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Old 02-17-2013, 05:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
Jag
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Question I think I've got it...

I went to yet another trainer today just for an eval. I'm not a raving fan of what I read on feedback about his facility.... but that doesn't matter. Some good points were brought up today. I don't know if it's the ticket, but one thing is for sure. Grim is NOT engaging with me much. That was the difference between him and the dogs in class, and the difference between pretty much every other shepherd/handler team I've seen and Grim and I. I was told that I should leave him in his kennel all the time if I'm not working with him. He shouldn't be playing with the pug. I agree, the pug is MUCH more interesting to him than I am. I don't know if I like the idea of leaving him in his kennel all the time except when I'm working with him. Does anyone else do this?

The second point that hit home (and this isn't the first time I heard it) was that the whining and pacing was from not knowing what I want him to do. Also, because he's had 'unfair' corrections... like the prong while walking so he doesn't pull me, and then starting after the barking stuff he started being corrected on the prong to be quiet. I was told NO corrections unless he knows 100% what I DO want him to do, yet he's not doing it. So no more walks until he understands to stay with me. His barking and whining did start about a week or so after I put the prong on him for walks. I don't know if they're related or not. I was told the whining is anxiety from not knowing if he's doing something right or wrong and not knowing what I want him to do.

So basically, starting from square one. Getting him engaged with me and stopping all play with the pug. Any and all play comes from me. Even food and toys don't keep his attention on me at all. I can work him right now for a few minutes before he wanders off. However, he's not "all about me" like I see other dogs being. Part of this was my own fault because I let him and the pug play together when he was little because he was chewing me up so badly and wouldn't go for any distraction that I allowed them to play so he wasn't making me bleed. I never thought it would hurt anything. He's used to being out of his kennel now a good part of the day, so I feel it would rock his world if he was stuck in there almost 24/7. However, I want him to be interested in ME, not the pug or whatever.

I think I'm going to get those DVD's that Michael Ellis did on Engagement, etc. and start working with him on that at home to see if I can get his attention. Until he's interested in me, he's not going to learn, either. Then the whining should stop because he knows what I want and he's not being punished for things that he doesn't know. Does this sound realistic to anyone? To go to classes with this guy it would cost $500 for 10 classes, with 4-5 being private lessons and the rest group to 'proof' the things learned. He's also 3 hours away, which I think is too far. I do think that until Grim has some foundation already going, group classes aren't going to work. Any thoughts or input on this?
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I am absolutely not the expert but I have come to think that engagement and focus are foundations for just about everything else. I also had some issues with engagement with Stella and have really been working on it. It is paying off slowly but surely. I don't really know about the crate thing. That would be hard.

I agree that unless the dog knows what is expected, a correction is useless. I was told that just telling a dog what NOT to do, really doesn't accomplish much. They need to know what TO do. Makes sense to me.
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If you keep Grim locked up, you will probably not need to pay a trainer, because he will be focused on you. Leerburg suggest crating and kenneling when you're not training your dog. Handfeeding all meals during training, no toys unless you're interacting with him and no unsupervised play with other dogs.

Michael Ellis is great, I just started using his training methods. Personally, I'm 100% sure that Leerburg's method works, but it's not for me. (Yet! :-)
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I dont' know about the kenneling all the time but 100% agree on the rest. Been there, done that with Jax. Once you start building a relationship and giving corrections only when fair, you will see a big difference. I say stick with this trainer for a while and see how it goes. $50/session is a good price. I would discuss private ones maybe every other week or every third week. Is that 3 hours one way or round trip?
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Each way. After we got home, he was whining at our bedroom door because the pug is in there right now.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Jax is loose with two other dogs all day. If you build the relationship then he will still focus on you. Jax's favorite thing is her frisbee. My trainer explained it to me that she didn't know the reward was from me. So, when I threw the frisbee, I would yell "Yes!". That yes is now related to the reward that only comes from me. It transfers to everything whether it's food or play where she can jump on me or the frisbee. Train without distractions and train fairly. Break it down into small steps so he understand position, then understand that he can move in that position.

Personally, if I found a trainer that I liked and had this philosophy, then I would discuss private lessons over the course of several weeks to see how it goes.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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When the guy took Grim's lead and got really animated trying to get his attention (and he had a hot dog he was offering bites of) he couldn't keep his attention, either. I guess I'm wondering if getting the DVD's and following the same program he's going by would give me near the same results. Gas is up to nearly $4 a gallon... so add another $100 per session... I DO like that he does French Ring, though.... so that's something in his favor, too.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I think it's a good idea to start over with him, and build a bond with him..When you have a tight bond, focus and everything else just falls into place.

Sounds like he's bonded to the pug more than anything else, cause that pug is FUN.

I've had alot of dogs over the years, and multiples, and can honestly say, whether it was luck or whatever, not one of them has ever bonded to another dog in the household..Sure they were all 'buds', but I have always been number one with each of them..

The crate isolation, isn't a 'new' thing, I have heard of it. The idea is to isolate the dog from everything but YOU. Do I agree with it? Not up to me, I just never had the desire nor need to do it..

I can't comment on the trainer, I think he had some valid points, but I will say, there is nothing "he" can do to make that dog bond to you. It has to come from you.

I still think the whining and such is more 'frustration' and it very well could be you aren't clear with what you want from him and inconsistent..
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Ohhh... I just found out that I don't think he's with that place anymore... maybe he started his own place. I think I should ask him. He said he's not 'certified' in anything. That was kind of a downer. However, the other guy that was there swears he's a good trainer, and his dog he brought out was well trained. (Although it had an E-collar on still) I think I should look into that.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakodaCD OA View Post
I think it's a good idea to start over with him, and build a bond with him..When you have a tight bond, focus and everything else just falls into place.

Sounds like he's bonded to the pug more than anything else, cause that pug is FUN.

I've had alot of dogs over the years, and multiples, and can honestly say, whether it was luck or whatever, not one of them has ever bonded to another dog in the household..Sure they were all 'buds', but I have always been number one with each of them..

The crate isolation, isn't a 'new' thing, I have heard of it. The idea is to isolate the dog from everything but YOU. Do I agree with it? Not up to me, I just never had the desire nor need to do it..

I can't comment on the trainer, I think he had some valid points, but I will say, there is nothing "he" can do to make that dog bond to you. It has to come from you.

I still think the whining and such is more 'frustration' and it very well could be you aren't clear with what you want from him and inconsistent..
I don't disagree with you on anything. This is entirely my fault. I've always had multiples, too... and NEVER had this problem. He plays with the pug nearly all day. She's rowdy, fast, and she has tons of energy. They've always played well together. If she's out when I'm working with him, she'll come out and try to get him to play, so I've started shutting her in the bedroom while we work. My issue is that if the 'work' sessions are only 10 minutes, then that leaves him in the crate most of the day. I don't know if that's a good idea or not. I DO need to stop him from playing with her for awhile, though, so we can have more 'us' time. I can't even sit with him because she'll come up and then off they go....
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