Training for Distractions

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Postby Mind_doc » October 27th, 2006, 4:42 pm

Hannibal is now 13 mo and is a joy to walk on a leash. He struts next to
me like he has been in the show ring for years and I hardly even feel
the leash in my hand. Bring in any distraction..a car passing by..another
dog, especially our Boston, and he gets so excited. He has never chased
any cars, he just feels very tense like he could bolt any second.
I have to admit, this is a new training concept to me. I have spent
years training hunting dogs that seem to thrive and become more focused
with distraction, birds flying, rabbits running, guns blasting, other dogs in the field, etc. I am thinking now that this is something inherent to the breed and I never had to train it in or out. So I admit I am at a loss here.

I have tried the obvious of slowly bringing in the distractions, but he just seems to have an "all or nothing" switch. He will remain in a "down" when I introduce a distractinon, but he is a coiled spring. I am really hoping that its still "puppy energy" and it will just take more time. I would love to get more involved with showing and weight pull but right now I think he couldn't pass a CGC or be around other dogs at a show. Its not an aggressive energy, he just gets excited, pulls like crazy, is very hard to redirect and just seems to be in a "zone."

Is this the "drive" that just comes with the breed? Do I need to allow him
to get excited and try to redirect it rather then extinguish it? This is
my first pitbull so I am open to suggestions.
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Just Whelped
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Postby Pitcrew » October 29th, 2006, 1:23 pm

You will probably find his level of arousal to a particular stimulus will be less so... when he is properly exercised for his individual energy level.

"Proofing" or desensitizing to environmental stimulus, is an important part of training. If he becomes charged up by something at a particular level (like a ball, or a cat 50' away) you must work with him at the lowest arousal level, until he can be relaxed and attentive to you. Then increase the stimulus (decrease distance, or move the stimulating object). Continue to train and desensitise to your level of ability and recognise your, and your dogs, limits.

Don't forget the control you gain with your dog ON LEASH does NOT apply, even under SIMILAR circumstances... OFF LEASH.
NEVER OVER-estimate your level of control.
Training is never a one time thing, and then its done. You only retain the level of control you maintain.

Good job with the work you've done. Keep it up!
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Hyper Adolescent Bully
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Postby Malli » October 29th, 2006, 1:54 pm

distractions take a LONG time and a LOT of proofing to train out, you have to expose the dog to a stimulous over and over and test him, and increase the distraction, and train around it, and test, and increase etc etc etc etc...

This is the hard part of training (I think, anyway), its all fine and dandy to TEACH sit, down, come etc, but the distractions are the toughest and most constant battle, since there are always new and different ones.

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Postby Mind_doc » October 30th, 2006, 4:49 pm

Lisa & Malli,
Thanks for you advise. Right now, there dosen't seem to be a lowest level of distraction. Like I said, he is "all or nothing." I guessI need to look for and test out a lower level distraction and work up.
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Just Whelped
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Location: North Carolina

Postby mnp13 » October 30th, 2006, 5:08 pm

How about just in your house or yard?

Inside me is a thin woman trying to get out. I usually shut the bitch up with a martini.
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Evil Overlord
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