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Getting TOO Excited to see other dogs
  • robes325robes325
    Posts: 264
    Hey All,

    Ive been having problems with walking Blaine. In general he walks along side or a little bit in front of me, but when we see other dogs he tries to dart over to them to play with them. Its like all of his leash training goes down the toilet when he sees other dogs. He just wants to socialize with them and sniff around, but to be honest its starting to freak out other dog owners and its starting to bug me. Has anyone had this problem? I cant think of doing anything but yanking him hard and gearing him away from the other dog. I say sit, heal, even bring out treats but often its such a quick interaction that these commands aren't effective. Any suggestions?
  • tmgcheetmgchee
    Posts: 19
    Hahaha, Inu's the same. If he is all quiet, I'm even more concerned. Let's see if others have experience dealing with this. I have a similar problem.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8517
    Do not yank the leash.

    Turn around and walk the other way. If he will not follow you, pick him up. And never EVER let him greet another dog while he is that excited. That only rewards the behaviour. Make sure that you always have super yummy treats to reward the good behaviour.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • robes325robes325
    Posts: 264
    I dont think that walking away from the dog would give him the message that what he did was bad. I just think he would try even harder to reach the dog and say hi. Often the other dog owner is walking towards me so switching directions would just mean that we would start walking alongside in the same direction. he wears a padded harness so yanking him usually catches him off guard and it doesnt hurt him at all. Even If i dont yank him he still ends up doing backflips while trying to dart towards the other dog.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    Walking away means he doesn't get what he wants, which is to see the other dog, and so it means his behavior (pulling and being overly excited) is not rewarded. It DOES work, and that no-reward is part of the whole positive training method. When he is calm, he is rewarded by getting to greet the other dog. Reward/no reward is basic training. It's not that you're trying to tell him what he did was "bad" which he won't understand anyway; it's that he either gets rewarded for his behavior or doesn't. And you don't have to turn around and walk the same directions as the other person--just walk him away from the other dog.

    Jerking on the leash doesn't teach him anything at all. And he's obviously not going to listen to a command like heel (which he may or may not know anyway) when he's overly excited. He's past his threshhold then and can't listen anyway. The point of walking away is getting him back to where he can pay attention. Get him to sit, give him a reward, and if you want, then he can meet the dog. If you can't get his attention, he's not far enough away.

    Jerking him his is an unnecessary aversive, doesn't teach him anything, and could, in fact, hurt him.
  • shibahiroshibahiro
    Posts: 977
    i agree. either walk away or make him sit and calm down before he says hi to other dogs.
  • umi-sanumi-san
    Posts: 113
    Suki does that sometimes (for exemple this morning).
    What I do is to stop walking (I wont say a thing since voice commands will just increase the excitement) and I wont let her get close to the other dog (object of desire) until she is calm. As Sunyata says, letting your dog greet other dogs when he is excited will only reward his unwanted behavior. I know is difficult just to stand there while your dog is doing a show (jumping/pulling) to greet the other dog, but shibas are intelligent, he will catch fast that he wont get what he wants unless he is calm and approach properly to other dogs!
    Be calm, consistent and patient and you'll get results.
    Post edited by umi-san at 2011-07-27 12:33:03
  • robes325robes325
    Posts: 264
    I usually do try and walk away from the other dog. Around 99% of the time I steer him away from the dog, but I think he just tries harder to get to them. I feel like this behavior is getting worse. 1% of the time he might approach the dog casually but it is almost always after he has spent 1+ hours at the dog park. Its like he is in prey-drive.
    Post edited by robes325 at 2011-07-27 12:41:36
  • Koji's momKoji's mom
    Posts: 632
    My puppy was exactly same way. Overly social...I fretted about killing his friendliness...I wholeheartedly agree with Shibamistress...It takes patience and you are not trying to teach him he's bad...he's a friendly dog that wants to play - but he has to learn what is rewarded (acceptable behaviour for you) - not "good" or "bad"...

    You can also just "be a tree"...keep leash really short, stop moving, keep elbows close to body so hand/leash is not moving around and wait as long as it takes for him to calm down (or other dog has left the scene)

    When he has calmed down move along calmly...eventually they figure out that if they want to "say hello" to another dog he has to show the manners that you want from him. If they don't offer the calm behaviour you desire, they will not get to meet the doggie..(it's hard for us humans to be patient and consistent but it works, and like I said, I felt guilty because I was preventing my social doggie from socializing - but it all worked out )

    He still gets a bit spastic when he sees dogs that he knows from neighborhood...and for me I decided that doesn't bother me because I know they are good play mates and I let him freak a bit.., but not with strange dogs...
  • Koni B.Koni B.
    Posts: 172
    You said that his behavior is starting to freak out other dog owners, but if I saw a dog who was anxious to greet mine and an owner jerking him back, it's the owner's behavior that would alarm me. Why would he be pulling back his dog? Is his dog going to bite mine? Another dog owner should be able to recognize the difference between a pup who is excited to play and a pup who is acting aggressive.

    As Koji's mom said - being a tree will help. Anytime your dog pulls on the leash and is able to move forward, he is getting a reward for pulling. If you jerk him back, he might move back but now there is slack in the leash and he will be rewarded if he pulls forward again.

    When Koni is super excited, if I am patient and keep what he wants out of his range, he WILL eventually (impatiently) sit his butt down as if to say "oh, trying to reach it didn't work? Maybe good dog behavior will work"
  • robes325robes325
    Posts: 264
    @koni B.--no its more that he lunges at other dogs when he sees them so owners who dont notice him at first freak out. I think that owners are more concerned with my dog and not me trying to control him. I have to yank him back so he doesnt get in the way of bystanders who might trip over his leash.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8517
    @robes325 - how long of a leash are you using? If I recall, you are in NYC, right? You might want to try using a shorter leash. For public walks, I use 4 foot leads. They are just long enough that it gives the girls some freedom, but short enough so that even when completely stretched, they are only a couple of feet away from me. Depending on your situation, a 3 foot lead may be even better.

    Also, keep your eye out for other dogs. I know how frustrating it can be, but trust me, setting your dog up for success is SO much better than always fighting against the over excitement. When you see another dog (hopefully before Blaine does), have him sit. Let him know you have a treat and have him 'watch' you. As long as he stays calm and focused on you, treat intermittently. If the dog goes by without him getting excited, praise the dickens out of him and give him two or three treats in a row.

    You may also want to work on doggy zen. This will help teach impulse control.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • robes325robes325
    Posts: 264
    Thanks sunyata. Yeah I use a 3 ft lead. In general its fine and it usually has some slack but when he does see dogs it stretches its full length. I guess ill have to use treats again and teach him how to be less impulsive.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    Doggie zen is good. Oh, do we still need it in our house! Casey, that's a great example in general you've used.

    And I have an Akita that does the same thing (but he's 110 pounds now) so I understand. I will say that what has helped for us (but not worked entirely yet) is two other things. 1) a no-pull harness (this would work better if I could find one that would work on my boy) and 2) distracting him with a toy, which of course will only work if the dog is toy motivated. But Oskar is super toy motivated, so I take out his squeeky and squeak it, and that gets his attention focused on me, and I can make him sit and he'll calm down as the distraction goes by (whether it is canine or human).

    But it's not smooth yet, and Oskar has little impulse control. And I'm also not trying to walk him in a busy area. Still, something like that could help. A shorter traffic lead as they are called might help too.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8517
    Glad you are using a short lead. But try keeping a look out for those other dogs. You would be surprised how much a little pro-active work will get you when teaching your dog proper manners. :)

    Nola, my youngest get super excited to meet other dogs. But if I see the other dog before she gets excited and get her to focus on me and sit, the other dog can walk by with minimal excitement from her. It took a while to get to this point, but she would not be a Shiba if she was not a little work. :)
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • catloreecatloree
    Posts: 1541
    Great advice on this thread, this is definitely something that Elwood & I need to work on as he adores other dogs & thinks that everybody wants to play with him.
    Catherine (human), Elwood (Shiba), & Sadie (Pomeranian)
  • robes325robes325
    Posts: 264
    FYI, I tried this tree method and its helped a bit. The only problem is ive trained Blaine to sit at crosswalks. He does it 99% of the time (1% of the time there is a bird in the distance he is checking out). Today when he actively tried to approach dogs I stopped and stood there, but he thought we were stopping in general so he sat down. On our walk back home, he refused to sit twice at crosswalks. I think he is getting confused?? I guess ill try it out more and hopefully he will improve.
  • jujeejujee
    Posts: 882
    With pups a lot of things take patience. Mika, omg what a terror when she saw another dog. Sometimes, she still flips out when we get into the parking lot of the training and daycare facility we go to because she automatically think its playtime. I still have to do the standing tree method with her when I take her to daycare cause she flips out. However, she doesn't flip out when we see another dog on our walk anymore. I stand still, she sits, I say "let's go" while walking in a direction away from the dog and she goes with me. Sometimes she looks back, but as we get farther away from the dog she doesn't care anymore. This however, does not work with my friend's husky. She whines and cries to try to get to her buddy. She knows it's Venus and wants to play with Venus. She will lay down, her ears go back and she cries so excitedly to try to go play. We live in the same complex and sometimes run into each other while walking the dogs in the morning, it's rare, but it does happen. They do get to play with each other weekly, but she loves her so much that she whines all the time, I really need to get it on video cause it's actually really cute lol.

    In time Blaine will get better! :)
  • Maybe this is just my inexperience showing, but why is Blaine sitting when you stop a bad thing? Wasn't that what you were trying to get him to do when you came across other dogs? How is the crosswalk connected with this?
  • robes325robes325
    Posts: 264
    Oh, I guess I need to explain more. While walking we only really stop at the crosswalk. He does this automatically now. Recently he has been a little confused because we are stopping sporadically because of dogs. I think he is mixing up when he should sit. I started doing some doggy zen and hes been doing it fine. I think he'll need some time to really get his impulses under control.
  • Ah. Thanks for explaining.
  • CybertrendCybertrend
    Posts: 22
    Rewind to a more basic question. Is this type of behavior (which my one-year-old Shiba also exhibits) predominantly because she is still young, and will she do this to a lesser extent as she gets older? What I've noticed is that practically all other dogs we meet either ignore her, growl at her, or show mild interest and then continue on their way while mine is wheezing and pulling to follow them. If she is off the leash, she bolts after them although they've shown no interest in her. Will she always be like this unless I teach her otherwise or will she calm down as she gets older?
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8517
    @Cybertrend - It depends... I would highly suggest that you go ahead and work with your dog on it. That type of behaviour is rude to other dogs (especially if she is off leash!) and can cause trouble in other aspects (the wheezing and pulling).
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • jarvizjarviz
    Posts: 69
    When your shiba pulls towards the other dog, it's usually because they are excited and want to greet/play right? Not because they want to fight. I know if my dog doesn't like the other dog, they'll start barking from where ever they are, so that makes it obvious.
  • @jarviz

    It would depend on your dog. You know your shiba best, so you would be better at making that call than us. But something that would help is teaching your dog a command or something to ask to say hi.

    So for Hamilton, if he wants to say hi to someone, he has to sit calmly and wait for me to say it is okay. When we come across someone he is excited to see, he might pull at first (he's a puppy) but then he immediately sits down until I tell him he can go say hi. If he doesn't want to say hi, he won't sit and ask for it.
  • vmleopardvmleopard
    Posts: 21
    If he can dart anywhere, you have an excessive amount of leash available. I just take mine on a walk with a 3 ft leash. He can try to pull/jerk all he wants. I am going where I want to go. Herm sprenger or if the idea of a prong freaks you out, get a ruff wear web master harness.

    Herm sprenger (2.25mm), if he refuses to walk nicely, just keep going about your walk. He will eventually give in and walk with you to avoid the uncomfortable poke motion. Introducing the collar is very important before the walk. He has to KNOW what to do with it before you can just throw the thing on and go for a walk. For the sake of first hand experience, I thought I can just put the collar on. Dead wrong, he just sat down and refuse to move. He didn't know what the tug motion meant (correcting motion). After introducing the collar and a few practice walk around the yard, he walks besides me fine. In long wooded trails I don't even need a collar. He remembers the motion and walks beside me nicely. He is 22 lbs. I adopted him as a rescue about 3 weeks now. The collar really changed our relationship. He was 11 months and now he will be officially 1 year old this weekend. His birthday. Going to take him to dairy queen/sprinkle cupcake/starbucks for the doggy special menu.

    Ruff wear web master, if the idea of a prong freaks you out. This is a viable option. If he acts up, simply pick him up like a suitcase and walk him away from the distraction until he calms down again. I had one before returning it as I used the prong personally. People will chuckle at you carrying your dog like a suitcase. And you will probably get a lot of question from passerby about that strange contraption.

    Just my 2cent.
    Post edited by vmleopard at 2015-03-20 18:15:55
  • vkohvkoh
    Posts: 12
    Just thought i try my luck on this thread.

    We are having this problem too. Our Shiba, Jodie, is also too excited to meet other dogs (in a playful kind of way). We tried making her sit or even lay down, which she does. But once we say okay she will rush/sprint to the other dog instead of walking nicely. This freaks the other dog out sometimes.

    Also, she plays very very rough with some of the dogs & can't seem to get a hint. She will nip at their legs, headbutt their sides to solicit play even though the other dog is already growling and trying to avoid her. Usually I stop the interaction once that happens to protect her from being snapped at by the other dog but it doesn't eliminate the issue.

    Not sure wonder there is any other way around this.
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1263
    @vmleopard I assume herm sprenger is a prong collar? To me that is absolutely the wrong way to teach a dog to walk nicely (it is also illegal in my country by the way). I don't doubt he walks better with it but your relationship I'm sure has not improved. Unless you want your dog to fear you and associate you with pain.
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    vkoh said:

    Also, she plays very very rough with some of the dogs & can't seem to get a hint. She will nip at their legs, headbutt their sides to solicit play even though the other dog is already growling and trying to avoid her.

    That sounds like normal Shiba play to me...

    Maybe give her more exercise prior of meeting dogs? Or maybe she needs more puppy socialization, especially if she's not adhering to their growling?
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
    Post edited by Rikka at 2015-04-02 10:09:30

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