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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone,

I haven't been on here in a long time - I originally joined the site about a year ago to get input on the shock collars to discourage my little one's barking. DON'T WORRY - I didn't go that route, instead I hired yet another trainer (that put a huge dent in my wallet and didn't help at all), tried the metal collars that simulate a mother's bite, walked him to the point of exhaustion - and still a year later, I'm still back at square one. I got him a companion (Teddy) because I thought he had separation anxiety. Before that, I hired a behaviorist who also basically ripped me off, I put him in a training class, doggie daycare for proper socialization, the Cesar "Shhh", the poke on the side, the water bottle, the can full of pennies, teaching him quiet, time out - I'm not joking - nothing has worked to this point.

Except now its gotten worse - he not only barks at ALL dogs (and I'm not talking small dogs, I'm talking pitts, rotties, pinschers, everything) - but he is now instigating the same behavior in my Yorkie. To make matters worse, my worst fear was almost recognized earlier tonight on a walk - a pitt breaking loose from his owner to attack my Biggie because HE SEES THE PITT AND IS ACTING LIKE HES READY TO ATTACK. My worst fear is him getting hurt/attacked by a huge aggressive dog because of what he's doing, and it almost happened tonight. I'm at my wits end because my only other alternative is to not take him outside (which is a horrible option because we live in a NYC apartment = nowhere near the size of a house). People outside see this and they think it's hilarious because he's so little; I don't find it funny because of what could potentially happen to Biggie and/or his brother. Please help me/us!!!
 

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Michi, the only thing that worked for us is the Citronella collar. We used that in the house and do not even have them turned on as the Boyz know they should not bark when they are on. It only give a little burst of citronella spray, nothing bad. We rarely even get them out anymore...(You do not leave them on all the time but just for occasions when they are barking a lot. We just show them the collars now and they stop barking. Truly nothing bad about these collars.)
For walking use a Gentle Leader Head Harness!!!! It is a miracle and changed Chases's bad walking behavior.
 

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I don't see how any outside influence like a special collar, etc. would help because it seems like your little guy is barking out of fear. He is barking at the big dogs to say "keep away". My first Malt, Rosebud (RIP), was like that, too and I did just quit walking her because we have a lot of room here for other activity.

I hope Jackie (JMM) will see this as she is a trainer, herself, and she should be able to offer some suggestions for you.
 

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I'm not much for punishing behavior. I believe that a dog learns better by positive reinforcement. A gentle lead collar and a good animal behaviorist might be better solution. I know that other folks have had this problem and have corrected it using training rather than sonic collars.

Just my .02.
 

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First - Do not use the "Cesar Method", it is completely outdated and can cause more harm than good.

Second - You need to figure out WHY he is barking. If he is barking to alert you can teach him 'enough' or 'quiet'. If he is barking because he is fearful, reactive or being aggressive that is a completely different "problem" - which is what his behavior sounds like.

I would recommend finding a good trainer who uses positive reinforcement (NO Cesar methods!) and have them work with you, either private or in class. You will need to do behavior modification and desensitization to work with his reactive behavior. With a reactive dog you do not want to punish them with a collar or any other method, it really only confirms their fears and makes it worse. You need to teach them that dogs nearby is a good thing and give them a different behavior to do other than barking/reacting.

For a trainer maybe someone in NYC can chime in, or you can check APDT or CCPDT websites.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
First, to the 4 of you that answered - thanks =)

@theboyz: I will look into the head harness - thanks.

@k/cmom: The non-walking isn't an option - I'm out for most of the day and I can't leave them both in an apartment without going out for any fresh air. The apartments here are extremely small (even though they're both small) and can almost be claustrophobic. If I had a huge amount of space though, trust me - I wouldn't be having this problem.

I want to be clear - I don't believe in punishment either, which is why I have come to this as my last result. I have bought books, read websites, tried EVERYTHING. As far as the gentle lead, I've tried that also. Didn't work when I used it, he didn't listen when I would tell him quiet or stop. I stopped using that because he ended up getting loose, was all in the other dogs' face mushing him, meanwhile the dog himself was trying to get away. The behaviorist I hired came highly recommended from several websites and is actually well known here (he's written articles, publications) - but in the end, he didn't help. I hired an actual trainer about 6 months after that and he still couldn't help either. The one thing both of them did say was that his behavior is not coming from fear (which I do believe), he's trying to exert his dominance. At first, I didn't believe it but after observing him on walks and his interactions w/ other dogs, most of the dogs we come across are actually very intimidated by him when he starts his barking/aggressiveness. He saw a well-behavied shitzu that was slightly bigger than him and the dog was so shy that he actually went running the other way. And to be quite honest, he doesn't really listen to me (or my boyfriend) either. I think I spoiled him too much when he was little....idk what I did wrong =( If any of you can see something I'm doing wrong, or have any suggestions on what I should/can do - please - I am completely open to any suggestions.
 

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And to be quite honest, he doesn't really listen to me (or my boyfriend) either. I think I spoiled him too much when he was little....idk what I did wrong =( If any of you can see something I'm doing wrong, or have any suggestions on what I should/can do - please - I am completely open to any suggestions.
You say he doesn't listen to you - but I'm going to guess he doesn't know what you are saying. He doesn't speak English. Do you do any basic obedience with him? Does he know sit, down, come, look, his name? If he doesn't know those things in your house - he definitely won't know them when on a walk with other dogs around. By "knowing" those - does he do it the first time on cue without a treat in your hand?

Did the trainers you hired have you do "homework" with your dog? And if so, did you do it? The trainer is mostly there to tell you what and how to do the training. They can't do it for you (unfortunately!).

When on walks he needs to learn that he can't charge/bark for other dogs. He has to walk politely or sit when they are around. Walks are great for dogs, but if he is just being reinforced for his bad behavior it's not a good idea. You can work their mind to tire them out just as well as physical exercise. I'm not saying not to take him for a walk, but maybe take him for a training session outside on leash. He only gets to move forward for a loose leash and good behavior.

I'm not sure which Gentle Lead you had that he got out of it, but there are several good harnesses that work great.

I recommend a Sense--Ation Harness (front clip) or the Comfort Trainer (head collar). Both of these are great and if fitted properly are very difficult to get out of. And a good book to work on focus is Control Unleashed.
 

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Honestly, I totally understand how you feel and I have tried some aversive things myself, but I have recently discovered how I have been making it worse in using aversive techniques to deal with something like this. In doing so, we tell them that the thing that is making them scared is actually VERY scary because bad things happen when they see another dog.

I have to strongly disagree with your "expert" trainers. Dominance is not the reason that dogs do this. He is doing this out of fear and the idea that a good defense is a good offence. My boy acts like he wants to control the world when he does this, but it is because the world is intimidating him and he doesn't like it. Your guy doesn't listen to you when he is in this mode because he can not. He has passed a threshold into this type of behavior and he can only focus on one thing, that being what has set him off.

What you are describing is Reactive behavior and frankly I do not think that most traditional trainers have a clue how to deal with it. I just got back from a camp for Reactive Rovers hosted by Pat Miller (she wrote the book called The Power of Positive Dog Training). http://spoiledmaltese.com/forum/54-maltese-training/106537-cadeaus-reactive-rover-camp.html

I would encourage you to find a trainer familiar with reactive behaviors who knows about how to do classical conditioning. It isn't easy, but this can be treated and managed.

Pat Miller and many current theorists on positive training are not so enthusiastic about the gentle leader. It is considered aversive by the very fact that most dogs do not like it and it. The Gentle Leader was one of the things I tried with Cadeau before I knew that. It made no impact.

I'd be glad to talk with you more about the things I learned at this camp. It might be something you could try. People come from all over the country to attend. In our group this time there was a woman from NYC and another from nearby NJ. In other groups people have come from even farther distances.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You say he doesn't listen to you - but I'm going to guess he doesn't know what you are saying. He doesn't speak English. Do you do any basic obedience with him? Does he know sit, down, come, look, his name? If he doesn't know those things in your house - he definitely won't know them when on a walk with other dogs around. By "knowing" those - does he do it the first time on cue without a treat in your hand?
He does - I trained him with sit, down, come and he knows his name. And now that you mention it, he does the commands when he knows he needs to behave (i.e. if we're eating, he'll do down, sit, etc... all on his own). It's strange because if we're in the elevator going downstairs and I tell him to sit, he does sit. But if someone gets in the elevator, it's a wrap and he's all over them; if he's outside and another dog comes, I tell him to sit but he doesn't listen - basically, he listens/does the commands sporadically.

The metal collar I have for him was actually recommended by the trainer, when he was observing Biggie and he was giving me homework and said it would help. It helped in the beginning but now the collar has almost no effect on him whatsoever. When the other dogs are around, I have tried to get him to sit but he's so caught up in his "whatever it is" that he doesn't listen.

Any suggestions on how I can snap him out of it when he gets like that? (I tried poking his side w/ my finger, bending down and making him sit, quiet, sit, the metal collar, etc...). And can you elaborate more on the "being reinforced for his bad behavior" during the walk - I definitely think you're right about this also, and am maybe doing something subconsciously I'm not realizing that's making him think his behavior is ok.

I'm not sure on the lead but maybe it wasn't a Gentle Lead - I'll look into that, as well as the book you suggested since the title alone sounds like him...lol....

:aktion033:
 

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He does - I trained him with sit, down, come and he knows his name. And now that you mention it, he does the commands when he knows he needs to behave (i.e. if we're eating, he'll do down, sit, etc... all on his own). It's strange because if we're in the elevator going downstairs and I tell him to sit, he does sit. But if someone gets in the elevator, it's a wrap and he's all over them; if he's outside and another dog comes, I tell him to sit but he doesn't listen - basically, he listens/does the commands sporadically.

The metal collar I have for him was actually recommended by the trainer, when he was observing Biggie and he was giving me homework and said it would help. It helped in the beginning but now the collar has almost no effect on him whatsoever. When the other dogs are around, I have tried to get him to sit but he's so caught up in his "whatever it is" that he doesn't listen.

Any suggestions on how I can snap him out of it when he gets like that? (I tried poking his side w/ my finger, bending down and making him sit, quiet, sit, the metal collar, etc...). And can you elaborate more on the "being reinforced for his bad behavior" during the walk - I definitely think you're right about this also, and am maybe doing something subconsciously I'm not realizing that's making him think his behavior is ok.

I'm not sure on the lead but maybe it wasn't a Gentle Lead - I'll look into that, as well as the book you suggested since the title alone sounds like him...lol....

:aktion033:
By him listening sporadically it just means that he knows the commands in certain situations. Dogs do not generalize well - that means sit in your living room is different than the kitchen, the elevator, outside, etc... When you go to a new location you have to "re teach" the behavior. After a few locations they'll get it. :) Doing random reinforcement will also be very helpful with this.

Allowing him to walk where he wants and charge/bark at other dogs is your rewarding his bad behavior. Every time he pulls and gets to go where he wants it is rewarding.

To get him to snap out of it - simply walk in the opposite direction. Don't say anything, just turn around and walk the other way. When he looks at you - reward then ask for a sit - reward. The key is to not let him to get to his threshold where he can no longer focus. You need to keep an eye on the environment and if you see a dog coming, you stop and have him do a sit. Reward and have an open bar (treat after treat) as the dog passes. After the dog passes, treats stop.

A lot of working with a reactive dog is finding a trainer who has experience with it and can give you helpful feedback as you train. I have a reactive dog and have been working with him for about 2 years now and he's come a very long way. It takes a lot of patience and consistency. Our trainer was great and a major key to our success has been having a clicker and knowing how it works!
 

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I have a handheld sonic button that is suppose to stop their barking. Cosy just laughs...or rather, continues to bark. So much for that. I think if it's fear barking nothing will stop them. I usually pick her up when someone comes to the door so she won't bark. She even barks at me when I come in the door!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks to all that have given me your input - looks like I have some more research to do! I'm gonna start implementing these suggestions over the long holiday weekend - wish me luck!

BTW - if anyone from NYC happens to know of a good, reputable reactive trainer, please let me know.
 

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Hi again, I posted a separate thread on reactive behavior based on what I have been learning recently. I would have posted it here, but hoped it might be more generally useful if it was in it's own thread. http://spoiledmaltese.com/forum/54-maltese-training/106557-what-reactive-dog.html#post1802170

You might consider signing up for Pat Miller's camp. I did find on her website a trainer in NY State, but I think the person is closer to Albany. Pat Miller does have several graduates of her workshop in NY though who might be able to at least help.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for posting that, I read your earlier post and wanted to ask you what makes this training method so controversial-you said a lot of trainers don't particularly care for it. I don't see why they would have a problem with it if it works and everything they teach involves positive reinforcement.
 

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Thanks for posting that, I read your earlier post and wanted to ask you what makes this training method so controversial-you said a lot of trainers don't particularly care for it. I don't see why they would have a problem with it if it works and everything they teach involves positive reinforcement.
 

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Thanks for posting that, I read your earlier post and wanted to ask you what makes this training method so controversial-you said a lot of trainers don't particularly care for it. I don't see why they would have a problem with it if it works and everything they teach involves positive reinforcement.
I'm not sure what I said like that, but perhaps what I meant to say is that a lot of trainers are still using old-fashioned methods and are not using the latest in behavior research. There is a lot of controversy among people who have used Ceasar-style dominance and the behavioral experts who use scientific study to support positive training methods.

The fact is that it can be difficult to change ingrained perceptions that people have held for years. For sure, most older positive trainers--like Pat Miller--call themselves cross-over trainers because they started using dominance based methods and found the flaws in them and switched over to Positive training.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Just wanted to update everyone - over the weekend, I bought the lead and the book "Control Unleashed" several people suggested to me last week when I posted the issue I was having with Biggie. I will be starting my re-training tonight so wish me luck!!
 

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Rocky used to bark at other dogs on walks...I bought a can of corrector, which is a small red can of air that comes out forcefully and he stopped and never does it anymore. It also helped train him to not try to chase cars while I am leash walking him. It was a wonderful training tool, better than a can of pennies. I bought it at Petco. Sounds like you have tried everything else...I would give this a try.:biggrin:

Hi everyone,

I haven't been on here in a long time - I originally joined the site about a year ago to get input on the shock collars to discourage my little one's barking. DON'T WORRY - I didn't go that route, instead I hired yet another trainer (that put a huge dent in my wallet and didn't help at all), tried the metal collars that simulate a mother's bite, walked him to the point of exhaustion - and still a year later, I'm still back at square one. I got him a companion (Teddy) because I thought he had separation anxiety. Before that, I hired a behaviorist who also basically ripped me off, I put him in a training class, doggie daycare for proper socialization, the Cesar "Shhh", the poke on the side, the water bottle, the can full of pennies, teaching him quiet, time out - I'm not joking - nothing has worked to this point.

Except now its gotten worse - he not only barks at ALL dogs (and I'm not talking small dogs, I'm talking pitts, rotties, pinschers, everything) - but he is now instigating the same behavior in my Yorkie. To make matters worse, my worst fear was almost recognized earlier tonight on a walk - a pitt breaking loose from his owner to attack my Biggie because HE SEES THE PITT AND IS ACTING LIKE HES READY TO ATTACK. My worst fear is him getting hurt/attacked by a huge aggressive dog because of what he's doing, and it almost happened tonight. I'm at my wits end because my only other alternative is to not take him outside (which is a horrible option because we live in a NYC apartment = nowhere near the size of a house). People outside see this and they think it's hilarious because he's so little; I don't find it funny because of what could potentially happen to Biggie and/or his brother. Please help me/us!!!
 

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Rocky used to bark at other dogs on walks...I bought a can of corrector, which is a small red can of air that comes out forcefully and he stopped and never does it anymore. It also helped train him to not try to chase cars while I am leash walking him. It was a wonderful training tool, better than a can of pennies. I bought it at Petco. Sounds like you have tried everything else...I would give this a try.:biggrin:
While it is wonderful that you have found a tool that has worked for you, it is important to remember that a tool like this is aversive and can make reactive behavior increase. Clearly, Rocky found this distraction powerful enough that you were able to redirect his attention. But for other dogs this could increase anxiety and thereby make the situation worse.

Years back (before I knew anything about reactive behavior) I trained Cloud and Clouseau with some aversive techniques. One that was recommended at my training club was a water spray bottle. When they would bark and carry on at other dogs, they got a quick spray of water. It certainly got Cloud's attention and that was all I needed to redirect him (but he was not a truly reactive dog). Clouseau on the other hand just ended up with a wet face and did not improve with this kind of technique. I see now how this could have increased his anxiety. :unsure:
 
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