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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
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Opinions on this method?

Okay so my GSD, Midas, is turning 1 in two days. He's been dog reactive for a long time and when he sees one, he lunges, barks, and if he gets close enough, will snap. Usually if he is off leash he will act all tough but then run up to them and be submissive. I tried the whole positive approach of rewarding him before passing his threshold, and the results weren't too great. Some improvement but none worth really mentioning.
So I contact a behaviorist, she has me spend $200 on a Dogtra collar. We find his working level is mark #2 out of a scale that goes up to 100. She has me take him out into a field and he's attached to a 15 foot leash. She tells me to walk randomly all over the place. If he's not right beside me, I stim him (nick mode) in a constant rhythm until he starts walking towards me. Eventually, he gets the hang of it that he needs to really focus on where I am going and stick beside me. We've been working on this twice a day for the past 5 days. My second appt. with her is on Monday. Well today I figured he's been doing so well, let's take him out through the neighborhood. He did pretty well and most of the time he was walking perfectly beside me while we walked mostly in the middle of the street. Anytime we'd pass a fence that had dogs barking and he'd start wandering towards that fence, I'd stim him and after 3-4 times he'd pop back up next to me and not react to the other dogs barking. It seems what she's wanting from us is for him to pay more attention to me than any dog.

I am not sure when she is going to start introducing a dog out into the open, but I was wondering if anyone has tried this method (it's doing a great job teaching him to only walk beside me, not in front or off to the side) to fix dog aggression? We're also perfecting his obedience but through positive only methods (unless he doesn't comply of course, then we collar correct).
One thing I am concerned about is he seems perfectly happy with the collar while it's on and we always play a game of fetch in the open field afterwards to end on a good note, but when I go to put the collar on he hides in his kennel and I have to coax him out. But his stim level is so low I can't even feel it when I "shock" myself.... Is this a bad thing?

Sorry for the long spiel. Any advice or previous results from this method would be great. We've been doing this since Monday. Thanks!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 05:55 PM
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This sounds very similar to the low stim method that Lou Castle uses - he has some great success stories on his website. Read Simon's story:

Simon

Good luck with Midas, hope this training turns him around.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 06:05 PM
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Thank you for sharing this with us. I try to keep my mouth shut about shock collars as I don't want snide remarks directed at me for using them. But a las the story Castlemaid shared with us is a prize example how to use one correctly and if you're doing it with a trainer/behaviorist more props to you. I'm not sure about methods or techniques but I know that my husky was (and still is at times) dog aggressive and I used a shock collar to train him to sit nicely while other people and their dogs walk by. Although I am wary of letting him play with other dogs, at least he doesn't lounge and pull me to start a fight any more. It has worked wonders for me and IMO this technique will work for you as well. IMO you are on the right track m'love. Keep me updated about how your progress goes.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Yes I read extensively on Lou Castle's method after I contacted her over the phone and she told me she uses the e collar to fix this problem. She mentioned that she's had a 100% success rate so far. Only one time did she question it'd fix the dog but it ended up working just took a little longer. I'm hopeful but ya never know if the truth is being stretched or not. I will read up on the success stories tho! All I saw was the video he had posted.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 06:19 PM
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An e-collar worked wonders on my mom's DA shepherd. He's only been on it for a month but I'm amazed at the results. It's great that you have a trainer helping you.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 07:38 PM
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Please do not try anything on your own without the trainers okay. Nothing wrong with what the trainer is doing. Proper application of the tool. But with all training
Foundation is of the utmost importance. The trainer knows when to introduce different locations and variations. Most training gets messed up by people moving too fast. Good Luck
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie.jackson View Post
. But his stim level is so low I can't even feel it when I "shock" myself.... Is this a bad thing?
I can't feel Jax's either. I asked about it here on the forum. If I remember right, it has to do with many factors. Moisture in the skin, conductivity of their skin vs our.




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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by cliffson1 View Post
Please do not try anything on your own without the trainers okay. Nothing wrong with what the trainer is doing. Proper application of the tool. But with all training
Foundation is of the utmost importance. The trainer knows when to introduce different locations and variations. Most training gets messed up by people moving too fast. Good Luck
This, absolutely. Your trainer has you on a specific progression schedule for a reason. Please don't stray from it.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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Well what I was concerned about with the stim level wasn't that it was too low, shoot that's a good thing if ya ask me, it was about his attitude about the collar when I'm putting it on. He hides!

As for the progression of his training... I wasn't too sure if taking him around the block was too much or not. She had me go to the field outside my house first but then told me to practice everywhere in open areas to generalize it. One place she had mentioned to practice is a decently busy park. Not usually too many dogs but loads of kids and people running or playing. So I had thought if that were okay, then just around the neighborhood wouldn't be too bad, especially if we stayed in the middle of the street because my neighborhood has EXTREMELY wide roads for whatever reason. You could seriously fit about 6 cars side-by-side comfortably inbetween the road. Our second appt. is tomorrow so I will see if that was too much but I am going to take him to the park she recommended tonight.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by stephanie.jackson View Post

So I contact a behaviorist, she has me spend $200 on a Dogtra collar. We find his working level is mark #2 out of a scale that goes up to 100. She has me take him out into a field and he's attached to a 15 foot leash. She tells me to walk randomly all over the place. If he's not right beside me, I stim him (nick mode) in a constant rhythm until he starts walking towards me. Eventually, he gets the hang of it that he needs to really focus on where I am going and stick beside me.
I'm not a fan of doing it like this. I prefer to show the dog exactly what I want from him rather than, as your behaviorist had you do, let him try and guess. I use a retractable leash and let the dog wander away from me. Then I press the button and at the same time I pull him towards me. As soon as he's coming towards me, I release the button. I use the continuous button for this rather than the nick. I think the communication is clearer than using intermittent stim.

Doing it his way makes clear to the dog that if he comes towards me, the stim stops. Next, after the dog is staying by me for awhile, I'll walk away and press the button at the same time. If he comes with me, I release the button. If I get to the end of the leash and he's still staying where he was, I pull him in, and as soon as he's moving towards me, I release the button.

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Originally Posted by stephanie.jackson View Post
Anytime we'd pass a fence that had dogs barking and he'd start wandering towards that fence, I'd stim him and after 3-4 times he'd pop back up next to me and not react to the other dogs barking. It seems what she's wanting from us is for him to pay more attention to me than any dog.
I don't introduce distractions of this sort until after the dog understands what I want from him and what the Ecollar means. I think that doing this so soon, is too soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie.jackson View Post
I am not sure when she is going to start introducing a dog out into the open, but I was wondering if anyone has tried this method (it's doing a great job teaching him to only walk beside me, not in front or off to the side) to fix dog aggression?
It's not going "to fix dog aggression." It will make it so that you can control the dog, but aggression is in the brain and you can't control what he's thinking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie.jackson View Post
One thing I am concerned about is he seems perfectly happy with the collar while it's on and we always play a game of fetch in the open field afterwards to end on a good note, but when I go to put the collar on he hides in his kennel and I have to coax him out. But his stim leve l is so low I can't even feel it when I "shock" myself.... Is this a bad thing?
What you feel and what he feels have nothing to do with one another. Our skin is usually much more conductive than the dog's so usually, we feel the stim at lower levels than they do, but not always.

The fact that he's hiding says one of two (or both of the two) things. Either the stim level is too high (doubtful, but not impossible, since you're only on a 2 on a Dogtra 200) or he does not understand what it means. The latter sometimes happens when the Ecollar is used as your behaviorist does it. It doesn't happen with my methods because they clearly show the dog how to shut off the stim. Your behaviorist's methods has him guessing how to do that. How did you determine what stim level to use on him?
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