new - fixating on jobbers ?!?

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Postby HappyPuppy » April 28th, 2010, 1:05 pm

So, this has happened 3 or 4 times in the past a few months - when we are walking Ruby and she sees a jogger, she will fixate and 'rubber neck' if they are goin the opposite direction - constantly looking over her shoulder. The other day, one passed us going our direction on the other side of the street and she kept straining on the leash forward while looking at him and I felt if I dropped the leash, she would run right after him. Again today...the paranoid rubber necking at a jogger behind us.

She is a happy dog - EVERYONE who meets her points out her wiggly happy, smiling self. She is great around people - only once did she not let the neighbor's husband into our house while we were gone for the day (asked them to let her out to potty and give her a treat) but she let the wife in. She has gotten a little wierd with the gas reader guy but he always sings to her as he enters the gate and gives her a treat, so there has never been a problem - just some slightly fearful body language at a 'stranger' in the back yard (< they're electronic now, so no more backyard readers). This is the only instance of fear/avoidance I have ever seen in her (other than when I drop a stainless steel bowl on the kitchen floor) - normally she is 100% confident and exploring everything....

I DO trust her 100% around people - she smashes her head into the windshiled to 'say hi to people walking by when we're in the car and loves to meet people everywhere we go... She's great in crowds.

So this fixating on joggers is really weirding me out!! and I'm not sure what to make of it.

The first episode was a few months ago we were in the human park on a 100-ft line. There were 2 encounters with the same jogger (running back and forth across the park) that were my fault... First, I misread the guy wrong re what direction he was going since Ruby was on the long line and she ended up right up running up to him and check him out - I saw no hackels or aggressive posturing - just intense curiosity... but I could tell the guy was in avoidance mode. Then again 10 mins later, I misread him again, I accidently allowed her to be within range of the jogger and she ran up to him - I apologized profusely for the invasion and then managed to keep her totally away from him. BUT that's when I first noticed the fixating - keeping a constant eye on him and rubber necking and pulling the line to go toward him....

I don't think I am really 'worried' about this but it is bugging me as it is clearly fixating.... Doesn't seem aggressive at all just intense focus on joggers. We have never had any bad or scary experiences with joggers and walk our neighborhood every day in the morning when there is a lot of activity... Any thoughts about this behavior or what to do about it if anything??
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Postby HappyPuppy » April 28th, 2010, 1:24 pm

Erm.........that was JOGGERS ! :oops:
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Postby amazincc » April 28th, 2010, 1:27 pm

:giggle:


How old is Ruby again?
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Postby Malli » April 28th, 2010, 1:29 pm

just a warning, and this may not be what is going on with Ruby, but these little things can be the tip of the iceberg.

For a long time (until probably 6 years, minus car-protectiveness), he was like Ruby. He'd met ONE person ONCE that he disliked. Then he started to get guardy, REALLY guardy, and we had a couple "incidents" that could have been bad.
We seemed to have "fixed" it, by a little training on eye contact and properly timed corrections, as well I think it had to do with him not being out in public places as often as he had been, or really out meeting people.

Anyway, just thought I'd mention, because to me, what you're describing could easily be the tip of the iceberg.
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Postby HappyPuppy » April 28th, 2010, 1:37 pm

amazincc wrote::giggle:

How old is Ruby again?


She is approx 5 years old (starting to get some grey around her muzzle)
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Postby Malli » April 28th, 2010, 2:47 pm

err he = Oscar
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Postby TheRedQueen » April 28th, 2010, 2:58 pm

Again...I'll recommend "Look At That"...:) We've talked about this in many other threads, so if you do some searching, you'll be able to find more discussion on this game. It's from Leslie McDivitt's "Control Unleashed" book.

Basically, instead of teaching the dog to ONLY focus on you (attention/watch me/look/etc) you teach them to look AT the object/person/animal/etc that is distracting them. My Inara has trouble with people...and this helped her immensely. In a nutshell, you click/treat for looking at the distraction...and they whip back around to you for the treat. The idea is that if they're anxious, worried or fearful of something (or just plain curious), then they're still going to be paying some attention to that thing...even if you're demanding total attention to you. How many times have you seen dogs rotating ears around or looking out of the corner of their eye to check out what is spooking them...as you're asking for attention on you.

I tell people in my classes, that I'm scared of clowns. If a clown comes into the room where I'm teaching, I'm going to be freaked out. Majorly. Now if John tells me to just ignore the clown and keep watching him do something...it's not going to help. It might even make things worse for me...as now I'm going to worry MORE about what the clown is doing out of sight...is it sneaking up behind me...has it left the room...is it inviting MORE clown friends into the room? What IS IT DOING?!?!?!!? :shock: I'm going to be better off being able to keep an eye on what that clown is doing...while still engaging with John in conversation. I'm still going to be uncomfortable...but I'm not going to be freaking out. ;)

We played this game in the park yesterday with our field trip class...as the Wiener is starting to go through a bit of a fear period...and he's barking at strangers that come near...especially joggers and bikers. :rolleyes2: Super! Within 5 minutes, the barking had stopped...and he was looking pointedly at the joggers and bikers and then back to me for a treat. Now...we were about 20' off of the trail, so it wasn't pushing him past what he could handle...we ended up moving to about 10' off the trail...we went closer, but he couldn't concentrate on me...so we moved back to 10'.
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Postby HappyPuppy » April 28th, 2010, 2:59 pm

Malli wrote:err he = Oscar


We know who he = Oscar is, silly! (thanks for your thoughts on this)
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