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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Looking for some tips and tricks to (re)teach Radar that bikes are ok and not scary. He has been reacting a lot more lately to bikers than usual lately. Usually he gives one or two warning barks, but now he does a full string of barking and has started running towards the road. Normally he does not pass the curb, but it has happened once or twice now. Once the excitement is over (the bike passes), he is just fine and back to his typical recall, which is almost perfect.

What kinds of things can we try?

Note: we don't have a fence or the budget right now to install one. He knows where his yard is and doesn't leave it, except in high stakes things like this. I would prefer to not have to put him back on leash all the time outside, because he hates it, and I hate wandering around right next to him while he pees on our 30 trees. If necessary though, that is an option.

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 04:53 AM
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My previous Doberman Mafia was a chaser .....of bikes....then later it developed into anything with wheels......tied in with his prey drive.
So IMO its not the bike itself but maybe the wheels and the joy of his prey drive.
Get a handle on this ......twice with these dudes can easily become a real bad habit.........I never was able to undo this behavior in Mafia ..he got away with it for to long. Cannot tell you the number of times he took me surfing during our walks..............eventually even the wheels on a wheelchair would fire Mafia up..........so do what you have to now....it will save you time and aggravation later!!!
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 06:28 AM
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We take our whole pack regularly to a local city park with loads of walking/hiking & biking trails. We go in a big loop on one trail which circles back to main access. The park has miles of paved biking trails which interconnect to other city parks. It's mainly done to acclimate dogs to different things, but a very enjoyable outing for all.

Our pack gets to experience multitudes of other people walking, pushing strollers, running, many riding bikes and a few scooters. (Lots of Pokeman Go Zombies "enjoying" nature in the park) Many other dogs are encountered as well. We have been doing it for quite some time. I routinely have Spock sit on grass strip along side of pathway if another animal is approaching from other direction, just to get him used to acting like a well behaved, non-hyper Dobe. He does well in these situations. Our biggest challenge is little mutt Lanah (Chi-Cairn Terrier X), who will get an attitude with strange dogs and "talk smack" when passing them, if she's with her two Dobe backups! For her, we pick up under arm and give a little squeeze to stop the behavior.

Spock loves going to this park and gets real happy & excited when pulling up in the car. Also, while walking we see many deer, close-by the paths, which Spock is constantly scanning for. Eva, on other hand, could care less about other dogs, except little toy size ones she wants to initiate play with... As I mentioned previously in a collar thread, I have both Dobes wear HS pinch collars when going to this park since we are passing many others very close
and we want full control, with no incidents. (lots of squirrels there, too!)

Eva will bark at walkers and bikes, but only when in our house and they pass by, never when out on walks or at parks. I think this is more of a protection instinct while in the home.
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Poke Everything.
It's New? Bark At It.
Moves? Chase It.
Doesn't Move? Smell It.
Liquid? Spill and Dribble It.
Treat or Food? Wolf It Down.
Not Food? Chew It Slowly, Be Quiet & Hide From Human.
A Toy? Shred & Destroy It.
Stuffed? De-Stuff It.
Bites You Back? Wrestle It!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 06:49 AM
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Hey Rad'sMom!

So, this is where you've been hiding!

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 11:54 AM
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Even if Radar 'knows' his limits in an unfenced area I think if he's run out of the yard after bikes a couple of times I'd put him on a long line (20 feet or 50 feet--ordinary clothesline works for that) and insist on a return to you and a sit and stay while the bike is in view.

Even if he's not after the biker but the bike it can cause some icky accidents if he manages to 'catch' a bike--I saw the end result of one of those several years ago--the bike and biker went down when a dog (it was a Shepherd not a Dobe but Dobe size and weight) 'caught' the bike--the dog, biker and bike went down in a pile--the dog got impaled with a spoke and the biker broke his arm and got skinned up because he was under the dog and bike--better to live with training on leash or long line than to have your dog involved in something like that.

LadyDi is right about the progression of problems that can occur if you don't train for compliance and ignoring bikes now.

Good luck...

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 01:10 PM
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Could be prey drive or it could be fear/anxiety - hard to say without seeing it in person, and even then, sometimes it's hard to tell. I can recommend some good trainers in our area if you'd like - they can be super helpful even for just a couple of one-on-one "boots on the ground" types of sessions to assess what's going on.

Like Bug, I really, really recommend you don't let him "practice" this behavior. After all, practice makes perfect! Truly, the more he does this, the more he's going to do it. If it's fear-driven, it'll become more hardwired in that brain circuit, and if it's prey-driven, the prey behavior just ramps up, so either way, you need to lock this down NOW. Whatever it takes, if that means leash time for a while while you train, that's what you need to do. Plus, it's scary for the biker!

There are a couple of things I'd try and it would really depend on his motivations. "Leave it" coupled with a "watch me" focus type of game may or may not work, depending on if it's prey drive, and how strong it is. If it is prey, and it's not TOO strong, reinforcement of a very good leave it and better obedience would be my first plan. This would be reminding him this is simply off limits - you don't chase bikes. You have to have very good timing, get enough distance from bikes that you can get him to "leave it" and slowly work closer. I'd want a "leave it" and then a "watch me" so that becomes his default behavior. He sees a bike and he looks to you for guidance on what to do next. Ideally I'd ask for some sort of calm behavior - a sit or down - after that.

If it *is* fear/anxiety, I'd look into the "Look at That" game (Leslie McDevitt's Control Unleashed) or "BAT" work (you can find that in Grisha Stewart's book). LAT works well with diligent, slow training, and BAT the same. Both of those I would recommend a good trainer to help you with the skill set to get you started - again, you start at a distance from the scary thing and slowly work on it.

Most important is to prevent the behavior from happening so that it doesn't get hardwired into his brain as a default behavior. Those neuropathways are really strong once they get established.


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! I think we are gonna start doing on leash at least when it is dark and I cant see bikes coming. Will look into some one on one training and might recruit the neighbor kids to ride their bikes past the house for more training.

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