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Hi! I have a question— does Gracie bark? Higgins started barking recently and it’s horrible. Inside we can curb it by putting him in the bathroom with the lights off if he doesn’t quiet with “no barking!” Happy high pitched voice / treat. Outside I can do that if I am ahead of seeing another dog. I do the “touch” “touch”, treat. But if he sees one of his friends HE LOSES HIS SHIT. I tried not letting him say hi, and he was barking / crying bloody murder. So the last few times I have let him just say hi and play. It’s definitely his way of saying. HI!!!!! I want to play with you!!!!!! But it’s horrible. :( I don’t know what to do.
 

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Hi,
I'm not sure you meant to publish the question here or if it was to someone specific (Gracie's parent?).
How old is Higgins? Maybe you know this but if not: I learned that you cannot give them any attention when they bark. You can't even say "no barking" because that is attention. We should completely ignore them and then, when they stop barking, give them attention and praise for the silence. Also, I think you can find more experienced answers to this topic on the forum (Ursa is my first and I'm still learning a lot).

They’re adorable! Welcome! Barking can be tricky to deal with… A trainer told me at one point that reactive barking is very self-reinforcing. The dog barks, the thing they were barking at goes away (because it was probably going away anyway) and the dog thinks they did a GREAT job getting rid of that scary thing!! So the way to deal with it is to slowly introduce things from far enough away that they don’t react, reward them a lot for not reacting, and then slowly get closer to whatever it is over time. Would definitely recommend trying to find a good positive reinforcement trainer or behaviorist that could help you, I’d imagine it’s especially tricky with two as they probably set one another off!
 

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I have a bit of this issue during walks. Distraction and the look command with treat rewards helps but it's a work in progress but getting better. I do what I need to do to redirect until the dog passes. If Nikko isn't calm I don't introduce him to the other dog. This didn't start with him under he turned one. Maybe he's being protective or just domineering, I'm not sure.
 

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I have a bit of this issue during walks. Distraction and the look command with treat rewards helps but it's a work in progress but getting better. I do what I need to do to redirect until the dog passes. If Nikko isn't calm I don't introduce him to the other dog. This didn't start with him under he turned one. Maybe he's being protective or just domineering, I'm not sure.
It CERTAINLY has NOTHING to do with being "domineering", and probably has nothing to do with being protective, though that is a faint possibility. Regardless of the "why, and even if the reason is simply "ERmygawd! I want to play with that other dog SOOOO MUCH!!!!", the entire situation puts him completely over-threshold.

Your first mistake was to EVER make it a POSSIBILITY that he will get to m"meet" any dog on leash. These kind of meetings are fraught with problems, and the behavior you are seeing is just one of the problems they cause. I would immediately and completely stop ALL on-leash "meetings". If other people ask, and tell you their dog is "friendly", simply say you are sorry, but your dog is in training and he is not allowed to. Better yet, don't get close enough for it to be a question. If you see a person with a dog approaching, cross to the other side of the street. If that is not possible, pull yourself as FAR to the side as possible, put your dog in a sit-stay or a down-stay. STAND on the leash so they CAN't get up. (still hold onto the end with your hand) Do NOT tell them to "look at you" tell them "look at that" and allow them to look at the dog and at the same time SHOVEL TINY, high value cookies into their mouth one at a time, and without taking your eyes off YOUR dog, ask the owner of the other dog to walk on by, explaining that your dog is "reactive" (he IS!) and that you are training.

If you want to allow your dog to play with other dogs, that is fine, but it should be in a safely enclosed space, with, known, safe dogs, and OFF LEASH. Stop on leash greating from now on. They are nothing but trouble. Only people who don't know what they are doing allow their dogs to greet on leash.
 

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Sunny and I meet new dogs or see dogs we know on our walks. They go up to each other, sniff noses, and sometimes butts. I talk with the owner briefly and then go our separate ways. Are you saying that bad?

Only people who don't know what they are doing allow their dogs to greet on leash.
 

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Sunny and I meet new dogs or see dogs we know on our walks. They go up to each other, sniff noses, and sometimes butts. I talk with the owner briefly and then go our separate ways. Are you saying that bad?
It is never a good idea. Many times people get away with it, but things can always for wrong. And when they do… it’s too late, and people are always SOOO surprised. I would not let my OWN dogs interact on-leash this way. It is too easy for leashes to tangle, for one dog to panic, and for things to go sideways. FAST! On the VERY rare occasion when some clueless person lets a dog approach my leashed dog, on leash before I can prevent it, my IMMEDIATE reaction (assuming that I believe that the dogs will be friendly) is to drop my leash to prevent ANY chance of the dogs getting tangled. If I am not POSITIVE the other dog will be friendly, I scoop my dog up off the ground.
 
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I wonder if this is referring to unknown dogs? I lived previously in a very small neighborhood where everyone knew each other and where only a few people walked their dogs. These people were my friends and when we would see them we would stop and chat, or sometimes continue walking together. The dogs behaved and I never had an issue. However, there was one obnoxious dog in the neighborhood we completely avoided. And I also avoided any strange dogs. Most of my issues were with moronic people letting their dogs off leash in their unfenced yards and the dogs NOT staying in their yards. Of course, just because nothing bad happened that does not mean nothing ever would. I do think my neighborhood was not the norm.
 

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I wonder if this is referring to unknown dogs? I lived previously in a very small neighborhood where everyone knew each other and where only a few people walked their dogs. These people were my friends and when we would see them we would stop and chat, or sometimes continue walking together. The dogs behaved and I never had an issue. However, there was one obnoxious dog in the neighborhood we completely avoided. And I also avoided any strange dogs. Most of my issues were with moronic people letting their dogs off leash in their unfenced yards and the dogs NOT staying in their yards. Of course, just because nothing bad happened that does not mean nothing ever would. I do think my neighborhood was not the norm.

There is NOTHING wrong with "walking together"! Walking side-by-side, companionably, with all dogs headed in the same direction is a great way for dogs and people to enjoy time together! It's also a great way for dog who don't know each other to become familiar with one another safely.

It may be that the dog is barking at unknown dogs, but I believe the OP said she was allowing greetings on leash, and this is how this "hyper greeter" barking behavior gets started. If people would never let their puppies do it, they would never have this problem.
 
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I wonder if this is referring to unknown dogs? I lived previously in a very small neighborhood where everyone knew each other and where only a few people walked their dogs. These people were my friends and when we would see them we would stop and chat, or sometimes continue walking together. The dogs behaved and I never had an issue. However, there was one obnoxious dog in the neighborhood we completely avoided. And I also avoided any strange dogs. Most of my issues were with moronic people letting their dogs off leash in their unfenced yards and the dogs NOT staying in their yards. Of course, just because nothing bad happened that does not mean nothing ever would. I do think my neighborhood was not the norm.
I think there’s also a difference between stopping and talking to a neighbor and stopping specifically to meet another dog. Actually, in the Canine Good Citizen test, one of the tests is walking up to another person w a dog, stopping to say hello. To pass, your dog has to pretty much ignore the other dog. We live in a densely populated area, with a lot of dogs, and they need to walk in close quarters with other dogs (sometimes it’s impossible not to pass right next to other dogs bc of sidewalk tables, etc) so have had to work with our dogs on it a lot. Charlie is great, Jo still has some reactivity at times (often when another dog is hyper focused on her), so we’ve still been working on training so she understands that walks are never going to be playtime.
 

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I think there’s also a difference between stopping and talking to a neighbor and stopping specifically to meet another dog. Actually, in the Canine Good Citizen test, one of the tests is walking up to another person w a dog, stopping to say hello. To pass, your dog has to pretty much ignore the other dog. We live in a densely populated area, with a lot of dogs, and they need to walk in close quarters with other dogs (sometimes it’s impossible not to pass right next to other dogs bc of sidewalk tables, etc) so have had to work with our dogs on it a lot. Charlie is great, Jo still has some reactivity at times (often when another dog is hyper focused on her), so we’ve still been working on training so she understands that walks are never going to be playtime.
Exactly! If you stop to talk to a neighbor, there is NO reason for the dogs to interact!
 
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My guy Bandit sounds like Higgins but fast forward a year. We thought it was so cute how excited he was to meet other dogs. I'd allowed my other 2 too and they chose who and when they'd go up to. Calmly and quietly. Passed CGC easily, no trouble in classes, agility training simultaneously with other dogs, etc. I found 2 Havis for my friend and hers are the same. Bandit is another matter altogether. His excitement level leaped to a serious over threshold response almost immediately. Barking like crazy at a dog a football field away. Now we're in training, probably forever and will never great another dog on leash. Different dogs, different issues. I've invested in 2 online classes - Tackling Reactivity and Focus in Public, both from Spirit Dog Training. We'd already taken 'Control Unleashed' from a great trainer and it helped. But despite have been involved with dog training in general for some time but I found some new, very useful nuggets of wisdom in these two classes. Can't explain it all here, but 1 - it was clear that Bandits over threshold behavior was not reactivity as it did not come from fear but from excitement. That was good news and I think is true for Higgins as well. The 2nd - the counter conditioning training for these two is quite different. So, if you're interested, and can afford it, you might try it. She sent me Focus in Public 1 for free when I told her that I'd learned (from her) that it was not reactivity. I think that course is $49. She has a new one out Focus in Public 2, it costs double I think and I don't know if it's worth it, not having seen it. I'm so happy for you that you can work on this so early, it should be much easier. I waited far too long, allowing him to entrench the behavior. Good luck!
 

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- it was clear that Bandits over threshold behavior was not reactivity as it did not come from fear but from excitement. That was good news and I think is true for Higgins as well. The 2nd - the counter conditioning training for these two is quite different.
I disagree that this is not reactive behavior. It certainly is. Reactive behavior is not always based in fear, and you re absolutely correct that fear based reactivity needs to be treated differently than that which is based in excitement. But a dog that is over-threshold is being reactive, whatever the cause, and cannot learn in that state. That state of over-threshold needs to be addressed before ANY learning can take place.
 
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Yes of course, I agree. The dog is reacting in both cases. In this case, I used the terms in the context of understanding the emotion behind the reaction. That discrimination is important as the counter conditioning approaches are quite different depending on that factor. Happy training! :)
 

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Hi! I have a question— does Gracie bark? Higgins started barking recently and it’s horrible. Inside we can curb it by putting him in the bathroom with the lights off if he doesn’t quiet with “no barking!” Happy high pitched voice / treat. Outside I can do that if I am ahead of seeing another dog. I do the “touch” “touch”, treat. But if he sees one of his friends HE LOSES HIS SHIT. I tried not letting him say hi, and he was barking / crying bloody murder. So the last few times I have let him just say hi and play. It’s definitely his way of saying. HI!!!!! I want to play with you!!!!!! But it’s horrible. :( I don’t know what to do.

I am in the process of getting a trainer, Bailey barks at everyone and every thing for attention. So when he sees people he knows he jups up on his hind legs and barks until they recognize his existence by petting him or play. When he sees his dog friends, cars, trucks people and kids, it's the same behavior. He's also smart enough to know that when I praise him for good behavior he gets a treat.
So we go bad behavior, praise, treat repeat!
Sorry I wasn't helpful, but if I have succes with the trainer I will post. Correction takes a lot of time and consistence. Good Luck:)
 

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I am in the process of getting a trainer, Bailey barks at everyone and every thing for attention. So when he sees people he knows he jups up on his hind legs and barks until they recognize his existence by petting him or play. When he sees his dog friends, cars, trucks people and kids, it's the same behavior. He's also smart enough to know that when I praise him for good behavior he gets a treat.
So we go bad behavior, praise, treat repeat!
Sorry I wasn't helpful, but if I have succes with the trainer I will post. Correction takes a lot of time and consistence. Good Luck:)
That is called a "behavior chain". You need to BREAK the chain, by expecting him to do more good work before giving him a treat. So Ask for the good behavior, then ask for some sits and downs, or some heeling, or a stay, or... (something different each time, and varying LENGTHS of work) before giving him his treats. That will break your behavior chain.
 

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That is called a "behavior chain". You need to BREAK the chain, by expecting him to do more good work before giving him a treat. So Ask for the good behavior, then ask for some sits and downs, or some heeling, or a stay, or... (something different each time, and varying LENGTHS of work) before giving him his treats. That will break your behavior chain.
Thanks for response and information!
mcf
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hi,
I'm not sure you meant to publish the question here or if it was to someone specific (Gracie's parent?).
How old is Higgins? Maybe you know this but if not: I learned that you cannot give them any attention when they bark. You can't even say "no barking" because that is attention. We should completely ignore them and then, when they stop barking, give them attention and praise for the silence. Also, I think you can find more experienced answers to this topic on the forum (Ursa is my first and I'm still learning a lot).

I copied and pasted from an IG message and I forgot to edit! lol.

I appreciate everyone's input! I think it's interesting and not a bad thing that there are many strong opinions one way or another on greetings "on leash". The puppy kinder classes we took encouraged it : If the other owner was receptive to it, and If your pup is showing signs of comfort. The coaching that went along with it is to only let your pup meet every 3rd or 4th dog so that they don't expect to meet every dog.

We play it by ear based on how he is acting and where he is with his thresh hold -- end of the day, tired, cranky, we cross the street. Mid morning, calm, yes.

We have been working hard on stopping if a dog is coming towards us on the other side of the street. We will do "touch" click, "touch" click, "touch" click treat. and if he is responsive to me then I will wait to let him notice the dog and go back to "touch" or "focus" with clicks. If he starts to bark, he gets a shhhhhhhh! then back to "touch" etc...

We're getting better and we have been practicing seeing our friends and me holding a treat in front of his face guiding him away.

Somedays, well some moments are better than others. But then again, I am a human who has words and my husband can attest that some moments I am more reactive than responsive! ;)
 

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We have been working hard on stopping if a dog is coming towards us on the other side of the street. We will do "touch" click, "touch" click, "touch" click treat. and if he is responsive to me then I will wait to let him notice the dog and go back to "touch" or "focus" with clicks. If he starts to bark, he gets a shhhhhhhh! then back to "touch" etc...
Regardless of whether you want to let your dog do on-leash greetings, and I will, again reiterate the dangers below, I am either not understanding what you have written about your clicker use, or it is incorrect. The clicker is a bridge between a behavior and the treat. It means “treat is coming”. It should NEVER be used if not immediately followed by a treat. It must ALWAYS be:

Behavior/click/treat.

Always. Otherwise do not use a clicker, or you ruin its usefulness and meaning. (It is fine to do some types of training without a clicker, btw, not all traning has distinct “markable” moments where you want to use a clicker)

To get back to WHY on-leash greating are dangerous, and it is entirely possible that your puppy class person has not thought these through. CERTAINLY the other person you are asking whether their dog is willing hasn’t thought it through Or they would decline your invitation…

*It is entirely possible that the other dog is not as “friendly” as the person thinks it is.
*YOU may not be reading your dog correctly that day, and YOUR dog might not be “into it”
*Are you sure that dog wasn’t just exposed to some communicable disease?

EVEN IF NONE of the above are true:

*Leashes are barriers and barriers by themselves cause aggression in otherwise friendly dogs. Maybe not this time, but…
*Leash greetings encourage dogs to pull on their leashes
*Even with two COMPLETELY friendly, well intentioned dogs, leashes can get tangled. Dogs AND people can get hurt when things go south quickly.

So… educated dog owners don’t let their dogs greet on leash. They save it for safe, enclosed spaces where the dogs can be allowed to play off leash.
 
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