Arousal Issues at the Park

That lovely little park I shared about earlier this week?  Yeah, it's already becoming too much for Vito.  Due to the lack of funding for trials, I've had the time to go visit the park quite a few times now.  And the Toller is getting worse and worse.  First visit he was calm and had a grand old time.  Second visit he was excited but able to think.  Third+ visit he has started Toller Screaming the second he sees another dog or if a person says hi to us.  He doesn't even care about other dogs or people, it's just an excuse to get excited.  On the way out of the park a few visits ago we passed a nice couple carrying some chuck its for their labs.  And that's when his brain completely fell out, I had the opportunity to educate about Toller Screams as I tried my hardest to haul the thrashing dog away, and now the spiraling to screaming on subsequent visits.

Training plan I'm making up as we go.  I don't want to lose this opportunity for Vito.  Normal dog plan might include hanging in the parking lot and doing mat work.  There's no way that would work for the neurotic dog.  Vito knows he has to swallow a treat when offered, but there's he doesn't want it.  And time doing nothing seems to amp him up more and more until he gets himself in a complete frenzy.  He's fine doing nothing after given a chance to blow some steam, but in the beginning he's like a tea kettle just waiting to explode.

So far my plan includes heading away from the path to the lake.  Keeping all dogs on leash for several minutes and then letting Vito the be the first one off leash for several more minutes.  If Vito is last he immediately starts screaming.  If all go at the same time, then more screaming.  If he's first, tiny scream but then there's less excitement when no one else is free.

Part two includes lots and lots of recalls.  I'm not worried about losing Vito (unless he sees a chuck it), but he gets so excited that he tends to just want to keep running and doesn't have any concept of checking back.  So lots of calling, making him swallow a cookie, and then his real reward of being released to run again.  If he doesn't come right away he goes back on leash for a minute.  Slowly might be starting to work.  At least at the end of our recent visit he started stopping on his own when he saw me stop and then I praised him and didn't make him come all the way back for the treat.  We were also able to pass some people and dogs towards the end without needing to put him on leash!

And finally no more toys.  Sorry Vito.  And sorry Gracie.

Liama Jhons  – ( August 12, 2014 at 7:23 AM )  
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