"Cradle and Massage" - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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"Cradle and Massage"

Has anybody here ever used "Cradle and Massage"? I spent about 30 min today with an K9 behavior modification specialist today and she had me on the ground holding my pup in a maneuver she called "Cradle and Massage".
We have been struggling with some very annoying issues with my pup where he goes nuts when he sees other dogs. She calls it the "Crack Syndrome" Where he kind of gets a high off of barking at other dogs. We worked on some redirection with him but she said that we needed to reestablish ourselves as dominant over him. She equated it to how a mother dog will mouth a young pup and hold it to the ground until it submits to her.

Those of you who are trainers, especially those who have experience with extremely high drive dogs, what is your opinion of this theory and what has been your experience?

Thanks, Rob
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 08:20 PM
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I've never heard of anything specifically called "cradle & massage", but I do handling desensitization with puppies, no idea if it's the same thing - can you be more specific about what he's having you do? I don't subscribe to the "hold it to the ground until it submits" thing, but I will hold a puppy in my lap with gentle restraint until they stop struggling. This is not a dominance exercise, however, and it's accompanied by praise and treats. In puppy class we touched feet and ears, wiggled toes, stroked faces and tummies, handled tails, etc, while cradling our puppies our puppies on our laps. Massage is excellent for calming down a dog, but forcibly holding it down while doing so kinda misses the point, IMO.

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Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 08:21 PM
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How old is your dog? I am looking at your profile photo and am thinking that he looks like an older puppy / young "teenager" in dog terms.

Have you ever worked with him around other dogs prior to this? And, in what situations does he bark at other dogs? Is it when you have him leashed and you encounter another dog, such as on your walk, or is it in an actual dog class?

I think your trainer's theory about dominance is outdated. Very rarely does one dog hold another dog down until it submits - most of the time, submission is a behavior that is offered by the younger or more submissive dog, not a behavior that is forced by the older or dominant dog.

I also don't necessarily think that you need to be "dominant" over your dog to curb the behavior you are seeing. It sounds to me like your young, excitable dog is either reactive toward or simply excited about being around other dogs and really just needs to learn that other dogs are just another distractions and not a very big deal. I don't think pinning him to the ground for thirty minutes and forcing him to submit to your dominance will accomplish either.

If you are exposing your puppy to other dogs in class, my first recommendation would be to ensure that your puppy gets lots of exercise prior to class - make sure he gets some of that energy out so he can focus (and be more easily re-focused) during class because he won't be a bundle of energy ready to go.

My second recommendation would be to play the Look At That game, which you can find plenty of instructions for on this forum if you do a search. A lot of folks with dog-reactive dogs have successfully used this method to stop the behavior of barking and lunging toward other dogs.

Honestly... I'd probably be looking for a different trainer if it were me.

I took Levels Classes with my German Shepherd who was dog reactive way back in 2005 and just taking a group class helped immensely to teach my dog that it's really not a big deal to work around other dogs and that yes, she can ignore them because they're not a threat and they're also not there to be her playmates (or play toys, as the case may be).

The facility also used its space by keeping more reactive dogs further away at the beginning and screens to block line-of-sight between the reactive dog and other dogs, and then gradually worked on bringing them closer / taking out the screen as the dog became accustomed to working around other dogs.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassidy's Mom View Post
I've never heard of anything specifically called "cradle & massage", but I do handling desensitization with puppies, no idea if it's the same thing - can you be more specific about what he's having you do? I don't subscribe to the "hold it to the ground until it submits" thing, but I will hold a puppy in my lap with gentle restraint until they stop struggling. This is not a dominance exercise, however, and it's accompanied by praise and treats. In puppy class we touched feet and ears, wiggled toes, stroked faces and tummies, handled tails, etc, while cradling our puppies our puppies on our laps. Massage is excellent for calming down a dog, but forcibly holding it down while doing so kinda misses the point, IMO.
What you describe sounds exactly like how it was demonstrated to me. It was very gentle on the other dog who was very well behaved and really seemed to enjoy it. However it took all my strength to hold my boy (6 months old). When he stopped fighting me and relaxed I released him at the trainers command. It was kind of awkward but I just went along with it with an open mind.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Abbyk9; He is 6 months old. This was not a formal training class but sort of turned into one. I have not hired this person yet. We ran into her at a park when she was finishing up a behavior class and she she observed my dogs reaction to seeing other dogs. Its hard to describe what he does but it is a very aggressive excited barking. We used redirection with a ball to change his focus from the other dogs which worked somewhat. During the time we spent talking to her she said that to her it looked like the dog was in charge not us. She said we needed to re establish ourselves as being the boss and offered to show us a technique called "cradle and massage". She had another handler demonstrate it with her dog and it looked very pleasurable to her dog. However when she asked be to try it with my dog it turned into quite a struggle. The dog finally submitted and relaxed at which point I released the dog. I did not argue with her about whether I agreed or not with the technique. I just went along with it and decided to do some more research to see what others thought about it.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 08:41 PM
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Any kind of restraint, whether 'gentle' or not is still restraint. It sounds like your trainer was looking for 'semi-gentle' restraint. The point of restraint is to let your puppy/dog know who is boss (whether it is gentle or now) and to get it to stop being reactive. The hope of restraint is to have your puppy/dog quiet down then calm down. That is what the massage is for. Cesar Millan does it from time to time. Restraint followed by massage. Yes, I know, Cesar Millan is persona non grata on this site but he does some useful things.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 09:01 PM
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Here is what we did in puppy class: Handling & Gentling | Dog Star Daily

This is from a book called After You Get Your Puppy, by Dr. Ian Dunbar. He founded the Sirius Puppy program, which I took Dena, Keefer, and Halo through. This book was the textbook for our puppy classes.

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
Here is what we did in puppy class: Handling & Gentling | Dog Star Daily
That's quite different from what the OP described, though, especially considering that these methods linked above are to be introduced to a young puppy ... not a 6 month old. And even Ian Dunbar doesn't recommend forcibly rolling the puppy onto its back and pinning it down until it relaxes.

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=^^= Finn, Ratchet & Ollie

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 11:37 PM
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ok I know EXACTLY what the OP is referring to and EXACTLY which trainer he ran in to. Don't listen to her.. I'll just leave it at that. This is NOT the same method everyone else is referring to and I'm not sure exactly which dog she demonstrated on but 3 of them come to mind and non of them have any sort of drive they are just easy going dogs that lounge around and basically act as if they've given up on life. Honestly without sounding like a jerk I wouldn't hire her and have a million reasons why I say this.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 11:43 PM
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also for the record this "cradle and massage" technique is where you sit on the ground take the dog in your lap the dogs chest should be against your stomach with them laying on their side on your lap front legs around one side of you back legs on the other and you lean over the top of them and pin them in your lap basically and physical restrain them until they quit struggling.. then wait for a bit for them to start protesting again and keep going until they permanently give up then you can let the dog get up and this is recommended for every dog for every situation you completely take the dog off the ground so they basically have nothing under them but you

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