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Old 11-09-2012, 10:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Does your dog trust you? REALLY trust you?

I know GSDs are bred (generally) to have a lot of biddability. And I do wonder how much the willingness to please is directly related to trust in the handler. I think, though, that while probably very closely related, trust and biddability are definitely different things. I have two stories:

Story 1-
In agility class some time ago, there was a VERY tight turn directly after a broad jump (a long, extended jump at speed) to a simple bar jump. It was really difficult for the border collies to get even. But me and my foolish self thought, "hey, I have a badass GSD that I think is really agile. We're going for it in spite of the instructors warnings." Well, sure enough there was no way Pimg was going to make it. She jumped the broad jump and tried to turn in the air in order to be facing the direction of the really tight bar jump. She slipped when she landed and rolled over a couple times. My instructor made us stop and gave me a real tongue lashing. Honestly this really was a pivotal moment for me in realizing that I DO need to be conscious of what I ask my dog to do.

She said: "Pimg has absolute 100% trust in you! It is your responsibility to take that seriously and not ask her to do things that are dangerous. She *will* attempt anything you ask. Get your head straight and be conscious of that. You have something very special in her, I don't see that kind of trust often. You really have a lot of responsibility in keeping your dog SAFE." (paraphrase of course)

(Now, I will note- this instructor as much as I liked her and appreciated her great advice and experience- she was always harping on me about how I shouldn't ask a "big GSD" to be doing such demanding agility. Pimg has always run very well and turned on a dime. I never did get why the instructor was so against it. Oh well. My new instructor appreciates Pimg's agility and we are having a great time under such a confident instructor!)

Second story-
I am taking an online K9 Fitness class right now with a canine physical therapist. Just this week I posted a video for her critique with Pimg up on a FitPaws Peanut. I'm a little behind in the class homework and so I combined two weeks worth of homework into one- doing some drills a bit earlier than I should have. (Note, I was being perfectly safe and the instructor did not think we were being unsafe.) Anyway, after telling me how to better position Pimg in order to more properly work the muscle groups involved, she also commented about how blown away she was with Pimg's trust in me. She said she was beyond impressed that Pimg allowed me to perform the positions and that her trust in me was not commonly seen in many of her clients.

Remember- this is all via videos on youtube. If that instructor can pick up on Pimg's trust via video alone, then there really must be something to it!

___
So. Are your GSDs similar? Is this a GSD thing bred into them, or is this a special thing with my girl? I suspect it's both. Pimg really is highly bonded to me and really does trust me completely. I'm really just curious if anyone else has similar stories of trust. I'd love to hear them!
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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In my opinion, it sounds like you have that *extra* special bond with her that many of us hope and strive for. I do agree with what your trainer said about being aware of what you ask of her. I think that when a dog trusts you that much, they can sometimes ignore their own common sense and then you do have a greater responsibility to them.

In the short time that Balen and I have been together, I think we have developed a certain level of trust already BUT I know that there is a cut off point in which he would flat out refuse to do something because we just arent there yet trust wise and probably wont be for some time. Pimg sounds like she really doesnt have that "cut off" point with you anymore.

How long have you had her?


I dont know how well I explained my thoughts on this.....brain is running a little slow today....
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:13 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree with you, PatchonGSD. To be honest, I almost put this in the "brag" section as I'm very very proud indeed of the *extra* special bond I have with her. But then I thought- man, I bet others have similar stories. I'd love to hear them!

I've had Pimg since she was 8 weeks old. She is just shy of 7 years now.
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think it is something to brag about. I've had that sort of relationship with one of my horses, but I cant really say that I've had that with a dog. Time together is a factor, but I also think that you have to *do* things with your dog to ever hope to develop that sort of relationship and *earn* that trust from them. I'd say you've done a great job!
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I think you have something special with Pimg I had that kind of a bond with my Aussie, she would do anything I asked and not think twice about it, absolute trust. I scramble with my dogs which means that we climb/hike to the peaks of mountains, I regularily ask them to climb up stuff that is very scary. I am as safe as possible and use ropes and harnesses for them when there is exposure. Both of my boys I have had to "force" to climb certain things early on in their scrambling years. I think since I made them do it and they lived that they trust me more and we continue to do scary things and they believe that where I tell them to go and what I tell them to do is safe. Havoc is kind of reckless and will generally just do anything, I do think that his trust in me is above average, we do have a pretty special bond and one day it may be as good as the bond Keeper and I had. I attached a picture of him jumping off a dock when he was alomost 4 months old, pretty crazy for a puppy that age! But I think a big part of it was the fact that his toy was in the water, at that age he really believed he was 8 feet tall and bullet proof!

Keeper definitely had that blind faith that you are talking about with Pimg. I attached a picture of a hike we did last summer where I told her to jump into a glacier lake off of a rock, there was a good 10-15 foot drop off the rock into the lake. There was no way Odin would do it, he just went to the ledge and cried. Keeper LEAPED first time without second guessing. She was a speecial dog.
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Does your dog trust you? REALLY trust you?-vacation-2011-152small.jpg   Does your dog trust you? REALLY trust you?-pickle-jar-lakes-007small.jpg  
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Awesome stories.

I like to think I have that bond with Frag, but don't have many stories to back it up..

He did climb a ladder once, last year during a nosework class because the hide was at the top of it. 6' ladder, closed and leaning against a wall. I told him to find it and I guess he trusted me enough to know it was ok to climb all the way up for it!
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Wow- very cool pictures Kristi!! I think even Pimg would hesitate on that glacier jump! Wow!!
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:50 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Even though not as dramatic, a dog who takes your guidance that the company that just came over is friends and not robbers or rapists who need to be attacked, that's showing "trust" right there.

I like to think of it as reliance on their owners that the owners have the best judgement...
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Here she is again on the side of a mountain, in the middle of a blizzard, cool as a cucumber

(I wasn't going to think about her today, POO! Man I miss her.) Nice to share how cool she was though
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have this trust already with WD. He is currently in a fear stage, scared of minor things that pop up in his life. When I tell him "Go see" he goes over there and learns that that piece of firewood isn't going to eat him.
One day we were in Petco and he saw a snake hide-out on a shelf. Scary!!! He did as I told him and when he approached it the employee, who was observing this training said, "Wow, that was a close call!"
On the trails he will navigate everything I tell him he can do.
I am very proud of this trust and he is only 9 months old. I know there will be many more good stories with this awesome dog.
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