As a trainer, do you feel unsure or unsafe training? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-20-2013, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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As a trainer, do you feel unsure or unsafe training?

As a trainer, do you feel unsure or unsafe training a troubled dog? A fear aggressive dog? Or a dominant dog? Or a disobedient dog? Or an unsocialized dog?

What about when you put a fear aggressive dog or an unsocialized dog in a position where they might hurt someone or another dog for the sake of training?

I think one of the reasons Zeeva isn't very well trained is because I can't put anyone else or their dog in danger for the sake of training her. Even something as simple as adding a distraction to recall training makes me feel unsafe.

I guess this is why we need a professional.

So tell me, how do you set up a dog that needs training in an unsafe situation and still 'feel' safe about all of it?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-20-2013, 02:21 PM
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explain exactly what you have in your dog TO a trainer and see if they are willing to take on a dog such as you describe.

I have only trained agility, my requirements were, no dog aggressive dogs allowed near any other dogs or running a course with dogs inside the fenced area. IF the dog proved to be to much of a distraction or problem, they are just not allowed. I could nt put other dogs or people in harms way .

BUT that is agility, not obedience, there are many instructors out there that will deal with dog/human aggressive dogs and comfortable doing it.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-20-2013, 03:10 PM
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I never have. I think the dogs know that biting me won't change my attitude. Not to say that it won't hurt...but I've definitely hurt myself more through my own carelessness or stupidity than they ever have. Ever given yourself a concussion? I have, lol. I could go on, but it would be embarrassing.

Why can't you put a muzzle on Zeeva? I have a DA foster here right now, I believe he's FA because he's fine if my dog isn't invading his personal space. I do muzzle him on occasion, if I'm taking them both out at the same time. Just in case my dog disobeys the "leave it" command. It's a really nice basket muzzle, and he doesn't mind wearing it at all. Why not try that, it's a good first step and will take away some of your uncertainty.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-20-2013, 03:22 PM
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I used to feel afraid that my dog would get out of control, but a good trainer should easily be able to help you pinpoint the behaviors in your dog that indicate possible escalation if you don't get them out of the situation. I just don't put my dog in situations where she is likely to bite, and I can physically force her to sit if absolutely necessary, but I almost never have to do this. Can someone walk you through the exact scenarios that make you nervous?

I've noticed that different trainers have very different ideas about how you should respond to a dog going over threshold. Some places will kick a reactive dog out of class, others consider that to be more normal and almost expected for an untrained dog to bark and carry on. I don't think that their response correlates with fear of the dog but rather their personal goals for how their class should serve their clientele.

If you could set up the ideal training scenario for yourself, what would that look like?




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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-20-2013, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
how do you set up a dog that needs training in an unsafe situation and still 'feel' safe about all of it?
A long line is a way to make sure the dog can't get to anybody or another dog.

You can muzzle the dog then nobody is gonna get bitten. She can still body slam though.

Is the dog really that bad or are you perceiving her that way. Have you any examples of the dog acting badly or dangerously.

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What about when you put a fear aggressive dog or an unsocialized dog in a position where they might hurt someone or another dog for the sake of training?
You shouldn't do that. Training should come first then proofing. People who are used to handling dogs may not find your dog fearful at all. They might see the fear aggression but won't necessarily be afraid of it.

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do you feel unsure or unsafe training a troubled dog? A fear aggressive dog? Or a dominant dog? Or a disobedient dog? Or an unsocialized dog?
I'm a hobby trainer but i give my 2 cent.

Some dogs are unpredictable. They are predictably unpredictable. Other dogs are predictable. I respect all dogs but will watch how the dog stares at or targets other dogs or people. If they don't show any preying behavior then they probably won't try anything.

If the dog is a large breed like a mastiff then you have to really consider carefully as a bite can be really bad. But when dealing with small dogs the possibility is there to be bitten but it is not gonna be too serious. Size does demand respect sometimes.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-20-2013, 03:30 PM
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I will add, I have never ever had a dog that I have been afraid of, or was not confident in training myself ..

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-20-2013, 03:33 PM
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Certainly I've felt unsure, especially when I was first starting out, didn't have a ton of experience or confidence in my judgments, and still felt like a fraud putting myself out there as a "trainer." I don't know if that's the type of uncertainty you meant to ask about... but anyway, I had it, and lots of it!

I still think a healthy dose of caution, humility, and self-questioning is important. People who have total blithe confidence that they're always right don't tend to have the most accurate judgment about that or much else, in my experience.

But if you're doing it right, you shouldn't be putting the dog in an unsafe situation, either for that dog or for anyone else. Controlled exposure is key. I try very hard not to subject a dog to more than it can handle, and to have safeguards in place to cut off any trouble immediately if it arises.

Beyond that I'm not sure how to answer your original question. In general, aggression cases are not the sort of thing I feel particularly comfortable giving advice about over the Internet, particularly since I get the sense from some of your other posts that there are a lot of other things going on here.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-20-2013, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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I don't understand muzzles. When do you take them off without, again, putting another life in danger? I personally would rather let my dog go without proper training than muzzle and train. Is this a wrong mindset?

What's the difference between training and proofing? Don't you have to put a dog in an unsafe situation to do both? For example, if I want to socialize my 80 lb GSD with my neighbors puppy chiwawa, wouldn't the two have to be in dangerously (for the chiwawa) close proximity? Even if I were to put a muzzle on my GSD when would it be safe to take it off around the chi?

I honestly don't know if my perception of Zeeva is off. I haven't exposed her to much. When she is accidentally exposed to something like an off leash little dog she doesn't behave well. I know I shouldn't do this but I take both my husky and and my GSD on walks together so it's hard to gauge her particular reaction when I'm trying to manage both if them. It's even harder to say if she'd behave on her own in the same situation. She's played well with some dogs off leash while with others she's attempted to pick a fight. She's IMO not predictably unpredictable. I tried to let her greet a stranger through her crate (bad idea?). She sniffed him, ears back, no tail wag, staring at his face; it almost looked like she was going to go into a barking fit but I took him away from her. My husky I let out of his crate tail wagging, crotch sniffing, face licking bugger.

Even right now she's calm as a glass of water and I for some reason fear that the doorbell will ring and they'll both go nuts...
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-20-2013, 04:21 PM
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You really really need to get a trainer involved. As you see your dog's behavior change with training; your self-confidence in yourself and your confidence in your dog will improve.

Muzzles are not bad. In some dogs, a muzzle actually settles them some, less reactive. You aren't worried about your dog biting. Your dog won't be off leash so you won't be dealing with the body checks. If you remember with Woolf, he was a basket case, if it wasn't for conditioning him to a muzzle, we wouldn't have been able to do the work and see the huge improvement in him we have.

As for putting your dog in unsafe situations, you don't. You work under threshold, safe for him, safe for you, and safe for other dogs/humans.

Again, get a trainer involved. Situations you are describing has me cringing.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-20-2013, 04:28 PM
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I never used to think that I'd encounter a dog that I felt unsafe being around. I had dealt with unruly dogs, untrained dogs, even aggressive dogs. Never bothered me. I could always find a way to deal with them. Now that I've worked in a vet office and their kennel I can no longer claim that. I have been cornered and pinned alone in a run by a dog who could easily have ripped my throat out. It was a lucky combination of distraction from the dog in the next kennel, the fact that I had edged my way to her water bowl and could use it as a shield, and my speed that made the difference between a few scratches and a ride in the ambulance (or worse).

Now I know that there are dogs out there that I will not work with. I am not a professional trainer, and I have no tools to deal with a dog whose only life goal is to cause me pain and death.

If you're out of your depth, seek help. Your nervousness will translate and amplify to your dog. Build confidence and keep training!


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