Dog aggression in THE CAR!!??

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by tigerlily46514, Aug 21, 2010.

  1. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    My dog Buddy, who HAS full-blown dog agression, which we are working on, also goes bananas IN THE CAR.

    Outside on walks, i get notice, i can SEE the oncoming dog and intervene before Buddy snaps out, but, in the car, not so much---BAM!! A GERMAN SHEPHERD, IN THE YARD WE ARE GOING BY!!:dogmad: A CHIHUAHUA IN THE CAR NEXT TO US AT A STOPLIGHT!!:dogmad:

    BUDDY GOES BALLISTIC!!:dogmad:

    So, we are planning to try to train this out of him in the car. How do we start? We are thinking one of us should drive, and the other one, sit next to Buddy.

    I'm not too hopeful, cuz, i figure, even if we could train Buddy to be calm while we drive by 'enemies'...that once we are down to "just a driver" and no one sitting next to Buddy, to work with Buddy,--------- well, Buddy will probably notice he is "on his own" again, and probably resume his cujo action...is this a waste of time?
    Depending on how long he can see the 'enemy', Buddy reeeally goes nutz, running laps, scaring everyone, hurting my ears! And rarely, even running across my lap as i drive.

    I'd hate to have to 'seat belt' him,:dognowink: he LOVES sticking his head out the window...

    ANY IDEAS FOR THIS?

  2. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I would start first in the car....not moving. From our other talks, seems like you pretty much know most of your neighbors. So, do you know about when they are out and about with their dogs? And where? If so, go there and park the car. Then just sit and wait. What does he do if a dog goes by? If Buddy is completely cool and collected, then you can skip this step and move to driving, slowly. If Buddy shows you any warning signs here, then utilize the calming signals you've been using for his aggression already.

    You might teach Buddy a "settle" command that you can use in the car. It could be him laying on his side, or just lying down, or whatever you want so long as he is completely relaxed. Once he's got it, try using it in the car(at home, loooow-distraction, less tempation for him to go bonkers). Tell him to "settle" or "cool it" or whatever you want to call it. Then go back to sitting in the car where you know a dog or two may pass by. Test it here. When he's doing well here, maybe go to a higher-traffic area. For instance, a dog park(try to figure out when it is reeeaaallly slow, NOT when it's crazy and everyone in town is bringing all their dogs at once), or Petsmart/PetCo(also at a very slow time). Test it here.

    Mud used to like to bounce from window to window, she just gets super excited in the car. No aggression, just excitement. Although I do seatbelt all my dogs, I used to just tell her to sit and stay and she'd be fine. (Even though she still wanted to go nuts!) Now I seatbelt her, but she puts herself in a sit-stay for the ride, lol. Zekers, on the other hand, wants to lay down for the ride, most of the time. He's seatbelted too though.


    There's lots of ways to work with this, and I'm sure someone else will reply with more advice. ^^
  3. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    THANKS TX!! Great ideas!! My new mission.......so to clarify, i should teach Buddy the pose i want, on cue, while IN the house, and then advance it along to into the car? And then advance it along to while he sees dogs while in the car?

    is that right?
  4. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Yeppers. Right now he might have an association with the car, so he's kind of revved up just seeing the car. (Maybe.) In the house--no association. So teach it in the house or backyard or whatever, just not in the car. When he'll do it in the house, take him to the driveway. Settle by the car, if he's doing good, then settle in the car. When he's doing good, move the car somewhere. Settle in car wherever you took it to.

    Thought of something else the other day too.....maybe massage in the car? LOOTS. Do it enough that he jumps in the car and is just uber relaxed. This will change his whole attitude about the car, if you do it enough. Change his association with the car so he thinks car means NAPTIME, lol!

    Which brings up something else----might teach "settle" after a massage session(in the house), because he'll be all relaxed and snoozy already. Easy to capture the "settle."
  5. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Now, does this mean you recommend Buddy doesn't hang his head out the car window anymore?
  6. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    If he can do it without going bonkers over dogs, sure, but otherwise he's gotta learn to behave first. ^^ Once he understands that he can't go bonkers over dogs outside the car, then he can have his freedom back, but should still be expected to sit still and be calm when another dog is by the car. By the time he's got his freedom back, he should understand the "settle" if you choose to use it, so if he tries to go bonkers, "Buddy, settle." If he doesn't settle, then you've got some more work to do. :) Also if he doesn't have a "quiet" cue already, you might teach him that one.

    He'll still like sticking his head out the window, but he doesn't have to be crazy. :dogtongue2:

    I don't let Mud hang her head out the window because, before, she would bounce from window to window, and she'd get so worked up I really thought she might jump right out! Now, without seatbelt, she'll sit and stay if I tell her to, but 99.9% of the time, she's seatbelted for her safety. ^^
  7. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Kikopup must have read my mind!

    Check out her newest vid on teaching settle.
  8. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Tigerlily, Makena used to go absolutely ballistic in the car, also - not just on walks - when she'd see another dog. As we progressed with our dog-dog work (as per your 'Rottie' thread ... the leash work, the Feisty Fido class, etc) the car aggression just kind of went away on it's own. I never really worked on it at all, I started realizing that it was becoming less and less, til one day, I realized she just didn't agress anymore. The only time she does now is if a dog is maybe in the back of a truck, so up high, and staring down at her (and of course, stopped next to us at a traffic light -- kind of one of those 'all the stars lined up right' situations), or something similar - but it's very rare. She now gets in the car, lies down, and is very quiet - she just enjoys the ride.

    Keep working with Buddy on being calm around other dogs. Continually reward him for good behavior, being calm etc (beginning the instant he sees that other dog). Keep this up at all times, all walks, in every situation you possibly can - not just at times when he seems bothered. Let him know every single time that he's calm around another dog, that that's what you want from him, gooood boy, reward him, etc. Over time, hopefully he'll be able to generalize that behavior to the car, also (which is what I believe Makena did on her own).

    Good suggestions from tx_cowgirl too - work on a good solid settle, baby steps tho, don't rush him, and if you go too fast, then back up, go slower, it's important to only go as fast as Buddy can go. Same thing working with him on the leash with his dog-dog issues - only go as fast as he can, which may be veeeery veeeery sloooooowly. But slow and steady will win you this race.
  9. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Oh and btw, when Makena was so horrid in the car, I quit putting the window down, and now only put it down a few inches for air - no hanging that head out for her, I was scared one day she'd break it and jump out. Put a German Shepherd in meltdown mode + a 1/2 open window, and I had visions of a very scary outcome. No thanks. Her safety comes first, and she can still stick her nose out (just not her head).
  10. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    JNM, i'd so so love to find a fiesty fido class, i can not get over the reports!!! Right now, we are pretty close to poverty level this year, so i can't afford classes YET, but, soon as i can, i will search one out!!

    Tx, that video, see, Buddy is NOT a real hyper dog, that is not our problem. Nice video though...i can see where if somebody had a hyper dog, that would be very useful lesson. I can easily take Buddy to a cafe, a party, anywhere, he does lay down at my feet, so long as there aren't any other dogs there. Buddy already will settle wherever. He is not hyper.

    He can be hyper at times, like when we come in the door, (which we enjoy and look fwd to!!) or play toys with him, etc etc, but, left to his own, he plays with toys by himself--which i wouldn't want to stop him from doing, or he settles, but he isn't hyper. <--- Especially not in the house. He does run around outside, and herds his baskets, plays with his toys, but that is good for him to be active out there.
    In the house, or any building, he settles. by himself. Even at petsmart, IF he is only dog there, and IF he can't see the gerbils.

    see, i was wanting a CUE to call to buddy while i'm driving. My dream is, he would get so good at lying down, or not barking, on cue, in the car, that i could just say "down" or something, and he'd quit.
    He does understand "shhhh!" means no bark, but, i've never tried it in the car while he's barking. I can get him to stop barking at a dog walking by our yard with a "shhh!', but, i've never tried it in any other situation.
    just in the yard. should i try that in the car? Is that best way to start?

    do you think i should just practice his "down" in the car ? He is wonderful with his down, but, to get him to do this in the car, should i just park across street from yard with a dog in it?

    He already will happily down in the car, on cue, with no dog in sight. It's when there is a dog in sight, is my problem. Any advice?

    I don't want him to lay down in the car ALL the time, he likes to see out the window. I want to learn how to get him to down on cue, in the car, with a dog in sight.
    DO YOU THINK THIS IS EVEN POSSIBLE?:msngiggle:

    I ws thinking, either i could park the car by a yard with a dog in it. Or, Craig could drive and i could work on teaching buddy something.
    Or, should i just roll up windows everytime he barks, or what? He will still bark through closed windows, btw. He never ever ever jumps out the window, not ever. I don't worry about that with my dog. I usually do roll them partway up or more if we get too close to dogs.
    I want to train him to not bark at dogs while he is in the car. IF i can. I'd like a cue i can use.
  11. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Tx, while studying up Kikopups other videos, i spotted these two.

    "Let's go!"

    <object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/JY7JrteQBOQ?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/JY7JrteQBOQ?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>

    hope that link works??
  12. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Saw those just the other day. Would be useful for you. :)

    Settle is a good cue to have for all dogs, not just hyper dogs. You could use this cue in the car, is what I was trying to say.
    If he will respond to "Shh!" in the car, then there you go. If not, then don't overuse it and kill the meaning of it to him.
    Will he look at you in the car? The yawn is working for him outside the car, will it work for him inside the car? (Or does he even respond when he is having a barkfest?)

    WOW how disappointing---while searching YouTube for aggressive dog work, it's astonishing how many videos I found using aversive methods. E-collars, Don Sullivan and Cesar Milan types, as well as Don and Cesar themselves--makes me SICK! How can people see this as an OKAY way to treat man's best friend??? Even watched a few of them....the stress these dogs are in is soooo visible, but their owners can't see it. Really awful. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but after basically screening myself to such wonderful positive trainers, I guess I've become blind to the "other guys." On YouTube, at least.

    Anyway....off topic...no luck finding ANYTHING positive in that area and got frustrated trying after just a few videos...I'm sure they're out there. But Kikopup has tons of great POSITIVE videos.
    I would think you could apply the same techniques to your car as you do outside. For instance, go to pet-friendly place(depending on how busy it is) and park as far away as you need to for Buddy to be fairly calm. Then maybe work with him as you normally do, but either right beside or inside the car. Work on having him lay down in the car even with the dogs in the parking lot going in/out of the building. High-value treats will be helpful.
  13. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Ha, this video, the sound of the dog barking set Buddy off barking out the window!! Even though the sound came out of my computer.

    I'll probably have to experiment a bit, to figure out how to incorporate your advice and this video into my car training.

    "Barking at dogs behind fences"
    <object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/3n_fPKPLA2g?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/3n_fPKPLA2g?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>
  14. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Tigerlily, I think it all goes back to ... working really hard with Buddy overall, all the time, everywhere, in every circumstance, on his fear aggression - in lots of different locations, etc. It will help him generalize - oh, I can be calm around dogs everywhere and it will be ok. I can only speak of what I did with Makena, cuz she was horrible!!!! We worked every single day, on walks, outside the dog park, outside our training facility when classes would let out (behind a fence), anywhere we'd see dogs. We practiced at being calm and I went loaded down with a big bag of chicken, hot dogs, beef, something extemely high value. It took a really long time, months and months and months (ok, well over a year) of daily work. You may want to begin with these basics with Buddy, and yes, include this is the car. Not a cue, but just in general, just him learning how to relax in the car. Right now, he can't. You're asking him to do something he's not able to do - and on top of that, it's a ritual, it's a habit. So you have fear-aggression + a bad habit - see dog, have a raging meltdown. It's just what he does. You have to change all those feeling inside of him, and give him a reason for doing something else, make him feel better about doing something else than doing what he is.

    Start with the basics on the street, out on walks, then when he can see dogs walking on the other side of the street and act nicely, then 'advance' into the car. Ok, for today, we'll sit in the car (sit in the back with him, or wherever he sits) with the bag of chicken (or whatever) and sorry, you only get a piece when dogs go by. And the instant he sees another dog, feedfeedfeedfeedfeed til that dog is gone. Gooood boy. And there it begins. Pretty soon, you can ask for a 'watch' or a down, or whatever, and have a much calmer dog inside the car, than that exploding rocket who can't even think. But you have to start at the very beginning. Don't try to teach a dog a cue, who is beyond thinking when he's busy exploding. He'll fail, you'll be even more frustrated, and the cycle will continue.

    I only worked on Makena's fear aggression, never worked on anything in the car - she was just like Buddy. She put it all together and is now so good in the car - but we worked in so many different locations, so many hours, so many months. You've gotta get the basics down. Buddy has to be able to 'think' in front of other dogs, and it's obvious in the car, when he sees a dog, he can't. When he can't think, he can't learn. Back to basics. Be calm, buddy. Watch me - you get chicken. :doghappy:
  15. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    GREAT points as always Jackie. ^^

    Oddly enough, Rusty's aggression was muted in the car. At most, his ears might come forward at the sight of another dog. Other than that, no other signs of aggression. Outside was a totally different story, but when he passed away we had progressed to him being able to get within 10 feet or so of another dog with no reaction. Guess car was a safe place????
  16. jackienmutts Honored Member

    A friend of mine has a 100 lbs GS/mix with really bad fear-aggression. They've worked with a behaviorist, trainer, etc. They walk him muzzled, as he's bolted away from a couple people and attacked a couple other dogs, pulled the dog walker down in the middle of the street numerous times, etc. Ugly stuff. But - the car is his safe place. He loves the car, and shows no aggression in the car. What they started doing was having the dog walker walk him, and his 'mom' would drive the car very slowly along side on their walks (she's disabled so can't walk him herself (hence, the dogwalker). When they'd encounter other dogs, they'd allow him to jump in the car til the 'horribly scary' dog passed. (No one told him that he outweighed most other dogs by a long-shot - didn't matter!!) They went on like that for about a year, and finally he was not bolting to the car when he saw another dog, he was comfortable knowing the car was there, but not needing to get in, then gradually not needing the car anymore. For the last year, he's been doing great walks - no car! Yea!! (He is still muzzled tho - they just can't take that chance, he's too big and did send one unsuspecting dog to the vet when he bolted across the street before they started all this work). But for that big moose, the car was definitely his safe place.

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