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Highly distractable dog! Help!


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I have been training my dog since the day I got him and he is quite well behaved...until...we get around other dogs. He is in no way agressive but feels that every butt in the place belongs to him. He is wearing me out. If I have to say "leave it" one more time my head will explode.

He is a happy worker, very enthusiastic and does get a bit better once we've been around the animals for 20-30 minutes but for that first amount of time he drives me nuts. He has been around other dogs a fair amount as we go to agility classes but there is usually only 1 or 2 other dogs and once he gets used to that PARTICULAR dog he is ok..but a new dog=one nutty Keeshond for me.

I am working on getting his CD and he does great in the ring with his long sits and downs, (I was surprised, really) but if he's moving and sees a dog outside the ring that he fancies he loses his focus on me and will go wide on his heel but doesn't really "break" altogether. The whole time we are outside the ring he is lunging at dogs left and right for a sniff. I do the watch me, leave it, thing but it is like he is out of his mind alot of the time.

He is 17 months old and is neutered. The breed is known for being easily distracted. We are going to classes but they are only occaisional and like I say..he's so close to being ready if he would just settle down. Any suggestions?


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  • 1 month later...

You need to get that recall and attention sorted! Start by teaching him to watch. Basic obedience, keep him on lead on your left hand side, with a treat at below left hip level and tell him watch.(show him the food before hand and make sure he knows its there). As soon as he rears his head to watch you, treat him. Break him off and do it again, this time getting that focus for a few seconds, and build it up. Then and only then when you have the watch, ask someone to walk past, and keep that watch. Again go through the motions, and continue on until that person can walk a dog past you and your dog, and your dog will keep his attention on you. Always have him on the lead. You don't achieve anything by having him off-lead. When you are confident with this, take him to a busier area, and if you are at a park/dog class, ask a few owners with dogs to hang near you, but not to play with their dogs. Again when you have his attention, progress and ask the owners to play lightly with their dogs. Keep that focus. You have to show your dog that you are much more exciting than the distraction that is going on around you.

When you have that attention then you can start teaching him a recall, again starting on lead and treating him when he comes. Take it in easy steps, with no distractions to start with. Then bring in the owners and dogs and still keep him on lead. Only when you are confident, extend the lead or hook 2 leads together, so you still have control.

Good luck! :wink:

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I have been out of ob competition for many years and don't follow it much anymore, but a couple of years ago I bought the tape, "Attention and Handling...The birth of teamwork", by Terri Arnold, just to sort of keep up with what was *new*. At that time, she was the #1 ob trainer/winner.

She showed how to teach the "watch me", and the way she did it is with the food as you instructed, Kat, but then she also used a slip collar on the dog and if the dog lost concentration, she would give a correction. It doesn't have to be a *highly motivational* correction, just enough to get the dogs attention and distract the dog from what distracted it! :lol:

I personally feel that once a dog knows the command and you start working around distractions, (or when *proofing* the dog) you have to give some sort of correction when they become distracted, or you will be spending waaaay too much time to get the results you are after. Especially with distractions where other dogs are involved.

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