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Obsessive Herding and excitement over fire, guns, fireworks, hoses and anything    Behavior and Training

Started Aug-6 by zenziGSD; 189 views.
zenziGSD

From: zenziGSD

Aug-6

Hi All,

I'm new to this forum. I'm looking for support for my 4yo female black GSD Zenzi in regards to her recent obseession with fire. She gets overly excited when we have camp fires and is now jumping into the falmes and biting at the sparks. When she is in a mindset of this kind (much like she is when the hose is going) there is no calling her off or calming her. I will have to put her in the house where she will bark, whine, and jump at the door uncontrollably. This is a new behavior for an otherwise well behaved dog. It is as if she is command deaf when there are fires, fireworks, skeet shooting etc. going on. If I keep her on a leash during these events she fights the leash. Like I said these are escalating behaviors and I am unsure what to do with her as the training she has had typically suffices in daily lfe. Any suggestions or similliar expereinces? Thanks

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From: Showtalk

Aug-6

You have a working line German Shepherd who was bred to work.  What kind of training does she have?  What type of exercise does she get?  For now, while you work on this, don’t let her near open fires. If you are camping and must use an open fire, keep her leashed or even crated until the sparks die down.

DW (GSDogwalker)

From: DW (GSDogwalker)

Aug-6

Welcome.  She is a beautiful dog.  I like seeing her off leash in a wilderness area.  That means you have some control over her behavior.  That is a new problem I’ve never heard of before.  She is a playful dog and she thinks the fire, like the hose, is a game.  You must teach her to stay away.  A good recall is very important, along with a Stay. She needs to focus on you.  You must make yourself more important to her than any distraction.  Do you let her play with the hose?  She must think that fire is another hose game. 

Is there a working dog club near you?  I would start with a club if that is possible and work on training with distractions.

Jeri (azpaints)

From: Jeri (azpaints)

Aug-6

Two suggestions.  Give her a chew treat away from the fire to take her attention away from the fire.   Get the treat, put her on leash, tell her to sit, give her the treat.  

Second suggestion is a Thundershirt.  It is designed to calm a dog down during storms or times of stress.  Put the shirt on her, put her on leash, get her a safe distance from the fire and give her a treat.  You might cut down playing with the hose, too.  Or start using call or leave it commands when she is playing with water...give her a treat when she stops playing with the water and gives her attention to you.  

Solitaire13

From: Solitaire13

Aug-6

How old is this dog? What type of training has she had? What is your reward system? Has she been taught the languages of agreement and disagreement? What was going on the first time it happened? What have you done to correct this behavior? When it happens, is she excited? Frustrated? Angry? Happy? 

DW (GSDogwalker)

From: DW (GSDogwalker)

Aug-6

I hope the OP finds their way back to us.  This could be a serious situation.

zenziGSD

From: zenziGSD

Aug-7

She is 4 years old. She is rarely food motivated unless it is with held which I'm not a huge fan of. She is entirely excited and happy in these situations. It is all like play time to her. When I leash her she fights the leash though which is never an issue.  The problem is that there is no recall or way to get her attention back that typically works in these situations. It is almost like neurotic obsession and mesmerization over these situations and she is super excited for it. It is real fun to her despite the attempts at correction and the eventual kennelling in her mud room.  All training goes out the window in these moments. I can't even entice her away with her soccer ball which is the one thing that means almost more to her than anything.

The first time these situations have happened nothing bad has ever occurred just a social gathering which she is used to. 

She is a very well tempered, socialized, and friendly girl. Her best friends are four cats and the kids. Image may contain: Vanessa Foster, smiling, grass, outdoor and nature

Msg 3635.8 deleted
In reply toRe: msg 7
zenziGSD

From: zenziGSD

Aug-7

And yes the hose is definitely a game. We teach her to "leave it" when she tries to turn it on herself. She gets a bit sneaky but will listen. The obsession with this is curved only because we play it soooo much on these hot days that it loses a little bit of its appeal.

  • Edited August 7, 2018 10:12 am  by  zenziGSD
DW (GSDogwalker)

From: DW (GSDogwalker)

Aug-7

Aww, those are nice pictures. Attacking a fire is dangerous and you need to stop it.  It may take stronger measures.  This might be a situation where you want to consider using a prong or an e collar.  That should be taught to you by a trainer with experience.  If it happens near a tree, I would put the dog in a snug prong, tie a long line, a 20-30’ leash looped around the tree through the leash handle, and attach the clip to the prong collar.  This is called a back tie. Give the dog enough room so she can get within a few feet of the fire but not reach it, then let her correct herself.  When  she reaches the end of the leash, the prong will stop her.  It may hurt a little, but it will stop her.  The second she stops or turns away from the fire toward the leash, which is a common reaction, praise her. Good girl!  Some hugs. Keep doing that until she starts returning to you. Then pair it with a recall command.  Repeat until she stops lunging toward the fire.

Once she is reliably stopping, remove the prong and use her regular collar and the long line.  The reason to use a sturdy tree is that it won’t move like a person could and so you aren’t tempted to reel it in. She must trigger her own correction. The distance is so she learns to stop and return to you no matter where she is on her own.   I would keep her on the leash around the fire for a long time.  If she ever is off the leash and goes back toward the fire, you’ve lost all progress you have made.

Another solution is to teach a reliable recall with an e collar that will not allow her to get to the fire.  That collar must be trained by a pro.  It seems harsh but you can train her to respond to just one stim of the collar, which is a lot less intrusive than jerking by a prong. A responsive dog will react to a low stim.  A high drive dog with strong neck muscles might need a stronger one as they can power through it.

K9 might have some other solutions.  He trains exclusively with food and consequences,

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