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Stitch

Stalking behaviour help please

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Stitch   

My medium sized male dog started stalking my husband (H) a while back in various situations. 

For example if he sees H coming towards him he will crouch down and fixate on him.

When H arrives near him he will lunge forward and make out he is going to bite him but doesn't.

I have also seen him fixating on the back of H's legs as he walks.

I am concerned that eventually the dog may bite and that will not end well for the dog.

 

I have tried to empower H by getting him to get the dog to do things like sit and down plus reward the dog for good behaviour but H is not a dog person and has little patience in this regard.

Suppose I am hoping for a miracle here but any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Panto   

Hmm I think we need descriptions of H's behaviours as well, he might have more issues than your dog. How does he greet him how does he interact with the dog?
Does the dog have behavioural issues with any other humans?


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Oh :( that does not sound good . Can you have yr phone camera set on video for when these things happen ..best to not tell H..his behaviour must be normal .. just video 20 or 30 seconds if you can ..doesn't have to be a masterpiece  ! 

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2 hours ago, Stitch said:

I have tried to empower H by getting him to get the dog to do things like sit and down plus reward the dog for good behaviour but H is not a dog person and has little patience in this regard. 

Think your answer is here :(  :(  :(  

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Stitch   

Yes, H not being a dog person has always been a problem however I will say that he has tried over the years.

If I could endow him with a bit more patience it would help but it is what it is.

 

Here is one scenario...H is sitting on a chair on the back verandah.  The dog comes up to H for a pat.   I have told H at this point to ask the dog to sit and then pat/reward for compliance, which he does, however if H then gets up to walk away then the dog may start the stalking behaviour.....like H has shown weakness and dog is taking advantage of that weakness.

Sorry Persephone, can't video at the moment so please feel free to ask questions.

 

H corrects unwanted behaviour (aarrgghh) which does stop the behaviour and everything goes on OK until the next time.   It's like this has become a bit of a game with potentially serious undertones.

 

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Does dog react better with H when H is sitting /squatting /lying down ?  
can you perhaps show us what dog body language is most like out of these ? 

Dog_Body_Language-_Aggressive_Stalking.J


dog_bark_stranger-JimCorwin-getty-56a269

 

 

stalk.jpg

 

condition-behavior-promo-335mk081011.jpg


border_collie.jpg

fly-stare.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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stalking and pouncing (biting or not) is a pretty natural behaviour for a dog - especially one that is close to the original kinds of dog that hunted to feed themselves.

 

It can be a pre-cursor to play, or a fight, or bringing down prey...  My dog left to her own devices stalks and herds birds and cats out of the yard and she will sometimes stalk other dogs at the park...  or go into stalk mode when she sees another dog when we're out walking.

 

Personally - it's causing us some problems at the park so I've decided I need to train her she can only do that with "permission" so I am taking her into the back yard and down to the back fence on lead so she can't stalk and charge any birds that might be there.    I also make her sit and show some self control at the door before we go out. 

Clearly stalking your H is not ok with your H... and probably the only way you're going to get through to your dog about that - is to make sure he is on lead or otherwise under control when your H is around until he learns leave H alone.   Will be up to you to play a variation of "its yer choice" with contact with your H as the reward.   Stalking and pouncing on your H is rewarding of itself to your dog - so you have to prevent that happening if you want your dog to stop thinking it's fun.

I am also working my dog's recall and distance (from me) sit/drop/stands/stops as a  way of interrupting and redirecting stalking.

your dog wouldn't be a farm dog of some variety - the behaviour is really popular with them.  But farm and hunting dogs are only allowed to herd and stalk with permission.

Edited by Mrs Rusty Bucket
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Stitch   

Persephone...photos 1,3,5 & 6 are most similar to the behaviour. 

Mrs RB ..... dog is a medium sized terrier that has not had a high prey drive in the past.

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hopefully if it is not a life time normal behaviour for your dog - it will be easier to persuade your dog - it's not that much fun...  and there are better things to do. 

 

That would be easier if you can get H to help but otherwise you're going to have to use him (H) as a distraction in your effort to train dog to greet more politely or just ignore H.   Figure out what you want instead - that your dog cannot do at the same time as "stalking" and train that.

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corvus   

Sounds like your dog is kind of scared of H. I would be very concerned the dog was going to bite him sooner or later. If H is not terribly committed to figuring things out with the dog, I would work on teaching the dog to come away when called and engage with you. Some people give dogs all the wrong signals, and if you try to get them to cooperate in counter-conditioning or desensitisation, they seem to accidentally make it worse. Better to just concentrate on being able to quickly call the dog off if need be. You can also pre-emptively soothe the dog when H does anything that might possibly set the dog off. If you can disrupt the response before it really starts, you will have better success than if you try to treat it after it has occurred.

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Stitch   

What are your thoughts on a remote trainer to interrupt behaviour?

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Roova   

I would think if the dog gets a fright or shock when fixated on H, it may increase any anxious feeling around him.  

 

I hope someone corrects me if I'm wrong but I wonder if H should start completely ignoring the dog including no eye contact and not trying to engage with her at all?

At a minimum if he has to walk past her he could drop the dogs most favorite treat and keep walking. (Something which would only ever come from him).   If he's in the vicinity of her he could throw it a distance toward her but still without eye contact.  The dog may or may not eat them straight away but she'll definitely know where they came from.  I would hope if she's lacking in trust with him, this would let him earn it back as he's not asking or expecting anything from her?

 

If he has to get up and walk away he could leave a small handful of treats\kibble where he was so she's more occupied eating these than stalking him?

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12 hours ago, Stitch said:

Persephone...photos 1,3,5 & 6 are most similar to the behaviour. 

Mrs RB ..... dog is a medium sized terrier that has not had a high prey drive in the past.

It is  not at all usual behaviour ...  Corvus has given a good insight . I also believe there is some level of fearful aggression in play . Reasons? You may need to do a lot of detective work. 
When did it start ?
What happened around that time ? 
Has H done something which he thought was OK/minor, but has left dog with the 'wrong idea' ? 
Is dog resource guarding you , maybe ? 

I would suggest a behaviourist consult ... you know the drill ;) Better safe than very sorry  here. 

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Stitch   

Oh yes, Persephone.....over the years have consulted several times with varying results.

Every case is different which is why it is good to discuss here.

I agree that there is a combination of fear aggression involved.   Very hard to unravel unfortunately.

 

Roovas idea might be worth a try.   It will be interesting to see what the reaction is.  Of course timing is everything so I hope H can get it right.

One thing though, what does he do if dog still stalks H when he doesn't interact?  I guess time will tell.

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The uncertainty   would /does concern me ... what would be the things which tips the balance , and causes dog to make contact ? Maybe he never will ... and this is why it's great that you can see the inherent danger.
back-tracking is a good plan ... think from dog's POV , and look at H's behaviour/actions some time around when the stalking became noticeable .
My Mitch was a tad timid  when I got him as an adult .
One day , a friend who should have known better , was playing with him ...chasey ... and backed Mitch into a corner of the yard . Friend was tall and had a deep voice ..and laughed as poor Mitch panicked ... :( Mitch was never the same after that . A couple minutes stupidity .
It doesn't take much ....

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corvus   

If you want to to introduce food in an attempt to counter-condition, I would have H throw the food behind the dog just before he gets up. That way the dog moves away from him to get the food and it breaks the dog's focus on whatever H might do that is worrying. I'd be reluctant to introduce food coming from H because you risk drawing the dog in where they are not comfortable, and then they get triggered, only they are closer than they should be, so more likely to react strongly. One of my dogs is leery about my dad. He does strange things around her sometimes, and she starts barking at his ankles. It is kind of a bail-up behaviour, but she's small and not entirely committed, so she doesn't follow through. I sure do not want to find out if that ever changes, though. I call her off and ask for a sit and play Look At That. Usually, with a bit of distance and focus, she realises he's not that threatening and settles down. If I can't call her off because she's too upset, I tell my dad to stop moving around and crouch quietly. She seems to think that most people when they do that mean to let her come to them at her own pace, and that seems to reassure her and she will come right in. Events sometimes overtake her. She's still young and pretty emotionally reactive. If we slow events down for her, she is better able to process it sensibly.

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Stitch   

We have a big property and the problem I have is that H can be anywhere on it and so can the dog unless I want to keep the dog confined in an exercise yard or follow it around every day.  This means that I am not always at the spot that the problem is occurring.  

Yesterday I noticed that the dog was stalking H and I managed to interrupt the behaviour by getting H to stand still and calling the dog.   Normally the dog will come running if I call him but it wasn't easy to distract him. The dog was quite reluctant to stop the concentration he had on stalking H but after he was distracted he went off to sniff something like normal.

 

So I am currently trying to persuade H to stand still if the dog starts to stalk but he says that if he is doing a job he won't always be able to stop walking.

This is an ongoing conversation....I not only have to try to understand and solve the dogs problem...I also have to wrangle an often unco-operative H.

 

It was interesting to read about your dog Corvus.

It does sound similar....like the male equivalent of what your bitch is doing.

My dog is entire and I am seriously thinking that desexing might be helpful but of course that may not be the case. 

Desexing doesn't always help behavioural problems.

 

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@corvus  is your girl barking at the front of your dad , or behind ? I was just wondering .. Stitch - does your dog only ever stalk/show odd behaviour from behind ?

 

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Stitch   

No barking ever.

Stalking/staring fixatedly when H is walking towards him.  If H continues towards the dog then the dog will eventually jump up at him but no biting....yet.

Stalking & touching with a nose to the ankles or calves from behind just like a cattle dog does.....again no biting....yet.

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36 minutes ago, Stitch said:

No barking ever.

Stalking/staring fixatedly when H is walking towards him.  If H continues towards the dog then the dog will eventually jump up at him but no biting....yet.

Stalking & touching with a nose to the ankles or calves from behind just like a cattle dog does.....again no biting....yet.

Not good. a worry  for you :(

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