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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 08:46 AM Thread Starter
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Ask the dog

Ask the dog…

Asking simple questions sometimes gets complicated answers that do nothing to help the situation. This truth is never more apparent then when asking dog training advice on specific behavioral problems. Personally I’ve been on both sides of the issue, asking for advice and trying to answer questions.

I’m no authority in this arena but for the sake of the dogs in question I have to weigh in with my own experiences. The questions I’ve asked include; first and foremost how do I get close to my puppy with out getting bitten or scratched by them razor sharp claws. How do I get my dog to stop pulling when we go walking? How do I teach my dog not to mess in the house? And the list goes on and on.

I finally had to ask an authority figure on the subject these same questions. I asked Gypsy my German shepherd and believe it or not she has been able to teach me more than any one about these complicated questions.

I remember the day vividly I stepped in the yard frustrated and on the verge of giving up on her. She bit me at least five times not hard but enough to let me know she was in charge.

“Gypsy get your Frisbee,” I commanded. She went after my pants leg ripping a hole biting my ankle and nearly throwing me to the ground.

“Quit jumping on me,” I said as I stuck out my knee. She jumped higher and ripped my shirt sleeve.

I finally made my way past teeth and claws to her favorite toy; her Frisbee but in stead of throwing it to get her off of me I just stood there thinking there must be a better way.

Gypsy did a surprising thing she was standing there looking at her Frisbee; I was purposely keeping it out of her reach. Suddenly she sat and stared at the darn thing. In my frustration I turned and walked toward the house thinking of all the money and time I had invested in this dog. Maybe it’s the breading, maybe I should not have bought her form a back yard breeder but she was so rambunctious and full of life when I met her I just had to have her. But now she’s ten months old and sixty pounds of pure out of control energy.

I’d built Gypsy a two thousand square foot run to keep and train her in and realized she was walking along beside me in perfect heeling position as I walked across it. I turned just as I reached the gate. Gypsy turned with me still in perfect heeling position. I couldn’t help but smile and threw the Frisbee saying good girl. That was the day I gave up on all training methods that used any thing but positive re-enforcement. I searched the internet, watched every video I could find on the subject and tried everything I learned. Guess what this old dog has to humble him self and I say here and now me and all the other yank and crank hard core you’ll do as I say or else dog owners are wrong. Learning to marker train properly is faster, more fun and results are obvious immediately. I used this method of bribery with treats and toys to teach No Bight, Sit, Down, Stay, Heel or walking on a loose leash, Touch, Place, and more. Gypsy is now eighteen months old and we have become the best of friends. I never have to roll her to prove I’m the alpha leader but I did train her with treats to let me touch poke and prod her any where I want. I give the down command and drop to my knees and she rolls over for a belly pat and rub I taught her to shake and speak in a single evening.

So in short the question was how do I get my dog to??? Gypsy answered; train it and it shall be done.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 11:26 AM
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How nice for you.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 11:36 AM
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Thats really cool.


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 11:36 AM
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What a wonderful post and insight! Beautifully written.


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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 11:59 AM
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Arwen was my teacher. After Frodo, who needed that special pitch in my voice of anger and frustration before he could manage a simple command, Arwen WOULD not respond positively to that stiff barking of command words.

Bark SIT at Arwen and she would be likely to go to her crate and lie down. Tell Arwen "I need you to go out and go potty, get a drink of water, then we'll get your collar on, and she would do just that -- go out back through the doggy door, go potty, stop by the water bucket and drink, come back in and sit by the door so I could get her collar on. Boy, I miss that girl, she was awesome.

I was instructed to force her to stay down for 30 minutes. This was probably the worst training advice for this dog and would have ruined her. I am glad that I recognized that in time. Oh I could tell her to sit, and I could ask her to sit and she would. But she did not like stiff harsh barking commands -- she would shut down. This was the girl who could walk off lead at a heel all through town, and could weave in and out of drunk people outside the bar off lead, and would probably jump off a cliff if I asked her to. She LIKED to be talked to. And she would respond to conversations like she understood every word. I could be walking down the street and see a picnic table and tell her, go hupp on that picnic table and lie down. And she would trot down the street, go up on to it using the bench as a step and lie down on top of it, having never trained her to lie on picnic tables. She knew go hupp of course, I perhaps she understood the word table, and she knew what was meant by lie down. She just seemed to have an uncanny ability to put commands together in the order I wanted them. And, I am probably the worst person for using multiple words for the same command, HEEL, WITH ME, LET'S GO, NO PULL -- each of these can be used interchangeably.

But she taught me that force and dominating was all a bunch of huey when it came to dog training.

I am glad that your girl is also an awesome teacher.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 12:31 PM
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Well Done! I've had a much better relationship, training and non training, with Jax once I started thinking about what MOTIVATED her and not about how to force her to do what I wanted.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 01:47 PM
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Trust and respect.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 03:41 PM
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What a wonderful and very wise post



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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-18-2011, 12:32 AM
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yes positive reinforcement is the strongest training method in my opinion .
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-18-2011, 01:27 AM
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A key to dog training = choosing the right method for each individual dog.

Dogs do respond differently to different training approachs and wise trainers realize this and use an appropriate method.

Some dogs are very "soft" and a cross word ar raised voice will send them slinking around with their tail between their legs - these doges will usually learn some things very well with a very positive method.

Other dogs are much "harder" and need a very firm (but fair) hand in training or else they will run all over their trainer/owner. These are the few dogs that NEVER put their tails between their legs or back up from another dog or never look at their owner with that really "guilty" look that most dogs do sometimes.

One thing that makes this concept very difficult for most owners (and not a few professional trainers as well) is that they may have never have run across one or the other in their training life so do not know how to train them.
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