Why it's important to get a trainer to work with you on specific problems. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
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Why it's important to get a trainer to work with you on specific problems.

Just a little story to illustrate something I harp on all the time: the importance of having someone experienced observe your interaction with your dog and the dynamics in your pack to be able to see where mixed signals are given out confusing the dog, and how people-to-dog communications break down.

A person at work got a Rottie a few years ago. She told me her goal was to have her dog as well behaved as mine.

As the pup grew, they had the normal puppy issues, that I tried to give advice on, but it was challenging: the pup got no training, no exercise, pup chewed everything. Took things and ran away with stuff and would start a chase game, was possessive of their daughter (well, at least we know she'll protect her they said when the dog wouldn't allow the parents into the daughter's room), etc. All she talked about was 'getting the dog to submit' to her, etc . . .

I wanted to scream!!! But she was a good friend, and I stayed supportive, encouraging, helpful. Gave her 9 "What a great job you are doing with your pup" for every 'tip' I gave her.

Dog did stop being possessive about their daughter and the girl's room (I told her straight blank that this was huge trouble if it was allowed), and at 3 years old, the dog is turning out to be a nice family pet. My friend is very proud of herself because when the dog takes something, she just tells him to drop it and he does, well done, I thought!

Well, saw this in action for the first time last night at her house: Dog grabbed something (a shirt), went to his bed with it. She went up to the dog, took hold of the shirt, told him to let go, he did. She puts the shirt down, turns around to talk to me, dog sneaks in, grabs the shirt again, but this time, goes and wedges himself between the coffee table and the sofa, pushing his snout against the sofa, with his paws on the shirt.

She looks at me and says: this is were he guards his things. So she moves in, pulls the coffee table out, and wedges herself in between the coffee table and the dog, and bending over her dog, leans down to take a hold of the shirt while telling her dog to give - I hear a little growl coming from the floor - she waits him out and the dog gives up the shirt.

She looks at me all proud of herself: "See! No conflict!"

That's from me telling them to NOT chase the dog around the house yelling, pinning it down, and forcefully taking stuff from him (which is what they used to do; and her working with her dog to give her things when she asks was her attempting to re-create the easy, effortless interactions I have with Gryffon)

Well . . . . hmmm . . . . how do I tell her that her going after her dog and wedging herself in between the dog and the furniture and bending over him like that is extremely dominating and creating a huge amount of conflict?

Seeing what she does, and hearing what she does is completely two different things!

Lucia


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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 09:06 AM
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I'd try to explain the difference between the dog giving something vs you taking something. If she's thinking in terms of submitting, you can point out that he actually didn't.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
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I know, but hard for people to "get" stuff. I did tell her that she needs to have her dog come to her and not her go after the dog. If she is the leader, the dog will come to her, and give up the shirt when she asks. I told her that's the next step, so I'm hoping she will work on that.

That's like she is telling me that sometimes he won't get off the sofa when she tells him to (he is allowed up), and has to push/pull him off. He just braces himself and makes the pushing/pulling off harder - and she laughs - hahaha, what a lug!). So I try not to wince too visibly, and tell her that she should be at a point where she only has to look at her dog and he'll get off the sofa. "Oh, I know! That is my goal!" she says - dog is 3 years old, had him since hi was a pup - if she can't get him off the sofa by now, not sure how that will happen with only a look from her.

I have to say, it kills me every time I think of her looking at me all proud with "See? No conflict!" LOL! Funny, but not.

Lucia


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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 09:43 AM
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I know exactly what you mean.So many well intentioned owners just never quite "get it".I often wish I had someone to follow me around video taping my interactions with my dogs.I could play it back and see all of the mistakes and the couple of things I did right,lol!

That would be a good idea for private training I think.Video a demo of the right way and the wrong way to achieve a behavior.

A pet peeve of mine is people that yell their dog's name as a correction.

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 09:46 AM
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Perhaps she just doesn't know the language, signs her dog is giving. You probably have pointed them out though.

I love this topic because last Dec I had an epiphany of sorts after my boy lunged at another very nice easy going dog. I knew I had to get back with his trainer.

I also knew he needed more than just walks and back yard play.

So we went back to his trainer for a serious session and then I also got him into private agilities classes.

I did this for 2 reasons: I absolutely needed professional eyes watching and critiquing how Sonny and I communicate with each other. And I wanted it coming from 2 different venues. One from an obedience slant and one from a sports discipline where it was something novel and new to him.

He is going into group class that his obedience trainer put together in May.

This 2part plan with professional eyes on us has helped us a lot. Tips IMay never have learned otherwise. Also, even though both trainers had a different go-to way of training, I do use both with him and it's fun learning and watching how each trainer uses their methods with finesse and expertise.

I also have a very dear friend with a sweet yorkie that I have made suggestions to. I have learned to back off. The yorkies issues don't pose a threat so it's not worth it. My friend does admire how well behaved my boy is though (other than his DA)

"If you can't see his soul when you look in his eyes, then you need a seeing-eye dog"

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 09:58 AM
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It did take me a very long time to admit to myself that I could not help Sonny and me on my own. A very very long time. I call it my "get over yourself" issue.

"If you can't see his soul when you look in his eyes, then you need a seeing-eye dog"
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogma13 View Post
I know exactly what you mean.So many well intentioned owners just never quite "get it".I often wish I had someone to follow me around video taping my interactions with my dogs.I could play it back and see all of the mistakes and the couple of things I did right,lol!

That would be a good idea for private training I think.Video a demo of the right way and the wrong way to achieve a behavior.

A pet peeve of mine is people that yell their dog's name as a correction.
That video idea is great. So many coaches use it during pre-game workouts to prepare human athletes. It would be a great advantage for handlers and their dog in training.

Someone took a snap shot of me and my boy walking downtown. The pic was a shot from behind. I always wondered what we looked like. In the pic, the leash was loose and surprisingly, my stride and his matched perfectly. My right foot back, his right hind foot back.

Note: had to revisit this thread. I don't like being a thread killer and the topic is worth discussing.

"If you can't see his soul when you look in his eyes, then you need a seeing-eye dog"
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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The problem is that she is a Cesar Milan fan, so to her, "getting the dog to submit" is the sign of her being a respected pack leader. To her, that her dog went and laid down with the shirt means that the dog is being submissive. I just don't want to beat her down too much. I feel they are doing everything wrong, and they are just lucky to have a soft dog that I doubt is ever going to do anything more than hide behind furniture and put his paws on the stuff he is trying to keep possession of.

They did take my lecture about allowing their dog to be possessive of their daughter seriously, about taking priveledges away, about not allowing the dog to get up on the girl's bed, heck, don't even allow the dog in her room! That is a priviledge he will have to re-earn.

The waiting him out to give up something is also a huge step forward (from screaming at the dog, chasing it around the house, and alpha rolling him - which was a daily event).

I really, really, really stressed the importance of on-going training and daily exercise to help with behaviour problems (and CM also stresses daily exercise - but that is not as cool and human self-rewarding as feeling that one is "Alpha" over their dog - even if they are not). I can talk about how I never think in terms of being dominant, I never think in terms of "making my dog submit", I always think in terms of building a relationship and shaping behaviors that I want by rewarding. She sees me bringing Gryffon to work on a daily basis (weather permitting), and walking with him daily, doing OB games, playing fetch in the fields until Gryff's tongue hangs to the ground - she wants her dog to be as well behaved and easy as Gryff, yet they won't do any of this.

I think the members on this board are all more involved with their dogs, and not representative of "most dog owners" who would be more like my friend. They want a dog for the companionship (and the wow factor of owning a certain breed, like in their case, her husband wanted a Rottweiler because of the macho dog thing (she's more of a Golden Retriever person), but he is never home. His work has him away from home for weeks at a time. He feels that the dog needs to adapt to his expectations and not for him to be a slave and servant and change his daily routine for the sake of the dog - AAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!!! Get a pet rock then!
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Lucia


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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 01:28 PM
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Situations like this is why I hate giving advice on a forum, not enough information and most people just start dishing out advice without asking questions.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 02:26 PM
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Ugh. If the dog is growling at her while she's bending over it trying to take something away, it's not just conflict it's a recipe to get bit!

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