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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-29-2011, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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Look at That (LAT) or Look Away?

At one training facility I attend, they teach LAT - which is the method I've been using with Maiya when she is around strange dogs.
But in the past couple of weeks, two people I have talked to think that teaching a dog to "Look Away" is the better (actually the only) way to train dog-reactive working dogs.

So I'm wondering... if you have a dog-reactive dog, of the two methods, which do you use and why do you think it is a better way to train?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-29-2011, 07:01 PM
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For me, it works better if Audrey focuses on me. Once she focuses on the other dog, it's out of control. I actually need to get my dog to focus on me and to remove her from any visual of a dog that is coming our way. In other words, get behind a car, a bush, turn around...anything as long as she doesn't look at the dog and/or can't see it.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-29-2011, 07:38 PM
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Granted, I don't have a lot of experience, but I think a little bit of both, depending.

If Elka and I are walking past a yard with a barking dog, or past another dog that's barking and/or lunging I prefer for her to focus on me (and we use "on by" for that). If we're in the park and she's interested, and the dog is over there, I reward her for looking calmly, but not fixating. If we're home and there's a dog walking past across the street, I use "I don't care" (something akin to "leave it". I use it for if a person is walking by when I'm trying to empty her as well. Sort of "yes, I see, and it doesn't matter. Task at hand, please.")

If it's an object (flag, fake snowman, christmas wreath) then we'll do "go see" for her to investigate it.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-29-2011, 08:08 PM
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I think it depends on the situation, your dog, and a combination of other things. Like most methods, what is the "best" is the one that works better for you and your dog. I don't think there is any "best" when it comes to dog training. I may suck at one method and/or technique, and someone else may excel at it, or vice versa. Doesn't make one better than the other. I think there are methods and techniques that are BAD, but I also think there's more than 1 way to effectively teach a dog.

I see positives to both ways... if I can repeatedly mark and reward a dog for looking at something without reacting, especially something that previously caused a negative reaction, and build duration, than in my mind, that technique was succesful. At the same time, if I can get a dog that usually becomes fixated on something to look at me instead, again, succesful. Why not try both?

I think one of the biggest pitfalls to people's training success is the ability to be consistent, and to have propper timing consistently. It seems simple in theory, but it's very hard to be consistent! If you can do both of these, I think either and/or both methods are fine. Timing and consistency is something I put a ton of emphasis on... Pretty recently, I was able to teach a previously 100% untrained dog (very, very well behaved, surprisingly... ONLY command listened to was come, other than that, nothing... but very well behaved) to give me direct eye contact in a matter of minutes, just because of timing and consistency. My buddy was not able to do it, even after I started the lesson, simply because the timing was off.

Moral of the story, I feel like timing and consistency are more important than what methods you choose to follow.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-29-2011, 08:34 PM
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When we did look at that he was rewarded for looking back at me. So I'm thinking they are actually similar just using different words. Now when I say look he automatically looks at me. Can't get the whole phrase out.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-29-2011, 10:06 PM
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I agree with Kevin on the consistancy & timing. With what Jenny said about the reward comes from looking back at me. Tippy, who is a terrier, had a bigger problem passing dogs without a reaction & with cats she would lunge, bark & growl. I used the LAT with her. She wasnt really dog aggressive/reactive so to say. She was more frustrated she couldnt get to what she wanted. So IMO it was a very mild case. Now as we are approaching or passing a dog or cat that I can tell she is getting excited about I say her name and she focuses on me. I did in the begining use lots of treats. Now I use them very seldom and give verbal praise along with a pat.

Kyrah plays the game much better about looking back and forth. She looks at whatever it is and then back at me. She then quickly takes another look at the thing and snaps her head back to me. She is very food motivated so it quickly becomes a game.


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-30-2011, 12:32 PM
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My personal experience is that LAT works better, because you aren't forcing the dog to choose between the object of their anxiety and your command to look at you. Asking an anxious dog to look away from the arousing object is harder than asking them to look at it. Have you read the LAT section of Control Unleashed? It does a much better job explaining why it works so well than I can! Basically, imagine a person who is afraid of snakes. Really, really afraid. If they are within sight of a snake, asking them to look away from it is tough, because they are afraid of it and not being able to see whether it's coming at them or what it's doing creates even more anxiety. By asking the dog to look at the object of anxiety, you are actually creating a more positive feeling about that object, because you are clicking for looking at it. Make sense?


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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-31-2011, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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My personal experience is that LAT works better, because you aren't forcing the dog to choose between the object of their anxiety and your command to look at you. Asking an anxious dog to look away from the arousing object is harder than asking them to look at it. Have you read the LAT section of Control Unleashed? It does a much better job explaining why it works so well than I can! Basically, imagine a person who is afraid of snakes. Really, really afraid. If they are within sight of a snake, asking them to look away from it is tough, because they are afraid of it and not being able to see whether it's coming at them or what it's doing creates even more anxiety. By asking the dog to look at the object of anxiety, you are actually creating a more positive feeling about that object, because you are clicking for looking at it. Make sense?
I have started to read Control Unleashed but haven't read the LAT section yet. I'll take a look. Your explanation about the snake is basically how my trainer explained LAT to me.

Even though Maiya is allowed to look at the other dogs, I don't let her stare at them and she does get rewarded for being calm and/or for focusing back on me once she takes a look.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-31-2011, 11:48 AM
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I tried for months to have my reactive corse ignore other dogs and focus on me and I just wasn't getting the type of results I wanted. He would look at me but remained tense and just all around I was not happy with the state he was in plus this was not giving us the self control I wanted him to learn around other dogs. I went to a reactive dog seminar and changed our methods. He got treats for looking at the other dogs (from a distance at first) and just remaining calm. He quickly started to associate the other dogs with treats and began to offer focus on me so I ended up getting the result I wanted and a much more relaxed dog. He can now be around other dogs in close proximity without having any melt downs like he used to when he as much as though he saw another dog 300' away.

I have a friend with a reactive whippet and she swears by LAT and BAT as they made a huge difference in her dog as well.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-31-2011, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Herb2relax View Post
I agree with Kevin on the consistancy & timing. With what Jenny said about the reward comes from looking back at me. Tippy, who is a terrier, had a bigger problem passing dogs without a reaction & with cats she would lunge, bark & growl. I used the LAT with her. She wasnt really dog aggressive/reactive so to say. She was more frustrated she couldnt get to what she wanted. So IMO it was a very mild case. Now as we are approaching or passing a dog or cat that I can tell she is getting excited about I say her name and she focuses on me. I did in the begining use lots of treats. Now I use them very seldom and give verbal praise along with a pat.

Kyrah plays the game much better about looking back and forth. She looks at whatever it is and then back at me. She then quickly takes another look at the thing and snaps her head back to me. She is very food motivated so it quickly becomes a game.
Case in point, Dakota was just doing something, Steph corrected instantly and perfectly... But then, she said "no" again a split second later, so I told her just say it once, because you just corrected her for looking at you. It's literally a split second between marking a behavior, and confusing your dog!
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 03:31 PM
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Case in point, Dakota was just doing something, Steph corrected instantly and perfectly... But then, she said "no" again a split second later, so I told her just say it once, because you just corrected her for looking at you. It's literally a split second between marking a behavior, and confusing your dog!
Yes, my daughter just did this to me the other day at the dog park. Kyrah & Dexter, grandpup, were double teaming her roommates dog. She is very small maybe 10lbs. I called Kyrah to come which she did turn immediately and come towards me. Half way there as she passed my daughter she goes..."Kyrah, good girl!" So she turns to her and gets her pat on her head and when daughter doesnt give another command. She then heads back off to double team. "sigh" I need her to listen to my daughters also as they are her babysitters. So there was the confusion and I let it go for a minute then called her back to me. I asked her next time when Kyrah is coming to me do not say anything.


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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
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We practice LAT in the car also. She often watches out the window so I began treating and praising if she was calm when she saw something she might react to. Now I can just use praise (and an occassional treat). However, I don't reward her with a treat if she starts to bark and I have to say her name to redirect her attention back to me - I just use praise. It is a work in progress though. It can be more difficult for her to stay calm if, for example, a person is jogging with their dog while crossing the street in front of the car.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 04:17 PM
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We practice LAT in the car also. She often watches out the window so I began treating and praising if she was calm when she saw something she might react to. Now I can just use praise (and an occassional treat). However, I don't reward her with a treat if she starts to bark and I have to say her name to redirect her attention back to me - I just use praise. It is a work in progress though. It can be more difficult for her to stay calm if, for example, a person is jogging with their dog while crossing the street in front of the car.
LOL Yes, I have done this in the car when Kyrah was young. Her thing now is she will react if the person is just standing there. Like waiting for a bus. She thinks they should be on the move! I guess b/c I really trained her when carpooling my daughter when I first got Kyrah. When those kids got out they were all on the move quickly!


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