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Old 10-23-2012, 04:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Zoey's training

I wanted to dedicate a thread on Zoey's training and progression. If you don't know Zoey, she's my belgium mali/gsd mix rescue that was adopted on 4/29/12 It has been a loonnnngggg road with her and she's been doing great, until the past week or so.

I would like to start by saying she's off to her consultation tomorrow for training, we've been having problems with her nipping and constantly mouthing. She got my buddy in the arm this weekend, i went out to get him during the evening, he was behind me and i bent down to grab her by the collar to push her back and she want right for his arm and ripped his shirt. No blood but it was a fairly hard bite and ripped his sweater, i had him give her two treats when they were both inside and she seemed fine, she's met him before and showered him with kisses in the past. I think this was more of a protective "hey, who the ef are you" type of bite but still, NOT OK to put her mouth on anyone unless i give it the ok.

Also my brother was playing catch with a football with his buddy outside, she was the monkey in the middle and she nipped him in the arse.... I understand how this would set her up to do something wrong in which I told my brother to keep her inside if your going to tease her, but still not ok.

Her progress with dog socialization has stopped because my neighborhood has a few off leash dogs that like to bombard us during our walks.... now when she see's them she goes bezerk where-as before she would heel nicely and ignore most dogs.

The fact that Zoey WILL bite is the scary part, I don't want these nips to get any worse. Even with all these quirks, I still love her to death... I just hope we can fix these issues...

She is set up for tomorrow with Steve @ K-9 Top Performance | The best performance your dog can give.
I plan to enroll her into "K9 camp" where you pay extra but you get more then regular daycare. "K-9 Camp is a more concentrated structured "daycare". Your dog will be trained and socialized with other dogs all throughout the day. We will work on the basic commands that you are working on in obedience, as well as walking on the leash. We spend a lot of time teaching them the proper manners needed for socialization with other dogs and people."

I think this would be a great way to start her road to progress because I just don't have the knowledge in training dogs like I thought I did. I think once a week at k9 camp will be great and then see how she is, whether she needs more training and socialization. I will keep this thread updated
and your thoughts and suggestions are appreciated.

At the end of the day, I will never give this dog up. I gave her up once to try for a better life only to return in worse condition. She is mine forever and I will do what ever it takes.
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Zoey- Adopted Belgian Malinois on 4/29/12
Princess- WGSD 3/15/01-9/21/11 Forever would've been to short...
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Old 10-24-2012, 12:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for the update. I was wondering how beautiful Zoey was coming along. It's great you have hired a professional trainer. For the loose dogs, I can sure understand and it is very annoying. Of course, my dog being lawfully walked on his leash wants to join in, and isn't allowed to. When I see loose dogs, I immediately turn - my dog is on heel - and go in the other direction. I reward my dog for obeying the heel. That action often stops the loose dogs from following because they see the other dog is with his human - heeling - and not free to play. For the monkey in the middle situation, Zoey has a high drive and will play to win, so those games are out, as you probably already have realized. For grabbing your friend by the arm, she is very protective and you don't know what trauma she went thru in the past. An animal behaviorist (maybe your trainer can recommend one) could help you with that. All I can suggest is to be very careful with her around other people so she cannot get into situtations that will trigger her aggression. The others who have experience with fear/people/aggression issues will be helpful in their replies.
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Old 10-24-2012, 03:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you Mary Beth, I will definitely try your loose dog trick. We normally just stop dead in our tracks and it's usually to late to do anything since I have to be in my defensive state in case one of these dogs tries and grab's my leg or worse, Zoey. I do have a behaviorist nearby thats awesome so if he recommends it, I will see what they have to say. I'm going to put a muzzle on her for her consultation because I just don;t know how she's going to react with all the dogs there and what not. If the trainer was a woman, I wouldn't. I feel like Zoey will just snap sometimes with men but when it comes to ANY female person, she is an absolute doll and hasn't shown the slightest bit of discomfort let alone aggression with them.

If she has aggression issue's, it's ok. I just want to know exactly what will trigger them. We go to the consultation in a few hours so I'll be sure to post back on the outcome. Very excited.
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Zoey- Adopted Belgian Malinois on 4/29/12
Princess- WGSD 3/15/01-9/21/11 Forever would've been to short...
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hope your consultation went well and they'll be able to help Zoey. Their website is certainly impressive and the home lessons working with Zoey in your home would also be very worthwhile in addition to their day training program. My Husky (adopted when she was 2) was afraid of men. The neighbor loved dogs, but I had so say, sorry, but please don't approach. I would watch her, she was not as overtly aggressive as Zoey, she didn't attack, but she would back up - hair rising on neck -ears back. I would quickly have her sit - stand in front of her - exchange a brief hello, then quickly turn and go. It took about a year and when she understood that men would not come up to her - she relaxed and to my surprise, one day when my dad was visiting - she went right up to him. A year from now, with the stability of a good home, training ,care, and love you are giving to Zoey, the same could happen. She loves you, so she has accepted one man - that's a start :-)
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks Mary Beth, that is certainly comforting to hear. The consultation yesterday went great. He explain how this breed is much different than a regular GSD and the fact that she was adopted, abused and neglected, he was surprised how good she actually was. He believes the bites were out of anxiety and sensing fear which explains ALOT, he demonstrated the proper ways to introduce Zoey to new people and if they have any bit of fear to not even try it.

He simulated himself being fearful and while Zoey was sitting on the floor, she glimpsed over at the fearful state and FED off of it, Mali mouth snaps and growling out of no where. I corrected her and she was fine. He then simulated why some of the bites happen because most people go up to her the wrong way, basically challenging her without knowing it. He puffed himself up and reached over and while she was minding her own business, listening to the other dogs doing head tilts, she caught a glimpse and again, FED off of it and started snapping and growling. It all started to become perfectly clear that she's not as bad as I thought it was.

He recommended the k9 camp and possible basic obedience but highly recommended protection work with her drive and energy... needless to say the old lady didnt agree with the protection part. He told me I could think it over and just let him know when we are ready and if we wanted to do any of this..... needless to say, I dropped Zoey off this morning
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Zoey- Adopted Belgian Malinois on 4/29/12
Princess- WGSD 3/15/01-9/21/11 Forever would've been to short...
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks so much for the update. You have certainly found the most perfect trainer for Zoey. It is really impressive how the trainer could trigger her reactions and show there is a reason for her behavior. I did wonder about the protection training, as an outlet for her and she seems to be a natural, but at the same time, I agree with your hesitations, and I would hold off on that also. If you're not already doing it, a good outlet for her prey drive is to play tug with her. I use 2 tugs with Sting - they are on leashes and I scoot them along the ground -he has to wait on the down/stay until I give the release command. I do wear thick gloves. As soon as he grabs one tug - I tug it, then drop it, and grab the other one, and so one, until he wins. When he brings the tugs to me, he gets a reward. I use tug after his obedience practice. Zoey may enjoy it that way since I think she and you will be getting "homework." I am sure Zoey will be tired out tonight after her school day. I can well understand how relieved and happy you must be.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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:Update:
Day #1
I pulled into the parking lot only to see Steve walking Zoey in a perfect heel. Well that's a relief! I was worrying all day how she would do with Steve and his employee's and was praying everything went well. He had some good news and bad news for me so I'll do my best to describe it.

Good news: Steve said Zoey did awesome! She warmed right up to him and all his employees in NO TIME! He said she is such a sweetheart and with some socializing, he see's no serious issue's with people aggression. Steve also said he hasn't seen prey drive like Zoey has in a LONG time and was ecstatic about it, highly recommended protection training in the future. He also said if she was ever to much for me, he would take her in a second.... Nice to know that but sorry, Zoeys allllll mine

Bad news: Steve believes Zoey has serious dog aggression issues but with time, he believes he can correct it. It will be a long road but he's optimistic about it. The crazy part is, I figured it would be the complete opposite. I have a theory that some may disagree with, but all-in-all, it is a theory. I think that Zoey's first encounter with all the new people, a day care with 20 dogs, and without her daddy being there was extremely stressful and acted defensively. I think once she gets used to it this whole k9 camp deal, she'll come around and show her true colors

I just dont how she could be aggressive, I mean look at these pictures.


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Princess- WGSD 3/15/01-9/21/11 Forever would've been to short...
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Wow, It sounds like Zoey has made a lot of great progress. I'm glad that you found Steve and that he seems to know how to handle your girl. I know that you are on the fence about protection training but, maybe in time if you give Zoey a job, this will give her an outlet for some of the agression issues.
Happy training!
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Old 10-26-2012, 01:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Nicky B., I agree with you. I also would have thought the complete opposite: okay with other dogs, but touchy with the new people. I would also have thought like you, it was due to first day stress, then I got to thinking what Steve said, about the high drive and protection training, and how he would take her. On his website, I read that Steve had planned to be a K-9 handler. Dogs like Zoey are very hard to find. She is a natural at protection training. You are first in Zoey's heart, but Steve is her handler during the weekday. He is enamored of her and has formed a bond. If that hadn't happened, Zoey would not have been cooperative at all, and she needs training. So, just my thoughts, Zoey doesn't want to share, she is the only dog with you, so when Steve turns to another dog - that's it, instead of sulking, she goes into drive. If I were you I would put aside my hesitation and I would sign her up for the protection training, that would give Zoey the outlet and she would learn how to control her agression. The dog learns to stop the protection on the Out command as I know from my Dobe who was defense trained before I got her. Also, if you practice with her, you will keep that bond strong. I play tug with my Sting, not because I want to, but because he needs it as an outlet for his prey drive, and the tug satisfies that drive and he associates me with doing that. Cheer up - today is Friday - you'll have the whole weekend with her, make the most of it. Steve doesn't use treats in his training according to the website - so open up the high powered treats after a good game of tug that Zoey wins at the end. And most important, all weekend she will not have to share you with another dog :-)
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Old 10-26-2012, 01:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear GSD View Post
Wow, It sounds like Zoey has made a lot of great progress. I'm glad that you found Steve and that he seems to know how to handle your girl. I know that you are on the fence about protection training but, maybe in time if you give Zoey a job, this will give her an outlet for some of the agression issues.
Happy training!
It's a start to a long journey but I do feel like we jumped the highest hurdle so far. I am 100% about doing protection work, the wife is the one who wants no part in it. She believes that if you have and train your dog in protection work, our sweet loving Zoey will be no more! I tried to talk her out of it but hopefully I can persuade her that she won't change. Steve showed us a poster of his award wining Dutch Shepard (for protection work) laying down with his infant laying on his ribs. I turned and said "vicious dog huh" I'll work on her more though.

I appreciate the input!
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Zoey- Adopted Belgian Malinois on 4/29/12
Princess- WGSD 3/15/01-9/21/11 Forever would've been to short...
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