Are we over-analyzing our training and making ourselves and dogs crazy? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Are we over-analyzing our training and making ourselves and dogs crazy?

So, I took Max to the pet store on Sunday. We wandered around, looked at stuff, checked out the cats, I clicked and gave a treat if he looked at me. He got wieghed, we did heeling along a wall and did some sits. Then we went up by the check-out and I had him do a down_ stay. He was fine, seemed very calm.(see how cute he is below ) He wagged his tail when folks said "AHHH"! When we got home, Max took a nap and I watched my "Control Unleashed" video. I really enjoyed it and thought it was quite interesting, BUT I started getting all stressed out when I realized that I did not have Max "reorient" when we went in. Nor, did I take a mat for him to lay down on and we did not do any calming exercises. If I had to think of all those things I am not sure we could make it across the parking lot..LOL. I actually thought some of the dogs in the video seemed stressed by all the tricks/cues they had to perform just to go into a building/ring ..they seemed all worried about it. Maybe its just me, but I think for the average dog, they should not need all that . Is it out of style to just go to a venue, walk around, and when its time for you to compete get your dog in drive and go? .
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 02:44 PM
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I tend to worry about some of that too. My husband is way more relaxed with him and the dog seems too. So I have done some lightening up and it works beautifully. You have to give them a chance to be a dog at one point. It doesn't mean that they should ignore you though. But pups need time to explore the world.
The pet store is never my first activity of the day, maybe the last so he has gotten rid of excessive energy.
BTW: gorgeous dog and beautiful down-stay and attention!
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 02:46 PM
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What a wonderful picture and a great looking dog! Mine would've stolen those treats behind him well behaved I must say.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 03:07 PM
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Oh, he's very handsome!

Kind of like with my first child, I over analyzed alot...too cautious. With my second, totally different story...I was way more relaxed. Dirt in the mouth, who cares! lol

I believe with my second puppy in a couple of years I will be more confident. I love the internet & training videos but man too much and you can handicap yourself with training and just enjoying your dog!
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 03:15 PM
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Is your method obcheiving you goal?

It would seem so from your post.

If it works, it's right. Don't get bogged down in details... My opinion


Nothing is as simple as it seems or as complicated as we make it~

Attitude is everything -- Pick a good one!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 03:28 PM
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Bear and I just finished up a "Control Unleashed" class at the Humane Society. They had us doing the Relaxation Protocols and Doggie Zen and few other exercises. While I would practice a lot of these exercises at home and other areas, I also felt that I couldn't follow all of the exercises all of the time. I tried to mix it up a bit.
I figure if it ceases to be fun and just too much work I won't want to do it anymore!

Bear GSD 10/16/11
Elsa GSD 12/23/03 - 11/10/11
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 05:15 PM
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One of my friends posted this on FB (she is a member here too, onyx'girl) and I think it is an article that may make you feel better.

Here is the link to it 16 Things You Should Stop Doing In Order To Be Happy With Your Dog | Roger Abrantes

But I will copy/paste it since it's so great I would like as many people as possible to read it.

1. Stop being fussy—don’t worry, be happy

Like most things in life, being a perfectionist has its advantages and disadvantages. When you own a dog, you tend to live by Murphy’s Law. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. There are so many variables that things seldom go 100% the way you expect. You can and should plan and train, but be prepared to accept all kinds of variations, improvisations and minor mishaps along the way as long as no one is injured, of course. After all, in most situations less than perfect is better than good, so why worry about perfection, a concept that only exists in your head and doesn’t make anyone happy, neither you nor your dog?

2. Stop being too serious—have a laugh

If you don’t have a good sense of humor, don’t live with a dog. Dog ownership gives rise to many mishaps where laughter is the best way out. Mishaps are only embarrassing in our minds. Your dog doesn’t even know what embarrassment is and you should follow its example. As long as no one gets hurt, just laugh at you and your dog’s mistakes.

3. Stop your desire to control everything—take it as it comes

When life with a dog is often dictated by Murphy’s Law, if you attempt to control your dog’s every move, you’ll end up with an ulcer or fall into a depression. Give up your need to control. Of course, you should have reasonable control over your dog for safety’s sake, but you should let go of anything that is not a matter of life or death. Reasonable rules serve a purpose, but total control is unnecessary and self-defeating. Take it as it comes and keep smiling!

4. Stop apportioning blame—move on

When things go wrong, and they will, I assure you, don’t waste your time apportioning blame. Was it your fault, the dog’s fault, or the neighbor’s cat’s fault? Who cares? Move on and, if you found the scenario all rather upsetting, try to foresee a similar situation in the future and avoid it. If it was no big deal, forget about it.

5. Stop believing in old wives’ tales—be critical

The world is full of irrational, unfounded old wives’ tales. These days, the Internet provides us with quick and easy access to a lot of valuable information—and a lot of junk as well: bad arguments, bad definitions, unsubstantiated claims, fallacies, emotional statements, pseudo-science, sales promotions, hidden political agendas, religious preaching, etc. Of course, in the name of freedom of expression, I believe everyone should be allowed to post whatever they like, even the purest and most refined crap—but both you and I also have the right not to believe it, to disregard it. Use your critical thinking. Don’t stop asking yourself ”How can that be?” and “How did he/she come to that conclusion?” Suspend judgment and action until you have had time to ponder on it and, if necessary, seek a second and third opinion. If the argument is sound and you like it, then do it. If the argument is sound but you don’t like it, don’t do it and don’t think any more about it. If the argument is unsound, reject it and think no more about it. Make up your own mind and do what you think is right.

6. Stop caring about labels—be free

We are over swamped by labels because labels sell, but they only sell if you buy them. Should you be a positive, ultra-positive, R+, R++, R+P-, balanced, naturalistic, moralistic, Milanese, conservative, realistic, progressive, clickerian or authoritarian dog owner? Stop caring about what label you should bear. When you enjoy a great moment with your dog, the label you bear is irrelevant. A label is a burden; it restricts you and takes away your freedom. Labels are for insecure people that need to hide behind an image. Believe in yourself, be the type of dog owner you want to be and you won’t need labels.

7. Stop caring about what others think—live your life

You spend very little time with most of the people you meet, significantly more with family and close friends, but you live your whole life with yourself. So, why care about what other people think about your ability as a dog owner or your dog’s behavior, when you probably won’t see them again or will only ever see them sporadically? If they like you and your dog, fine. If they don’t, it’s really not your problem.

8. Stop complaining—don’t waste your time

You only have a problem when there is a discrepancy between the way things are and the way you expect them to be. If your expectations are realistic, try and do something about achieving them. If they’re not, stop complaining, it’s a waste of time and energy. If you can do something about it, do it. If you can’t, move on. Period.

9. Stop excusing yourself—be yourself

You don’t have to excuse yourself or your dog for the way you are. As long as you don’t bother anyone, you are both entitled to do what you like and be the way you are. You don’t need to be good at anything, whether it be Obedience, Agility, Musical Free Style, Heel Work to Music, Flyball, Frisbee Dog, Earth Dog, Ski-Joring, Bike-Joring, Earthdog, Rally-O, Weight Pulling, Carting, Schutzhund, Herding, Nose Work, Therapy, Field Trials, Dock Dogs, Dog Diving, Disc Dogs, Ultimate Air Dogs, Super Retriever, Splash Dogs, Hang Time, Lure Course Racing, Sled Dog Racing or Treibball; and you don’t need excuses as to why not. You don’t even need to excuse the fact that your dog can’t sit properly. Change what you want to change and can change; and don’t waste time and energy thinking about what you don’t want to, don’t need to or can’t change. Do whatever you and your dog enjoy, however you like, so that both you and your dog are happy. It’s as simple as that!

10. Stop feeling bad—act now

If you’re unhappy with any particular aspect of your life with your dog, do something to change it. Identify the problem, set a goal, make a plan and implement it. Feeling bad and guilty doesn’t help anyone—it doesn’t help you, your dog, or the cherished ones you share your life with.

11. Stop your urge to own—be a mate

The ownership of living beings is slavery; and thankfully slavery was abolished. Don’t regard yourself as the owner of your dog. Think of your dog as a mate you are responsible for. You don’t own your children, your partner or your friends either.

12. Stop dependency—untie your self

Love has nothing to do with dependency, obsession and craving, quite the contrary. Love your dog but don’t create mutual dependency. Have a life of your own and give your dog some space. You and your dog are two independent individuals. Enjoy living together as free agents, not being addicted each other. Stop projecting yourself onto your dog.

13. Stop turning your dog into a substitute—show respect

A dog is a dog and it is indeed a remarkable living being. Love it, enjoy its company, but don’t make it a substitute for a human partner, a friend, a child or a spouse. To expect anyone to be a substitute is the greatest disrespect you can show to a human as well as non-human animal—and to yourself. Stop letting your dog play a role for you and begin to love your dog as a dog.

14. Stop rationalizing—be truthful

All relationships are trades: you give and you take. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as there is balance. Be honest with yourself: what does your dog give you and what do you give your dog? If you find that one of you is almost solely a giver or a taker, think about it and redress the balance. Your dog needs you, just as you need your dog and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you both are givers and takers. You didn’t get your dog just to save the poor, little creature. You got your dog so you could both enjoy a solid and fruitful partnership.

15. Stop wanting what you can’t have—be happy with what you’ve got

This is a very common human characteristic: you always want what you haven’t got and you are blind to all the good you do have. Your dog already gives you a great deal and the two of you can be perfectly happy together, even if your dog is not particularly good at anything. It’s amazing how dog owners say they love their dogs and yet they spend most of the time trying to change their behavior. Focus on what you do have, not on what you don’t, appreciate it and be grateful for it.

16. Stop fighting yourself—follow your heart

There are many different ways of being a good dog owner and yours is your own and different to everyone else’s. It’s your life. As long as you don’t harm anyone, live it the way that feels good for you. Listen to experts, ponder on their advice, but, at the end of the day, do what you feel is right for you, follow your heart. Be yourself.

Niko: American Showline GSD 5 years old
Rosa: American Muppet Dog (GSD/Border Collie mix) 5 years old
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 05:20 PM
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Good Karma...that was awesome. Thanks for posting it!
Definitely words I could live by.

Bear GSD 10/16/11
Elsa GSD 12/23/03 - 11/10/11
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 05:22 PM
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As far as the Control Unleashed protocol/ does help with reactive dogs. If your puppy is very social and higher threshold, those exercises aren't needed. But for a dog that needs calming stress relievers~it is great to have tools that work.
I don't believe most dogs need to go thru relaxation techniques before heading in a place that may cause excitement, but for those that do, I am a believer in the CU program
The blog link by Roger Abrantes that Good_Karma posted is great, I love it, and subscribed to it!

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 11:01 PM
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If your dog doesn't need all that, then don't bother doing it. If you're familiar with Leslie McDevitt you know that she's all about knowing and respecting your dog for who s/he is.

I've read CU and am a member of Leslie's yahoo email list, but I haven't watched the video. It's possible that those dogs would have been even MORE stressed without a predictable rule structure in place for them to rely on in new situations and places.

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