Dog Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have an 8 month old half boxer half pit mixed with something narrow.
You may have seen my posts before worrying about socialization- well, we have no problems with that, she is firmly in a beta role and loves everyone and everything. With the problem I am about to explain, I wish I socialized her a bit less, lol.

Example of what I need help with:

Someone walks up to us while she is on the leash. Is more psychotically hyper with someone she knows, but is also with new people. I make her sit and stay, which she listens to me. I have to repeat sit and stay several times, but we are now at about 30 seconds of stay with each command, and when she does stand up, will go right back to sitting with the command. (much better than a month ago). Eventually, she will sit "quietly" (meaning a restrained spring ready to pop). It is usually 3 commands to get to that point and once there, she will stay there as long as I make her wait for me to let her go say hi. The minute I say ok, she springs up and goes nuts saying hi- back at square one and all I accomplished was getting her to focus on me for a bit, not actually calm down when greeting a person.

I had a friend over who worked with me for an hour on it- she never calmed down when going up to say hi. I have worked her hard before meeting people until she barely wants to walk anymore, but still finds that extra energy to get super excited about meeting someone new. She won't jump, but will paw at their legs some times (other 3 feet on the ground) or rub against them like a cat, which almost knocks people over. She also has the deadly pit tail that will leave bruises when it wags.

Other suggestions on getting her to calm down when people come over/meet us on a walk? Or is it just going to take A LOT more repetition and time? I can get her to focus on me decently, though I don't know how to stop the super hyper greeting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,032 Posts
I'm going to guess more time and consistency (my dog is SUPER hyper as well, and would run circles in the room with guests). I've learned to basically keep her away from people when we aren't training at home.

Maybe also go a bit slower? If you have someone "greeting", can they greet from a distance? Are you familiar with the three Ds of dog training? If she couldn't be successful in a hour, your friend was either too close (distance), too exciting (distraction), or you were asking your dog to be calm for too long (duration). What is getting her hyper, and what can you do to lower that trigger and train at a lower threshold?

My trainer also suggested at one point for hyper dogs is to sit with them in a low distraction area, and wait for a true calm behavior, and treat that (w/o a marker). Do that consistently for awhile so that you build calmness. It can be hard to do with a dog that learns quick; my dog likes to lay down and stare at me while waiting for a treat, but that's not actually being calm.

I think what I've learned at this point with a hyper dog is that I can only train so much calmness; I have to really know what she can handle, and manage the rest. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I will try achieving the "true" calm. I can do it while by myself indoors or outdoors, but not the minute another dog or person adds into the equation. Then we get loaded spring calm. And we can't transition past that. May take several hours to do so, and I will have to borrow a friend for a long time.

Distance- At a park it is about 50 feet, and at home, it is anywhere in the 8 acre yard if there is a person. She knows not to go out so is just excited in the boundaries pacing then. The person for that hour regularly takes classes in and competes in dog obedience and agility training, but their dogs don't have as much hyperness. She started farther away (about 20 ft, end of driveway) and every time Tanka stood she would turn her back and not look at her until she sat down for me again. If Tanka was sitting, then she walked closer and repeated turning her back and stopping each time Tanka stood up. So Tanka learned to sit until the person came up close. and then still waited for my cue. Not sure for Distraction- EVERYONE is a distraction but me. She truly thinks every new person is the most exciting and wonderful thing ever. Duration- we have tried short and long term- crazy as can be.

I may just have to try to find training classes specific to her craziness. I am moving in a week to a new state and will have to look. It is a rural area so not a lot of hope. I have had plenty of dogs before, but not one with an endless supply of energy around people. Most of the previous dogs (granted, I didn't raise these from hour old puppies like Tanka) were a bit more stand offish with strangers. There is no such thing for Tanka.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,418 Posts
My dog is similar and it's a constant challenge. Two other suggestions:

- Work on impulse control (search "It's Yer Choice")
- Work on general relaxation (search "Karen Overall's relaxation protocol")

I haven't done either option consistently enough to comment on effectiveness, but I have read of dogs having great success with both exercises. Now I need to smack myself with rolled up newspaper for falling down on the training job. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Watched the "Its Yer Choice" I can get Tanka to most of those things already - she is not super treat or food motivated, which makes training hard. She wants people to love. Period. She will not eat any food on the ground unless I say Ok and will back off immediately if I tell her to, even mid bite- true beta- always waits for the alpha to say it is her turn and backs off if I say differently. She may get really close and sniff it looking at me sadly, but will not eat unless I give her the go ahead. She is extremely well behaved and well trained, except with the people aspect. I have friends in agility and obedience, and have taught her sit and stay with the treat on her nose, lay down and stay until I say she can move, even if I walk away, leave it, etc. All works wonderful in any environmental setting (indoor, outdoor, new place, etc), until people show up.

Because of her attitude on food, treat motivation is iffy on if it will work or not (even using people food) and most of my rewards are praise, not food.

I had some time at work and we worked on hour on her. She greeted the person calmly (finally) but the minute she starts to get pet, she goes to her nutso happy stage.

What do you think of moving her basic training (meaning the same stuff I am doing now) to a park with lots of people and staying there working on the basics until she calms down and hopefully ignores people around her?
Think it will help? Or hurt?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,519 Posts
Watched the "Its Yer Choice" I can get Tanka to most of those things already - she is not super treat or food motivated, which makes training hard. She wants people to love. Period. She will not eat any food on the ground unless I say Ok and will back off immediately if I tell her to, even mid bite- true beta- always waits for the alpha to say it is her turn and backs off if I say differently. She may get really close and sniff it looking at me sadly, but will not eat unless I give her the go ahead. She is extremely well behaved and well trained, except with the people aspect. I have friends in agility and obedience, and have taught her sit and stay with the treat on her nose, lay down and stay until I say she can move, even if I walk away, leave it, etc. All works wonderful in any environmental setting (indoor, outdoor, new place, etc), until people show up.

Because of her attitude on food, treat motivation is iffy on if it will work or not (even using people food) and most of my rewards are praise, not food.

I had some time at work and we worked on hour on her. She greeted the person calmly (finally) but the minute she starts to get pet, she goes to her nutso happy stage.

What do you think of moving her basic training (meaning the same stuff I am doing now) to a park with lots of people and staying there working on the basics until she calms down and hopefully ignores people around her?
Think it will help? Or hurt?
The relaxation protocol is a great suggestion!

It sounds as though she needs to learn a true default sit, which takes a lot of practice and consistency.

Also, how much mental exercise is she getting before training sessions/set-up sessions? Many dogs can be completely physically exhausted, and yet still are just as hyper/aroused or ill-behaved, because their mental energy hasn't been drained. Also, once a dog has been extremely physically exercised (or even in some cases just moderately exercised), the self-control can be depleted, leaving a dog that has poor impulse control and makes poor behavioral choices, even ignoring cues/commands. Here's an interesting article on that:

“Self-Control Depletion” & Dogs

I think continuing to wait to mark/reward until you see true calm behavior, while practicing a default sit, is your best bet. As you've noticed, it can take time to get a truly calm behavior, and rewarding the almost-calm is where you'll find things at a stalemate. Only reward the exact calm behavior you want, and if that means waiting until she finally relaxes, you must have patience. Once you get those calm behaviors offered to you more often, and you reward them consistently, she'll begin to understand what gets rewarded and what does not.

I mean no offense, but your dog is not a "beta", and you are not an "alpha", as those terms do not apply to domestic dogs. (It's applicability to wolves has also been rethought.) The notion that dogs form a social hierarchy, and include us in it, is extremely outdated, and actually proven false. Not to mention it being detrimental to dogs when we apply it to the way we approach living with them, working with them and training them.

Your dog waits for the "ok" to grab a piece of food, because in some way or another, you have either reinforced that she is supposed to wait (we can reinforce dogs' behaviors subconsciously sometimes, and not even know that our own human behavior is reinforcing a dog behavior.), or you have advertently or inadvertently punished her for grabbing the food when she's not supposed to, or attempting to, even if it's a subtle, seemingly harmless punishment. Even a slight change in your body language could have taught her that going for the food until you give permission is bad. This kind of self-control can be reliably taught without the use of any form of punishment, and has nothing to do with her inherently knowing that she must wait for you first.

No dog sees a human as apart of it's "pack", and they do not wait for the human to give the "ok" because they somehow know it's place in some sort of hierarchy. They know the difference between species, and they are not capable of "dominating" a member of a different species. Also, most dog behavior that is wrongfully assumed or labeled as 'dominance', are actually completely normal dog behaviors, that have nothing to do with the dog's amount of respect for it's owner.

http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/dominance-dogs-4076/

In some cases it's not such a bad thing that a dog's not as food motivated as most dogs (although, just to be sure, have you tried real meat or other really smelly high-value rewards?), as it sometimes can be easier to give praise after a reward marker than to give food. Does she truly know how to focus on you, or has she learned a "focus" cue? Once you can reliably get her focus, and teach her that you asking for eye contact also means to prepare for her next cue, she will be much more ready to make progress. I'd work on focus, the set-ups/greetings themselves, as well as creating a default sit.

Here are a random assortment of links that may be of help to you, along with the wonderful advice/links that has been given:

Energetic, Anxious, or Reactive Dog? Try the Calm-O-Meter Method | Karen Pryor Clicker Training

Nine Steps to a Calm, Relaxed, Quiet Canine. Have a Go at DRO. | awesomedogs






And here's an old thread that may or may not have any new advice, but just thought I'd share, as a lot of us have had this problem, including me. :)

http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training-behavior/bringing-down-abrasive-greeting-29643/

ETA: I would also suggest only rewarding the sit you want. Possibly try this: If she does not sit on the first cue, (after MUCH practice of default sits) immediately and quietly remove her from the greeting situation. Try again after separating yourself from the other person/greeter, and try again.

I think the most that should be worked on with her in distracting environments is default sits with no person to greet. Just get her butt used to sitting all. the. time. :) As seebrown mentioned, you want to work on the three Ds. They should be worked on slowly though, and moving on with one of the Ds too quickly can be counterproductive, as you want to get each one down solidly first. Only move on to the next step (i.e. only up the distraction) when she is performing her cues/behaving appropriately and consistently.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
265 Posts
My dog LuLu is also not very treat motivated, going so far as to spit treats out after a reward. Two things work for her: real meat and freeze dried meat (Stella and Chewy brand). Those she will work for. Real meat she will do almost anything I ask over and over and over for. I alternate unpredictably between real meat and S&C. I tear off just a shred of S&C to make it go further. I save any chicken, pork, or even (rarely) steak from our dinner and cut it into tiny pieces for training.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
In my opinion, the easiest way to start fixing this problem is to ensure that you are truly calm and not projecting any anxiety yourself. Even if you think you're hiding it, you can't hide it from your dog, and she will always notice. Excitement and nervousness are very similar in the mind of a dog. They prefer to stay in a calm, stable state - they are happier that way, I swear. Once you've mastered staying calm with others around, ask your guests not to touch or even acknowledge your dog until she is totally calm and acting just the way you want her to. Right now she's feeding off of all the excitement and energy and doesn't know what to do. Show her that laying or sitting down - or simply standing still and not bothering anyone - is what you want from her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,336 Posts
I know you said your dog isn't very food motivated, but here is another method (might be a good time to bust out the real meat):


It sounds like you're having the opposite issue (people approaching) but this is probably good practice as well.

Another by Pam Marxsen:

And an alternative behavior greeting:
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top