Mia, So Busy!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by mewzard, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. mewzard Experienced Member

    I've been so busy with Oka i haven't had chance to get on here very much.
    I had an incident with Oka where she totally ignored my recall and ran after a lady and a dog - much to my extreme embarrassment:cry:. Since her excitement levels around other dogs seemed to be escallating we called in a trainer to help us.
    Since then i have been working even harder with her; on recalls around distractions, being more interesting in the presence of other dogs and increasing food value. So far her recall has improved, I can recall her on a long line where she is around 10m from the dog on 7m of loose line 80% of the time (maths for anyone :LOL:). Much better than her straining on the end of the 10m line looking at a dog 30m away and totally ignoing me. We've had problems making ourselves valuable, as she will chase balls but not bring them back so finding some way to play on the prey/chase drive that involves us was a challenge. I've been teaching her 'retrieve'.
    We are no where near being able to past another dog on the street without her pulling (read:dragging) me, BUT i can keep her attention 75% of the time if we are on the other side of the road. We did see a dog 20m up the road crossing the road and then it went behind some trees...Oka looked without going to the end of her lead and then looked at me (cue me going mental and praising the life out of her). I was sooo happy!! :love::DNormally that would be her straining at the end of the lead and me trying to drag her away, and her spending the next 5 -10 mins being hyped up, looking for the dog.

    It is such hard work, trying to keep myself calm and remember my plans of action, to praise and reward and distract. to be aware of everything thats going on around us and concentrate on her so i can reward her at the right moments.
    I'm mostly finding other dog owners frustrating, people standing out of the way for no reason just stopping and standing at the kerb to let us past? People saying "oh my dogs timid" and then standing around in Oka's ridiculasly excited presence. Or "my dog's friendly" and then it preceeds to snarl and snap at her.
    Or worse the general prejudice of people against certain breeds:mad:. I really don't want to hear "is it friendly?" "will it bite?", or see people cross the road ahead of her and then cross back after we've passed.
    So a picture to show how "dangerous" my puppy is:
    Ina likes this.

  2. sara Moderator

    Sounds like you're on the right road! Keep up the good work! I'm the opposite, I have a very cute dog that everyone wants to meet, who IS aggressive!
  3. Ina Well-Known Member

    Actually I am trapped in this situation as well right now. Tx_girl pointed out that my walks might not be fun for the dog and that's why he might not pay attention. She hit the nail on the head. I've been trying too hard to have the perfect dog and will now rather go to a quiet place and play some games outdoors. Slowly I will move to more "populated areas" to see if I am still more interesting than other dogs, people, scents.

    My advice: Relax, have fun and enjoy being with your dog - this way the dog will enjoy being with you and making you the center of attention when you go for a walk. Set the dog up for success rather than the challenge.

    I LOVE the photo !

    Cheerio .. Ina
  4. mewzard Experienced Member

    In general walking with her is fine, she doesn't pull and isn't bothered by most anything around, but she gets very excited when she sees dog or birds. She's quite happy about walking and i don't have to do anything with that...it's just the dogs! I take her to the park and we play games but i have to walk there - i can't drive - so i still have the same problem.
    Add in that she's 9months old - a teenager - and basically her "mates" (any other dog) is way more interesting than 'mum'. I'm not astere with her at all we play loads of games but i have to look out for other dogs so i can distract her from them before she gets fixed on them.
  5. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Sounds like you're doing the right things to move forward. ^^ Best of luck to you and Oka. Let us know how it's going! :)
  6. jackienmutts Honored Member

    First off, I must say, Oka is a beautiful girl! And I love the picture of her and (I'm assuming) your daughter - that's just adorable!

    I can relate to what you're saying - and it sounds like you're doing all the right things. Both my dogs are rescues, and my girl (the one lying down in the picture) is fear-aggressive. She used to just go ballistic when she'd see other dogs out on walks (or in the car, etc). We've been working very very hard for the past couple years, and I'm happy to say that, altho she'll never be a "dog park girl", our walks are now very relaxed and happy for both of us. I do certainly understand what you're saying tho, about people either wanting to come up with their dogs cuz "my dog's friendly" (well, mine's NOT), or "oh, your dog bites?" (no, she won't bite you, she'll bite your dog!), and on and on it goes. I do notice all the time, that when walking toward people (without dogs) out on walks, many will cross the street - I guess 2 GSDs look intimidating (if they only knew! ).:p

    Keep up the hard work with your girl, she's at an awkward age, she'll mature, and all your hard work will definitely pay off. Be sure you carry really high value treats with you, no boring package stuff, offer her chicken, hot dogs, stuff like that. Pay her well for good recalls, good focus, watching you when there's a dog up ahead, etc - you soon will become the center of her universe, cuz she'll realize you have all the good stuff! When she does really well at something, for example, maybe you see a dog and she sees it for a second and instead chooses to give you all her focus, give her a huge jackpot - maybe a big handful of chicken, instead of one bite. She'll start doing anything in the world for another big handful, she'll work and work for that big jackpot again. She'll start thinking about what made that happen - it gives them lots to think about (in addition to just learning commands).

    Is Oka friendly with other dogs? Does she want to get to them to play? Or is she showing signs of aggressions - I wasn't sure by your post. Know that you have lots of support - I for one have "been there, done that". It's a hard road, but with lots of work, you can get there. Keep us posted - I'd love to hear how you're doing!

    And if you've not had a "dangerous" breed before, welcome to that world. I've had GSDs for 25+ years, and I've just grown to ignore those comments. Do your best to help Oka become a good ambassador for the breed, and help to educate people that it's not the breed that's dangerous at all, only some individual dogs, and mostly, people who have them. Most are loving and loyal and make wonderful companions.
    mewzard likes this.
  7. mewzard Experienced Member

    We never had any dog before!! She is a cross GSD and Northern Inuit which is a wolf-look-alike dog.

    She just wants to play with the other dogs, she has quite a high pack drive and she is crazy about playing with them. She is very submissive and is not aggressive at all - i don't think i've every seen her make another dog yelp even in play. But she looks scary i guess when she's throttling herself on the lead trying to get to the dog to play.

    You advice is great and i've been advised the same, Its just very hard work. I've started using a clicker when out, to mark when she looks at me after seeing a distraction and this seems to have clarified what i'm praising her for.

    Your situation is exactly why i'm trying to teach her to look to me for instruction when she sees another dog. It wouldn't be helpful to you if she came bounding up to play ignoring me....which she has done. Also it's just bad manners.
    Got to go out now to the park! Meeting our trainer there :)
  8. mewzard Experienced Member

    Ok small update,
    On Tuesday on the way to the park, we ended up coming up behind a small dog, about 50~ ish meters in front. Oka saw looked at it walked a few steps ahead making the leash tighter. I stopped thinking 'i'll wait till she looks at me, C&T, reward bigtime!!' Oka stop before the lead went totally tight, looked straight up at me....tonnes of chicken hotdog etc. Thought ok well do 1 step, Oka took one step, looked at me C&T-jackpot, so i just started walking again, and she kept looking then looking at me, lots of C&t-jackpots -SHE DID NOT PULL!!!!:notworthy::D. Dog disappeared and i was soo soo happy!

    Met with the trainer at the park, and managed to get her to sit and look at me (y)before letting her off lead to play with her new best mate (the trainers dayboard/intraining dog). After letting her power around for a while, i tried a recall - she did come back!!! I was so stoked! I offered treats, though she refused 'em :rolleyes: and Tonnes of praise and sent her off again.
    Later her and her mate - Milo - went up to some labs and Milo recalled but Oka didn't, i used my whistle (only been conditioning it for a few days), and she whizzed back. All i have to do now is get her to sit at my feet :p. her recall was pretty darn good, it wasn't 98% but way better then it has ever been in the presence of other dogs - she wouldn't even turn her ear to her name before. 2 weeks of bloody hard work has got her from a 0% recall to maybe a 70% in the presence of other dogs. Still alot of work to do but there is progress.

    Only downside to all this is her food is all messed up - she was on a BARF diet before but as she's had lots of boiled chicken she won't eat the raw now, As she won't eat it, we can't make her work for it (part of increasing our and the foods value), she's now on a kibble/mince diet (seperate meals) and we will have to work her back onto the raw diet again.
  9. mewzard Experienced Member

    Whooopp!!! She was amazing today.

    We've not been training much this last week and a half - i had a cold last week and then my daughters got chicken pox! But daughter and I took her to the forest this morning for a walk. I managed a recall offlead away from a dog 20m away (that was barking), without her needing to greet first!!! :eek:(y):LOL: Did a 2nd time when the dog followed us, Oka bounded to it, was 2 bounds away, i called, she did "turn on a dime" and came right to me!!

    Later she ran after a deer and i called her back, she did "turn on a dime" again and straight back. I'm so pleased that my hard work is paying off.
    Still have massive excitement with seeing other dogs on lead (when she's on lead) but this gives me hope :)

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