'Faking' friendliness in dogs?

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by tigerlily46514, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Hmm, was just reading something online about helping dogs with poor social skills make friends. Since play bow is a dog's way of saying, "Let's play!" what do you think of having a dog perform a "Bow" when he is coming up to another dog? As a way of helping reduce the chance of an argument and making the two dogs think about playing ? (my buddy, is getting better, but still has a "gangster default" in his "What to do when i meet new dogs" in his algorhythm of choices..)

    What do you think? Anyone tried this? Just read something online that this works, she saw her dog and neighbor's new dog giving each other evil eyes back and forth from across the street...so she got her dog to do the play-bow before crossing the street to meet the new dog, (which makes sense, as it is about impossible to get a dog's attention when he is in process of sniffing up a new dog) and then the other dog's tail started wagging, so then they crossed the street, and the dogs became friends...:dogbiggrin:

    No harm in trying this, right? Anyone see any drawbacks to this that i haven't considered?

  2. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Certainly no harm. The only problem I could see with BUDDY could be that he's going to be focused on you and what you're telling him to do...he won't be making the connection that he's interacting with the other dog. With my timid Zekers, I like to have dogs lay down before meeting them so he knows they aren't a threat. They'll figure out who's dom/submissive on their own time, but just to make Z more comfortable and likely to play, I'll have some dogs lie down first. This COULD be bad for certain dogs. For instance, my friend's dog is dominant aggressive. He's great with other dogs, but is extremely dominant and I guess what you could call reactive. You'd think he'd be better with submissive dogs...wrong. Submissive dogs are more like an ego boost for him and his aggression will escalate into more than just domination. Then it's no longer domination, but closer to just plain aggression. He looooves Mudflap...because for one, she's dominant and doesn't take crap off of anybody, and two, she completely ignores him half the time. So he loves her, lol!!

    I think I got REALLY off-topic. o-o;
  3. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Thanks for reply, i enjoy every lil tidbit or insight i can get into dog behaviour very much!!! I find dogs fascinating. Even more so each day, sure do.

    Innnteresting, Good points!!
  4. fickla Experienced Member

    I haven't heard of people asking their dogs to bow before. I have read in several books (and I think Victoria Stillwell does this too) of people scattering treats on the floor to have the dogs immitate sniffing, a calming signal. I think having the dog bow or even lie down could work well in light cases of dog aggression where they are more uncertain of greeting behaviors but generally do fine with dogs.
  5. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Fickla, i haven't seen that episode of It's Me or the Dog. So, when two dogs are meeting, she throws treats on the floor?
    Ha, i'd sorta heard any treats or toys might increase chances of dog arguments. It worked, then? This is good idea?
    My dog Buddy, a reforming gangsta, has been de-escalated to being somewhere between reactive, to just poor social skills with some other dogs. sorta. Arguing is his default reaction, but, he is getting better and better.

    He is much much better off leash. He IS getting a lil better. He really is. Little subtle things, to things that seem huge to me, he is calmer now about real big dogs.

    Certain breeds are guaranteed to set him off, even a block away. He is very very prejudiced against all german shepherds and all rottweilers. All of 'em, even the dog is real mellow, Buddy is "Ey! You wanna piece of me?!" to see those breeds, eevvvverytime. Poor ol Buddy...so i am always always interested in all tips and advice. Treats, huh?
  6. fickla Experienced Member

    Treats are thrown on the floor to get the dogs to imitate sniffing. It is done before they are very close together or you are right that could start some resource guarding :) I'm not entirely sure Victoria did it, but I believe it was in an episode with some sibling fighting. One of the dogs just hated the other one and the 2nd dog was very scared to be in the same room. She had the aggressive dog sniffing for treats on the floor to help calm the 2nd dog down and to of course classically condition dog #1 that dog#2 equaled treats. This was done when outside and I think they were at least 20ft away from each other.

    So I don't know if it would be applicable in your situation, but the question about having Buddy do a bow to give off more friendly body language reminded me of having a dog sniff the floor as a calming signal.

    It sounds like you are really making progressive with Buddy :)
  7. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Oh, thanks for the explaination. I can picture the treat throwing as option, if, like you say, they are not yet close.
    YEAH, Buddy IS coming along on his social skills, is still a bit erratic yet, but i am so proud of him working past his fears/habits as best as he can as a pretty good clip!!
  8. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    AH yes I saw that one!!! If it's the one I'm thinking of, the people had a Golden x, a Shepherd x, and maybe two other dogs too....can't remember, I might be mixing shows.

    I think that was with the Golden x and the Shepherd x. The Shepherd x was a younger female who was VERY submissive. The Golden x was very dominant, much older, and very aggressive. The people hadn't let the dogs even SEE each other for over a year because the aggression had gotten so bad. They had the more dominant dog a good distance away and the handler was dropping treats so she seemed less intimidating to the Shep x, who would cower and hide behind her owner just at the sight of the dog. This way the Shep could relax. If the Shep was relaxed, the dominant Golden x couldn't feed off of her super-submissive behavior. Golden was a bully and the Shep's extreme submission just boosted Golden's ego. Anywho...
    From there they went to a park, both dogs leashed, good distance away. Dropping treats with both dogs so they didn't have a reason to get bored and take interest in each other. Again, Shep was comfy because Golden wasn't appearing threatening: relaxed posture, head down, muscles not tense, just completely non-threatening. Too busy with treats. Shep was busy with treats too, so no cowering, shaking, hiding, submission, etc. Then they went to walking them in opposite directions(still safe distance) and when Golden started reacting, spin around and walk away. By the end of the episode, they had progressed enough to be within a few feet of each other and lying down. Whoo!! You would get A LOT out of that program, Tigerlily! I'll see if I can find it on YouTube or Animal Planet or something.
  9. zoogal Experienced Member

    The best advice I can give is to look for a CPDT in your area as well as a rehabilitation daycare center. We have had great success with ours where at any given time we might have 2-6 reformed dogs in one room getting along just fine :) With the trainer you can practice walk bys and meet and greets to get your dogs confidence up. If you combine these two things you should have a dog that can learn how to properly meet dogs both on and off leash in a matter of a few weeks.
  10. rockythepain New Member

    plz help me!! from what I am reading,to make your dog to stop barking at other dogs or cats is to make him focus on..right?
    but how can I do this with all this distractions! my puppy is 5 months old (terrier x JAP.spitz) and I wonder from where he brings this loudy voice out of his small size!!! O_o I feel embaressed when a 7yr golden retriever walks next to us calmly and my puppy cant stop crowling and barking!!
  11. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    TX, thanks for the details, i can picture how that woulda worked. Fascinating!!! Clever, actually!!

    Zooga, thanks for advice, what is a CDPT? I would like very much to provide Buddy with opportunities to learn another way of being.

    i am currently on the waiting list for a "Reactive Dog" class, but so far, not enough other dogs are signed up, in part, because the teacher does not wanna post that class...said "I might end up with dogs that are too extreme" or something like that....she said she'll contact me soon as she gets 3 other dogs to run the class...
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    To Rocky----- i don't know much about puppies, but for Buddy, barking and his aggression thing, i treated as two different issues.

    For his barking, like when he is in his fenced yard barking away nonstop, (which doesn't happen often and Buddy never did this til i rewarded him barking as part of a trick...:msnrolleyes:.)

    ----i taught him "SHHH!" and while sitting next to him, i then rewarded him for NOT barking. He understood soon enough, that nonstop continuous barking at dogs passing our house is not wanted. NOW, after spending time sitting beside him and rewarding him for NOT barking, or for STOPPING his bark, NOW If Buddy ever does bark away at something, i can now just stick my head out the door and say, "Buddy! SHHH!" and he stops.

    But to train this, i had to watch for opportunities, catch him doing it, sit BESIDE him, and calm him, and reward THAT calm behaviour. Just yelling "Shhhh!" out the door will not teach them what you want.

    For his aggressive stuff, i am have had some trainers work with me and Buddy (not as much as i want yet!! this occured during Buddy's "basic Manners" class) and am reading "Click to calm" and in short (i'll probably get slammed here for being inaccurate) the idea is: When your dog BEGINS (that is KEY word here, BEGINS) to react, distract the dog to "look at me". Prevent the dog from escalating into full blown aggressive reaction. Reward this nonreaction very much, so dog begins to think: Other dog here = i get treats!!!


    If Buddy escalates into full blown aggressive reaction, and if i cannot re-capture his attention to be calm again (very difficult) i remove him, my trainer told me "Do not let Buddy spend much time reacting, do not allow him to stay in that state of mind, do not allow him to re-inforce in his mind that aggressive response."
    HOpe that helps.
    OH!! One mistake i was making early on, that my trainer taught me was this: DO NOT 'CORRECT' A GROWL.
    Cuz, then you are left with a dog who skips that early warning stage, and goes straight for a bite. You CAN Distract a growl, remove a growling dog, but do not scold or correct a growl, the dog will not change his underlying attitude--which is your goal--the dog will only learn, "Skip that growl, they don't like my growl." See what i mean, did i make that clear?

    GOOD LUCK!! We are kinda learning together here, huh!!:msngiggle:
  12. rockythepain New Member

    WoW! it really took you time to write for me! :msnblushing: ok the idea of "Other dog here = i get treats!!!" I really thought about it!! but he problem is,when I say SHHHH! Kooky will stop barking for say 3sec, I give him a treat,but he spits it and contine to bark again!!!
    is it normal, and what should I do!
    thx in advance:dogbiggrin:
  13. jackienmutts Honored Member

    I've been working (with a trainer) with my fear-aggressive GSD for over a year. She would have major meltdowns from as much as a block away if she spotted another dog. The second your dog sees the trigger dog, don't wait for him to start barking, start feeding the treats. Make sure your treats are REALLY good, use chicken, hot dogs, something your dog really loves!!! Nothing boring, no boring training treats out of a package. Anyway, the second he sees the trigger dog, don't wait for that bark to happen, feed, feed, feed, feed, feed, until that the dog is past, then slow down and stop. If the outburst happens anyway, remove him, just turn and go the other direction, hustle past, whatever you have to do. When you keep practicing, you'll find his reaction point will get shorter and shorter. The idea being, when I see other dogs, good stuff happens.

    Don't punish your dog, don't jerk the leash, try to keep the leash loose, as part of it is our fault - uh-oh, here comes another dog, he's gonna go off, I'd better tighten up the leash, we do, so the dog goes off (it can be somewhat of a learned behavior).

    Punishing the growl has to do with growling before a bite (often directed towards humans). Many people don't want their dogs growling so try to suppress it, and dogs will lose that ever so important communication tool. A growl is so important.

    "Click to Calm" by Emma Parsons is an excellent book. I do have a solid "watch me", and now, when we pass by other dogs who are having meltdowns as my girl USED to have, instead of having one herself, she'll glance at the other dog, glance up at me, and keep on walking. I still always give her a huge jackpot (a handful of treats) once we're passed, cuz it's a job well done.

    You want to always try (as much as possible) to keep your dog under his tolerance threshold and reward him for calm behavior. Rockythepain, if you can pick up "Click To Calm", do so, you'll learn so much from the book and if you need to, see the help of a good, positive trainer. You'll learn the techniques you need in order to help your pup. I went thru a Feisty Fido class with my girl, and between the class, the book and a wonderful trainer, she's a different dog, living a much more relaxed and happy life now.
  14. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Rocky,
    It might take some practice, BUT do not give up. MAYBE ALL YOU WILL GET AT FIRST IS A FEW SECONDS OF SILENCE OUTA YOUR DOG. But, make certain your dog finds out THAT is exactly what you want. Plus, your dog is a baby dog, right? So his self control is gonna be not the best. yet.
    If you aren't using a clicker yet, GET ONE!! They cost $1 at petsmart.

    I myself resisted using a clicker, Tx and Snooks and some others egged me on to try one, i didnt' wanna "get chained" to a clicker.

    BUT---once i got a clicker, WOW! My dog started learning stuff WAY faster. I couldnt get over it!!!!

    So, you give your signal to the dog to not bark, and CLICK and REWARD those few seconds of not barking. Do not wear out the "Shh!" or whatever signal you use. Once you give the "Shh!" ONE TIME, not 2 times, not 3 times, do not let the dog pick which time you say he will stop barking, you know what i'm saying there?

    Once you give ONE "Shh!" then do everything you can to make certain your dog STOPS barking, (distract him, if you have to.) even if only momentarily, and then CLICK and reward that moment of not barking.

    Give big praise, make his NOT barking way more rewarding to him than the barking was. Tell him "look at me", reward that if you can get him to look at your face when he is wanting to bark.
    Me, at first, i was worried, "Can my dog tell he is getting rewarded for the second of NOT barking? Or will my dog think he is getting a treat for barking?" But the dog CAN tell. Each time, another second of silence may get added by your dog. IT MIGHT TAKE TIME. NOt just one session.
    Buddy is full grown mature and really smart dog, took him a few weeks of consisitant practice till he could stop barking, all the way stop barking, at "Shhh!". So don't give up!!!

    Set up some situations maybe, like i did with Buddy. We sat behind a fence. When Buddy barked, i said, "Shhh!" and QUICKLY rewarded the one moment of silence. I would quickly "speed feed" treats into his mouth, bam, bam, bam, just nonstop lil treats, tons and tons of praise for his silence, (even if it is cuz his mouth is full, ha ha!!):msngiggle: and continue praising him for not barking. If all you get is one or two seconds, well, it's a start!! He's only a lil guy, it's hard not to bark!!

    GET BETTER HIGH VALUE TREATS, MAYBE SOME BOILED LIVER!! YUM! Tear it up into teeny tiny bits, so you won't end up with fat dog. I mean tiny, like almost size of a crumb.

    and then i could also use "Look at me." Oops, i left out that step:
    You gotta teach, "Look at me." Is pretty easy to teach, i say, "Look at me." When Buddy looks at my face, he gets CLICK! TREAT! I do this with Buddy most every day. To keep him sharp about that step. (well, actually, i no longer click for his looking at me, just reward with either praise or treats).


    ACtually i guess you can add the "look at me" or just click and reward the silence, even if only a MOMENTARY silence, with a click and treat.
    Once my dog got used to the clicker, and he understood the click means "YOU'RE RIGHT! THAT'S IT!"

    ...and a treat is on the way, even SEEING the clicker in my hand set him up for: "oh, i gotta pay attention, i have to figure something out!" kinda thing. Get a clicker, you will see what i mean!!!

    Learn about clickers. Is whole other thread, that is, but basically, you click and give dog a treat. EVERY CLICK = treat!!!!

    Soon, he will associate the sound of the click = TREAT!! some folks use throwing a ball for the 'treat', some folks use tug toys, whatever it is your dog thinks is awesome. MIne likes boiled liver crumbs. Chicken liver only cost $1.50 for a tub of it.

    If your dog resumes barking, i'd repeat this one more time. Don't expect to your dog to be able to go along with this for too too long all at once, in first few days of learning this, let alone first session. He will need a lil practice to work up to more than a moment of training on this. Set him up for success, leave area and or end session before he looses his mind , ha ha!!

    THERE ARE SOME OTHER THREADS ON NOT BARKING, maybe have some better ideas.
    OH, there is another post after yours, i gotta read that one.
  15. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Jackienmutts=:goodpost:!! wow!! well said! I AGREE WITH YOUR EVERY WORD! GREAT ADVICE!!!

    hA, I SHOULDA read your post first and i wouldn't had to add a word!!!!:msngiggle:
  16. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    OH, btw, to clarify, again, i separate Buddy's barking at a dog from his fenced in yard, as a separate thing, from his aggressive stuff.

    All that advice i just gave for barking, i am picturing how i did with Buddy IN HIS YARD. Just plain old barking around.

    The aggression thing, like when meeting other dogs, is separate thing to me, and i agree with Jackienmutts advice completely 100%!! "Click to calm" is great book!!
  17. rockythepain New Member

    thx a lot jackie,you helped me a lot!!:dogsmile: and I'll strat training from tomorrow,but can anyone help me how to strat teaching my pup a solid "watch me",sometimes I use his name to make him look at me while we are walking, and when he look I treat him...is it right?
  18. jackienmutts Honored Member

    If you don't clicker train, I strongly urge you to start, it will become your best friend. I trained the "watch me" first, at home, in a nice quiet room. You want that nice and solid before asking your dog to do a behavior when it's in a stressful situation (about to face an oncoming dog!). Just in your living room or kitchen, where ever you work with your dog, ask your dog to WATCH (and make a good hard solid sound out of the last TCH at the end of the word, "watch" is actually supposed to be an especially "dog-friendly" sound). Holding the treat between your eyes also helps. The second your dog makes eye contact with you, click and treat. Do this over and over and over, until all you have to do is ask for a "watch" and he'll give it to you. The nice thing about "watch" is that once he catches on, you can do this easily all over the house - and you'll want to, because he needs to be able to "watch" you whenever you ask him to. Once in the house is good and solid, then move it out to the front and back yards, then try it on the sidewalk, then on a walk. It won't happen over night, just keep working on it. And pay him well for it. That eye contact is really important.

    What is going to eventually happen, is that when that "scary dog" approaches in the neighborhood, you're going to ask him for a "watch", he's going to, then you're going to feed, feed, feed, feed, feed him, that Scary Dog will just walk on by, and he's going to feel really good. He's then going to start looking to you as the "handler" of all scary things, and not feel like he needs to attack them. He'll start looking to you without you asking, you'll start rewarding, his arousal will eventually become less and less, those scary dogs out there will become less and less scary ... it's a kind of a dance.

    When I first started on this journey with my GSD, I read it all, listened to it all, heard my trainer explain it all - and still thought ... I'll believe it when I see it. I've seen it - it's true, it works. My girl was horrid, just had raging meltdowns at the mere sight of another dog from a block away, and is now able to not only pass dogs with only a mere glance on a walk, but has met a few nice dogs when on leash - something I thought would never happen. We've been working for over a year, she was a really bad case, but with time, effort, and patience, the payoff is huge.
  19. rockythepain New Member

    thanks friends you all are helping me out!! but I have a question,when you call your dog's name wont he look at you to see what you want? how this is different from "watch" command?
  20. jackienmutts Honored Member

    When dogs are distracted, they hear us talking and we are like so much background noise ... blahblahblah, kind of like when our parents would call us for dinner when we'd be out playing or watching our favorite tv program ... just a minute....!! You want to not just say his name and HOPE he turns his head. (Think now more like, instead of your mom calling you for dinner in the middle of your favorite tv program, she's also saying ... and there's a huge reward in it for you!!!). You want to practice that "watch" command in advance and pay him every time, chicken, hot dog, piece of meat, all IN ADVANCE, then practice it on the road (on the sidewalk) before you need it ... PRACTICE being the key word, so that when you're ready and really do start working that "watch" when you see that Scary Dog coming, he'll look to you for guidance.

    So for now, practice at home, get it good and solid, and in the meantime, when you see other dogs out on the sidewalk (or wherever) either turn around and go the other way, or just feed feed feed feed feed until they're past - do something to make it a good experience for him so he doesn't have to really deal with it. It will all start coming together, once he has the tools to deal with it himself.

    And truly, do order "Click To Calm, Healing the Aggressive Dog" by Emma Parsons. You can get it from Amazon or Dogwise, it's excellent and filled with so much easy to understand and read information, easy to follow steps, etc, and you can read, re-read, etc - it's just a wealth of information. Another really good book is "Feisty Fido" by Patricia McConnell, available at the same two places, also really good - I have both. The Feisty Fido class I took my girl thru was based on both books, and what a change it made in our lives.

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