Trainer wants to start off leash training... - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-11-2018, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Trainer wants to start off leash training...

I posted recently in the aggression forum about our German Shepherd mix, Bailey, who has started growling and lunging at the vet when she tries to exam her. Also, a few months after we adopted her she all of the sudden began growling at strangers who would approach her. I contacted a behaviorist and was lucky enough to be able to get her in a couple of weeks ago because they had a cancellation (instead of waiting until July). Everything went good at that appointment. She gave us lots of information to go over and what steps to take, etc. She had also listed in her assessment that Bailey has fear aggression (which I knew), territorial aggression, and unruliness. She gave us a treatment schedule to follow for the next 9-10 weeks and she told me to go ahead and contact the trainer who the vet referred us to in order to help with the exercises she outlined. We met with the trainer last week in a park and mainly went over redirection and walking calmly on the leash. Then, she had said that she wants to start off leash training and she always just completely takes the leash off. Now, all I'm picturing is Bailey taking off and not coming back, or biting someone in the park. I asked her how that is going to work since Bailey will not come to me if she is focused on something (although she did really well with the redirection exercises), and she said, "well, that's why you have to have high value treats." I forgot to mention to her that when Bailey has gotten out of our fence here, the ONLY thing that gets her to come is if I back out of the driveway in the car like I'm going somewhere, then she jumps in. I have even tried lunch meat and cheese, which are her absolute favorite, and she does not care.

I've never had to use a trainer before, so I'm not sure what the norm is for off leash training, but I am scared to death she will run away or bite someone. I was under the impression that we were going to also work on long line walks. I had to have the muzzle on her when we met last week, she did great, but the trainer told me to go ahead and keep it on her. Should the off leash training be something that we wait on? I also don't see any mention at all of off leash training on Bailey's treatment schedule. It just includes PACE, sit and name orientation, hand targeting, long line walks, sit stay at doorways, and more calming exercises. Thanks for any advice! Also, the trainer said that she did look over the treatment schedule.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-11-2018, 05:02 PM
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ONLY if there is a large fenced area without other people. If not, find another trainer and tell the behaviorist about this crazy plan. Remember that you are liable for any injury. Is this trainer willing to sign a liability waiver for you, saying that (s)he will be totally responsible for the dog's actions and not you? (I doubt it)
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-11-2018, 05:04 PM
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Doesn't sound like a good idea to mePracticing a recall should be on a long line until she's reliable no matter what the distraction,then step 2 in a FENCED area,adding distractions a little at a time.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-11-2018, 05:10 PM
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This isn't the right time for off leash. Think of a recall a little differently, and I'm stealing this from someone, I don't remember who. A recall is giving them permission to come to you. I read that as your dog wanting to come to you more then anything else, that's when you can take the leash off.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-11-2018, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raven414a View Post
Then, she had said that she wants to start off leash training and she always just completely takes the leash off. Now, all I'm picturing is Bailey taking off and not coming back, or biting someone in the park. I asked her how that is going to work since Bailey will not come to me if she is focused on something (although she did really well with the redirection exercises), and she said, "well, that's why you have to have high value treats."
Wait...WHAT? And how is it supposed to work if there is no treat that's high value enough to make her not bolt when she's off leash and you have no way of controlling her to make her come back?
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-11-2018, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! It's nice to know I'm not the only one who thought this was strange, but like I said I've never had a dog trainer before, lol. At the next session, I'm going to tell her that I'm not comfortable with the off leash right now and point out the fact that the behaviorist didn't even mention anything about off leash. I will probably bring the long line with me so we can possibly work on that since that IS what the behaviorist went over.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 07:14 AM
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I am glad you are taking the advice offered here. The trainer I take Rocky to always has a goal of getting dogs off leash and I think it may be possible at some point with him, but not right now. Rocky likes people and is even doing well with other dogs, but there is still the danger of him bolting and/or not coming when called. It's too soon and not enough work has been done.

I could never agree to the dog I had before Rocky being off leash. He liked people, but was reactive to some dogs and I did not feel comfortable with the risk.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 08:05 AM
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IMO this is why most folks here would say....."find a GOOD trainer"....I don't think the OP is there yet.....off leash at this stage likely won't end well
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 08:18 AM
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She gave us lots of information to go over and what steps to take, etc. She had also listed in her assessment that Bailey has fear aggression (which I knew), territorial aggression, and unruliness. She gave us a treatment schedule to follow for the next 9-10 weeks
Can I ask what sort of things she said to do? We have a similar issue and have had a behaviourist round. We've been doing some simple commands, sit, touch etc at a safe distance around people.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-12-2018, 08:32 AM
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Agree with all the opinions about NOT letting the dog off leash at this point, but I'm confused here about the difference between a behaviorist and a trainer. If the behaviorist evaluated the dog, why isn't she/he doing the training?

High value treats mean nothing for a dog who would rather chase a squirrel more than anything, or has competing, more high value (to dog) motivators. Recall needs to be non-optional, and you have a few ways to achieve that, some faster than others.


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