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Canine Behavior/Outside Issues

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Question
I have a 2 year old MinPin who I adopted about 9 months ago. She came to me very skittish and afraid. She quickly came around and I was able to train this previously untrained pup. My MinPin is very smart and a quick learner. She has great manners inside the house and around the yard. The issue is when we leave the property and try to go for a walk. Immediately she becomes overly excited, whines, shakes, pulls to the end of her leash. She knows that the dogs at the end of the street are going to run at her from behind the fence and bark. We have been running by the avoid annoying the whole neighborhood with her high pitched barks. She will calm down as soon as we pass and the barking stops. Her barking stops just until we come across something else. She will bark at birds, bikes, people and especially other dogs. My MinPin will not only bark but have a full on episode. High pitched screeching growling and lounging. This is not only embarrassing but frustrating. We are currently in a behavior class because I thought teaching her more skills would give her confidence. Her episodes outside are greatly harming her during class time with all the dogs and people around.I don't even know where to begin with how to correct this behavior. I have tried avoiding the situations that trigger her but its near impossible. I have trained attention exercises to keep her attention on me prior to the triggers. Nothing seems to be working. I have even had a trainer come to observe the behavior and the suggested methods (stopping until she stops whining, treats) have not worked. I would love to one day walk my dog in peace! Any more advice would be wonderful!

Answer
Your dog appears to be totally unsocialized.  You've done a tremendous job so far but the fear response and anxiety you describe (fight/flight) is quite difficult to counter condition.  There is no "correction" involved, that would exacerbate the behavior.  The group class is not being conducted properly, DON'T GO THERE AGAIN.  A "growl" class, led by a behaviorist or highly educated and experienced trainer, would address the fear issues of your dog IN the class structure.  By taking her there, you are (in effect) "flooding" her with stimuli which elicit the fight/flight response.  There ARE times when "flooding" can work but only under explicit circumstances and after serious evaluation by a certified applied animal behaviorist.

There are many, many "backyard" dogs: these are dogs who originally were owned by people who did NOT socialize them outside of the yard (for people, traffic, especially other dogs, etc.)  Her behavior should NOT be embarrassing as IT IS COMMON in "backyard" dogs and no trainer should EVER see it as a temperament flaw.  If she is "good to go" in the backyard, let's leave it at that unless you are able to find a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (in Hawaii, don't know if there are any, actually, but there should be at least one).  This CAAB will observe the dog, who has an excellent temperament and is quite bidable (per your description).  Not every dog can go everywhere with everyone.  Nor should such a dog be expected to without the proper guidance.  If you are able to find a CAAB from the following links, you might want a consultation.  Otherwise, accept this dog for who she is (given her past limitations) and live with her as your companion:

http://www.animalbehavior.org/ABSAppliedBehavior/caab-directory
http://certifiedanimalbehaviorist.com/page6.html
http://iaabc.org/consultants  

Canine Behavior

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.

Expertise

I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.

Experience

30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for ThePetChannel.com for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, K9Shrinks@egroups.com. Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Organizations
Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Publications
Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Education/Credentials
Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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