Differences with training techniques - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-24-2011, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Differences with training techniques

I have been researching online and on this forum for advice in regards to training and generally, just how to be in regards to handling a rescue who has a history of abuse and displays aggression.
Teaching a dog is a lot like raising a kid. Meaning..there are so many baby (human) books out there, but so many differing opinions on the care, feeding, punishments (time outs vs spanking) etc.
I remember growing up being told by my parents and others that a puppy's nose should be pushed into its "accident" on the floor to housebreak him. I remember as a child having a VERY hard time with that concept. I became equally confused at the age of 7 when my little baby brother had pooped in the bathtub and my Mom not "correcting" him for it. When I questioned her (another thing that wasn't allowed by my parents) on why she didn't spank my brother, her reply was because "He's a baby and can't control it." When I replied with "Yeah, but so is Blackie" I was sent to my room for being mouthy.
When I had children, I took pretty much everything my parents had done to us as children and went the opposite way in how I raised mine. Same with when we bought Duchess our labrador.
I went through 3 different training places before I found one that I was truly happy with. I endured belittling from so called experts thatsaid I had no idea as an amateur how to train a dog for if I did, I wouldn't be in their class, etc. Those 3 were VERY rough with puppies. The 6 month old classes most of the dogs looked like they were doing what their owner wanted because they HAD to, not that they really wanted to. I do not want my dog afraid of me. So, we raised Duchess as well the total opposite way my parents and some snobby know-it-all trainers and she was happy and overall a fantastic dog. I can't and WON'T expect a dog to behave perfectly all the time. Dogs including humans, all have moments.
I do feel a bit overwhelmed in regards to the thousands of posts with different ways of training a dog. So here is my question.
Shouldn't we train a dog in the same way as we would children? Meaning, what works for some may not for another? I know with our children, praising them (realistically) just made them want to excel more in anything they did whether it be school sports, etc. Our children were also raised not in the same way on everything because of personality differences. Please do not mistake what I am saying here. I know dogs and humans are not the same. However, don't we all respond the same when given a compliment or even rewards?
Some things on how to be with an aggressive dog is pretty simple. Do not force yourself on them, give them time to know you and build trust, etc. However, is there a fine line on how much one should allow with a dog so they do not get to the point of taking over everything? How do you handle a dog that may start getting aggressive with a stranger or family member? Also, no, I am NOT going to take him where people are. Originally I was going to take him for walks on my block but have since changed my mind on that. We are fortunate to own another piece of property that has no animals or people near by that I can take him to for our leisure strolls.
I would appreciate FB and advice on how to help an abused neglected dog transition into his new life in the best ways possible.
Thanks,
Eileen
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-24-2011, 10:21 AM
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I don't think you can really make any decisions on how to help him until you meet him. Is he even aggressive? If so, why is he aggressive? Is it fear? (most probably in this case). Is it medical? Is he aggressive towards strangers? Or is he scared of strangers and tries to avoid them?
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-24-2011, 10:28 AM
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Just to add, I think doing what you are currently doing is good.

1) Find a behaviorist
2) Find a trainer with positive methods. No yank and crank for this guy! No Cesar Milan methods.
3) Prepare to protect him from scary things. You already have advice on how to introduce him to men.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-24-2011, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jax08 View Post
I don't think you can really make any decisions on how to help him until you meet him. Is he even aggressive? If so, why is he aggressive? Is it fear? (most probably in this case). Is it medical? Is he aggressive towards strangers? Or is he scared of strangers and tries to avoid them?
I can only go by what I have been told by the shelter so far.
He is showing aggressive behavior, growling, etc towards anyone new. He doesn't care much for men. Doesn't like other dogs who act hyper. Really dislikes cats. The last 2 things are not a big deal as we do not have any other animals in the house.

He was beaten by his owner to make him mean and was tied outside with no contact for his 5 years of life.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-24-2011, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Also, I do not have a behaviorist trainer living in my home when he first gets there. Wish I did! LOL!
So I need to know how to correct any kind of aggressive behavior in a way that won't upset him more than he may be.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-24-2011, 10:36 AM
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In my opinion, getting to know him and starting to bond before picking a training methodology. Get to find out what makes him tick, so to speak.
That will help you determine what kind of trainer you want to bring in to work with him.

Is he person aggressive or animal reacitive/aggressive? Kids/animals could be an issue. Is it fear that is making him act/react. I think there are too many questions to answer at this point.
No dog is going to have the same personality in a shelter that they will have in a home, be it foster or forever.
If he's had the life it sounds like he's had, just not being tied to something or living in a noisy shelter will be enough of an adjustment for him.

From your previous posts, you seem to have the motivation to help this poor guy and I love how positive and driven you are to help him.
He's going to pick up on that. It's also very possible that, given any amount of stability and love, some of the issues you've heard about may not be as bad, just based on circumstances.

My grandfather was an old time horseman. He trained and worked with draft horses for most of his lift. He used to say this, in regard to problem horses he worked with: "the fight will be what IT wants to be, not what YOU want it to be." (If that makes any sense - in my opinion, when I share that with people, they either get it or they don't. Sorry I can't give you more)

Be patient, be positive and he'll know and start to work with you.
(It goes without saying, but also be safe)

Good luck, looking forward to seeing pics and hearing about his progress.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-24-2011, 10:40 AM
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Fear and survival instincts. Hyper dogs are out of control so he isn't going to like that. And the cats are prey drive. The last two are a big deal because he could take off after them endangering his life is he shoots into a road or if he attacks another dog.

Work on the fear of people first. Behaviorist and good positive trainer. Look up NILIF. That will be really important to start with.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-24-2011, 10:43 AM
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I agree with both of Jax's posts. I wouldn't be correcting anything yet, that's not the way you want to start off this relationship. I would do my best to setup every scenario so that Nick succeeds and put as little pressure on him as possible. Everything that happens to him is good from the moment you meet him and controlled (in a positive way). He would be on leash constantly and in a crate if I can't devote my full attention to him. He gets as little freedom as possible until you know what you are dealing with and he has earned it.

You are getting ahead of yourself. It is great that you want to have a plan in place if things work out but you haven't even met him yet. It is easy to get caught up in the emotion of wanting to save a dog but I have learned not to rely on anyone else's evaluation of a GSD in the shelter and to go in with an clear head and assess the situation based on my own observations and my gut feelings.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-24-2011, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CassandGunnar View Post
In my opinion, getting to know him and starting to bond before picking a training methodology. Get to find out what makes him tick, so to speak.
That will help you determine what kind of trainer you want to bring in to work with him.

Is he person aggressive or animal reacitive/aggressive? Kids/animals could be an issue. Is it fear that is making him act/react. I think there are too many questions to answer at this point.
No dog is going to have the same personality in a shelter that they will have in a home, be it foster or forever.
If he's had the life it sounds like he's had, just not being tied to something or living in a noisy shelter will be enough of an adjustment for him.

From your previous posts, you seem to have the motivation to help this poor guy and I love how positive and driven you are to help him.
He's going to pick up on that. It's also very possible that, given any amount of stability and love, some of the issues you've heard about may not be as bad, just based on circumstances.

My grandfather was an old time horseman. He trained and worked with draft horses for most of his lift. He used to say this, in regard to problem horses he worked with: "the fight will be what IT wants to be, not what YOU want it to be." (If that makes any sense - in my opinion, when I share that with people, they either get it or they don't. Sorry I can't give you more)

Be patient, be positive and he'll know and start to work with you.
(It goes without saying, but also be safe)

Good luck, looking forward to seeing pics and hearing about his progress.
The advices here are all good, but it still doesn't help me with the "what ifs" I like being prepared as you can tell.
IF he shows any aggression towards a family member, how do we handle that?
Thanks
Eileen
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-24-2011, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gsdraven View Post
I agree with both of Jax's posts. I wouldn't be correcting anything yet, that's not the way you want to start off this relationship. I would do my best to setup every scenario so that Nick succeeds and put as little pressure on him as possible. Everything that happens to him is good from the moment you meet him and controlled (in a positive way). He would be on leash constantly and in a crate if I can't devote my full attention to him. He gets as little freedom as possible until you know what you are dealing with and he has earned it.

You are getting ahead of yourself. It is great that you want to have a plan in place if things work out but you haven't even met him yet. It is easy to get caught up in the emotion of wanting to save a dog but I have learned not to rely on anyone else's evaluation of a GSD in the shelter and to go in with an clear head and assess the situation based on my own observations and my gut feelings.
Thank you. Amazing the different answers I am getting. Yesterday I was told by people that training begins the moment he enters the house which I didn't agree with. Never mind. I like the gut feelings way you mentioned and crating/leashing. I will do that.
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