Car Issues

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by tamm, May 4, 2012.

  1. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Tamm, please give some thought to all that's been said above. Truly. You have a dog who speaks a whole different language than you do. We bring dogs into our lives and ask them live along side us, according to our rules. We give very little thought to their world, their rules, their language. And we must remember, they do have a world all their own. Often times, what happens is, when they don't live like we think they should (when they do something "wrong", like bark at people from cars), we "correct" (punish) them (by spraying them with stuff attached to their collar) so they won't do it anymore. It would be much kinder to spend some time - build some communication - and ask the dog not to do that anymore, by introducing a different behavior instead (show them how - in a kind way - to live in our world, as dogs don't have cars in theirs). By using a clicker and reward, you can reshape it's current behavior into something different/new ... and more pleasurable to you (and passengers and passersby, and actually the dog too), as everyone's stress level will go down, and relaxation will prevail. Just some food for thought. We'll help you as best we can thru this, just let us try, ok? Your dog is begging you both to read this, right about now. :rolleyes:
    Dogster and tigerlily46514 like this.

  2. tamm New Member

    Hi
    Well so far we have t progressed very far mainly because no one has had the dog out in the car for any sort of journey. I feel I should mention the dog came to us with this issue. The previous owners consulted a behaviourist who advised tying the dog down to the floor of the car so that he could not react to anything outside the car. We ourselves have contacted two,different trainers, one of whom thought it wasn't a bad thing that the dog guarded the car. The other advised putting the dog In a covered crate. This isn't possible as our car would not accommodate a crate the size the dog would need. I have had him in the back of the car with the boot open most days for short periods and treating him if he was good. This was going quite well until a woman passed by with a reactive dog which started barking when it saw our boy, i might not even have been there as our dog launched himself at the side of the car barking & growling. The baby steps we had made took a decided plunge. When he reacts like this, no amount of clicks or treats have any reaction whatsoever, he is just completely fixated. To stop the fiasco I had to pull him out of the car where he immediately calmed down. Didn't even respond to the other dog still barking and growling!
  3. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Reading your post just gave me an idea. Is your boy ok (in general) around other dogs? It sounds like he is, based on the end of your post: I had to pull him out of the car where he immediately calmed down. Didn't even respond to the other dog still barking and growling! Here's my thought: IF he's good around other dogs, would it be possible for you to set up something with a friend. Maybe they could come over with their dog, or you could take him to their house, whatever. So - my question: if he were with this other dog outside the car, then he got in the car, would he react? If so, that may be a good place to start, since it could be a controlled situation. He's in car, bark bark bark, out of car, now with friendly dog, all's good. Both dogs are together, now he gets in car, car door's open, you get in car, door closes. If he can maintain for even a few seconds, reward reward reward - or just not react period - to friendly dog - then start the party. Practice that. Then maybe intro another friendly dog. Same thing, different location. Maybe he could practice that with everyone you know (heck, meet new people if you have to, if it works) and maybe he could begin to understand that he doesn't have to meltdown every time he sees a dog when he's in the car. The fact that altho the dog you mentioned was still reacting, once he was out of the car he stopped, tells me it's just all about the car with him. He needs to reframe his whole feeling about the car. Make sure whatever you're using for treats, it's really high value, cuz it's gotta trump his desire to react. And if you even see him start to react, you're gonna have to be really fast and stick that chicken, or hot dog, or whatever under his nose and get him more interested in that, than in the dog he's wanting to bark at --- ya gotta be quick!! I'd maybe see if you can set him up, see if neighbors or friends can walk their (friendly, non-reactive) dogs past so you can work in your driveway or on the street/sidewalk, wherever you park, just for starters. That way, you're controlling the whole situation. Baby steps. And don't feel the baby steps you had taken, took a plunge. Temporarily maybe, but don't be discouraged. It will all take time. This is apparently something he's been practicing for a long time - and you know practice makes perfect. He's perfected his art. So - it's up to you to teach him a new skill, but first you have to convince him he needs to learn it. :confused: I hope I've given you a new idea, for whatever it may be worth.
    Dogster likes this.
  4. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    //When he reacts like this, no amount of clicks or treats have any reaction whatsoever, he is just completely fixated. //

    i completely believe you entirely. OH, do i ever!! :ROFLMAO: But don't give up. It sounds like you were doing well til the reactive dog went by. Teaching a dog a new way to look at something does take time,
    and a clicker can be used to help teach the new wanted behavior.
    And yeah, it sure can be "Two steps forward, one step back":rolleyes: in the progress,
    but, all is not lost.

    Like Jackie said, your dog did not get this way all at once, and it will take more than a few tries to solve this, to help dog develop an entirely new behavior pattern or response,
    but dont' give up. You sounded like you were on right path there, til wrong dog went by!! HANG IN THERE, KEEP TRYING!!
    KEEP US POSTED, you are not alone, many of us have also struggled along with an unwanted behavior too!!
    Dogster likes this.
  5. tamm New Member

    The thing is its not dogs in particular he reacts to, it's people walking by / past the car. ThAt is the problem, people - quite understandably don't like it.
  6. running_dog Honored Member

    An idea that might be totally stupid but here goes anyway....

    When you are practicing with the dog in the back of the car (BTW good for you! (y))... if you practice when the dog is hungry then could you try getting a "stranger" walk by and toss a treat to him (whether he's being "good" or not). Stranger keeps walking, dog eventually calms down enough to eat the treat, Stranger walks past again and tosses a treat into car, keeps walking, the dog probably calms down quicker and goes looking for the treat sooner, repeat a couple more times if it is going well.
    Try another day with a different "stranger" eventually the dog should be looking for the treat and then you can start asking him to be quiet or sit or whatever first. Then when the dog WANTS the stranger with the yummy treats to walk closer they can start turning their back whenever he reacts and only moving closer when he's quiet. As he gets better ask random people as they walk past to chuck a treat (from a distance) into the car for the dog (People normally love to help).

    Although it seems like your "stranger" is rewarding your dog for reacting thats okay in the short term because the internal attitude of your dog should be changing so his reason for reacting is diminishing. I kind of did this with a grumpy little farm dog that kept running out at us... at first she pretended she couldn't see the treat and sneaked back for it later, now she rushes over and waits at treat throwing range to guzzle it right away :rolleyes:.
    tigerlily46514 and Dogster like this.

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