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For those who have reactive dogs and wonder why things are not getting better very quickly, if at all, consider this:

This is a small study, done as a college thesis, but it does bring up an interesting idea. If a dog gets stressed from a reactive encounter, in this case another dog, the stress hormone go up. If the dog does not get enough time, we are talking days, the hormone level doesn't go back down. Each successive reactive event then builds on the already heightened levels.

Here is the link to the study: http://theiscp.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Linda-Cooper-Thesis-2a.pdf
Her suggestion is to give the dog exercise vacations, not long walks where they are likely to meet another dog. No busy games of fetch. Replace large amounts of exercise with brain games and relaxation techniques.

She might be onto something. We don't often take into consideration it might take longer for some dogs to get-back-to-normal (my words, not hers) than we would think.
 

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From my understanding of this study, the point is to avoid stimulating encounters that can cause stress, and to find other ways to exercise the dog. It's not the exercise in itself that will help a dog, it is the break from having their stress hormones sent through the roof each time they are out and about.
 

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Her suggestion is to give the dog exercise vacations, not long walks where they are likely to meet another dog.
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I'm probably wrong because I didn't collect nearly as much data and conduct as many case studies with variables and constants as a college thesis should provide for.....but....my experience would suggest....an "absence makes the heart fonder" type of observation when it comes to a dog's reactivity...probably doesn't make any sense.....but...more frequency of exposure to the "spark" which starts the reaction in the dog.....coupled with a better choice for the dog while it can still practically make the proper choice.....has yielded better results than removing the trigger for any extended period of time. However....if they are talking about an amped up dog and no better choice has been made definitively clear.....then I could appreciate how a hiatus of sorts could allow the dog to recover to a state where it would become more receptive to the lesson at hand......


SuperG
 

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oh good grief - punishment for feeling stressed .

Castlemaid said "From my understanding of this study, the point is to avoid stimulating encounters that can cause stress, and to find other ways to exercise the dog. It's not the exercise in itself that will help a dog, it is the break from having their stress hormones sent through the roof each time they are out and about."

which is why there is a thread called http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-puppy-stuff/400690-rethinking-popular-early-socialization

there is nothing gained by having an agenda to meet so many people or master so many challenges within a set period of time without regard to accommodating the young dog's readiness or ability to do so .

quote
" If the dog does not get enough time, we are talking days, the hormone level doesn't go back down. Each successive reactive event then builds on the already heightened levels. "

this is like the brains muscle memory - a default setting which prepares the dog for a response .

this is the mechanism behind torture . You don't begin the next round at square one , you begin at the level of distress where you last left off . Accumulative.
 

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Don't know ... 24 freaking pages??? To much reading for me?? Sounds like more "study" than "working with dogs" to me???

"Show me" works fine for me, every dog is "different." KISS, the first dog I worked with (a fear of people and a puller) was ... adopted a week later??? I was stunned??? I never took his "hormone levels" into account???

Sounds like "crap" to me but I'm not a "behaviourist." :p
 

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Grisha Stewart has a section in her book about "trigger stacking"....now I think she was referring to that happening in the same day or experience but it is probably applicable anyway.

My opinion is that this is definitely valid....pathways are formed in the brain, it becomes easier and easier for the stress response to occur (that is a non scientific way of saying it)

There are other ways to deal with reactive dogs than to punish the behavior to the point that it is supressed. There are ways of dealing with it where some positive punishment is used but not probably in the way that Blitzkrieg meant.
 

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that's not new.

you will not get a calmed and quiet puppy by exercising it till it physically needs to drop , or flirt polling it or just being busy .

that's like gasoline on to the fire.

calm makes calm.
Oh I know it is not new. Our training director has told us a few times that when training was much more compulsive that dogs needed two days off to recover from hard corrections. Otherwise the build up of stress hormones created more problems and the dogs stopped learning.

It's just not something I've seen lately in all the dog training tips posted on the net. It is older knowledge that has fallen by the way side.
 

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"Show me" works fine for me, every dog is "different." KISS, the first dog I worked with (a fear of people and a puller) was ... adopted a week later??? I was stunned??? I never took his "hormone levels" into account???
:p
Each dog is different. I am sure some dogs can go play frisbee on a dog beach one day and then go train for sports the next. She is more concerned with the dogs prone to be reactive.

Let's face it. We have a stress filled day and come home and want to veg out to Netflix or a video game where we don't need to do much out of the box thinking. Same with dogs. I'm just surprised at how long it takes for some dogs.
 

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Select the contingency you do not like.
Example: Barking, Lunging, Growling

Then apply an aversive experience to the dog when he offers the behaviour. The aversive experience must be sufficient enough to suppress or reduce the behaviour or you have not actually punished the behaviour. Most people screw up at this point.

I prefer using a prong or ecollar to administer the punishment. Most dogs stop the reactivity within a couple of days.

...or you can read studies, screw around with thresholds and doggy psychologists for a few years..
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My approach is actually functional obedience with contingent punishment layered over top but contingent punishment is what will stop the behaviour.
Like many things in dog training this is a common problem that people love to overcomplicate.
 

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Like many things in dog training there are many different approaches to dealing with dog reactivity.

I think it is safe to say there are plenty of pet owners who could pick up a prong collar or an e collar and make their dog much worse. I think it is important for future people reading this thread to know that.
 

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Select the contingency you do not like.
Example: Barking, Lunging, Growling

Then apply an aversive experience to the dog when he offers the behaviour. The aversive experience must be sufficient enough to suppress or reduce the behaviour or you have not actually punished the behaviour. Most people screw up at this point.

I prefer using a prong or ecollar to administer the punishment. Most dogs stop the reactivity within a couple of days.
The part in "bold" is what "newbies" should understand. For ten years ... I "thought" I did but I didn't have dogs that "pushed back???"

The people that understand "this" are the ones that can "DIY" there "difficult dogs." Then it's a matter of using a "Proper Tool" of there choice and applying "the above concept correctly!"

You and a few others have given this advise in the past, and it pretty much gets turned into a "I'm not gonna beat my dog thing???" Most likely only Five's of people in "Petland" get it but hey ... good enough, I say. So from that small (subset) I say thanks for the effort. :p


...or you can read studies, screw around with thresholds and doggy psychologists for a few years..
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Oh ... I call that the "put the dog on the couch approach" and "discuss his "feelings." :)
 

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Like many things in dog training there are many different approaches to dealing with dog reactivity.

I think it is safe to say there are plenty of pet owners who could pick up a prong collar or an e collar and make their dog much worse. I think it is important for future people reading this thread to know that.
Absolutely,consider the timing of a correction or positive punishment. Do you nick the dog at the first twitch of the ear, the first glance of more than 3 seconds, after the first bark? Since our heads are up higher we may see the obstacle coming before the dog does. We nick them too soon, and then the dog sees the target and thinks "I got in trouble and then that dog / person showed up". We messed up again.


I agree that rewards are nice for teaching new behaviors. Aversion work better for extinguishing behaviors quickly (if done correctly). But we do need to take built up stress into consideration. Not so much to make up even more rules, but to watch for in our own dogs.
 

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OK, back on topic:

If you use aversion, keep in mind your dog will have stress and will benefit from having some down time.
If you have a weak nerved dog, I tend to agree that one strong correction is much better than Nagging time and time again. That is where the stress hormones can build up and the whole thing backfires.

and off topic: I watched a video of a woman explaining that choke, prong and e-collars were very bad for training and instead use a harness that clips in front or a head halter. I just blinked and thought, but front clip harness and head halters work by aversion. Go the wrong way and it is uncomfortable. duh. So yes, we are trying to use techniques to teach and train dogs that do make things more complicated than needs be.
 
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