Duke's Demons

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Postby Pit♥bull » June 24th, 2010, 4:22 pm

As most of you remember when we adopted Duke he/we had many demons to deal with.
I'm pleased to state that due to his/our efforts he has transformed into a model companion for us and Trouble.

With one exception......

Barking/snarling while on leash on our property or just looking out a window whenever he sees anything ie humans, dogs, 4 wheelers, or a blade of grass moves (this includes thunder...But we all bark at thunder).

Away from our property he is a model citizen ie Vet, around humans, dogs, etc.

I'm not speaking of a normal bark, he goes into a unbreakable trance and if on leash pulls so hard that it's all you can do to hold on (always with a pinch collar when on leash), we have found no way to break his concentration, not even high value treats.

End of our rope on this one, any suggestions. :|
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Postby dlynne1123 » June 25th, 2010, 12:04 pm

find a trainer to help with positive interupts, asap! And avoid these circumstances until you can! He needs to learn that these things outside are good, not bad. It could even be a combination of fear with barrier frustration, hard to tell, but could get out of hand!
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Postby Pit♥bull » June 25th, 2010, 12:40 pm

dlynne1123 wrote:find a trainer to help with positive interupts, asap!
We would be forced to bring a trainer in from out of town which is rather expensive, best we have found want's $175 per one hour visit.

dlynne1123 wrote:And avoid these circumstances until you can!
We can close off the windows but the poop runs cause the most issues and we can't avoid this.

dlynne1123 wrote:He needs to learn that these things outside are good, not bad. It could even be a combination of fear with barrier frustration, hard to tell, but could get out of hand!
We have had Duke for a year and he has improved somewhat on this point but not to the degree needed. His issue only exists at home which leads me to believe he is just trying to protect his happy home.
He has good obedience and obeys commands without hesitation with this one exception.
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Postby amazincc » June 26th, 2010, 9:58 am

Sepp is somewhat like that... he tends to get fixated on things and people near "his property", lots of barking, blustering, and running from window to window, or front door to back door - very annoying. :rolleyes2:
He is still a work in progress but we have had some success w/"look at that" (and tons of treats) as long as I initiate the game before he gets wound up.
And, like Duke, he doesn't act that way in public - just at home. :|
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Postby hugapitbull » June 26th, 2010, 10:27 am

Yes, Christine, I think they are from the same mold. Duke is better than he was a year ago, but still no where close to where we would want him to be. He can refrain from barking at the neighbors behind us when they are out in their back yard - most of the time. He can sit and look out the window for long periods of time, and then a rabbit, cat, or dog moves within whatever imaginary boundary he has and it is all over, the wild dog takes over. You are right, it is very annoying >(

We will have to give 'look at that' a try. I'll go do some reading. I tried it a little, but don't think he ever understood the point, and I got frustrated (mostly at me) and quit trying.
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Postby amalie79 » June 26th, 2010, 12:52 pm

You may know this and have tried it already, but I thought I'd mention what we've done since we were practicing it just this morning...

Robin is scared/wary of strangers, and it's worse it we are out in public and someone stares at her-- she also does the window patrol, but we haven't tackled that yet. :rolleyes2: She fixates and then barks and growls. It's embarrassing. What I've done is sit outside on the porch where I can see when people are coming before she does. As soon as I see them, I start working with her-- lots of sit, down, look at me, touch; I just throw it ALL out there to keep her occupied. When the people get close enough to walk by, I bust out a big AWESOME treat (my pups like hot dogs or the large-sized Bil-Jac goobers) and have her nibble it in my fingers as the people walk by; as soon as they pass she gets a click and the treat is aaaallll hers. :mrgreen:

After a while, we moved on to her getting a click the instant her head turns toward people (or the cat or whatever else I was trying to morph into "no big deal")-- and I had to click the very millisecond that she turned or the opportunity was lost. We just today started actually adding the command.

Since her problem was going ballistic out in public as well as at home, we started on the porch, then the yard and sidewalk, then around the block, then a local pet store that clued us into their slower hours, and now we're working in the park and in food drive-thrus. She has FINALLY started initiating her own Look at That games. It's teeny tiny baby steps.

Admittedly, I've not yet read Control Unleashed :oops: -- it's in my Amazon cart to buy next time I make a free shipping order-- so it's highly possible I'm doing this all wrong, but it's been working really well for us. :|
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Postby amalie79 » June 26th, 2010, 1:00 pm

Forgot to add that you might also start the training somewhere that Duke doesn't get overwhelmed-- at the park, on a walk, etc-- and work backwards... ??
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Postby ArtGypsy » June 26th, 2010, 1:04 pm

amazincc wrote:Sepp is somewhat like that... he tends to get fixated on things and people near "his property", lots of barking, blustering, and running from window to window, or front door to back door - very annoying. :rolleyes2:
He is still a work in progress but we have had some success w/"look at that" (and tons of treats) as long as I initiate the game before he gets wound up.
And, like Duke, he doesn't act that way in public - just at home. :|



Oh My Stars...."this" is SO Dar..... :cry: :?

Once he gets 'to goin', it's the same thing....HURLING himself from one door/window to the other...I've tried the look at that, but the hard part is, he really doesn't calm long enough for me to reward him, and if there's no immediate 'threat' then he doesn't even get up and look out much.

and I SWEAR TO GOD, these dogs KNOW through telepathy that there's a dog walking by and not just kids. We live right next to the pool, so there's traffic all day long. But if a little muffy-fluffy-dog happens to be walking beside one of those kids, THIS dog KNOWS it.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » June 26th, 2010, 1:15 pm

Have you tried "time outs" in his crate? When Inara starts acting like an idiot at the window (or anywhere), I tell her "that's enough" - that's her warning that if she continues her shenanigans she'll be in trouble. If she continues to bark I say "sucks to be you" very cheerfully and then put her in her crate until she settles down. If we're out in public, or just outside, and something sets her off, she gets her warning and time out cue and then I lead her behind something so she can't see what is setting her off. This has worked WONDERS for her and I wish I'd tried it sooner. I also obviously praise heavily and treat if she's doing well without my guidance.
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Postby hugapitbull » June 26th, 2010, 2:00 pm

OK, I'm not trying to argue here, just trying to understand the difference.

pitbullmamaliz wrote:Have you tried "time outs" in his crate? When Inara starts acting like an idiot at the window (or anywhere), I tell her "that's enough" - that's her warning that if she continues her shenanigans she'll be in trouble. If she continues to bark I say "sucks to be you" very cheerfully and then put her in her crate until she settles down.


Everything I've read says you do not want to use the crate as a punishment. Does your cheerfulness remove what I would perceive to be punishment (ie, you bark and act a fool and you go to your crate)?

pitbullmamaliz wrote: If we're out in public, or just outside, and something sets her off, she gets her warning and time out cue and then I lead her behind something so she can't see what is setting her off. This has worked WONDERS for her and I wish I'd tried it sooner. I also obviously praise heavily and treat if she's doing well without my guidance.


This I do practice. If he starts to get out of hand outside, I immediately bring him in or walk him to the other side of the house so his view is obstructed. I make the decision based on how badly he is behaving. If it is just barking, I'll take him to the other side of the house. If he is intent on pulling and growling, (ie. focused on a dog, cat, rabbit) nothing will break the focus. I take him inside and often it takes several minutes to calm him once he's inside.

As for the window, I have serious concerns he will one day go right through it. We immediately cover the window so he can't see whatever set him off, but then he runs from the window to the back door until he determines on his own he can't see it anymore.

I have to reiterate - this is only a home behavior with Duke. Anywhere else we have ever taken him, there has never been any attempt at being psycho dog. He is well behaved and well mannered around people and other animals so long as he isn't at home.
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Postby Pit♥bull » June 26th, 2010, 2:02 pm

pitbullmamaliz wrote:"sucks to be you" very cheerfully
I know this isn't a laughing matter, but :lmao:
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Postby dlynne1123 » June 26th, 2010, 3:42 pm

I would also suggest the "look at the game" in environments where you have him under control, if its away from home start there! Then also work on your positive interupt work or phrase, with dog aggressive dogs, they recommend "Look, at dog" The dog looks at you, you feed. I works great with clickr training and timing is the key. You want that phrase so ingrained and practiced that its as second nature as running to the food bowl for dinner, or knowing what 'going for a ride' means. In a good way though....let me see if I have some hand outs in the mean time.
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Postby amalie79 » June 26th, 2010, 5:34 pm

Everything I've read says you do not want to use the crate as a punishment.


I had exactly the same response to exactly the same advise. But I decided to try it and now I do put Robin in her crate when she's wound up and doing full-on zoomies on our bed, for example, and it definitely helps tremendously. She has a rubber toy that stays in the crate and she gets a treat for going in and sitting while I shut the gate. I keep it as neutral as possible. (speaking of...I can hear her barking at a person walking in front of the house RIGHT NOW :crazy2: ) Then she has 5 minutes or so to calm down. It's not so much punishment as it is an opportunity to and realization that she needs to calm down. I see it as setting her up for success. Her crate's a happy place where she can calm down. I need her to calm down; therefore, I put her in the place where SHE is best capable of doing so.

We've been doing this for a few weeks and she still goes in on command, so it hasn't made her not want to go there-- and let me tell you, trying to put a diaper on this dog has taught me aaaallll about making her do something she doesn't want to do. :rolleyes2:
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Postby hugapitbull » June 26th, 2010, 5:39 pm

dlynne1123 wrote:I would also suggest the "look at the game" in environments where you have him under control, if its away from home start there!


I'm assuming this can be a house game (away from the window or distractions) as we are learning it? We have a limited amount of windows he can see out of in the house. For example there are none in our bedroom, the bathroom, or the kitchen.

dlynne1123 wrote:Then also work on your positive interupt work or phrase, with dog aggressive dogs, they recommend "Look, at dog" The dog looks at you, you feed. I works great with clickr training and timing is the key. You want that phrase so ingrained and practiced that its as second nature as running to the food bowl for dinner, or knowing what 'going for a ride' means. In a good way though....let me see if I have some hand outs in the mean time.


The positive interrupt phrase should be the same phrase as used in the 'look at' game?
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » June 26th, 2010, 6:58 pm

I don't consider her time-outs punishments, and she doesn't seem to either, which is more important. She spends maybe 30 seconds in her crate before I let her back out - I simply wait for calmness, which as we progress she has almost immediately upon me saying "sucks to be you." And yeah, the cheerfulness helps too, as I'm not screaming at her and tossing her in there. I simply say it in the tone of voice that it's her own damn fault!

LAT has also been helpful, as mentioned by others. Inara's learning that she gets treats for looking at other dogs or triggers. It's a form of counter-conditioning because eventually she'll be at the point where she'll see a dog and immediately look at me for her reward. So she's learning that dogs=good things. And obviously this is useful for more than just dogs. Erin did a great write-up about how to teach it...I think it's on PBT somewhere. I basically taught it to Inara by clicking the INSTANT she glanced at one of her triggers. By doing it immediately it didn't give her a chance to get locked on and hyper-focused. To practice this you need to be far enough away from Duke's triggers that he doesn't immediately get over threshold. But as time goes on, I can hold off longer and longer before clicking Inara - it's funny because she'll start being VERY obvious that she's looking at the dog, like she's saying, "HELLO MOTHER, can't you see I'm looking???" And I just added in the cue "look" once she was pretty reliably glancing at the dog and looking back to me for her treat.

Erin teaches it (the right way, probably! lol ) by holding a boring item behind her back, bringing it out and clicking the second the dog glances at it. The item then goes behind her back again. She does this a few times and then changes items, eventually showing the dog something high-value. Eventually she adds in the cue and then the dog can be taught to use the cue to look at its triggers.
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Postby airwalk » June 27th, 2010, 9:46 am

Shanna, if you use a cheerful voice and body positioning, Duke won't see going to the crate as punishment. You may intend it that way..but he won't see it. I also use the crate for time outs for Magic (like last night after his walk during the entire time he was an idiot)....I'm also beginning look at that with Magic. We aren't very far or very good....but I can see where it will help.

Magic sounds very much like Duke in his at home responses. Frustrating isn't it.
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Postby dlynne1123 » June 27th, 2010, 4:59 pm

Also, using the crate as a positive interupt exercise helps too! When you see a distraction, have him on leash, prepare yourself ahead of time, with a kong or bone in the crate waiting for him.

When you see he sees the distraction, practically drag him to the crate, saying high pitched, look at that, go to your crate, whatever you want to say in a happy voice! Run run run all the way to the crate where there is something waiting that is awesome, and if done enough times it becomes a habit. A 'positive interupt' starts as a pattern where you set him up for it, then eventually, hopefully becomes a habit. You must always be sure to have those items waiting for him in the crate though, or even dinner! This way he isn't a 'bedroom' dog and the crate isn't a punishment but an alternative behavior to his frustrated aggression.
Lots and lots of reps where you can have a leash on him, and you will need to drag him the first few times. Once he gets that a distraction outside = treat in my crate, it becomes a game to play. Now I've seen it work for extremely reactive front door dogs (guests coming and going) and in a month the dog learned to love these guests b/c there was a reward for her, and not from the person, a reward for choosing to go to her crate on her own!
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Postby BullyLady » June 27th, 2010, 7:28 pm

dlynne1123 wrote:Also, using the crate as a positive interupt exercise helps too! When you see a distraction, have him on leash, prepare yourself ahead of time, with a kong or bone in the crate waiting for him.

When you see he sees the distraction, practically drag him to the crate, saying high pitched, look at that, go to your crate, whatever you want to say in a happy voice! Run run run all the way to the crate where there is something waiting that is awesome, and if done enough times it becomes a habit. A 'positive interupt' starts as a pattern where you set him up for it, then eventually, hopefully becomes a habit. You must always be sure to have those items waiting for him in the crate though, or even dinner! This way he isn't a 'bedroom' dog and the crate isn't a punishment but an alternative behavior to his frustrated aggression.
Lots and lots of reps where you can have a leash on him, and you will need to drag him the first few times. Once he gets that a distraction outside = treat in my crate, it becomes a game to play. Now I've seen it work for extremely reactive front door dogs (guests coming and going) and in a month the dog learned to love these guests b/c there was a reward for her, and not from the person, a reward for choosing to go to her crate on her own!


That is GENIUS!! Shelby loooves people and consequently goes insane, not aggressively just that she is happy to see people, when people come to the door. I may have to institute this!
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Postby amazincc » June 28th, 2010, 2:16 am

Hmmm... Sepp usually crates himself AFTER he has one of his outbursts. Ears back, head low, tucked tail, guilty look on his face - and off into his crate he slinks, where he waits for several minutes before sticking his head around the corner to see my reaction... it's kind of funny.
So, he DOES know that his behavior isn't okay... but he exhibits very little self-control when it comes to those particular situations. Bark first, think later... something like that.
He does try though - I have found him on the porch softly woofing "under his breath", and I do make a big deal over that to let him know that I am pleased w/his behavior... I also sometimes think that his brain still hasn't caught up w/his body yet... and who knows if it ever will...??? :rolleyes2: lol
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Postby dlynne1123 » June 28th, 2010, 10:12 am

If you set them up to offer it as a behavior before the unwanted behaviors occur it is no more expected and performed than a down stay at the park, or wanna go for a ride? in the car! Works great for my fearful girl and what I learned at the behavior analysis class showed great improvement on a few dogs using this technique. Now they love people coming and going, and after the kong is eaten, they move on to say their his and byes appropriately!
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