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Stalking other dogs(21 Posts)
Hi guys, if anyone has any experience with this, would you mind sharing with me?!
Recently on walks, my dog has started stalking other dogs. Not always, but enough for it to be a cause for concern. He stays on lead. He's a very reactive dog, and we train daily, yet we're not at a stage where we can walk past another dog (or other various stimulus) without him going way, way over his threshold.
I don't believe the stalking is a playful sort either; he's incredibly still, slow, and silent. There's nothing in his posture that indicates play (and when he does want to play, he's very much the extrovert and there's no chance of misinterpreting it!)
As soon as he lowers himself, I lead him the other way. I'm still working with him on focus etc. We are starting training, but I'm just after as much tips and advice as possible.
Sorry for the long post!
Completely forgot to add vital info! he's a 15 month old husky
I think you need to consult a behaviourist.
His reactions sound pretty extreme and it's not something anyone can really help you with without seeing your dog in person.
Mine used to be reactive to other dogs but it was frustrated greeting and has been dealt with with treats and persistence. But he was never aggressive or "stalkerish" in the way you describe.
thank you very much. We're seeing someone for 1:1 tomorrow
Huskies have a high prey drive & need you to really be on your guard when you see him display this behaviour. Get in touch with the Siberian Husky Club of GB. Decent breeders will be more than willing to offer advice/training methods/support. I had huskies for 18 years, but never a male. My girls were always friendly to other dogs & people, only stalking smaller animals - cats, rabbits, birds, rodents, etc. They are fantastic dogs with the right training. If you don't intend showing him then get him neutered if not already done so.
Also make sure the person you are seeing tomorrow has experience with huskies otherwise some of the advice or training will have no impact. The stubbornness, as you will know, is on another level!
Thank you coffeebeans. We actually have a house rabbit that he (seems!) fine with at the moment! The stalking has become a recent thing.
He is intact, and I'm currently debating whether to have him neutured or not.
He's a wonderful dog, and we've come a long way already, this has thrown me though. I'm ready to put in the hard work, it's trying to find the right approach swiftly!
Just out of interest, have you heard that boys are typically more difficult than girls? I've only had girls before and I thought it was just me comparing my boy to my previous dogs (with rose coloured glasses on)
Haha, when I said he is a husky, there was a slight pause in the conversation before a '...Oh. Yes, I've worked with them. Bring good treats please.'
A friend with a ridgeback had training with the same lady and benefited from it, so fingers crossed.
Be careful with the rabbit! Mine were VERY food orientated. I would suggest immediate distraction methods. As soon as you notice the stance change, call his name, give him a definite command that he will usually obey, ie Toby Sit, Toby down, treat in hand & reward if he does it. Chop cocktail sausages into 10 pieces (slice lengthways then across) or really spoil him with small pieces of diced, cooked chicken. Highgrade treats work really well for fast response usually. Then say your release command & carry on with your walk & hopefully the brain will still be on the treats he knows are still in your pocket & he will forget/not be bothered about what he was stalking.
I think boys mature later than the girls (as with most!) and at 15 months he is still in "teenage" mode. Once past 2 years he will mature & behaviour will settle down (usually).
Hope tomorrow goes well. Let us know 😊
I think the stalking - which is not uncommon in reactive dogs - is an extension of the eye fixation.
The predatory sequence in dogs is:
- eye (see the thing you want to hunt)
- orient (turn towards it)
As reactivity often makes dogs eye and orient I think some can then slip into stalk as a natural extension of that, even though hunting is not their intention. Kind of like muscle memory but for actions born out of instinct not experience.
Some reactive dogs will stare at another dog more fixedly then others and I suspect these are the ones more likely to stalk. Also those with that part of the hunting sequence that has been left in them more strongly, such as border collies.
Ultimately though I'm not sure it makes a big difference to your training approach - other than perhaps really working in encouraging him to break that eye concentration eg teaching "look at me". He'll probably need to break that focus on the dog to help him start to relax. A good IMDT or APBC behaviourist can really help with this.
For clarity - I also would now be on high alert around any small furry animals.
Thanks everyone. Just had our first training session and he was absolutely brilliant.
I am very, very suspicious.
We spent the session doing a lot of focus and attention work; and at one point he was so focused on me (and bacon. Mainly the bacon) that he didn't notice another dog sniffing him. Will definitely continue with the training at the centre we go to; we might go three times a week as it's in a secure, controlled environment and it's something I can't really provide at home or out and about.
I'm going to join the Husky Clubs' forum, thanks for telling me about that
@EmeraldsAtDawn - yes he acts like a collie! I think the biggest difference will be getting in quick enough before it has a chance to escalate. My reaction times are a lot slower than his, and I'm a bit slow with treats, so I'm just going to walk with them in my hand constantly instead of diving into a pocket. Might encourage him to stay a bit nearer to me instead of wandering off in front
@CoffeeBeansGalore thanks for all your advice! I'll make sure he doesnt have the opportunity to 'play' with the rabbit!
@Yestermost - we had our minds set on neutering, then i read a paper on neutering in male dogs and it's made me question it. In a study on 1000 male dogs (none of which had reported behavioural issues beforehand), a big percentage of them developed a lot of undesirable behaviour, including issues that mine is already displaying. So I really, really want to look into it more as it isn't a decision Ican make on his behalf - and then reverse at a later date!
Chemical neutering is something that can be reversed at a later date if you wanted a ‘try before you buy’ approach.
Ahhh, I forgot about that. I don't know much about it; only full castration. It'll be worth calling my vets and seeing if they do that.
Have you had a dog that's had the chemical version?
I had a dog that I used Suprelorin with before deciding whether to surgically castrate.
Speak to husky owners/breeders about neutering - best age, behaviour issues etc. A general study will not give you the best results for a specific breed. I didn't hear of major problems with neutering male huskies when I had my girls. Decent breeders want the best for the breed & will give you honest, impartial advice.
Great advice again, thanks guys.
Yeah the study (I think I found it through a Scholar search) weren't breed specific or anything, so it's not swayed me completely, but I will contact other owners and ask them. It was something we'd always planned on doing, mainly for health reasons. Just want to be sure.
@YouStupidBoy - how did it work out? Would you recommend? What breed of dog do you have?
I ended up considering castration for behavioural reasons; he was a really complex dog and some of his behaviours were rooted in fear (so not an indication for castration) and others not. The Suprelorin worked very well in reducing some of the undesirable behaviours and didn't seem to detrimentally effect the others so I went with chemical castration.
I don't really want to talk about the breed and behaviours (although very prey driven and stalking other dogs was a big problem) on the one forum in case it's really identifying but more than happy for you to PM me if you'd like and I'll happily discuss.
Oops went with surgical castration after the chemical.
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