Squirrels (ARGH)

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Postby Tubular Toby » February 11th, 2011, 12:48 pm

Toby is obsessed with squirrels. Unfortunately, one of them lives in a tree in my backyard in a hole about eye level. He in fact is so obsessed with chasing them, he jumped over the fence into the neighbor's yard during a BLIZZARD last week. I had to go out and walk him around the block to get him home.

Since that happened, I have been really paranoid about him getting out again, so for the first few days, I donned my snow boots and dressed up and took him out on a leash. I also started clicker training him to come and we've had hit and miss successes. I am probably not doing it right. :lol: But whenever he comes, I hand feed him several treats, one at a time, jackpot! He's gotten better about coming, but if there is a squirrel in the backyard, all bets are off. The only way I can get him to come in when he is squirrel chasing is to dump food in his bowl. :rolleyes2:

I can't even SAY squirrel or he jumps to attention and scans the ceiling of my home...

I am probably going to be investing in a cable sort of set up so that he can't reach the fence. The only downfall to that is that my roommates dog goes out with him often (we are in school and take turns letting the dogs out at lunch) and with Toby's leash reactivity with other dogs, I am afraid that if Tilly just flirts along the outside of his reach (which she is sure to do) it's going to frustrate him a lot. I guess we can stop letting them out together unless I am there to supervise Toby and distract him before he jumps the fence. >.<

P.S. I am renting here and will most likely be moving out at the end of May. Doing any expensive fence work is definitely out of the question.

I will also continue to train him daily, I'm not expecting overnight results. Just looking for any other tips and ideas. Thanks!
-Kristen
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Postby Pit♥bull » February 11th, 2011, 1:10 pm

Squirrels are really tasty if cooked properly, I like fried the best. :mrgreen:
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Postby furever_pit » February 11th, 2011, 2:08 pm

Have you done any work on a leave it command??
What about a watch me command?

In my experience, if you can command the dog to look at you then you are in good shape. Own the eyes and you own the dog.
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Postby Tubular Toby » February 11th, 2011, 2:15 pm

We have a "Toby, look" where he looks at me. Used it a lot during training around other dogs on the leash. It never fails to get his attention for a second or two, but then he decides what he was doing is way more fun than anything I have to offer.

Leave it is decent when we are inside talking about a toy or treat. Outside with squirrels, forget it. I realize that it's just a matter of strengthening the command to work anywhere, but I should probably research again the best way to train it.
-Kristen
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Postby Malli » February 11th, 2011, 3:31 pm

Thinking of the commercial where there is a device that makes it so dogs can talk ...

"normal conversation .... .... .... continued.... .... ... SQUIRREL!!!!!" ROFL

I'm sorry, I know this is serious :) But its the first thing that came to mind!
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Postby TheRedQueen » February 11th, 2011, 4:57 pm

My favorite go-to article for chasing squirrels, by Debi Davis:

http://www.clickersolutions.com/article ... irrels.htm

Honestly, for chasing wildlife and fence fighting (two HIGHLY reinforcing behaviors for some of my dogs), I use the Premack Principle: A theory stating that a stronger response or a preferred response will reinforce a weaker response. ("Grandma's Law"...you can't watch TV until you finish your homework; you can't have ice cream until you finish your vegetables)

So for Score's deer chasing while on hikes (and Xander's squirrel chasing)...I used Premack. To get him to pay attention to me, he had to give me attention, then he was cued to go chase the animal. At first, it was on a long line...so he couldn't just run off into the woods. Now when he sees deer, he will look to me for the "go ahead" cue.

Here's a nice article that explains, in detail, using Premack in dog training:
http://blogs.dogster.com/dog-training/t ... e/2010/09/

Another one:
http://ultimatedogblog.com/the-power-of ... ng-efforts
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Postby Tubular Toby » February 11th, 2011, 6:50 pm

Malli wrote:Thinking of the commercial where there is a device that makes it so dogs can talk ...

"normal conversation .... .... .... continued.... .... ... SQUIRREL!!!!!" ROFL

I'm sorry, I know this is serious :) But its the first thing that came to mind!


I need to see that commercial. Haha, we laugh at Toby all the time, if someone even says squirrel in conversation he's on high alert. Now he have to say "those S things". It's pretty funny. Until he jumps the fence in a blizzard. :lol:
-Kristen
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Postby Tubular Toby » February 11th, 2011, 6:51 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:My favorite go-to article for chasing squirrels, by Debi Davis:

http://www.clickersolutions.com/article ... irrels.htm

Honestly, for chasing wildlife and fence fighting (two HIGHLY reinforcing behaviors for some of my dogs), I use the Premack Principle: A theory stating that a stronger response or a preferred response will reinforce a weaker response. ("Grandma's Law"...you can't watch TV until you finish your homework; you can't have ice cream until you finish your vegetables)

So for Score's deer chasing while on hikes (and Xander's squirrel chasing)...I used Premack. To get him to pay attention to me, he had to give me attention, then he was cued to go chase the animal. At first, it was on a long line...so he couldn't just run off into the woods. Now when he sees deer, he will look to me for the "go ahead" cue.

Here's a nice article that explains, in detail, using Premack in dog training:
http://blogs.dogster.com/dog-training/t ... e/2010/09/

Another one:
http://ultimatedogblog.com/the-power-of ... ng-efforts


I never thought of this... Thank you SO much. I never even thought about putting it on a command, so to speak. I will definitely be reading all of those links later tonight.
-Kristen
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