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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I wanted to know if anyone's maltese has a prey drive and/or "dominant" behavior towards other dogs.

My dog loves to run after squirrels and birds when we're on a walk; I usually try to discourage her from doing so, but she seems to enjoy it (she's leashed of course). I think it is pretty amusing that she likes to "hunt" other animals down because malteses are toy dogs. Do any of your dogs like to chase after small animals? She's not a very good stalker though.

Secondly, she has this problem behavior where she goes crazy barking and lunging after other dogs during walks. She mostly does this towards larger dogs and dogs she doesn't know. I get her attention by making and "ehh" sound and wallking the other way or walking the other way and make her sit, but it takes her a while to comply. Some times she just doesn't listen at all and goes berserk and continues barking.

Does anyone have any techniques that have been successful with their maltese? She also sometimes barks at people and children on bikes, which is not good either. I do the same thing where I go "ehh" loudly and go the other direction until she calms down, but it doesn't always work.

Thanks!
 

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I'm in Florida, where there are lots of little lizzards. Spookie must think they are there just for her to chase. Palmetto bugs are great fun too. They can be swatted around. Butterflys may be chased, or at least watched. Squrilles and the stray fruit rat get an enourmous amount of barking but no chaseing.

Strange dogs are scarey for me because she jumps in their faces and wants to give them kisses. But she can be agressive to her Poodle brother.
 

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barking and lunging

I don't have the answer but I sure hope somebody does. My Toby just about turns himself inside out and pulls like a sled dog whenever he sees dogs on our walk. Other times he acts like he has found a long lost friend.
 

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1. Predatory/hunting behavior is a normal DOG behavior. Maltese are not exempt from it because they're cute and fluffy. Playing fetch is another example of practicing predatory behavior. If you dislike the chasing while on a walk, that is a matter of teaching your dog self control (same as I'd teach a border collie to have some self control of their herding behaviors around my toy dogs).

2. Your dog is far from "dominant". The concept of dominance in dog packs has long been known to be false. Domestic dogs do not base their relations in our home with this old, dis proven theory. Ditching it from your vocabulary will get you much further with your dog.
Here's an article that points out some of the research.
Canine Dominance: Is the Concept of the Alpha Dog Valid? | Psychology Today

3. The behavior you describe to other dogs on leash is most typically due to fear. This is commonly described as reactive behavior. That means the dog is reacting more than is considered appropriate for a specific context. There are some really great books on this subject, however you would really benefit from seeing someone in person. It is hard through a book or the internet to cue you in to tiny clues your dog is giving way before you notice or to thinks you are doing to make the situation worse. The plan you've been doing isn't necessarily bad, but clearly it isn't working as you want. You know the saying insanity is doing the same thing again and again expecting different results LOL That really applies to dog training. If you mention a general location, we may be able to recommend someone to help you. If we don't know someone, we can guide you in selection.
Ali Brown's Scaredy Dog
Jean Donaldson's Dogs are from Neptune
both available from dogwise.com

3. The people and children on bike is likely one of the following (or some of both).
A. Fear aggression due to lack of socialization. Solution is remedial socialization with systematic desensitization (classical conditioning works well here).
B. Prey chase behavior. Solution is teaching self control.
I would hazard a guess it is the first, combining fear aggression with learned aggression. That means your dog barks and lunges because they are afraid of the bikes. The bike always goes away. Your dog has learned that barking and lunging causes the bikes to go away. The behavior is rewarded every time and thus repeats. You will be able to use similar techniques for training the reactivity with dogs for this problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks for your response - I put "dominant" in quotes b/c I wasn't sure if that was accurate or not.

I will try some other distraction techniques and in terms of socialization, she has been socialized as soon as she had all of her vaccinations. I think conditioning and rewarding with treats (positive reinforcement) will help; I just need something to distract her when she gets hyper and reward her when she is "quiet" (new command I want to teach her!).

I'm in northern VA and may consider something if I can't get in under more control. She seems to listen to my bf a lot better though and he does the same thing I do, but probably only says it once and she stops . .

Also, regarding her prey drive, of course she is a dog and that is normal dog behavior. My sister's two dogs (bichon frise and bichon frise/poodle mix) could care less about squirrels and birds .. each dog has its own personality. I think it is funny when she tries to get them, but of course she's never in any danger -just cute when she tries to "get" them.
 

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In this case, I respectfully disagree with JMM. I have two Maltese that I taught to walk together, nicely. I use Caesar Milan's techniques and they work. According to Caesar, most dogs are followers and the human needs to be the leader. If the dog does not have a consistent leader, he will step in and try to lead his "pack" which he won't do very well. Why? Because dogs need a strong, confident pack leader in order for the pack to survive, according to the doggy brain. They becomes anxious, thus the barking, pulling, and aggression. Your dog should walk beside or behind you. If you let them go in front, they think you want them to lead. I poo-pooed this when I first heard it as one of my girls did the same things yours does. When I worked on this with mine, the transformation was amazing. I taught her not to react to squirrels, bikes, joggers, even other dogs. How? If she tried to get in front me, I gave a leash correction. Usually, dogs are relieved to let us be in charge. One important thing I learned from Caesar is that our dogs sense our feelings and mirror them so you want to be relaxed and confident and do not react. When your dog approaches a bike, etc, just keep going. Do not allow your dog to stop. Eventually, your dog will learn from you not to react because you are the leader. It will take practice and patience, but you can do it. :aktion033:
 

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April,
Are you aware that adding stress to a fearful dog can make the situation worse? Do you know how a correction works?
Are you aware that no veterinary behaviorist of vet school asked approved of Milan's show when Nat. Geo first proposed it? Are you aware of how dangerous some of the things he does are, not only to the dogs but to people? Are you aware that his theory of pack dynamics has been disproven on multiple occasions in respected scientific journals? Even the original writer has stated the study was flawed and the result not accurate.

We can all like whatever tv show we want...but please, please be careful about giving training advice over the internet with potential negative side effects. Its our duty to make sure our advice is safe.

Jan,
I can recommend some people local to you. PM me if you seriously want to see someone.
 

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I would never follow Milan's techniques, and IMO he has done a lot of harm to the human-dog bond.

Any educated Animal Behaviorist will tell you that Milan's techniques are dangerous. Perhaps owners will not realize that in the short term, but in the long term, what you have is a totally damaged relationship between you and your dog.

If you love your dogs, IMO it is much better to run from Caesar Milan and his "advice." If you are looking for excellent training techniques, try books by Patricia McConnell and Jean Donaldson. And watch 'It's me or the dog," with Victoria Stilwell instead.
 

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I agree with JMM, and am currently facing the same reactive behavior with Preston when we go on walks due to not socializing him enough. Both London & Preston are enrolled in APDT/CPDT certified trainer courses right now for obedience and socialization. We have only attended one session so far, but even during that hour of class, Preston was able to sniff a dog's butt at the end of class on his own where before and during class he constantly barked out of fear and being uneasy.
 

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Excellent post as always Jackie

:aktion033::aktion033::aktion033::aktion033::aktion033::aktion033:1814537]1. Predatory/hunting behavior is a normal DOG behavior. Maltese are not exempt from it because they're cute and fluffy. Playing fetch is another example of practicing predatory behavior. If you dislike the chasing while on a walk, that is a matter of teaching your dog self control (same as I'd teach a border collie to have some self control of their herding behaviors around my toy dogs).

2. Your dog is far from "dominant". The concept of dominance in dog packs has long been known to be false. Domestic dogs do not base their relations in our home with this old, dis proven theory. Ditching it from your vocabulary will get you much further with your dog.
Here's an article that points out some of the research.
Canine Dominance: Is the Concept of the Alpha Dog Valid? | Psychology Today

3. The behavior you describe to other dogs on leash is most typically due to fear. This is commonly described as reactive behavior. That means the dog is reacting more than is considered appropriate for a specific context. There are some really great books on this subject, however you would really benefit from seeing someone in person. It is hard through a book or the internet to cue you in to tiny clues your dog is giving way before you notice or to thinks you are doing to make the situation worse. The plan you've been doing isn't necessarily bad, but clearly it isn't working as you want. You know the saying insanity is doing the same thing again and again expecting different results LOL That really applies to dog training. If you mention a general location, we may be able to recommend someone to help you. If we don't know someone, we can guide you in selection.
Ali Brown's Scaredy Dog
Jean Donaldson's Dogs are from Neptune
both available from dogwise.com

3. The people and children on bike is likely one of the following (or some of both).
A. Fear aggression due to lack of socialization. Solution is remedial socialization with systematic desensitization (classical conditioning works well here).
B. Prey chase behavior. Solution is teaching self control.
I would hazard a guess it is the first, combining fear aggression with learned aggression. That means your dog barks and lunges because they are afraid of the bikes. The bike always goes away. Your dog has learned that barking and lunging causes the bikes to go away. The behavior is rewarded every time and thus repeats. You will be able to use similar techniques for training the reactivity with dogs for this problem.[/QUOTE]
 

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My Nadia has similar characteristics. I call her my "hunter dog" and we joke that she has some lab or retriever in background. Her eyes glaze over and she wants those squirrels, cats or birds SO badly it makes us laugh. I often wonder what she would do if she actually caught something. My Lily usually could care less about these little animals. Nadia also has problems with other dogs while she is on a leash. At doggy daycare, she is fine. Some call it leash aggression. It looks like she is aggressive but I think it is more fear. We have made some progressive with giving her a command and then rewarding her with a yummy treat if she obeys. The goal is for her to associate good things with seeing strange dogs. She is much better with them at a distance than she used to be but it is a work in progress and we need to be more consistent. I also notice that she very much picks up on my attitude, when I know the person and am happy to see them with their dog and largely ignore Nadia as I approach, she calms down much faster and sometimes doesn't bark at all, but if I am nervous that she is going to bark and act out, she does. I have thought of getting a trainer but at $250/hour plus(that is what they charge at her doggy daycare), it is pretty cost prohibitive. I should have gone to dog training school instead of med school. :)
 

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I think barking at other dogs is pretty rude and need to be corrected. If what you're doing isn't working then it's time like JMM said to hire a professional to do it. I have the opposite problem....the big dogs don't respect my little guy. He gets so excited whenever he sees a dog so he goes up to them and is ready to sniff their bum but the other big dogs bark at him. Charlie then gets scared and back away. I'm trying to figure out if how Charlie is approaching these dogs is rude or not. He has no problems at dog parks or small dogs just some big dogs we see during our walks.

Oh, with the small animal chasing thing. hehehe Charlie will chase birds, ducks, squirrels, flies, spiders etc. Pretty much anything that moves he'll chase and follow. One time during our walk he was looking at ants hard at work ahahahaha
 

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To JMM

April,
Are you aware that adding stress to a fearful dog can make the situation worse? Do you know how a correction works? Yes, to the first question, and yes I know how to use a leash correction.
Are you aware that no veterinary behaviorist of vet school asked approved of Milan's show when Nat. Geo first proposed it? Are you aware of how dangerous some of the things he does are, not only to the dogs but to people? Are you aware that his theory of pack dynamics has been disproven on multiple occasions in respected scientific journals? Even the original writer has stated the study was flawed and the result not accurate. You probably know more than I do about training. What is it about Ceasar's training that you find "dangerous" to dogs and people? You can PM me about this, if you want to.

We can all like whatever tv show we want...but please, please be careful about giving training advice over the internet with potential negative side effects. Its our duty to make sure our advice is safe. Jan asked this forum what worked for us and all I did was tell her what worked for me and my girls. My girls are happy and content and well-behaved when walking. Anyone on this forum runs the risk of receiving inaccurate advice at any time. At no time did I feel that my advice was not "safe". I do not completely endorse any trainer since there are all kinds of training methods. I don't know of any trainer that has a 100% success rate, even Caesar Milan. I believe that whatever method is used should be humane and the dog should receive lots of positive reinforcement and consistent leadership.
 

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When I asked if you knew how a correction works, I really meant how your leash pop turns into the behavior you want. I'm really fascinated with how dogs learn, so if you're up for some learning, read on and I'll explain.

A correction must have 3 parts to "work" (influence behavior):
1. Be immediate to the behavior
2. Be strong enough the dog views it as a correction - this means powerful enough to cause stress to the dog
3. Be immediately followed by an opportunity to do the correct behavior and be rewarded for it.

So in your case, you give the leash correction with great timing, followed through, and it was effective. I'm not knocking it for you (though if you preferred to work this issue without corrections it is very possible).

Let's focus on #2. The stress on your dog is probably a quick "oh crap that wasn't right" without any significant fear or anxiety attached. The behavior they were doing likely did not have any significant fear or anxiety as the root cause. But let's say a dog is reactive to other dogs - this means the dog is afraid and anxious in the presence of other dogs in certain situations or generalized. Let's leash pop this dog. The stress may seem to suppress the behavior for a moment, but the problem is the side effect. This dog sees something it fears and then something bad that increases stress happens. This dog now associated the fearful stimulus with MORE fear and anxiety. Hence using this method with a dog of this sort can make the problem worse. On the internet, I don't know if you have dog 1 or dog 2...and if I recommend the correction here I could make dog 2 worse. Therefore I'm not going to recommend it and leave that up to the trainer they see in person who can actually see and evaluate the dog.

Now, in this case, it sucks for the dog but isn't "dangerous" as in you get bitten. This is where we can turn to Cesar.
Sophia Yin: Experts Say Dominance-Based Dog Training Techniques Made Popular by Television Shows Can Contribute to Dog Bites
Aggression breeds aggression. Manhandling (alpha rolling) a large dog is most likely to get you bitten in the face. When the dog initially freezes on television, that is similar to learned helplessness and is temporary. It is a temporary suppression of the unwanted behavior by increasing fear and anxiety. And yes, Cesar gets bit on TV. You can search on Youtube or just watch his show regularly (which I have done). Nobody should have to be bitten in the name of dog training. That is dangerous. His show says don't try this at home so they cannot be sued.

April,
Are you aware that adding stress to a fearful dog can make the situation worse? Do you know how a correction works? Yes, to the first question, and yes I know how to use a leash correction.
Are you aware that no veterinary behaviorist of vet school asked approved of Milan's show when Nat. Geo first proposed it? Are you aware of how dangerous some of the things he does are, not only to the dogs but to people? Are you aware that his theory of pack dynamics has been disproven on multiple occasions in respected scientific journals? Even the original writer has stated the study was flawed and the result not accurate. You probably know more than I do about training. What is it about Ceasar's training that you find "dangerous" to dogs and people? You can PM me about this, if you want to.

We can all like whatever tv show we want...but please, please be careful ]
 

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My Girls have no discipline, they've got me trained, I know it's my fault. Walks are a nightmare, but they love it so we go anyway.

My oldest for some reason likes to go after other dogs feet, and cheeks, she tries to nip at them when she sees a new dog. or she goes after ankles of new people. She will usually scare dogs because they are not sure what the heck she is doing cuz she's 1/10th their size.

She never tries to really bite, just nip and stand back and see what they do? If it's a person she'll pull at their leg until they put their hand down to see her.

I have another one that barks like a crazy girl at any new dog/person until they give her attention.

They are both fine if the other person/dog gives them attention and they will be totally calm in like 2 minutes, but if we keep the person / dog away from them or they try to get away they just keep at them.

I'd love to take them through obedience training but the places here make you leave the dog for 2 weeks and I didn't want to do that.

Also I have 3 which I "think" makes it tougher to train.
 

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My Girls have no discipline, they've got me trained, I know it's my fault. Walks are a nightmare, but they love it so we go anyway.

My oldest for some reason likes to go after other dogs feet, and cheeks, she tries to nip at them when she sees a new dog. or she goes after ankles of new people. She will usually scare dogs because they are not sure what the heck she is doing cuz she's 1/10th their size.

She never tries to really bite, just nip and stand back and see what they do? If it's a person she'll pull at their leg until they put their hand down to see her.

I have another one that barks like a crazy girl at any new dog/person until they give her attention.

They are both fine if the other person/dog gives them attention and they will be totally calm in like 2 minutes, but if we keep the person / dog away from them or they try to get away they just keep at them.

I'd love to take them through obedience training but the places here make you leave the dog for 2 weeks and I didn't want to do that.

Also I have 3 which I "think" makes it tougher to train.

In most cities, even small towns, there are trainers who will come to the house. Bark Busters is a good example, and there are independent trainers, too.

Most dog training facilities places offer options. There must be obedience classes you can enroll in if you don't want to do the personalized, in-home training. It is my firm belief that almost all dogs and owners are trainable. I've heard of and seen such good results over the years on so-called "hopeless cases."

My fear with untrained dogs is this: Although the current owner puts up with the untrained dogs to some extent, what if something happens to the owner? Will the new owner put up with bad behavior, or discard the dog? Please think about it. Not trying to scare you, but it has happened that way before. Many dogs who end up in kill shelters are sweet dogs whose only fault is that they weren't trained.
 

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Although the current owner puts up with the untrained dogs to some extent, what if something happens to the owner?
really good point... I'll have to bite the bullet and seriously look into our options. I never thought about it that way.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
thanks. .

Thanks for all of your input. When Haley was going through her puppy training, I did bring this up to the trainer and he suggested that I call her name when she barks, walk the other direction until she calms down and then give her a treat.

I need to associate other dogs she isn't familiar with as a positive thing. There is on dog in my neigborhood who isn't friendly and actually nipped her hard when playing, so she always barks at him; when I see them, I always go in the opposite direction and "shhh" her.

This morning, I took her out and there were 3 other small dogs she knew; she barked once and once she saw them, she was quiet and playful. That behavior shows that she is fearful of the other dogs then.

The chasing after the birds doesn't bother me too much, it is her way to have fun and I don't think she is actually a good enough of a hunter to catch it.
 

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My Girls have no discipline, they've got me trained, I know it's my fault. Walks are a nightmare, but they love it so we go anyway.

My oldest for some reason likes to go after other dogs feet, and cheeks, she tries to nip at them when she sees a new dog. or she goes after ankles of new people. She will usually scare dogs because they are not sure what the heck she is doing cuz she's 1/10th their size.

She never tries to really bite, just nip and stand back and see what they do? If it's a person she'll pull at their leg until they put their hand down to see her.

I have another one that barks like a crazy girl at any new dog/person until they give her attention.

They are both fine if the other person/dog gives them attention and they will be totally calm in like 2 minutes, but if we keep the person / dog away from them or they try to get away they just keep at them.

I'd love to take them through obedience training but the places here make you leave the dog for 2 weeks and I didn't want to do that.

Also I have 3 which I "think" makes it tougher to train.
The behavior you are explaining could turn very dangerous. Even if your dog is just playing what if they go up to a dog that isn't going to be okay with their rude behavior? Not to mention nipping people is never a good thing. I'd definitely recommend finding a positive trainer to help you - it is incredibly rewarding to have a well behaved dog.

I'm not sure how close you are to Austin, TX but if you're close I can give you a name of a trainer. She is wonderful and definitely worth a drive!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hi everyone,

Just a quick update. Over this weekend, my boyfriend and I walked Haley for an hour or so and she was not agressive towards ANY of the dogs on our walk! She either sniffed them or ignored them. She was amazing.

The difference I believe is the handling of her - I normally get tense when we approach other dogs, but because I had a firm grip on leash (flex leash) and it was locked at the shortest distance, she didn't feel threatened. She was healing perfectly and there was no tension on the leash. The only time she barked was when we sat down outside for dinner and barked at two dogs walking by. We corrected her by snapping and saying "eehh" and she was quiet.

It looks like I just need to work on being calm and also not letting her walk in front but having her heal properly. I was amazed at her behavior and very proud of her too. Of course she isn't like this all the time, but I know she can be very well behaved outside.
 
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