when she was younger (and eating my car when I ran another dog) and she complained at first but settled quickly. But I need to do it more often..

She doesn't have a problem with people petting her IF proper introduction is made.. If someone is 'rude' and just assumes a pet is their right, then a bark that turns your insides to jelly occurs. Usually it is singular and she ignores the person (who is usually a shade whiter) thereafter. So I am having difficulty in seeing this as fear, although I guess a component could be?

She has worked a crowd of people many times with zero interest on anyone (unless running a trail)...unless they, without allowing her to introduce herself, assume the 'right' to pet her. Then the bark occurs. If she is allowed to introduce herself (sniff the person) and agrees the person is acceptable, then no bark and usually wags and friendship follow...

For the most part, I am OK with this, although I would hate to see it get worse? Not that I expected it to.. With SAR, in general, she won't be coming up to the victim and ALLOWED much interaction. My job is to take care of her while the subject is attended to by fellow SAR. And, she is already conditioned to sit and await her treats at the subject, which can include pets - just don't get too liberal, lol.. I am just a bit perplexed at the cause of it, and if I am missing something that needs to be addressed..?
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Old 03-04-2017, 03:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Gotta question

probably just another of my quirks but i think all dogs need to learn that being tied out sometimes is just a part of daily life and no big thing.

i'm amazed at how many dogs go stir crazy when i tell the owner to simply tie em up and walk away

i'm as impressed with a dog tied up and calmly waiting for the owner as much as i hate dogs barking their butt off when the owner goes into a store to grab something

unless it's a laid back golden it usually requires some training
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Old 03-05-2017, 11:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Gotta question

When I was herding with Thunder we often tied out the dogs that weren't in the field at the time.

As long as they couldn't interact with one another I don't recall any of them that didn't learn to just chill till the handler got back.


Same with doing natural earth work with terriers.

That was a MUST to tie them out asp when one dog went to ground or it could have deadly impact on the dog caught between the dog behind it and the quarry.

Yep! learning to be on a tie out is a must!
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Old 03-06-2017, 11:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Gotta question

hard to imagine no one has worked on this type of issue before so i hope you get some more specific ideas.

the problem as i see it, is that it requires the handler to prevent a bark from happening. once the bark happens it's too late and you're already into 'correction mode'....duh

- when i thought about this a bit 'deeper', it seems like it requires that the handler be able to read the dog and get the point across just BEFORE the bark comes out since most people feel timing is always critical
- plus, it requires the handler to reward the dog for NOT doing a behavior it was gonna do

bottom line....better be able to read your dog.....which is always a challenge

make sense to anyone else or am i overthinking ??
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Old 03-06-2017, 01:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Gotta question

If this was my dog, I would plaster her harness with SAR DOG - DO NOT PET patches and keep telling people to back off. Why does she have to tolerate being touched by random strangers? Is that part of her job? The bark is a warning - will eliminating it make her escalate to biting without warning, much the same way punishing a dog for growling can do?

As far as strangers and treats - what I have learned from reading about reactive dogs is that the treat will lure the dog out of their comfort zone, but when the treat is gone, the dog finds himself too close to something anxiety producing and may react. I don't have a lot of direct experience with that as my reactive dog had different triggers, but it makes sense to me.

I don't know why some people feel entitled to pet every dog they see, but they do and sometimes you have to be very blunt about saying no. I am gobsmacked at times by the incredibly inappropriate things absolute strangers have done to some of my foster dogs. You are your dog's advocate and you know her better than anyone else. In the word's of Nellie McClung (Canadian suffragette) "Never explain, never retract, never apologize. Just get the thing done and let them howl"
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