Leash Reactivity

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MissKitty
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Leash Reactivity

Postby MissKitty » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:40 pm

I need a little help with some leash reactivity problems I am having with Apollo.

Apollo is good on leash.....until another dog he wants to meet goes past.
He lunges and screams and makes an utter fool of himself, which the breed doesn't need.
It only happens with certain dogs, in certain situations. He is very social and if he is allowed to meet the dog, he relaxes and is fine.

It is a highly rewarding behavior for him, he will do a perfect OB routine just for the opportunity to lunge and scream.
He isn't too far over threshold, he will take treats and I can get his focus back on me (which he was not able to do before), but he is not relaxed and if given a break will return to the behavior.

I would like him to relax and be calm around these dogs. I asked Pat Miller about it and she suggested reverse BAT training, bring the dog closer if he is calm and take them away if he reacts.

I am thinking of taking some privates with my nosework instructor (CPDT-KA) and seeing if we can fix the problem but I would also love to hear the thoughts of PBF.

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pacopoe
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Re: Leash Reactivity

Postby pacopoe » Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:06 am

Easy, just get a prong collar lol
j/k

So would it be reverse BAT because the other dog is doing the movement while he stays still? Would you like his focus to remain on you while he stays in a "sit" or would displaying alternate behaviors (calming signals, etc) be acceptable? I've done BAT with Xdog and it's helped quite a bit with her reactivity, but I think it's helpful for the reactive dog to be the one in motion so they can burn off stress (actively moving toward the other dog while displaying calming signals/calm behavior, losing/stopping yardage for reactivity). It might be a good idea to start out like that and, when he can master a calm pass, then do reverse BAT. That might be easier for him than jumping straight to being stock-still the whole exercise, which might be frustrating if he has no way to burn off stress.

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Re: Leash Reactivity

Postby MissKitty » Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:49 pm

pacopoe wrote:Easy, just get a prong collar lol
j/k


DUH! I should have thought of that!


lol
pacopoe wrote:So would it be reverse BAT because the other dog is doing the movement while he stays still? Would you like his focus to remain on you while he stays in a "sit" or would displaying alternate behaviors (calming signals, etc) be acceptable? I've done BAT with Xdog and it's helped quite a bit with her reactivity, but I think it's helpful for the reactive dog to be the one in motion so they can burn off stress (actively moving toward the other dog while displaying calming signals/calm behavior, losing/stopping yardage for reactivity). It might be a good idea to start out like that and, when he can master a calm pass, then do reverse BAT. That might be easier for him than jumping straight to being stock-still the whole exercise, which might be frustrating if he has no way to burn off stress.


I haven't thought this through too well (which is why a trainer with more experience is a good option in this situation) but from what I understood from the explanation, it is reverse because the other dog is moving. Moving closer if Apollo is relaxed, moving back if Apollo is acting out.
I like the idea of keeping him moving though, I think you are right, it would be difficult for him to sit still.
I don't want him to sit and focus on me, he can do that but he is tense and waiting for a release. I would rather he was able to relax and show calming signals.

Because only some dogs set him off (seems to be mostly male, adolescents, which are his favorite dogs to roughhouse with), should I start with dogs that he doesn't react to?

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Re: Leash Reactivity

Postby pacopoe » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:30 pm

I mean, I wouldn't start off with a dog you know is going to push him to his limit right away, but since you'll likely be working with a variety of dogs I don't think there's much benefit to trying to stack them in order every single time (maybe the very first time, but after that...). In our fairly limited experience, I've found BAT work is not very linear and it takes about a day to sink in. Every dog will present different thresholds and teach you more about your dog than you thought you knew, so it's hard to predict which dog will really be "easier." Besides, the more difficult the dog the more your dog will learn (and that's why I'm advocating you at least try it with him in motion first, so he can feel in control of his actions and learn that his responses will directly affect the situation).

Funny enough, I always pegged X for being fear-reactive but, through our BAT work, I discovered she (like Apollo) is much more likely to react to a dog she wants to engage in play than a dog she truly fears.

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Re: Leash Reactivity

Postby MarMar » Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:16 pm

I'm far from an expert, but I have done quite a bit of BAT with Marlo. He is fearful but also seeks to get TO the other dog, whether to play, fight, relieve social stress, I'm not positive, but he does want to get to the dog. Anyways I had a chance to ask Grisha Stewart about this and she said that you can use BAT in this way as well, because moving the dog away from the trigger dog is a release of stress (both relief from eustress and distress is reinforcing). And this way you would be able to keep him moving. Do you think it would be possible/helpful to make meeting ANY dog contingent on relaxed behavior? IE his friends that he sees and gets to interact with on a regular basis?

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Re: Leash Reactivity

Postby Novy » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:13 am

I am definately going to have to follow this one as I am experiencing something similar to MarMar with Iris. I've gotten in contact with a trainer who runs a doggy daycare that Iris stayed at regularly when she was fostered. She's on holidays right now so I'm awaiting a reply.

What is meant by "threshold" in the BAT training videos? Would threshold be the dog's ability to still pay attention to you (not being totally fixated)?

Iris has a tendancy to pull when she sees other dogs or cats on walks. She wants to see them quite badly. On occasion she has met the other dogs (usually owners coming to us, some off leash) with a 50/50 mixed result. It certainly seems to me she wants to play in the worst way but she has a pushy approach to initiating play that some dogs have perceived as a threat, her heighten excitement level usually increases the odds of this. Spontaneous meetings are never a problem.

The tough ones are the dogs chained up or visible through chain link (Iris is deaf so barking doesn't get her attention and we are usually able to pass by wooden fences without her knowing the dog is there). The ones that start pacing, running or bouncing around get her right worked up. She will pull so hard that the leash causes her to stand up (almost coming over backwards), spins around, usually bites at and tugs the leash, and sometimes lets out shrill barks. Right now correcting this is priority #1 for me.

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Re: Leash Reactivity

Postby MissKitty » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:25 pm

I have some private lessons set up with my trainer :D

pacopoe wrote:I mean, I wouldn't start off with a dog you know is going to push him to his limit right away, but since you'll likely be working with a variety of dogs I don't think there's much benefit to trying to stack them in order every single time (maybe the very first time, but after that...). In our fairly limited experience, I've found BAT work is not very linear and it takes about a day to sink in. Every dog will present different thresholds and teach you more about your dog than you thought you knew, so it's hard to predict which dog will really be "easier." Besides, the more difficult the dog the more your dog will learn (and that's why I'm advocating you at least try it with him in motion first, so he can feel in control of his actions and learn that his responses will directly affect the situation).

Funny enough, I always pegged X for being fear-reactive but, through our BAT work, I discovered she (like Apollo) is much more likely to react to a dog she wants to engage in play than a dog she truly fears.


I think your right, moving will make it easier for him to understand and focus and figuring out which dogs he will/won't react to is hard to pick out!

MarMar wrote: Do you think it would be possible/helpful to make meeting ANY dog contingent on relaxed behavior? IE his friends that he sees and gets to interact with on a regular basis?


I have no idea......that is a good question.

Novy wrote:I am definately going to have to follow this one as I am experiencing something similar to MarMar with Iris. I've gotten in contact with a trainer who runs a doggy daycare that Iris stayed at regularly when she was fostered. She's on holidays right now so I'm awaiting a reply.

What is meant by "threshold" in the BAT training videos? Would threshold be the dog's ability to still pay attention to you (not being totally fixated)?

Iris has a tendancy to pull when she sees other dogs or cats on walks. She wants to see them quite badly. On occasion she has met the other dogs (usually owners coming to us, some off leash) with a 50/50 mixed result. It certainly seems to me she wants to play in the worst way but she has a pushy approach to initiating play that some dogs have perceived as a threat, her heighten excitement level usually increases the odds of this. Spontaneous meetings are never a problem.

The tough ones are the dogs chained up or visible through chain link (Iris is deaf so barking doesn't get her attention and we are usually able to pass by wooden fences without her knowing the dog is there). The ones that start pacing, running or bouncing around get her right worked up. She will pull so hard that the leash causes her to stand up (almost coming over backwards), spins around, usually bites at and tugs the leash, and sometimes lets out shrill barks. Right now correcting this is priority #1 for me.


Welcome! My dog is also deaf :)

Usually under threshold means the dog will take food, is calm/not under stress. For a lot of dogs the stimulus has to be really far away (like a few football fields away) for them to be under threshold at first.

Have you looked at hiring a trainer to work with you on this? I am sure someone could suggest a wonderful trainer in your area.


I will be sure to update this and let everyone know how the training is going!

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Re: Leash Reactivity

Postby MissKitty » Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:52 pm

First private is on Tuesday so we will see how it goes!

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Re: Leash Reactivity

Postby MissKitty » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:57 pm

Just finished with the lesson and I ended up learning a lot more than I thought I would! Much of it is still sinking in and we have another lesson planned for Thursday in a little more challenging environment.

The first thing she noted was that Apollo is effectively unable to function or relax without being told what to do while on leash.
He offers behavior after behavior after behavior (heel, sit, down, sit, heel, front, heel, retrieve, down, sit, heel). We worked on LAT, which turned into a 'command', 'I look at you, look at the dog, look at you, look at the dog'. So we worked on rewarding when he was focused on the dog for more than a millisecond.
We worked on him being able to stay calm, while not focused on me. Giving him the option to choose between going nuts and staying calm, rewarding him for making the right choice without being told exactly what to do (while of course avoiding setting him up for failure).
There was also a little BAT thrown in with us approaching the dog while relaxed and u-turning if he started to get aroused.

She also said I need to give less rewards.
I was kind of stunned.
But it is true, when I have treats he is focused on me and is not interacting with the environment. I also use the treats as a 'crutch'. If I can shove treats into his mouth, he won't react. But I am not giving his the opportunity to make a choice on his own.

She also suggested that I work more on handling him, she said he is really not comfortable with being touched and offers other 'cute' behaviors (play bow, stretch) to avoid contact.

I probably explained all of that badly, but I really liked her ideas and it was a great lesson. I can't wait for Thursday!

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Re: Leash Reactivity

Postby MarMar » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:38 pm

OOooooh I bet you guys could use Relaxation Protocol. :twisted: I really need to work on this with my dogs, but to borrow this quote from "Rollin with Rubi":

"I have a love/hate relationship with the relaxation protocol. On the one hand, this single exercise has made a bigger impact on helping Rubi relax than any of our other exercises put together [...] On the other hand, the relaxation protocol is the most god-awfully boring thing I have ever done with my dogs. "

http://rollinwithrubi.blogspot.ca/2012/ ... faith.html

Have you done it before?

http://dogscouts.org/Protocol_for_relaxation.html

I just bought pretty new mats for my dogs to see if I can convince myself to do it regularly lol

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MissKitty
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Re: Leash Reactivity

Postby MissKitty » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:15 pm

^ I hadn't heard of that, but it looks like a great program! I am going to try it out :)

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Re: Leash Reactivity

Postby MissKitty » Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:33 pm

We are still working on the reactivity and Apollo is progressing really well. We are using a lot of BAT and LAT.
My trainer is sending us to a T-Touch trainer who does a seminar called 'Walking in Balance', so we can work on not only his leash reactivity but also his being uncomfortable with being touched.

I have been working on the relaxation protocol and it is AMAZING. He has shown so much progress, the first day he was not able to sit for 10 seconds without offering an alternate behavior and now he is able to stay put and (more importantly) be relaxed while I jog circles around him.

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Re: Leash Reactivity

Postby MarMar » Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:54 pm

Mr Apollo sounds a lot like my Becky lol Glad things are going well! We've recently started TTouch as well, I'm liking it even though I'm a bit skeptical of the "science" that is supposedly behind it.

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Re: Leash Reactivity

Postby MissKitty » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:03 pm

MarMar wrote:Mr Apollo sounds a lot like my Becky lol Glad things are going well! We've recently started TTouch as well, I'm liking it even though I'm a bit skeptical of the "science" that is supposedly behind it.


Yeah, I am not a fan of the hocus pocus 'science' either :tongue:


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