Dog loses focus with other dogs around

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Dog loses focus with other dogs around

This is a discussion on Dog loses focus with other dogs around within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hi. I have a rhodesian ridgeback that's 11 months old. For an independent and strong willed breed, he's very obedient in general. Comes when I ...

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Old 01-05-2018, 10:03 AM
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Question Dog loses focus with other dogs around

Hi.

I have a rhodesian ridgeback that's 11 months old. For an independent and strong willed breed, he's very obedient in general. Comes when I call, doesn't pull the leash, sits, stays etc.

That changes by 180 when he sees another dog. He doesn't show aggression but he starts pulling and sometimes lunging at them. I try to break eye contact and gain his focus but it's futile, he just 100% focuses on the other dogs until I literally drag him away.

Worst part is, when I put him in an environment where other dogs are caged or behind a fence, he doesn't acknowledge them at all. They can bark at him manically and get no attention at all. But lo and behold if there's one walking towards us on a leash, for he will not allow that to pass without fixating on him like he's the center of the universe.

Appreciate any input
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Old 01-05-2018, 11:14 AM
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Practice with your dog outside a dog park as they come and go on leash or at a Petco/Petsmart.

Just start at a distance where the dog maintains as you either play or train with him. Many dogs quit giving their engagement to the owner when something else more "exciting" gets their attention so keep it upbeat and rewarding. Keep the distance adequate so your dog doesn't break off engagement with you. You may have to start a 100 yards away but you'll figure out the appropriate distance. Slowly over time close the proximity to the other leashed dogs. It can be a time consuming process at times but it's a great environment to train in as long as you keep the dog's focus on you. Some train to look at the other dogs and then reward for keeping cool but I've always assumed a dog knows the presence of other dogs regardless but in the beginning the stare can lead to a quick loss of focus on the owner.
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Old 01-05-2018, 12:38 PM
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Thanks for the quick reply.. unfortunately, there are no dog parks here, or anywhere close that I know of. Dogs that he "knows" and are behind fences (neighbors) aren't interesting to him so that falls out as well.

Don't know what an alternative would be to be honest..
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Old 01-05-2018, 02:46 PM
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Any pet stores, vet clinics or dog training facilities nearby? Any place where you could find a reliable flow of leashed dogs going in and out of an area or building.

Maybe find an area where you know people will be walking their dogs and find a suitable area far enough away to start working with your dog there?

Possibly you could find a neighbor willing to help that owns one of the dogs behind the fences?
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Old 01-05-2018, 03:46 PM
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One other thought since you seem convinced your dog is not displaying any fear and or aggression, your dog might just be frustrated and wants to meet the other dog If so, you need to dictate the terms. Try turning the dog ASAP the moment your dog is out of your trained heel position or is putting pressure on the lead. Long story short, the only way your dog gets closer to another leashed dog is on a loose leash. Use impulse control exercises and focus exercises all heavily rewarded.
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Old 01-05-2018, 04:57 PM
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quick fix: start going to a dog club, to practice. IN the manner Bob suggests.

medium fix: intro tug games. Once 'addicted' to a tug, the dog is practically blind to its environment, when you 'activate' the tug.

Long term fix: counter training/focus and engagement training.
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Old 01-05-2018, 06:59 PM
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After reading @rotten, it reminded me of a previous dog I had and dealt with but this Bob was more reactive on lead due to dog/dog aggression. Bringing Bob's tug on our walks and getting her engagement whenever I took out the tug worked great to pass by other dogs that made her lose her crap previously. Ultimately, raising Bob's obedience skills was the long term cure. Bob never cared for much any other dogs but certainly learned to ignore them through our obedience training which certainly included counter-conditioning, focused heeling and engagement enhancement just as rotten suggested.

Infiltrator, it sounds like you enjoy the obedience skills you have taught your pup by 11 months. I'd bet if you up your expectations and the obedience skills/training, you'll sail right through this particular phase.
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