So how do behaviorist work? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
Kev
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So how do behaviorist work?

Currently I'm looking for a behaviorist for my 5 month old. I want to know your experiences with them and which method did they use to help you.
Also, is it recommended they come every week or every month? They can go quite up in prices, so far $75-125/hour

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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 12:53 PM
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What do you need a behaviorist for? Examples please

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 01:04 PM
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They usually work with problems that come from either poor breeding or handling. I used one for a rescue to keep the dog from having to be put down. The method varies depending on the dog and the issues. Overall, they reinforce that you are the Alpha, that you are developing a good relationship with the dog, that you are always in charge, and that the dog will look to you for guidance. Also the importance of socialization and plenty of exercise, morning and afternoon/evening (although nothing too strenuous and no jumping before 1 year, which didn't apply to our dog who was older) Do a search and read everything you can on NILF. That's similar to the method we used. Are you sure your 5 month old isn't exhibiting normal puppy behavior? If you want to avoid future problems you can try a behaviorist or you can save your money in case you have serious problems in the future and learn the methods on your own.

If your dog seems to be misbehaving, start an obedience class immediately. 5 months is a good age if you haven't already done that.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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He's very reactive trying to meet other dogs. Sometimes unprovoked, he will try to scare off a stranger (on property or car)

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 01:09 PM
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He's very reactive trying to meet other dogs. Sometimes unprovoked, he will try to scare off a stranger (on property or car)
I would think socialization is what the pup needs. I don't know if I would go and pay that kind of money to a behaviorist for them to tell me that I need to socialize and train my dog more. It really sounds like a fear response. What do you do when he does these things?

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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I try not to correct. It's true I do believe it's a lack of socialization at home (In the car as well but only when I'm in the car with him) since I live in the country area and don't see people pass by often. I'm not sure what I really need to do when he reacts. I have the Click to Calm book so I'm starting to read it as well. He would also react when I tense up because I get scared thinking that he'll jump on people and get their clothes dirty

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 01:18 PM
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The behaviorist will tell you to socialize your dog to as many people and situations as possible. He needs to be around hundreds of other dogs in his first year. Put him into a class. Take him to pet stores, hardware stores, any place that allows dogs. Walk him in areas where other people walk their dogs whenever you can. He shouldn't be jumping on people, but when you tense up, he is learning that something about those people is wrong. He's not going to know it's because he might get their clothes dirty, he's going to think he needs to be afraid of them and react to them. If he's not jumping on them, don't expect that he will. Try to relax and enjoy him!
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Kev View Post
I try not to correct. It's true I do believe it's a lack of socialization at home since I live in the country area and don't see people pass by often. I'm not sure what I really need to do when he reacts. I have the Click to Calm book so I'm starting to read it as well. He would also react when I tense up because I get scared thinking that he'll jump on people and get their clothes dirty
When people are approaching, put him in a sit/stay. He'll figure out that if he behaves he will get some attention. Can you take him to places where people are, so that he can get that experience? In front of the grocery store, a park, heck-go stand in front of the vet's office, so he can see dogs and people coming and going. Its really important that you do this stuff now, because he's getting older and you don't want to let it keep getting worse. If you do any of these things, start from a distance. Let him see everything, treat him when he's good(no reaction), work on watch me, so that if he focuses on something you can redirect him with the watch me. And stay calm, relax, and enjoy him. They can sense when your nervous and that can get him going too

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 01:20 PM
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A good behaviorist will spend time watching the dog in different situations so they get a feel for the dog and the owner. As an example, you say your pup is reactive. A behaviorist should be able to tell if the dog is really reactive, fearful, or just not properly trained. Once they figure all that out they usually either start a training program or recommend a good trainer. The first visit should be an hour or two. They sometimes ask that all family members be present.

A bad behaviorist will diagnosis your dog over the telephone or in the first 10 minutes they're with the dog. A bad behaviorist will insist that one training method is best for all dogs. A bad behaviorist will make assumptions based on your breed of dog.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2012, 02:37 PM
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The one I worked with gave steps to work on to achieve the goal -we didn't necessarily meet every week-it was helpful
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