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Stitch

Stalking behaviour help please

28 posts in this topic

corvus   
10 hours ago, persephone said:

@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 ?

 

Usually in front or at the side. Side she is easier to call off. If she has got in front of someone and is barking at their feet, she is a bit more serious about whatever it is she thinks she's doing and a bit more aroused and so it's harder to interrupt. She is doing a lot better now than she was when we got her. Training has helped a lot, but she's also maturing and starting to get a brain. Phew! 

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corvus   
1 hour 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.

This is classic herding dog behaviour, but herding dogs will revert to herding behaviours whenever they are uncomfortable. Trying to control things that scare them is a great way for a herding dog to feel more secure. If H goes still, there is a reasonable chance he is reinforcing this behaviour, because it's supposed to stop movement. Driving from behind is also a behaviour that is supposed to control movement, but this time move rather than stop. As such, this is getting tricky. If H doesn't stop, the dog escalates. Every chance the dog will escalate to something overtly aggressive. Jumping up is pretty confrontational in this context. If H does stop, he likely reinforces the behaviour, so there's no winning with those two options. The way might be for H to de-escalate (e.g. slow down), and someone diverts the dog. You have a behaviourist, right? I'm pretty uncomfortable with how this is shaping up online. Think you need a good behaviourist to work on strategies to lever the dog gently out of this behaviour pattern. Pre-empting it is absolutely key. Every time the dog is triggered but DOESN'T start this problematic behaviour pattern and everything turns out all right anyway, he's learning that another behaviour works just as well and is less confrontational. Most dogs prefer that, but instincts are hard to train away from.

 

I actually would hold off on desexing. There is increasing evidence that desexed dogs are MORE fearful and aggressive than entire dogs.

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We have a big property and the problem I have is that H can be anywhere on it and so can the dog

In my mind - this is unhealthy for the dog.  To be allowed to roam out of sight completely unsupervised... Unless all your boundary fences are perfectly dog proof.  A lot of people on rural property shoot first and ask questions later.   We lost a dog this way and (as best I knew - wasn't there - it was still on the right side of the fence but too close to the neighbour's sheep).  My brother lost a dog because it decided to chase the neighbour's car.

The more the dog is allowed to stalk the more it will stalk and the behaviour could get worse.  If you have to confine it when you can't supervise until it is trained / behaving how you want... that would be for the best.

A zap collar - I'm pretty sure that would give an anxious uncertain dog - a reason to blame H for the zap and increase the anxiety.   Ie if you hurt a dog for being fearful - that's going to make it more fearful.

 

If the dog would respond to cues given by your H - that would be helpful eg "drop, wait, come" etc.   that way your H could give your dog  a job to do that keeps it out of the way and safe.   But if H doesn't want to help - or your dog continues to be frightened of him... you need to come up with a different plan.

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Stitch   

All area that the dog is allowed to run in is completely dog fenced....so the dog is not allowed to roam 'completely unsupervised' and is usually stays within sight unless it is behind buildings, etc. but I cannot run say 200mtrs, depending on where it is,  in time to give a correction!  I do however continually check on where the dog is and if I see things happening I try to get to him to correct matters.  Dog will respond to some commands but is not reliable if H gives the command.

 

As you say, I need to come up with a different plan but I am running out of ideas....plus I have other family things happening that I have to concentrate on too.

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14 hours ago, corvus said:

Think you need a good behaviourist to work on strategies to lever the dog gently out of this behaviour pattern. Pre-empting it is absolutely key. Every time the dog is triggered but DOESN'T start this problematic behaviour pattern and everything turns out all right anyway, he's learning that another behaviour works just as well and is less confrontational. Most dogs prefer that, but instincts are hard to train away from.

 

I actually would hold off on desexing. There is increasing evidence that desexed dogs are MORE fearful and aggressive than entire dogs.

yes to the above . Someone who is there to see and assess.

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2 hours ago, Stitch said:

As you say, I need to come up with a different plan but I am running out of ideas....plus I have other family things happening that I have to concentrate on too.

I think you need to get some professional help. :)

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Stitch   

Yep, time for the behaviouralist.

Thanks everyone for your comments.

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I cannot run say 200mtrs, depending on where it is,  in time to give a correction!  I do however continually check on where the dog is and if I see things happening I try to get to him to correct matters. 

If you're "correcting" - you're too late really.   Ideally you want to be preventing the opportunity while you train the dog to behave more appropriately and reliably around H.    Hopefully a behavourist or  trainer will help with training plans.  You need someone who can train you how to train the dog.   And what ever methods they suggest - they need to be methods you'd be comfortable using - otherwise the exercise is pointless. 

The best science around these days suggests using aversives (things your dog doesn't like) to try to reduce an unwanted behaviour - is not the best method to train a reliable behaviour.  Positive reinforcement - delivering something your dog does like for a behaviour you do want is the best method.   My dog thinks not getting a treat for that is aversive and says so - ie there is grey in the middle of what is "no reward" and what is aversive.

http://www.journalvetbehavior.com/article/S1558-7878(17)30035-7/abstract
 

Once you have your dog trained to be polite around your H and stay out of the way, then he can run free and unsupervised.     What you're aiming for is for him to make good choices of his own accord with no commands (cues) required (its yer choice games - advanced version) so you don't have to get out there and "correct" him.   It can be done. 

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