schoolmarm dog

Posted by bgwatersoptonlinenet
Apr 19, 2010
I have two rescue dogs: one a German shepherd male; the other a spaniel female, who arrived within a month of each other, each aged one at the time. The Shepherd, Pumpkin, is laid back and quiet, while the spaniel, Callie, is bright, needy, affectionate, and occasionally whiny. Callie barks at other dogs & people and is happiest by my side; Pumpkin gets along well with everyone & is pretty independent.

Problem: in any encounter with people or other dogs - either on a walk or when people visit, Pumpkin anticipates Callie's nutsy reaction and immediately goes after her, presumably to stop her from making a fuss. This, of course, escalates matters. People assume that they're fighting (which, in a way, they are) and I've gotten many horrified reactions. The dogs are well bonded to each other & co-exist beautifully - except for these embarrassing incidents.
Any advice?
Posted by kjd
Apr 19, 2010

You have to anticipate Pumpkin and get both dogs centered on you! (Easier said than done.)

Are you calm when you see other dogs approaching? Or do you tighten up on the leashes, preparing to separate the dogs? Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, isn't always right, but he is in this case: You have to be calm and assertive. If you tighten up on the leash, the dog feels it and that escalates the dog's reaction. Remain calm and draw the dogs' attention away from the other dogs and to you. Once Pumpkin moves on Callie, you've lost control. (As if you didn't realize that!)

Work on the "Watch me!" command with your dogs; first at home, then outside. Have them sit and watch you. When you feel they have it down pat and you can use it on the road, have the dogs facing away from the street/sidewalk/other dogs when they are watching you.

Notice you aren't keeping Pumpkin from attacking Callie or Callie from barking at the other dogs, you are having them both sit quietly, paying attention to you when you want them to. So if they fail, you know you have to go back and train some more on the "sit and watch me."

When they are perfect, you can gradually change your position until they are facing the other dogs. Then try walking with them "watching you" while they are passing the other dogs.

Cesar might be able to accomplish this in a half-hour segment. You (or I) might take a few months. Patience, calmness, consistency. And, yes, I have to keep reminding myself.

Good luck,
Posted by bgwatersoptonlinenet
Apr 19, 2010
Can you elaborate on the "watch me" training? I don't see it mentioned in the SSF or Alpha handbooks.
I'm pretty relaxed with them as a rule - they've gotten into this groove all be themselves.
Posted by kjd
Apr 20, 2010
Sure. However, rather than try to explain it myself, I am going to point you to several places on the web. (I started to explain, then realized my explanation would probably leave you confused.)

There are lots of videos on dog training. Here is one that explains the "Watch me" command: [url=]YouTube - Basic Dog Training : Dog Training: Watch Me Command[/url]

An explanation: [url=]The First Step to Obedience Training - Dog Training - Agility, Conformation, Obedience and More! | Dog Dog[/url]
Here is another good explanation: [url=]DDEAF Training Hand Signs[/url]. It is for deaf dogs, but you can just substitute a word for the sign (or teach your dog as if he is deaf and surprise everyone at how well he reads your mind).
And one more before you go: [url=]Basic Commands Every Dog Should Know: Dog and Puppy Training - Watch Me and Come[/url].

I found these by going to the Advanced Google page. Entering "watch me" as the exact phrase and "dog," "obedience," and "training" as all words that had to be there.

They are mostly talking about puppies, but older dogs should learn these too.

Let us know how things work out,
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Apr 20, 2010
Hi there!

I agree with kjd. "Watch me" is a really handy and helpful command.

All trainings start from getting your dog's attention so it is essential to teach your dog "watch me" and treats work very well for this command. Later on, you won't even have to offer a treat. My hand signal for this command is bringing my index finger in between my eyes and my dogs immediately sit and watch me.

Another benefit of this command is to distract your dog from his bad behavior. When you want your dog to stop a certain behavior, sometimes it is easier to distract your dog by giving another command that makes him unable to do that specific behavior. While your dog watches you, he cannot bark or lunge at the other dog.

Good luck