Postings by Keiko

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Behavior & Training > Ideas on how to get Harley to stop chasing the cats
Keiko

Where are you- going? Can I- come?
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 15, '14 6:31pm PST 
First, I'd recommend coming up with a good way to separate Harley and the cats when needed. Sometimes puppies just get overstimulated, and when that happens it's helpful to be able to just remove him from the cats (or the cats from him) and give him a chance to cool down. Basically, avoid having to practice "leave it" while Harley is already amped up and hyper.

I do think that a good, strong "leave it" is your best bet here. That's how Keiko learned to avoid the cats, horses, parakeets, etc. A few things that will help set you up for success:
- Practice "leave it" in situations when the cats are not involved. Practice it with treats, when there's nothing he really needs to leave. Practice it when he's bored. Basically, practice really easy leave its to build up a strong foundation.
- Make sure that you always, ALWAYS have some kind of very high-value treat on you when the cats and Harley are in the same room. Find something he likes better than playing with the cats, like hot dogs or boiled chicken or bacon...if worst comes to worst, most dogs adore liver.
- After you ask Harley to "leave" the cats, give him something else to do. Redirect him onto another toy or ask him to perform a few other tricks. Impulse control is really tough for puppies, so make his life easier by just asking him to play with something *else,* rather than trying to get him to quit playing altogether. A flirt pole or something else he can safely "chase" would be good, or just a tug toy, a ball, or a delicious chew toy.

If you do both of those things, then you show him that ignoring the cats is a good thing AND it doesn't require him to give up his fun times.

Your trainer is right, though...this is a really difficult "leave it." So you're going to have to be really consistent about reinforcing "leave it" in ALL situations, including as a part of regular practice training. Be vigilant when they're in the same room, so you can redirect him as early as possible. It'll probably take him a while to really get it down, but it's possible if you stick with it.
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» There has since been 0 posts. Last posting by Keiko, Jan 15 6:31 pm

Behavior & Training > Dogs new to horses . . .. what are the common reactions?
Keiko

Where are you- going? Can I- come?
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 3:31pm PST 
Haven't read through all the comments yet, but these are the reactions I have seen in adult dogs encountering horses for the first time:

A) "Whoa, what is that thing? Oh well, whatever."
B) "That thing runs so fast that I must chase it!!!" (followed by, in the case of dog-savvy horses: "Oh, it won't run from me? Well, who cares then.")
C) "WHAT IS THIS DEVIL CREATION DESTROY IT DESTROY IT NOW"

Most of the dogs we've had have landed at reaction B.

Keiko, on the other hand, seriously freaks out around unfamiliar horses. She is very prey-driven (of the 'if it's not an animal I've learned to not kill, and I can catch it, I will kill it' variety)and amped up and neurotic about new things in general, but horses are a special case. She can be conditioned to ignore them, but only very specific horses - she still has no love for the horse population in general. I feel bad for the people who occasionally ride past my parents' house, since if we don't act quickly enough those horses WILL get menaced through the fence. Most horses around here are used to it from strange dogs, though. It seems to stress out the humans more than the horses (though of course we still don't allow it).

I'm not sure if it's a prey drive thing or a fear thing with her (or some combination of both). When I've walked her off the property near horses, she will leave the horse alone (her leave it is VERY strong at this point), but she often starts shaking and tries to pull on the leash to get past them as quickly as possible.

She's the extreme case - most of our other dogs that have not initially responded well to horses (most of them if they weren't raised around them) have just wanted to chase them, and learned quickly not to using a combination of us calling them off and the horses refusing to run. I wouldn't say it's a natural partnership, though, if the dog and horse in question have not been raised around the other species.
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» There has since been 148 posts. Last posting by Augusta, CGC, RN, Jan 26 4:15 pm


Behavior & Training > Saying 'No'

Keiko

Where are you- going? Can I- come?
 
 
Barked: Sat Nov 24, '12 12:06pm PST 
I've always seen elimination of the word "no" as an exercise to retrain the owner and the owner's mindset. It's not that the word itself is harmful (it's just another word as far as your dog is concerned, with only the meaning it learns from you). "No" carries a lot of baggage for we humans, however, especially when used in dog training.

I haven't read the study referenced in the other thread, but my guess is that the dogs in the study that have an aggressive response to the word "no" (18% of them, I think the number was?) do so because at some point they learned that bad things were associated with the word "no."

So yeah, if you don't use it in an aggressive way, and your dog has never learned to associate it that way, then you won't have a problem using it. If I were trying to retrain humans to approach things in a more positive-oriented way, though, I imagine that eliminating the word "no" from their training vocabulary would be a very helpful part of that process.

I went through a short period of never using "no" and then reintroduced it in a neutral way, and now the dogs know it in the way others here have mentioned - kind of a "stop what you're doing" cue, usually followed by an alternative behavior but not always. They get reinforcement for following it and it doesn't seem detrimental to them. They also know "leave it" and the like. There's no real reason that you have to use "no," either; it's just easier for everyone to apply consistently around these dogs' house.
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» There has since been 97 posts. Last posting by Dr. Watson, Dec 3 5:40 pm


Behavior & Training > Did anyone else know this?

Keiko

Where are you- going? Can I- come?
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 3, '12 6:27pm PST 
Why yellow? Yellow ribbons already represent support for the military (at least in the US), which is what I would assume about a dog with a yellow ribbon on its leash. That's just confusing. Honestly, while I do know better than to walk up to any strange dog without permission, I tend to assume that when a person puts an accessory on their dog it's because they want to show the dog off/show people the dog is friendly. thinking

I've never heard of the red bandanna thing - I like to walk Keiko around in her red bandanna just because I think it's cute! It goes well with her fur. So that's one that probably works well at dog events and the like, but not in public (as some others have said).

Wouldn't it work better to use something a little more direct?
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» There has since been 2 posts. Last posting by rosco, Sep 4 11:16 am


Behavior & Training > How do I get my dog to stop jumping?

Keiko

Where are you- going? Can I- come?
 
 
Barked: Tue Apr 24, '12 1:00pm PST 
If you choose to use the knee method to stop the jumping, I still recommend training the sit (or shake, or whatever) greeting as an alternative behavior. The reason for this is that the knee may work for adults to stop the jumping, but kids (and strangers who can't get the knee trick right) still need something they can do to stop/prevent the behavior.

So if that's the way you want to go, you should use your knee to stop Mayhem from jumping, then immediately ask for a sit and reward her for that (preferably with a "medium-value" treat - something she likes but that doesn't get her too excited). After a while you should be able to ask her to sit/shake without adding the knee first. Make sure the kids practice asking for a sit/shake in normal, non-greeting situations so that she's primed to listen when the excitement comes.
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» There has since been 1 post. Last posting by , Apr 24 2:08 pm

Behavior & Training > How do I get my dog to stop jumping?
Keiko

Where are you- going? Can I- come?
 
 
Barked: Sat Apr 21, '12 2:22pm PST 
Teaching her to sit to greet worked beautifully for Keiko. I didn't think of tethering her in the process, but that's a really good idea. What I did was step back (so that she landed four-on-the-floor instead of making any contact with me at all) and immediately asked for a sit. Sometimes I added a lure, holding a treat in my fist at just the right angle over her head that she pretty much had to sit to get it. I bet tethering at first would work faster, since she doesn't get a chance to practice jumping at all under that method.

There a couple problems with this that you should be aware of:

1) If you want her to sit to greet everyone, then you need EVERYONE (including children and guests) to reward the sit rather than the jump. If you're having trouble with people following the rules, then I suggest you change the greeting so that she sits and either waves a paw or offers a paw to shake (pick one depending on what you think works best for everyone). This is such a cute behavior that your human visitors are more likely to ask for it instead of just letting the dog jump. The kids, in particular, must be very strict with this because they're most likely to get hurt. So having a cute behavior and the opportunity to give the dog a treat (I recommend something long for kids to give rather than little training treats, since it's less likely the dog will accidentally mouth their hands) makes it more likely that kids will follow through consistently.

2) Curbing the jumping isn't likely to actually calm down her behavior overall. It will help a little and at least keep her from putting her paws on anyone (ouch!), but my experience with Keiko is that she still runs laps around the yard when she's excited - she just knows she needs to sit when she gets close to a person. We do a lot of training in the yard, though, which means that if I need her to focus, I can run her through some trained behaviors (often several in a row) and that usually takes the edge off. And Keiko is estimated at about 6 years old - I can only imagine what she was like when she was 1!! (Remember, a 1-year-old dog may be sexually mature, but they're still very much a puppy - especially when it comes to energy and ability to concentrate!)

What do you do to engage Mayhem's mind throughout the day? Do you do any of those things out in the yard? She may just associate the yard with frenzied activity at this point.

If petting is too exciting of a reward for Mayhem, you may wish to try something different when she's wound up. Keiko often finds physical contact overstimulating when she's very excited (even calm petting can send her right over the edge into hyperactivity or mouthing), and so medium-value treats actually work better for her as a reward in that state. They still get her excited, but in a more focused way. Toys may work as well, but be careful because they may just wind her up more. Experiment with different rewards to see how she performs best.
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» There has since been 3 posts. Last posting by , Apr 24 2:08 pm


Behavior & Training > Introducing dog to horses

Keiko

Where are you- going? Can I- come?
 
 
Barked: Tue Jan 17, '12 11:21am PST 
Hoooo boy. Horses are Keiko's NEMESES. Every one of them. She can't stand them. We have, however, gotten her to tolerate the ones my parents board over the summer (those specific horses - we have to repeat the process from scratch for any new horse that shows up)(ETA - And now that I see Trigger's post, I do want to clarify that by 'board,' I mean that they pasture 2 mares for family friends who are 100% aware of the situation with the dogs. The horses are fairly dog-savvy as well). It sounds like Molly isn't freaked out by them like Keiko is, but maybe some of the ideas might help?

A bit of the Look At That game really helps for initial introductions. Basically, any time that Keiko notices the horses - but before she gets a chance to bark at them - she gets praise and a treat. This creates a basic positive association between her and the horse. If she barks at the horse before I can get her a treat (happens often since we're generally just wandering the property waiting for a horse to come into view), she gets told to Leave It and then gets a treat for complying. Same thing if she decides to take off for the fence to harass them up close. She's had a lot of practice with Leave It for various reasons at this point, so she can be called off of a chase if you catch her early enough (and she never climbs into the pasture to chase - she'd be tethered if she did that since it's way too dangerous). Then I call her back to me and she gets a treat.

Once she seems like she can handle them in her general vicinity, we start moving closer and closer to the horses, practicing her various tricks (sit, shake, lie down, stay, etc.) as we go. I do not generally try to teach her anything new in this situation, but I do expect that she perform things correctly before giving her a treat. If she starts to seem way overly stressed, we move back, do one more trick to finish it out, and then go about our business.

Over time she's reached a point where she won't react to the horses unless she's very stimulated by them (ie, they are running around and neighing loudly) and even then she's easily called away.

You may not need to be this methodical since it sounds like Molly is just interested in the horses, not upset by them. In that case I find a simple combination of leave it (when necessary) and giving treats at random intervals for calm behavior works wonders. Don't only treat for calming down after barking as that can ingrain a behavior sequence in my experience ("if I bark and then get quiet for a bit, I get a treat!"). It works better to also give treats just for being near the horses without reacting to them at all. Up the reward if you know Molly is being calm under more difficult circumstances (such as when the horses are doing something particularly interesting and she doesn't pull over to try to investigate). Over time she should learn that horses are no big deal and that you and your magic treat bag are cooler than they are anyway.

And if possible, keep her moving past the horses at first rather than letting her stop to investigate. She should learn that horses and their noises, smells, etc. are just another part of the environment, rather than something to worry about. At least that's one thing that I've found helpful when encountering strange new animals. It's usually my impulse to let the dog get up close and familiarize herself with the new creature, but that's often overwhelming for both of them. It's better to keep them at a distance and introduce them in short, casual doses IMO.
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» There has since been 6 posts. Last posting by Happy, Jan 18 10:41 pm


Behavior & Training > Do you think Dogs can show Signs of Jealousy?

Keiko

Where are you- going? Can I- come?
 
 
Barked: Fri Sep 9, '11 11:07am PST 
Keiko goes nuts if I pet Joey and not her. She's nose at me, whine, offer her paw (she believes Shake is the key to all good things)...whatever she can think of. And then if she's in front of me she tries to body block Joey...so Joey will just push his nose under her side and slowly move forward until she finds herself with two paws up on his back, several inches away from me. It's pretty funny how confused she looks, every single time it happens. She totally gets this look like, "Wait a minute - how did I get HERE?!" laugh out loud
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» There has since been 0 posts. Last posting by Keiko, Sep 9 11:07 am


Behavior & Training > Do We Humanize Our Dogs Too Much?

Keiko

Where are you- going? Can I- come?
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 4, '11 12:21pm PST 
Dogs do hang together for comfort in some situations though, don't they?

I'm thinking of Joey and Keiko here. When my parents first adopted them and everything was new, those two stuck together constantly. They snuggled together, slept in the same bed when they had the option not to, and were generally inseparable. After a couple of months and a steady routine, however, they both adjusted and now it's pretty rare to see them just cuddle up next to each other on a dog bed like they used to do. I think it's because they were new, and everything was different and uncertain and kind of scary, and so they stuck to each other for comfort. Unless there's an explanation I'm missing?

They do the same thing in unfamiliar situations - Keiko glues herself to Joey's side. Like, she will move so that she's physically up against him, shoulder to shoulder, and then follow his lead from there. Once she decides it's safe, she moves away from him and does her own thing. I can see how this is a safety mechanism for her - he's bigger than her (which is especially useful when they're in water - without fail, he'll place himself between her and the middle of a lake or river and sort of "steer" her around, so that she never steps in deeper water than he does) and he's generally more calm and able to assess a situation more clearly. He's also got a stronger nose than she does. They've apparently been together since she was a puppy, so he may have established himself as "protector" early, but it's definitely a dynamic that they have. And it's not just her getting clingy - he seeks it out too.

I wouldn't call it Joey-as-leader either, however, since when they're not in a "scary" situation, Keiko is allowed to nip at, steal from, and muscle Joey around all she wants and he never does anything but walk away from her.

Their relationship is definitely interesting to me, anyway, for the way it roughly mimics human brother-sister (or even parent-child - Joey cleans her face off when it rains out too and things like that) relationships that I've seen.

Anyway, so there's a situation where dogs do physically comfort each other...right? Or is it more of the two dogs vs a tiger situation?
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» There has since been 59 posts. Last posting by Cyril, Aug 9 10:46 am

Behavior & Training > High Drive or High Energy?
Keiko

Where are you- going? Can I- come?
 
 
Barked: Tue Jul 19, '11 11:43am PST 
OK, you asked about my dogs specifically, so now I'm going to get all long-winded on you. Fair warning.

During the six months when I was house/dogsitting Joey & Keiko for my parents, a bird got caught in the grill of my mother's car. I thought little of it (except that it was a bit sad) and left it parked in front of the house for the day. I wish I had a photo of what happened to that car in that time. I came home and the entire middle part of the front bumper had been ripped off. There were bits of it all over the carport. There were literal teeth marks penetrating the metal. Feathers, metal, plastic scattered everywhere. I've never seen anything like it. I'm thinking that's prey drive right there, not run-of-the-mill energy.

To get more specific, I'd say Joey is low energy, but obsessed with digging out any ground-dwelling creature. You can exercise him, you can give him stimulation, you can do whatever you want - he will still want to dig holes. He has torn out and exposed entire stretches of mole tunnels. Furthermore, those tooth marks on my mother's car match Joey's mouth. He doesn't seem to care much about prey he can see - it's the small, tasty-smelling, high-squeaking hidden critters that he must must must have.

Keiko is a dog that I would consider high drive/high energy but which I am fully aware would seem fair to middling to someone who deals with real high-drive dogs. I say this because of how quickly she learned to respond to "leave it" (which is by far the command she practices the most! laugh out loud). That said, I'm pretty sure the only reason so many small wild critters still visit my parents' farm is because Keiko is so inept at actually catching them - because trust me, it's not for lack of effort. She is the dog who tore apart the side of the wooden doghouse to get at some mice. She ripped out chicken wire to get at some baby chicks. She's crazy smart, really high energy, and when those two things intersect with her strong desire to kill and then dissect small furry things, serious destruction is the usual result.

And Keiko LIVES for tug. Especially soft toys, especially if they have the low "duck-sounding" squeaker, especially if I make it act like a darting little animal. There's a reason that my nephews are taught, very specifically and over and over again, that if Keiko grabs hold of something they're holding, they are to let go of that object IMMEDIATELY. Fortunately someone in her past seems to have taught her that she's never to hold onto something a toddler is holding, either, so between the two of them there have been no child injuries. I, on the other hand, frequently come inside when visiting with bruised hands, arms, and legs (my own fault - I tend to dangle the toy right in front of myself and then whip it away, leading her to miss and clamp down on my leg). She lets go the second she realizes she's gotten me instead of the toy, but still. There's a lot of energy in that grip of hers.

...I do not know what it says about ME that I still enjoy playing with her so much, even when it looks like my hand has got a black eye and it won't close all the way. laugh out loud

Personally I think her enthusiasm about the tug is a good example of drive? Because it's not just that she really likes playing tug. It's that the longer you play tug with her (especially when you mimic prey behaviors with the toy), the more amped she gets. It's like this pressure that builds until she just goes way over the top. That is the point at which one is likely to get accidentally chomped. Everyone else in the family has the common sense to stop her before she loses her head; I like seeing her crazy-amped so much that I hardly ever do. She's still clear-headed enough and has enough bite inhibition not to seriously injure me, but you can see she's stopping at nothing to get that toy and she is LOVING the effort. And then once she's gotten the chance to "kill" it (by shaking it around) a couple of times, she's typically done. Or, no - if she can rip a hole in it and ritualistically scatter the stuffing all over the yard, that is when victory is declared and she can officially go about her business a satisfied dog. laugh out loud Then again, she's not SO driven that she can't handle the toy being taken away.

Lisa, the Cocker mix, had chase drive. If something ran from her, she would chase it until it stopped moving. Then she was done. It didn't matter what that thing was - cat, dog, horse, whatever - she would chase it. If it didn't run, though, she didn't care much about it. And she never tried to kill anything. It was all about getting it to run for as long as caninely possible. But boy, she had enthusiasm in spades. Training her was always hilarious - she was not the brightest bulb in the box, but boy did she want to make me happy. You could see it in her eyes. You'd give her a command and she'd just start happy-wiggling all over, whipping herself into a frenzy of excitement as we went along. I always imagined that her inner monologue went something like: "We're training! I'm so happy that we're training! Isn't this great?! We are the best team EVER!" Of course, in the midst of that the cue/command/lure was utterly lost. laugh out loud But at least the effort made her happy.
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» There has since been 0 posts. Last posting by Keiko, Jul 19 11:43 am

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