go crazy when passing dogs, sometimes people

Posted by keepnhope
Oct 2, 2011
It has been awhile since I have been here. Things seem to get better then get worse. I have 2 Australian cattle dogs..high energy, protective...the whole cattle dog package . 1 is 3 , the other is 2. Unknown backgrounds from about 8 or 9 months old. Got 1 then a year later the other one needed a home & we took her. Both females. got along pretty good, I think I let them play too rough but other people tell me that is just how dogs play. I asked once how rough is too rough.
Anyway a big issue is the dog on the corner. He is a black lab that is chained up & runs & barks towards the truck or when we are walking & I have a heck of a time keeping their attention. I think I am coming to terms that I need to walk them seperately due to the aggressive behavior they display at times when we come upon others...people & dogs alike.....sometimes they are fine & I do not know that I am doing anything different. Sometimes I think if I can get them by the dogs on the street especially their friend the black lab that things will get better. (maybe someday will be able to walk them together again)
On the leash I have had some success with getting them to ignore the dog but in the car they are looking before we get to the corner & getting all excited. I am driving....Do I seat belt them in??? Do I try blowing a whistle to get their attention & throw treats in the back of the car.....am I not feeding an excited state if I throw treats. I have tried going slow & giving a treat when getting them to look at me then they run back & bark jumping madly around in the back seat attacking the window & If I call them back should I really treat if they come & look at me for that second until I don't treat them & they go mad again??

I know this is long but I had a very bad day with them. Thought I would take them up with us to pick up a skidster that we needed to get ready for the fenced in area we are making for them. There was a dog there that meandered out to my truck while my hubby was inside getting the machine. I saw the dog & did think "I hope Keep does not see it" because she is the worst one at reacting to things outside the vehicle. Hope by herself rarely does,,just once in awhile. I saw her look down at the dog did not get a word out of my mouth & she went ballistic, attacking Hope, the window, hope the window. I just told Hope to get in the front seat, told Keeper No sternly,which did no good & blocked her from getting into the front seat; then just took a big breath. The owner & another customer were behind my truck & looking at this whole episode in disbelief, the dog & people got out of my way I backed the truck up, Keeper broke out of her red zone mode & I left noting that somehow I had gotten a little bite. I was very upset but really tried to stay calm, brought them home, put them 1 by 1 in their kennels & walked away.
Any suggestions, tips, clues, criticisms would be appreciated. I am losing Hope & people are telling me to get rid of Keeper.
They are not always bad. I take them for bike rides, walks, doing the treadmill now also.Keeper is doing better in obedience, Hope is in agility traing again & does ongoing obedience. Stopped going to dog park a few months ago. Keeper was running with her hackles raised & I just felt like it was a fight waiting to happen & Hope just wants to herd all the other dogs. She will continuously run in circles around keeper, us, other people, & dogs, going in for the nip on some dogs playing in the middle of her circle. We go to a dog park where there are usually no other dogs just so they can run. If they run loose together they go wild & will run too far away, Hope harrasses kepper by biting at her akles which I say no bite at her when she does this...she does not always listen. I am always saying no bite.

I know I need to be more consistent with the alpha dog training, but I need some help in dealing with these occurances. Thanks!
i need someone to tell me if there is hope.

Posted by keepnhope
Oct 2, 2011
I also make them sit when I am getting the food ready for them & if the jump up I stop until they are sitting & they do not take it until I tell them to. Hope stiffens some when I put my hand in her bowl, keeper really doesnt seem to mind.
Hope always goes & pees where Keeper has peed
If Hope stops to sniff something, Keeper will frantically run over to sniff also
If Keeper starts to bark Hope will bark which makes Keeper bark more frantically & start to jump all over & bite at Hope & at times me.

They feed off each other.
Hope obeys pretty good but at times can be very defiant. I will tell her to sit or down when Keeper goes nuts, sometimes she will but sometimes she gets growly & well pissed. I stand up to her & make her stay down & can usually do it without any force. It takes a bit more time with Keeper.
I imagine while typing this that the main thing to do would be to always walk them at seperate times, but the goal is to walk them both together.
I walk Hope on my left with just a leash that ties around my waist; a few stops & starts to stop her from pulling usually works & sometimes she heels like a champ which I reward. I walk Keeper on my right because that is my stronger arm & since she has a tendency to try to bite at Hope when she gets excited & it keeps them a bit seperate . At times they have walked side by side ok...until that squirrel dashes across the street!
Keeper also has a big issue with barking, when she is bored, wants attention, how long do you have to ignore barking for before they get it?

What lets you know how to train the dog....
?all positive & only positive
?treats to reward but use the harsh no or sound
?Ceasers assertive ssshhh & hold the dog down if you have to, along with the quick little kick he does to distract them.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Oct 3, 2011
Hi keepnhope,

I am so sorry to hear you had such a bad day. I know how frustrated and disappointed and upset you feel. I have been there myself with my 3 dogs. Holly, one of the 3 dogs, is a cattle dog mix so she has the strongest personality but the smartest by far. The good thing is that she is very food motivated and very trainable. Holly is also very sensitive so she doesn't like to see me upset.

I don't mean to brag about her but it has been 7 years since I adopted her at age of 1 or 2 (the border collie rescue didn't know since she was a stray dog) and she can now ignore other dogs, cats, squirrels, feral rabits with my "Leave it" command. So, I think you still have a hope and it actually didn't take 7 years to come this far.

She and Noah used to bark (before we adopted Daisy) in the car when they saw bicyclists, pedestrians, other dogs in the car next to mine, etc. I told them to leave it whenever they started barking at those. It was so embarrassing, as you know. I even pulled over some times to reprimand them, other times, I got so upset that I turned around and brought them home and I left again by myself. Fun outings ended up miserable trips. You are not the only one so keep a hope.

I took obedience classes with each of my dogs and their bonding to me is very strong. I think it is stronger than the one among themselves. What I intend to do is so important to each of them since they don't get what they love (foods, walks, fun time, my attention, etc.) if they upset me (I still feed them though). I am trying to be consistent too. I walk all 3 dogs together (I am 5'1" and weigh less than they weigh altogehter) so I don't like to be pulled, especially when they see a squirrel, etc. I would be very dangerous. When they misbehave, it's the end of the fun. I turn around and drag them home. By repeating this, they have learned (although they still forget what they have learned sometime) they need to control their instinct or natural desire in order to get my trust. I got frozen shoulders when my past dogs pulled my arms apart to chase squirrels, so I learned a hard lesson.

As for playing roughhouse, my rule of thumb is whether they stop when you tell them "that's enough" or call them to come to get treat. If they do, it is just a play. However, as you said, ACD's are pretty tough and robust breed so you might want to stop them before they get too rough.

I hope my story can encourage you to keep working on Keeper and Hope. It takes a lot of patience, consistency, and fairness to get your expectation across but it is possible if you don't give up.

I strongly recommend you train each dog separately until their behaviors get rock solid.

Good luck
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Oct 3, 2011
Hi Keepnhope,

It's me again

I forgot to mention yesterday that you should not throw treats when they are barking in the car; because it would reinforce their barking/misbehaving, as well as it is dangerous for your driving.

As for the following questions:

What lets you know how to train the dog....
?all positive & only positive
?treats to reward but use the harsh no or sound
?Ceasers assertive ssshhh & hold the dog down if you have to, along with the quick little kick he does to distract them.

- I think all positive training has limits. That's why I do use reprimanding, taking away what they want by time-outs, canceling fun activities, expressing my upset feelings (they are so good to see my facial expressions) or ignoring them.

Because you can not make these negative punishments while you are driving unless you turn around to go home, you should work on these in their daily life. They behave based on the consequences of their behaviors so I think they will figure it out after a while

And I don't like the way Ceasar Millan treats dogs. To me, it looks like the dogs had no choice to do but surrender to him. I would rather have my dogs chose what I expect them to do. They have ability to think and chose to obey or not to obey. They are much smarter than you think.
Posted by KOPCaroline
Oct 5, 2011
Hey there,

Read your post yesterday and have been giving it a bit of thought. I think the bottom line for all these issues is that you need to work on strengthening your bond and command over both dogs individually. I think you've started to realize this, too

As far as walks go, I would advocate walking them seperately for a while. While on walks with either dog, work on getting them to listen to everything you say. Stop and give them commands randomly, work on your "enough" or "leave it" command, as MHN said - its an invaluable training tool for dogs who get overly excited. I had to incorporate it with my own dog as he would rush other dogs to say hi and I was not impressed! (Nor were the other owners!). Try taking one dog at a time on trips too, and work on their individual listening in the car. Part of the problem, as you said, is that they feed off each others excitement, so work on getting them to listen 100% as individuals.

Once you've gotten them both to listen no matter what, start slowly taking them both on walks together. I think, at first, it would be best to avoid the lab's house - try walking the other way for a bit. Speak to them individually and don't let them even start to get worked up - cut them off with a "no" or "enough" as soon as you see potential for getting too worked up. MHN's advice on taking them home as soon as they misbehave is a good idea - I fully agree. And again, I did this with Jackson - he acted up, we went home, and I was sure to talk to him in my "You've been bad" voice so he knew he was not doing as he should.

It's especially important, I think from reading, to work with Keep and other dogs. On walks with her, try to use the distraction method. When other dogs are around, get her to focus on you instead by giving commands, saying her name, snapping your fingers to keep her attention. You can give treats if she maintains her attention on you. If she looks away, give her lead a sharp tug, say "no", and give commands, etc again. Jackson used to have to sit, shake paws, and generally look at me when other dogs were around, and it worked really well to calm him down. Working with Keep on her own with this should help her get the idea. Does she behave in her obedience classes, or is she constantly trying to get at other dogs? You can ask your class leader there for help, too.

Around your house, Keeper and Hope following each other around, peeing where the other one pees, and getting worked up with the other one is normal - dogs who live together do everything together, and feed off each other! There's not a lot you can do about this, its pretty expected behaviour. But again, working with them one on one to get them to the level they will respond to you 100% will help get control!

In the car, for trying to get them to calm down - seat belts can really help, not to mention up the safety in the car! They will be more controlled and not able to bounce around like they are now - it might be a worthwhile investment for you. As MHN said, do NOT throw treats into the backseat when they are excited, like you asked, this is only feeding their excitement and will not do anything to stop them. You can try blowing your whistle to gain attention, but then try following it with a command ("ENOUGH!") instead. Driving slowly and speaking to them to maintain attention on you is a good idea too, just be careful that you can pay enough attention to driving! It might be good, to start, to have a friend drive you guys around a bit every other day or something, so that you can sit in the passenger seat and work on giving commands to the dogs in the back. This way, if they aren't responding to a whistle or your voice, you can turn around and snap or clap at them - getting a bit closer and moreso demanding their attention.

And lastly, for Keepers barking issues, try the time out method. Ignoring, as you said, only goes so far with some dogs, so if its not working with her, tell her "no" or "enough" or "leave it", and take her to a quiet area by herself (make sure Hope can't get around her while she's in time out). Leave her there until she's calm - if she's blocked from visual stimulus around the house, and from you and Hope, it shouldn't take long. Once she's calm, she can come back out. However, if she comes out and immediately starts barking again, put her right back in time out.

I know its a lot to handle, but really focus on working with each dog one on one to gain control of the situation. I think thats the underlying problem, and once you work through this, the other issues should decrease in severity. Please let us know how things are going! Good luck!
Posted by keepnhope
Oct 6, 2011
Thanks for your responses. I have turned around & come back & will start to do it more. Hope does listen to me better in the car & when I have them both I have avoided the lab house. One of the problems with walking another direction is the doberman & husky another way & a yellow lab another way!. Sometimes I just take off out the back way now!
I am working with Hope in agility & sometimes she is real good about not getting aggressive & wanting to chase other dogs but it is so exciting that she still has a few issues...so do others in agility though. I just need to keep the faith & her attention.
Keeper is going through obedience with me also seperately & we are gaining a better bond. She treally loves to go on bike rides also but I need to work with her on the leave its more,squirrels, chipmunks & other dogs still get her attention more then I do.
I did not think treating them was a good idea when they are acting nuts, but I just had to throw it out there to see what people thought.
I just need to really buckle down & keep working with them. Might use the seatbelts just to see how it works out.
Thanks again for your responses. I needed to hear that there is still hope!

I thought I read somewhere that there was an article or post about someone with border collies that worked on their aggressive issues & conquered them...do you know where that was?