Barking and chasing cars, people, dogs along invisible fence

Training and behavior topics, guidelines, and tips for Chow Chows.

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Dragonfly
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Barking and chasing cars, people, dogs along invisible fence

Postby Dragonfly » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:17 pm

I'd like to hear suggestions for stopping this behavior. The chows are in our large yard a lot, but are starting to scare passersby with their threatening behavior. Plus if they got out, I'd worry about being struck by a car or a lawsuit if someone is bitten. This behavior seems worse than before, and I'm hoping that regular walks might help.

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Ursa's daddy
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Re: Barking and chasing cars, people, dogs along invisible f

Postby Ursa's daddy » Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:20 pm

Wow, you have an invisible fence that can keep your chows in? My experience with them has not been that good. First, chows are defensive of their territory. Passersby will be frightened because they are chows. My male is a sweet friendly dog, but if someone is afraid, he puts on a real display. If you are in the US, the legal system is against your chows PERIOD.
I am sure there is a feed back loop going with the passersby. The dogs bark, the people react, and the dogs then think "wow, that was cool, do you think the next person will act even more frightened?" So the dogs then repeat the behavior. YOU are going to have to break this cycle. Walks will help. I am going to assume that you have leash trained your dogs, at least enough not to pull you excessively. I am also going to assume they know to sit and lie on command. If they do not, then you need to work on that training. When you walk them, first walk them around your yard to use up some of their energy. My two are very excited when they know they are going on a walk. If I cover 100 yards with them, the excitement is gone, often I don't have to walk that far. When strangers approach, I will have the dogs sit. This puts them in a more relaxed state, so the guard instinct is not that strong. Also, away from the house/yard/van, my dogs do not feel the need to defend a territory. If they sit and are calm, I talk to them and tell them that they are good dogs. I try to give them positive feed back for proper behavior. I repeat this time and time again. I want the dogs to understand that displays of aggression are not what we do in public. At home, it is ok if the dogs alert. They can bark to announce the presence of a person. That is what they are supposed to do, announce. They don't have to do anything else. If they are barking what I consider excessively, I call them to me. I am what they are supposed to be protecting, and I can determine what they need to do. When they get to me, I usually have them sit, and I may kneel down to signify that they have done well by barking, but I don't see any additional action is necessary. They will learn when it is appropriate to bark. It takes a while, because THEY DON'T KNOW. You have to teach them. Of all the different dogs I have had (I'm 63, so I have had a few dogs), I have found that my two chows are more tuned to taking cues from me. I can't say that about any other dogs I have had. I definitely feel that my two are looking to me for their reaction to any given situation. Please read through the forum for other ideas and information. The bottom line is that in the US, the legal system is pretty much against you and your dogs should something happen.

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Re: Barking and chasing cars, people, dogs along invisible f

Postby Dragonfly » Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:21 am

Thanks so much for your insight! I have taught them to sit and lay, but notice when they (mostly the male) get this frantic excitement it's doubly hard to make them stay sitting. They are ok on a harness and leash; however I know what you mean about the excitement. I have been making him sit when he gets frantic during walks (over squirrels, people, cars) and am hoping if I work with him he may get better. will try the walking around the yard a bit. When you're walking them, do you let them have extra length to explore or do you keep them reigned in? As far as being territorial, that's what bothers me most. They breached the fence a few times at the beginning but with collar adjustments seem to be minding the fence line. I may need to move it back away from the road, but want to try working with them first to give it a chance, as I've just retired and will be around more. Just want to mention another surprise--we had family guests and they are very good with our guests always, but will growl and bark at them when the guests are outside the fence and they can't cross the line. Is that surprising to you? I agree they take cues from me but there is that frantic instinct that takes over at times. I do praise their good behavior constantly, and am crazy about them, as they are wonderful dogs.

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Re: Barking and chasing cars, people, dogs along invisible f

Postby Ursa's daddy » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:00 am

When we first go out the door, I let them go to the end of the leash, which is 6 ft. I have thought about getting longer 20 ft leads for each of them so we can walk around here on the property outside the fence. Initially, they head out to the camellia bushes in front of the house and smell under them. Malachi will probably mark somewhere. It is always new to them. We might walk 50-60 feet to get to the van if we don't go out into the yard. Usually by that time they have calmed down. I now live in the country, so they do not see people walking by, and they do go on guard when they see people approaching. They were raised in Savannah, and people and traffic was a normal thing for them. There, they were not overly sensitive to what would be considered normal pedestrian traffic. Skate boards must make a funny noise that would cause them to bark. When we were in town, I would take them out every weekend to be in public at parks, etc. Conditioning is important to training, so eventually, they became used to squirrels and pigeon, although I could sense that they were always think "If we could just get real close to one". Cars and bicycles were non issues. Because we are now in the country, I take them about once a month to places like petsmart to see people for socialization. I do keep the leads shorter the closer that people are to us, so we will get out of the van with the full 6 ft, then shorten it to three or four ft as we go into the store. I am communicating to them that I am the big dog, and I am in charge. Socialization is a continuous process that needs renewing. A few months back, we went out to the lawnmower shop to get parts. They did quite well there, and when we came out, they realized that across the way was a large live oak. They looked at me, then looked at the tree, then looked at me. They said "PLEASE", so we walked over to let them check out the tree. There was no pulling and acting crazy, but there were no squirrels on the ground either. This probably sounds like I have wonderful dogs, and yes they are but.....I am the only one that can walk them. I had to take my wife with me because she cannot really keep them from pulling. She does not believe they will behave for me.
We have guests, and I find it best if a family member goes outside to escort the guest into the house. The dogs are defensive of the house and property. It is probably better that either I or my son are there to help reassure the dogs. My son and I went out of town this weekend, and my wife said that Ursa, my female stayed on alert the whole time. At night, she would stay in the hall outside the bedroom door and pace. She would go to the north window where she could look out at the road leading to the house and see any automobiles approaching and bark. The protection instinct is very strong with chows. You are correct is stating that they are wonderful dogs. I have never had dogs that were as sweet, loving and protective as my two chows. That protective part can unfortunately cause problems.

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Re: Barking and chasing cars, people, dogs along invisible f

Postby PCC » Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:09 pm

JMHO, I do not think invisible fences are a good idea at all. Put up a real fence, or do not leave your dog in the yard to roam free.


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