Need some advice

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Need some advice

This is a discussion on Need some advice within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; So training Tessa has been quite the adventure so far. She knows to come to her name, lay down on command, sit, high five, give ...

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Old 05-23-2013, 06:55 PM
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Need some advice

So training Tessa has been quite the adventure so far. She knows to come to her name, lay down on command, sit, high five, give a paw, leave it (has become very handy on her walks, yes she can now go for walks!!), and is getting the hang of give it (drop it). So I figured why bother with puppy school, since this is all they would teach me to do.

Instead I figured I could easily socialize her at our local parks (she's clear to visit them in 1 week) at the dog park, and at pet stores (petsmart, petvalu, and homesalive); problem with this plan is Tessa gets excited, and I mean EXCITED!!!! (like she's hyped up on coke, drank a 12 pack of energy drinks, and pulled an all nighter) She's begun to jump up on people (a trait I blame on my friends dog who jumps constantly), and barks with her hackles raised. How can I fix this? Or at least give me some ideas on exercises to get her to chill/focus

Our neighbours older lab now refuses to go near her because she's too excited, and any friendly dogs we meet on walks (usually other people I know from the neighbourhood) seem to get immediately intimidated when she's bark at them so they throw up their hackles and bark too. She also seems to get really over stimulated about half way through her walks. I take my time on them, with her, and have treats and my clicker handy.

*she's now getting 3 to 4 20 minute walks per day. I've gone through a lot of chicken...
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:47 PM
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Dog parks are lousy places to socialize as the dogs are unpredictable and you can easily end up with a bad experience... ie the puppy being attacked.

Go to a puppy class that does socialization. That's the point. You are correct that the tricks are easy to teach.

The level of excitement you describe sounds like she may actually be uncomfortable around strange dogs (their reaction indicates her bark is not all friendly).

Get her to puppy class.

Meeting random dogs on leash is not good socialization experiences.

Get her to puppy class.

I'm done now...
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Old 05-24-2013, 08:51 AM
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She's enrolled in one that starts June 3rd. It's a 30 minute drive, but I met the instructor and her dog before hand and really like what she had to say about her training methods. She is also the only agility trainer in Lethbridge, so when Tessa is ready, we can easily transition to agility.

Is there anything I should be doing in the mean time to help her feel more secure on her walks? (Keeping in mind these are only her 3rd or 4th walks that she's ever had)
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:08 AM
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Good, glad you have a class to go to.

As far as walks go, you don't need to have the puppy actually meet other dogs. Sometimes its best to just walk by casually at a distance sufficiently far away that the puppy does not get agitated. Feed her treats when she sees the other dogs so she associates the other dogs with good things, and at the same time can focus a bit on you. Stay very calm yourself. You can hang out with her on the grass within sight of other dogs, just letting her play with toys and you and such. Making other dogs a "normal" sight is a good thing.

Finding the right distance is key. Keep in mind that a dog on a leash cannot do the normal doggy behaviors that help them to get through the stress of meeting strangers. Being marched right up to a new dog can be intimidating for both dogs. The lunging and barking are actually called "distancing signals" which means the dogs are telling the other dog "give me space!" but of course everyone is on leash, and they know it, so they feel trapped, which is not self evident as often the dogs are straining to get to each other.

Hope that makes some sense. Look up "Calming Signals" and "Turid Rugaas" to learn more.
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:26 AM
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A 1,000% what Tess said. Thank you for saying it so well. I consider walks "our" time. Just meaning we work on training, sits, automatic drops, attention heeling etc. We enjoy the fresh air and trees. Bugs, birds, and creek. Its great bonding time and safer for her as often we come across not so friendly, reactive dogs. Now she looks at them, looks at their owner with her "you should do something about that" face and just walks on by.
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:43 AM
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*Mini Update*

So today and yesterday, Tessa accidently met a bunch of leashed/off leashed dogs on our walks (it's becoming summer here, so everyone's out and a about). I tried to keep a distance, but she was sitting patiently to meet them so I let her, and she did great.

Here's the catch, all the dog she met (large and small breeds) were being walked by women. The only guy who was walking his brittany (who is a beautiful 14 yr old dog, that has the patience of a saint) was barked at with hackles up, but with a handful of chicken she chilled out.

It makes sense I guess. Tessa lives with my mom and I (both girls, my mom widowed and me single, lol) and has really been around mostly female (ie: my sister, my neices, my friends, and my neighbors daughter). The only males she's been around were my neighbors boyfriend (who was indifferent), my friends uncle (who can be intimidating to even me), and my pseudo uncle/neighbor (who suggested I hold her down, and lightly smack her when she bites; so basically he's rough with her).

So I guess I need to work more on socializing her with men; hey maybe I might find a bf this way?
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