I would like to help my Petco trainer / friend... Question: - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-29-2012, 07:20 AM Thread Starter
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I would like to help my Petco trainer / friend... Question:

I've gotten to know the trainers at Petco. They're very informative, and do their best under very limited conditions.

This one trainer has been working with a Shepherd, Lab mix. The dog would get VERY verbal, and uncontrollably lunge at the sight of a GSD, nothing else. So since I'm friends with them, the trainer asked if I would walk past the training section a few times with Kira. I obliged, and the dog reacted as expected.

What the trainer and owner did was put the dog into a submission whenever the dog reacted, as I walked by.
They made the dog lay on her side, and stay as I passed.

Then I put Kira in a sit stay about 8 feet away from the dog (Kira is non reactive, and will not acknowledge dogs in her sit /stay), while they kept the dog in submission.

I wouldn't second guess the trainer, but the trainer approached me afterwards, and asked if I had any suggestions for that dog. She's been trying to help the owner for 3 weeks, and hasn't gotten anywhere, other than putting the dog into submission.
I want to disagree with the submission, but she said that she's doing that to establish "alpha" with the owner.

What do you think, and how would you correct the dog?

I offered to meet with the trainer and dog, and stage a "walk by" session.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-29-2012, 07:24 AM
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The dog is NOT trying to establish themself as "Alpha" by reacting to another dog. How does that even make sense? Counter Conditioning is the best approach to help with reactivity. You could suggest the trainer read Control Unleashed or Click to Calm but "correcting" the dog is not going to help; especially from someone who doesn't know how to do it correctly.

If you are going to help them, you should encourage the trainer to teach the dog to "Look at that" in a calm setting. Point at something, say look at that, click and treat when they do. When the dog is looking at something and automatically looking back at the owner/trainer then you introduce a dog into the mix. The dog should be far enough away that the reactive dog doesn't react and slowly move close (over time - not in one session).
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-29-2012, 07:29 AM
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I agree, submission isn't the answer. The dog likely isn't relaxed. I'm in no way an expert but I think the problem is likely bigger than this one situation. If the dog saw it's owner as being in charge, it would listen. Also, my guess is that because of the past the trainer and owner tense up when there is a GSD around making the dog tense as well. Seems to me relaxing is key. The owner and trainer need to be relaxed and the dog needs to be relaxed as well not be held down in submission. Have they tried a correction with a properly fitted prong collar when she lunges?

Layla

Bella - GSD mix (3/21/10)
Harley - GSD (2/5/10)
Baron - GSD (10/13)
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-29-2012, 10:24 AM
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Ugh, what the trainer is doing is based on what he/she has watched on TV. It's not always about dominance, as very very few times it's about dominance. It's more about lacking confidence. The dog needs to have it's confidence built through positive reinforcement like LAT. It kills me that trainers out there do this as there is no need. If you don't get some kind of success (even a smell of success) in 3 weeks of working with a dog, then your methods aren't successful. They are going to do more damage than good. Obviously the dog is having an issue with other animals. Putting the dog in a compromising position around other dogs is only going to accelorate the issue.

Have they ever tried to redirect the dog and teach it a different way of thinking about these situations?

I'm working with a Pittie right now who does the exact same thing towards people and some dogs. First private lesson was last week. We worked on foundation behaviors over the course of the week. Eye contact, increasing distractions, sit stay, down stay, Mat, leave-it and spin.

This week we worked on LAT, moving towards the object that causes a reaction. We ended up being able to greet 3 people who gave her treats. She saw the 4th person and I didn't like her body language (dog AND person) so we broke off and moved to a distance she was comfortable with. Last week she never would have gotten close enough to take a treat or perform for a person. We had the people ask her to spin, and they dropped the treat on the floor. No touching yet but we'll get there next week. This progress was in a 1 week period.

This dog had mange the first 8 months of her life, abandoned, and adopted at 10 months. She is a year and a half and has always been reactive towards strangers. She barks, lunges and screams when she sees strangers or dogs within 50 feet of her. SHe will stare down other dogs and stiffen right before she starts reacting. Key is to catch her just as she stiffens to redirect her. Timing is everything!
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-29-2012, 10:41 AM
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I agree with the other posters. I too have a reactive dog and our first training facility kept telling me correct, correct, correct. It simply wasn't working so I tried someone else. We went totally positive training. We did the Control Unleashed LAT game and we used BAT, I grabbed the clicker and clicked away at anything positive that Willow did. I grabbed any training partner I could find with a non-reactive dog and we worked distances and gradually moved closer. I am happy to say that it is now about 1 year since we started with the new trainer and Willow is doing great! I emailed the private trainer we worked with last night and told her that she wouldn't recognize Willow as the dog she met 13 months ago. We walked by a White Shepherd last night that was standing on two legs over a fence and barking at us and Willow walked by with her tail wagging but didn't vocalize at all. It is a lot of work and training though.

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And my Girls.....
Dallas - ACD mix, 11 yrs
Willow - GSD, 5 yrs, CGC

Last edited by cshepherd9; 03-29-2012 at 10:43 AM. Reason: typos
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-29-2012, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsdraven View Post
The dog is NOT trying to establish themself as "Alpha" by reacting to another dog. How does that even make sense? Counter Conditioning is the best approach to help with reactivity. You could suggest the trainer read Control Unleashed or Click to Calm but "correcting" the dog is not going to help; especially from someone who doesn't know how to do it correctly.

If you are going to help them, you should encourage the trainer to teach the dog to "Look at that" in a calm setting. Point at something, say look at that, click and treat when they do. When the dog is looking at something and automatically looking back at the owner/trainer then you introduce a dog into the mix. The dog should be far enough away that the reactive dog doesn't react and slowly move close (over time - not in one session).
^^^^^ This!!

Tell your friend to learn LAT or another behavior modification technique. Putting the dog on his side will only make him feel vulnerable and not help a thing.

I have a reactive dog. When they are reacting you need to break that somehow. I started with an e-collar and since I broke that, just stand in front of her blocking her view until she stops and then have her sit. Sometimes I have to back her up while blocking her view. At that point, IF the dog she's looking at is calm, I do LAT. If the dog she's looking at is NOT calm and reacting back at her, I remove her from the situation.




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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-29-2012, 11:05 AM
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This is why a trainer should not be doing behaviour modification if they have no experience with it. What I would recommend is the trainer should find someone suitable that they can recommend this client to in their area. Someone who has experience with this type of dog. They could explain to the other trainer that they do not know how to deal with this dog but would like to learn and ask if they can sit in and be a helper with the lessons.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-29-2012, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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I didn't want to insult or "step on toes", but I didn't agree with what I saw. I failed to mention that the dog had a prong collar, and when I first walked in, the dog was yelping because the owner was forcefully yanking the collar to get the dog into a down. I walked over to the training area, and started chatting, because I couldn't stand to hear that little guy yelp.

Afterwards, I did tell the trainer that I did not agree with the submission. I explained how all my traing is done with confidence-building techniques, and a submission does not build confidence. My impression is that the dog is NOT being agressive, but rather excited and vocal.
I also failed to mention that the dog spends a few days a week at a Camp Bow Wow, and has no issues playing with other dogs. It's only when leashed by the owner. So again, submitting a social dog makes no sense.


I told her that I would speak to my "friends" about what she's suggesting.

Hello friends.

Last edited by Anthony8858; 03-29-2012 at 11:17 AM.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-29-2012, 11:29 AM
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oh boy....

1) A prong collar ALWAYS ramped Jax up in reaction to other dogs. That only made it worse.
2) I trained Jax with a prong collar and did the down the same way as this person. I had to retrain to Platz because she resented down with her association from the prong collar.
3) I thought Petsmart was supposed to be non compulsion training?
4) The reaction probably has somethign to do with the prong collar AND the owner. The owner probably taught the dog that bad things happen when other dogs come by and he's on a leash.




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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-29-2012, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clyde View Post
This is why a trainer should not be doing behaviour modification if they have no experience with it. What I would recommend is the trainer should find someone suitable that they can recommend this client to in their area. Someone who has experience with this type of dog. They could explain to the other trainer that they do not know how to deal with this dog but would like to learn and ask if they can sit in and be a helper with the lessons.
Second that. Tell your 'trainer' to stop ruining the dog, it will take the owner years to overturn her 'training'. I can't believe that someone knows that she has no clue, and keeps experimenting on someone else's dog, and even gets paid for that.


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