Advice please - dog funny with other dogs when on lead...

Taffyhorse

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Hi All,

I'm looking for some advice here so would be great to here from you...

Basically, off lead, Freddie is great - good recall, good heelwork, sit, down, stay etc. When we meet other dogs off lead he is also fine - he won't walk past without paying them any attention at all if we are directly face to face but its generally woof, sniff, walk on.

However, when he's on the lead, its a bit of a different story... A lot of the tracks where we walk are quite narrow as its mainly woodland. If we meet another dog, his attention becomes wholly focussed on them and he will lunge at them - this has been interesting as A) he's a pretty big dog and B) everwhere is filthy muddy at the moment which has led to some water-skiing moments!! Sometimes he barks or growls (although its not a proper growl more like chest rumbling if that makes sense) and he will show his teeth if he is close enough. He has never bitten whilst on (or off) the lead but he definitely feels more vulnerable/protective on lead. His heelwork is also not as good on the lead - off lead, he will walk directly at or behind my heel - on the lead he wants to be in front.

I have tried just changing direction, stopping, getting him to sit and generally trying to get his attention focussed on me and although he has improved a lot, I still feel there is a way to go. I know you're not supposed to hang onto the lead but when he lunges like that, I don't feel like I have another choice at the moment! I try and keep calm, keep breathing, don't tense, make a fuss or raise my voice. I have tried say no firmly, paying no attention and walking straight past but he still wants to get to the other dog. We have booked into our local dog obedience classes but they don't have any vacancies until June.

Bit of background - he's a 3 yr (coming 4) Border Collie who we got last Feb. No bits (thankfully!) and a typical Alpha male!

Any advice gratefully received - thanks :)
 

Laafet

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No helpful advice but my poodle is pretty much the same on the lead, like a maniac sometimes but fine off lead. So interested to see what everyone else has to say too.
 

Taffyhorse

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Nope - he's not treat motivated at all. I have tried a squeaky ball in the past (until he destroyed it and haven't replaced it yet) and that does get his attention to some extent but not completely and then he will obsess over the ball instead (he will retrive all day long!). Like I said though, I haven't tried it recently so will buy another one and give it a go - thanks SusieT
 

Spudlet

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I would try and teach a solid 'watch me' command. Basically you teach him to look at you - he does this, he gets the ball. You start at home and gradually build the distraction levels up, until you can do this with other dogs about - you will then be able to get him to focus on you rather than the other dog.

A friend of mine had a terrier that was similar (although smaller!) and she had great success with this method. She clicker trained it. You can use a clicker with a toy instead of a treat, although treats are a bit easier - although in fact I believe that dolphin trainers (bear with me here!) have used clicker training and have found it most effective to mix the rewards up - a toy, a fish, a scratch on an itchy bit - at random to keep their interest. You might be able to do something similar?

In the short term you could try a headcollar to give you some more control.
 

CAYLA

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Make sure you have descent tools, i.e lead/collar/halti. (good quality) and the correct ones.
You need a positive distraction as suggested but u need to reinforce this before you are upon these situations (In the house/garden) use a word "watch me" and introduce an association, treat/toy(I personally would only use squeaky one for recall) but if he has a high drive for toys, use the squeeky in the (home exercise) but only as a visual cue at the time of passing the dog. (tThe squeak could heighten another dogs interest) and you could be asking for trouble:D
But u could use a "watch me" coupled with a cheese/chicken/hotdog reward or even use a clicker, u are basically doing the homework to bette put in a dstraction/control measue for when u are dealing with the event, trying to introduce it at the time of event (wont work) it's like leaving food/toys for a dog with seperation anxiety without introducing them first (it won't work)
I can explain more indepthly if needed/or it's something u want to try.
 

Taffyhorse

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Cayla/Spudlet - thanks for this. Cayla, if you could give me more details how to go about training this in practise, that would be great. He's very quick to learn, well he is a collie :), so hopefully this is something he will pick up on relatively quickly.

Leadwise, i do struggle a bit with his normal collar and lead - have used a slip lead when at my parents (Dad has gun dogs) and we've been out and about and that definitely gives me more say in the matter. Halter's I'm not sure off - mainly because 90% time he is off lead, we don't meet other dogs very often and because we walk in (thick) woodland and Freddie is convinced he's a spangle in the making and works the cover, I am always concerned about him getting snagged on things - we keep his collar very loose for the same reason so that it would just slip off if he gets snagged.

However, I've never used a halter so apols if I'm completely wrong about this. Do you think a slip lead would be ok?

Cheers
 

Spudlet

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They are easy to slip on and off, I would not let a dog run free wearing one but might keep on attached to the end of the lead to pop on at need (you need a double ended lead ideally).

A slip lead might not be great, in case he strangles himself then associates that with the fact that other dogs are about. Also, a halter would give you control of his head, so it would be easier to turn him away. Horses for courses though, it is only a suggestion:)

Also - I said the same thing as Cayla, that must mean I got it right!:D
 

Taffyhorse

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Yay for Spudlet!

**writes shopping list** Ha, said I didn't know anything about headcollars - and have never come across double ended leads before either :) Will try one with the method that you guys have suggested and see how we go. Can you buy headcollars from any pet store (i.e Pets at Home or Scats) or should I go anywhere in particular/online?

Ta :)
 

CAYLA

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Lol, the only difference in our posts, was you RRRRRRRRRRR's work:D
I'm always right, so indeed thats make u corect :rolleyes::D:D:D:D:D:D

Op......As spud suggests, a halti can be clipped off and put in ya pocket when he is off.
I would not use a slip lead either (your hands will burn):D:p
A good trainng lead, a half check chain and a halti.
Halti do a descent taining lead (have a google or look on ebay) you need a training lead to hold and position yourself and leave enough to hang loose and relaxed running though both hands (dog on left) lead running through both hands (I feel a demonstration coming on) where is OH:rolleyes::D, something u cannot do with a shot lead or slip lead.

Is he food or toy/ball orientated?
 

CAYLA

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Yay for Spudlet!

**writes shopping list** Ha, said I didn't know anything about headcollars - and have never come across double ended leads before either :) Will try one with the method that you guys have suggested and see how we go. Can you buy headcollars from any pet store (i.e Pets at Home or Scats) or should I go anywhere in particular/online?

Ta :)
Leather leads are the dogs bollix:D but take time to ware in, pets at home do the halti leads (black nylon) double training lead and haltis, but they wont do half check chains:rolleyes: but if u pefer a collar then stick with normal collar, but u could check him better on a half check.
I will type out a training method fo you to follow, may be tomorrow by the time it gets there, as I have to slam a few letteRs down on the keyboard and it will no doubt be long.:D
 

Taffyhorse

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Cool, thanks Cayla, I will have a look online and see what I can find.

He's not treat oriented but majorly stimulated by balls/toys (to the point of obsessiveness) - in fact we did cut down his ball time - partly because he becomes so fixated on the ball, I have the same problems getting his attention back to me and partly to give us some peace! But it would be really useful to have a ball when we meet other dogs to get his attention on something other than the other dog I guess.

Yup - have suffered rope burn from slip leads in the past, not good...
 

Spudlet

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**Does dance of rightness**:D

You can buy them anywhere if you want one straight away, there are a few brands available. You need to introduce the headcollar correctly, most of them will come with instructions on how to do this (basically put it on at first in the house at food times and with treats or maybe a ball for yours, so it it associated with goodness).

I got a Halti lead, it's good although my leather training lead is even better on the hands, bit pricier though!

ETA use the ball obsession to your advantage, that's what they do with sniffer dogs and it works for them :)
 

Taffyhorse

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He currently has a normal leather collar and lead (standard length, about 4ft I guess) so will have a look for leather training leads, halti's etc too.

Cayla - thanks for typing up training notes, that would be great :)

Do you think the 'watch me' command would help with his heelwork on the lead too? Like I said, his heelwork is good off lead but not so good on lead.

Sorry for all the questions - just feel like we've hit a bit of a wall and its good to get some advice on how to move forward.

Anyway, I'm off to bed as need to be up at 6.30 (grr) but will pick up replies tomorrow.

Thanks again :)
 

Chestnuttymare

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Pets at home do have half checks. Not in the big wall where they have all the normal stuff, they are in the smaller section that says 'training' i think, the same place they have the clickers, muzzles etc.
 

CAYLA

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Getting him to focus on you rather than his surroundings should help with heel as well, I should think.

Indeed, u should beable to get a fab close heel from a collie using a postive reward and a "watch me" if you lean where to position the dog, yourself, lead and the cue:D, have u thought about obedience classes?
 
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Taffyhorse

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Cayla - he is booked into obedience classes but they don't have any vacancies until June (they won't take more than 8 in a class). His heelwork off lead is excellent, its just on lead that's the problem.

Will start practising the 'watch me' though and invest in a halti - I like the idea of that better than a half-check I think as prefer the idea of control from the head rather than the neck if that makes sense.

He's currently engrossed in watching 'Supernanny USA' so now could be a good time to start as he puts the same obsessive focus into watching the tele as he does everything else!!

Collies ay, don't ya just love em... :)
 

SnowPhony

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Our Ellie is like this. Off the lead she is mostly fine. On it she is a bag of nerves when it comes to other dogs and this comes out as fear aggression. She puffs herself right up, all her hackles come up and she just acts like a big scary police dog. Once the other dog has passed shes a shaky, whiney whimp! She's much bettter when she's out with our other Shephard Eva, she gets confidence from her, however on her own she's a bit of a pain. I find a halti works well as it gives me complete control over her head.
 
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