going to the beahvoirist - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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going to the beahvoirist

So after tons of research, reading and training. Ive realized that Dexter's issues on leash reactivity to other dogs (barrier frustration) is just out of control. Its not quite life or death but it clearly interrupts him from having just an "okay" life to having an amazing fulfilling life. He also has extremely high prey drive, I feel is going to get us into turble one of these days if we don't take steps to control it now.

So we called all around to many trainers, and behaviorist and found one with a great reputation, and feel pretty confident she is the person to go to. We been through a few positive based class's were going to go try more of a "balance" trainer but overall correction trainers scare me. I know there are many great balance trainers that use the tools proper, and humanly but Ive heard of correction trainers gone wrong. I decided to not risk it and go to an experienced behaviorist who should be able to help us depict weather the reaction is fear based or frustration based, then from there she should help us find the right tool. I would like to try and do as positive as possible I dont want anything to ruin our bond. However if it dose have to be an adverse at least im confident she will teach us to use it humanely and proper, so we can wean off.

Anyways its a little bit of a wait to get in to see her, She gave me a little homework too. She asked that I get a 15 sec video of him reacting, and also to pack a bag of every tool Ive ever used with him and to make a list of anything and everything we want to work on.

I just want to be prepared as possible going into this, so we can get the most out of it. Is there any type of questions I should be asking her? Or things maybe I should look out for?

My goal is to have my dog be able to walk on a leash and pass other dogs without acting like a lunatic, we tried a prong it fired him up more, we tried doing the CC with a clicker and treats, treats meant nothing, we also tried to CC with a tug game, I got Bit! The only thing that has worked is avoiding our issue by u-turning away, Im getting really good at avoiding our problems, but its not solving anything, so any advice would be helpful, Ive never gone to a behaviorist before and im not really sure what to expect, She has great reputation and she competley transformed my friends aggressive dog, so Im very hopeful..... so until next monday ..............
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 03:34 PM
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Re: going to the beahvoirist

Good luck! I think it's awesome you're taking this step to help give Dexter a better life! Most people would just ignore it, but you're actively helping your dog! Kuddos and keep us posted!!


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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 03:44 PM
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Re: going to the beahvoirist

Hi, I read an article about the two reward system for dealing with on leash reactivity.

To sum it up quickly (I'm at work) you tie the dog securely to a post/tree. The owner stands calmly and quietly beside the dog. Another handler and dog team approach latterally, you want to have a dog that is not going to antagonize the reactive do and will stay focused on his handler.

The moment the dog starts to react, the dog and handler pair stop and stay still and the reactive dog walks away and keeps his back to the dog.

When the dog stops reacting the owner imediately returns and gives a treat and the dog and handler pair leave quickly.

I will find you the link tonight when I am at home but I believe it was on the Canada Pet Dog Trainer Association website.

Good luck to you, my two can be reactive on leash and we are working on it with them. They are just 15 months old.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 04:20 PM
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Re: going to the beahvoirist

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Sisters_GrimmHi, I read an article about the two reward system for dealing with on leash reactivity.

To sum it up quickly (I'm at work) you tie the dog securely to a post/tree. The owner stands calmly and quietly beside the dog. Another handler and dog team approach latterally, you want to have a dog that is not going to antagonize the reactive do and will stay focused on his handler.

The moment the dog starts to react, the dog and handler pair stop and stay still and the reactive dog walks away and keeps his back to the dog.

When the dog stops reacting the owner imediately returns and gives a treat and the dog and handler pair leave quickly.

I will find you the link tonight when I am at home but I believe it was on the Canada Pet Dog Trainer Association website.

Good luck to you, my two can be reactive on leash and we are working on it with them. They are just 15 months old.
I've used that method, sometimes it works but there are dogs in which it doesn't. Some dogs are too excited and once another dog is in sight, they couldn't care less about if the owner is or not in the proximity or if he has the best treats of the world. It comes to the individual.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 09:28 PM
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Re: going to the beahvoirist

I'm going to recommend some homework for you -- Read a bunch of stuff by Pat Miller who has done a lot with counter conditioning -- and Read Bill Campbell's stuff -- for instance The New Better Behavior for Dogs. I think your approach has had difficulty because you get within his reactive zone which just undoes anything you've managed to achieve. What you want to do is shorten that zone until you extinguish it. You can't do that by getting into it.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 02:15 AM
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Re: going to the beahvoirist

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Quote:What you want to do is shorten that zone until you extinguish it. You can't do that by getting into it.
This cannot be said any plainer and nor is it any lie.

With a reactive dog or "REd zone dog" (as Ceaser Milan would put it) You have to stop them from going into the zone to begin with.

Once any dog is on that zone then they sort of become "blind" with it, you can correct the heck out of them with a prong collar and they end up blowing you off and feel nothing.

I do alot of work with red zone cases.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 12:02 PM
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Re: going to the beahvoirist

Keepus posted on how this goes. I am not sure if this is appropriate, but would you share the name of the behavorist.

I hired one, about 18 months ago to evaluate and work with my Dog, Timber. The woman is known worldwide, mostly booked, and expensive.

The results and advice from her were just terrible. Since then I have found a good trainer, and the dog's improvement has exceeded expectations.

My only suggestion, find someone, behavorist or trianer, that works strickly with German Shepherds.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 02:08 PM
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Re: going to the beahvoirist

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Originally Posted By: Sisters_Grimm
The moment the dog starts to react, the dog and handler pair stop and stay still and the reactive dog walks away and keeps his back to the dog.

When the dog stops reacting the owner imediately returns and gives a treat and the dog and handler pair leave quickly.
I think you meant that the handler of the reactive dog moves away. We used a similar method in Feisty Fido classes and that was particularly successful for me but my girl is a very bonded dog.

Something else we did was use a command of 'this way' when practicing u-turns. That helps break her concentration & turn her back to me instead of reacting to an oncoming dog. My dog isn't treat oriented and I've found that if I give her commands it helps to keep her from being completely focused on the other dog.

What has worked best for me is using body blocking. She knows that 'with me' means to stay at my side and if I see an oncoming dog, I move slightly in front of her and tell her 'with me' to keep her to side while keeping a relatively loose leash. The combination seems to work for her. I don't think there will ever be a time when I can totally let me guard down while we're out walking, but it's been several months since she's actively 'reacted' to another dog.

Best of luck. Let us know how it goes.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 04:25 PM
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Re: going to the beahvoirist

Yes you are correct the reactive dog owner walks away but the calm dog and handler remain still.

Having the calm dog leave would only reinforce to the reactive dog the wrong behaviour.

Sorry for any confusion
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-03-2009, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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Re: going to the beahvoirist

Thank you for all the replies. You guys are so dead on with us going to far into our zone, we have had SOME success when we have been able to keep our distance, however life happens dogs jump out of bush's, I make mistakes and think "hey hes getting better lets try this out at a petstore, or Hey hes not reacting at 8 ft lets push it and see how it dose at 6ft" I believe its ALL handler error (yup my fault not his)
I can read all the books in the world and understand what I should be doing, but to actually do it and do it right, much easier said then done. I still think it helps tho to be prepared, and learn about all the different options, and different techniques used, just in case you do end up with one of those horror stories trainers/behaviorist

Thanks for the info on Pat Miller and Bill Campbell, although I got sidetracked on the Bill Campbell's Bio-Sonic Bean-Bag tool, Has anyone used that?
http://www.webtrail.com/petbehavior/biosonic.html

Timber- Im going to see Melissa Cocola Certified Master Trainer here is her website
http://www.positivek9inc.com/
Out of curiosity, if you don't mind if ask who you went to see?
I did quite a bit of homework looking for the right trainer/behavoirist, It really came down to two, that Ive heard wonderful things from with people who actually trained with them, Hopefully I made the right choice. I will keep everyone updated Thanks again
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