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Dogs that fixate

Discussion in 'Training & Behavior' started by DancesWithCurs, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. DancesWithCurs

    DancesWithCurs Good Dog

    Always up for insight on how other people deal with problems. So, what do you like to do for dogs that fixate? And by fixate I mean that stock still, ears forward, won't move for anything type of fixation

    Also if you had this problem, what did your dog fixate on?
  2. LilianaLove

    LilianaLove GRCH Dog

    Lily does that all the time. A good "leave it" is usually all it takes for her to go, "oh, hi there, just was pointing out to you that there is a squirrel in the adjacent tree, but if you don't want me to get it for you, that's fine, we can continue on our walk".

    The only time a "leave it" doesn't work is when we're lure coursing, and that's because I've trained her to 'catch the bunny' aka focus on nothing other than the lure. I want that intensity and fixation on the lure.

    But yea, mostly, a solid "leave it" should do the trick with a dog that knows what it means.
  3. destinoscelgo

    destinoscelgo Good Dog

    This is why I have Willow in OB classes...she fixates on everything. Dogs, people, small animals etc. She's terrible...but thankfully getting slightly better. Working on leave it's usually the best way, in the sense of dogs with people I think socialization works best in my case.
  4. K9 Love

    K9 Love Good Dog

    I train a highly reinforced focus command "watch" (look at me). I can break through quite a bit using that command with Hades.

    For times when that doesn't cut it, I'll give a poke to the haunches, as soon as he looks at me, mark, reward.

    For dogs that aren't mine and don't have the training Hades does, I use a very squealey high pitched voice to get their attention, mark, reward. I'll poke too if necessary.

    I personally find yanking on a fixated dogs neck usually doesn't do anything except build drive towards whatever object. Just my experience though! Unless it's a well placed correction for not leaving it, or watching etc.
  5. catchrcall

    catchrcall Good Dog Staff Member Super Moderator

    I agree. Leave it is a very usefull tool. Sometimes it might take a little contact to get their attention too. Not like a whipping, just a finger on a shoulder or back or something like letting a lead handle drag across their back.

    I think that fixation can be really cool to watch. Especially in a young dog that I'm bringing up to catch. When you've led the dog to the bay and then you stop and they feel you messing with that collar and lead and they know it's time to work. It's amazing how all that built up energy can just explode when you turn that collar loose and send them. B.A. seems to forget that there could be anything else going on in the world than the bay he's watching or listening to and the hog he's about to catch. I could break a two by four between his ears and I don't think he'd care. He's definately inherited his mother's intensity.

    That being said, there's a time and place for it so it's good sometimes when you can break it up.

    ---------- Post added at 01:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:42 PM ----------

    Looks like K9 beat me to it:D
  6. K9 Love

    K9 Love Good Dog

    Bhahahaha! Great minds think alike I guess! ;)
  7. Tiffseagles

    Tiffseagles GRCH Dog Premium Member

    Otis will sometimes do this to other dogs on walks. He actually can be an ass when we have strangers working on the house. I started using the 'look at that' game and he's catching on.

    Today we had workman here all day putting in a bunch of new things. When I heard him bark from downstairs with my uncle, I grabbed my clicker and treats, headed downstairs and no more barking.

    I'm also one that encourages his fixation on certain items, like the lure. I also encourage it with his flirt pole.
  8. Purpledomino

    Purpledomino Good Dog

    The flirt pole. Holy mother of God this is the centre of my dogs universe. If the flirt pole is out, a marching band could be going by and she wouldn't take her eyes off of it.

    Still a work in progress, lots of "leave it" and "wait" and "look" and whatever else it takes to get her focus off the bloody thing. It's her crack.
  9. GoingPostal

    GoingPostal Good Dog

    Lol this is my male with his springpole, he is nuts over that thing, was fantastic to teach him "wait" and "drop it", it's the only way I trust him to not jump the fence when outside, he can be unleashed if he's playing on that. He fixates on other dogs bad as well and then we just keep moving.
  10. Jaded

    Jaded Little Dog

    Oh Sh!t...My male Lucius will fixate on anything you rile him up over. His main fixation, and I STILL don't know why, are SKATEBOARDS. He's never been hit with one, had any kind of bad experience with them, nothing. I didn't know about this new obsession until he was about 3 years old, and I was standing outside a store, when a guy rode by on his board. Faster than I could figure out what he was doing, he grabbed that board right out from under the kid, as he wend stumbling forward, and in the second he had it, started shaking the living SH!T outta this board, knocking it into my shin once I might add... Anyway, me, my friend AND the guy were shocked, I had my friend hold Lucius and I got the board back, said sorry to the guy, and he was just like, oh it's cool, that was kinda cool. Now, I don't want you to think he's uncontrollable, because he is. Very. He won't move if I tell him no, or leave it. I just wouldn't recommend being within a couple feet of him and his board, because he shakes it like a rag doll, and that HURTS when it hits you. lol
    Since then, if he hears that sound they make as they roll across the sidewalk cracks, he perks up, does anything to get to a window, and just holds his gaze with it until it's gone. He's CRAZY about skateboards. I taught him to climb trees with one. You put a skateboard on top of the fridge, he'll jump up and get it, just to demolish it. I bought him a cheapie just to play with him (further egging on his obsession) and he had it tore in half in less than 30 minutes. After that he chewed the wheels off, and by that point I just threw it away.
    Another obsession, and also unknown why, is bubble wrap. If you pop it, he won't stop at trying to get it away from you. He won't bite you to get it, but if you have it under your foot, he'll scratch your shoe off to get to it. He's weird. So much drive when you want him to focus on something too. You just point and say look, and he's ready to zone in on whatever you want...
  11. omgrobyn

    omgrobyn GRCH Dog

    Oh god, Lucy and the birds and squirrels. I can guarantee that right now, at 11 pm, if I said "squirrel" out loud, Lucy would wake up from a sound sleep, dig herself out from under the blanket mountain on the couch, and come running across the house to me. As if there are "night" squirrels, and they all just flew in through the window.

    When we're out though, I just have to make a clucking sound, and a slight tug on the collar. While this doesn't always get her full focus on me, she starts moving again in the direction I'm going (while still staring at the squirrel, until she runs into a fence post or a mail box, then she comes back to earth. Sometimes I'll tap her on the rump to get her attention fully back, but it's more fun to watch her run into things).
  12. MJJean

    MJJean GRCH Dog

    Renee will fixate more intensely than any dog I have ever seen. To break it depends on how much she wants it, how interesting it is. I can break a low fixation by saying "leave it". A mid range fixation is have to make a loud noise...a bellow or an ANNNNNNT! A top end fixation, usually reserved for other animals or delicious human food, requires me to walk up to her and tap her relatively hard. Then she snaps out of it, looks at me, and I have about 3 seconds to lead her away or she will go right back to fixating. Sometimes, she will go back anyways and I have to repeat the procedure 2-3 times before she will go mope on the couch.
  13. DancesWithCurs

    DancesWithCurs Good Dog

    :lol: Thanks guys, this thread is awesome. It came up because some dog trainer buddies and I were having a chat about dogs that fixate for giggles so I decided to ask you guys too. I love this forum
  14. _unoriginal

    _unoriginal Cow Dog

    I have a weird questions regarding fixation for all of you. When Bentley gets to fixating on something small like a bag or something blowing around, not a dog or animal. When I say 'leave it', he'll tuck his butt and start scurrying around in a short burst of zoomies at the end of the lead. Is that just the excitement of seeing whatever he was fixating on?
  15. MJJean

    MJJean GRCH Dog

    Probably. He sees something he wants to chase, gets all excited thinking about that chase, gets cut short and has to get the energy out would be my guess.
  16. _unoriginal

    _unoriginal Cow Dog

    Yea, he's a nut. I love him. :lol:
  17. HappyPuppy

    HappyPuppy Good Dog

    Small animals do this for Ruby. I have trouble calling her off the caged (chain link) bunnies down the street. She starts stalking before she can even see them. It bugs me so I often just cross the street early. Other times, I keep walking right by the bunnies while dragging her if she doesn't keep up - I think she's getting a little better if I just keep moving and say leave it but it's kind of like I am not there at that moment... I've done leash corrections over it in the past but that is not appropriate or even fair when she's in that stalk mode like that. I'm aspiring to get her to sit with her back to them but we're not even remotely there yet and we don't work on it much as I mostly avoid....
  18. catchrcall

    catchrcall Good Dog Staff Member Super Moderator

    I don't think a leash correction is inappropriate or unfair at all. She's walking with you, her attention should be on you not on stalking rabbits. There is nothing wrong with making her do things your way.

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