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Discussion Starter #1
OK so for those who have read of Athena's dog aggression here is our new plan.I hope to keep you all updated in hope of helping out others as we go along.To sum up her problem she hates other dogs except her Lexi.I took her to one trainer who wanted to do a board and train for 3 weeks.I was OK with it till I left him worried.His only method of evaluation was to put her in front of a mirror and watch her flip out and tell me she was a bad case.NO sh*t..So for $1200.00 I could leave her and he would train her, then me.He neglected to elaborate on his methods other than constant interaction with other dogs and would work on advanced obedience.Ok fine what does your facility look like?Oh it's muddy so when you bring her back I'll show you.UH NO.So I came home and got on here to ask my friends,they all said NO WAY.I contacted another trainer up here, he said no way.I set up an appointment with him.Well today we met and I like his approach I think.First we have to keep her away from dogs till next visit in 2 weeks.Yuck but I can do it.That means no walks on our road,no playing freely outside unless I can get the neighbor to put her dogs in,which I nicely hinted to her in an email.We need to do focusing work and reinforce and tweek basic obedience.The main exercise she gets is good but of course she needs a job,he suggested scent tracking.I also have to get a Kong and possibly a food cube thing to exercise her brain and a food pouch for the focus work.She also has to work for her food in AM and PM and if she doesn't do what I ask after 30 sec I have to pick it up and wait till next feeding.That will kill me because after a week of no good food and now she is eating all I give her, I don't want to hold back food.So to establish pack order I have to make them stay off the couches and I have to pick up there toys and hand out what I want them to play with.Also because she has a lot of anxiety he doesn't want her barking and jumping at the door when someone knocks so we have to work on a different command for her to do if she hears a knock.His example was to have her sit when she hears a knock.When we go out instead of always having her sit and stay till I release he wants me to mix it up and make her down and stay.He gave me a few papers with Stress Indicators to watch for.As the 2 weeks go on we should start to see a more relaxed,less stressed dog.I guess it boils down to not having the pack order established yet so she is not knowing which way to go.Hopefully her stomach issues will lessen as we get the pack order established.That's all I can think of right now.Any questions about this bring them on.Thanks for listening and I hope I can help others as we go through this process.Wish us luck.

Moderators I hope I placed this in the correct forum.I wasn't sure if it would fit here or in the how to train section.
 

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Allie I agree with the pack order the food thing confuses me
let me think about it.
I am glad you enjoyed your first training session
 

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OK, I like the trainer you will be working with and so glad you walked away from the first trainer.

Digestive issues maybe related to stress, so if you can lower the stress hopefully you will see an improvment in the digestive issues.

I like that this trainer gave you homework to do.

Ask you neighbor if she could be a help to you while you are working with a trainer to help Athena get over her problems by having maybe a schedule for a little while when your dog can be out and when her's can be out. Asking for her help will hopefully get you a better response than some thing more demanding.

Val
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Dawn,
The food thing is basically she ahs to work to get fed.She has to sit or down what ever command I give and if she doesn't do it w/in 30 sec she looses.I emailed Ron to see what he said about what I learned today.I think I for got the food thing but I have been told that by many that they need to work for it to get it.I was just too lazy to enforce it.

Val,
I will discuss it with my neighbor.If she is home she will most likely be fine with it or she'll tell me to put them in when I want to play with Athena.She works all day so I'm sure I can just put them in the house during the week for an hour or so.It will be a pain, but if it help I'm there for it.I do have a pen to play in but playing ball won't be fun in a 20X20 pen.
 

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Allie I understand that I am concerned cause what she has been going through that is all.
I agree with Val and talking to you neighbor about setting up a schedule.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ok I understand your not understanding now.I will just make her sit and stay till I tell her OK.I try to do that anyway but sometimes I just need to feed her and move on to something else.Hopefully once we get her less stressed she will not be having these stomach issues.I'll talk to her,I'm sure I can put then inside for an hour or so a day to play ball outside.I'll start hiding things in the pen to make her find too.I just have to get some stuff.Any ideas anyone?
 

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I will definitely be watching your posts as you progress, my pup has the same issues your going through. Thanks for posting!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Michelle,
How old is he?You may not want to do group obedience classes then.What is he doing and when?Has he always been this way or is it new?You might be better off checking out a private trainer depending on your answers to these questions.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I need ideas for things to hide in her pen to entertain her till I figure out where we can go for walks w/o dogs.One thing the neighbor thought up was if we could put a tarp on the side of the pen to cover her dogs.I'll have to run that by Hubby and the Trainer.
I just bought them Kongs and the filling and training treats.The store in town didn't have the treat bag I need.I'll rig something up till I get one.
 

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The everlasting treat ball is great if Athena loves food. I usually put kibble in mine and I have heard of people putting a large portion of their dog's meal in it.
 

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Get some plastic bowls or 1/2 gal plastic Ice Cream Pails, take treats and hide under the bowl. Hide the kong or treat ball under a pail.

You can do all kinds of things. Have her on a leash and walk her around the bowl/pail and work on your leave it and focus work. Do figure 8 work, do sit/stay work.

Val
 

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This is going to be a little scattered as that is what my brain is like!! I play a find it game with kibble. Get the dogs attention. Say"find it" toss the treat or food(this works great in grass cuz they have to search to find it). When the dog returns to you give her another treat then say find it toss in another direction. and repeat. My dogs love this game. It expends energy and adds to their attention to you. I also work on downs from a distance with this game. If you have a strongish down, as the dog returns to you, use your cue and down them..then toss another treat.
I use a clicker for some other exercises with reactive dogs, but I don't know if you are interested in that approach. With my Max, when he was young, there was nothing in his life for free!!! He worked for his meals...and loved it.
Good luck, keep us posted. I have a reactive dog, and am part of a reactive dog group and just started Control Unleashed classes. It is a journey but once you find what works for YOU AND YOUR DOG, then the progress is so fast!! I may be only assuming that Athena is reactive. If I'm wrong, I apologize. I've been so busy with training and classes that I've been out of the loop.
 

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For what it's worth, I agree totally with the trainer that you'll be working with on one point. Athena should stay away from any circumstance where she can practise her reactve behavior when she sees other dogs. Dogs learn by repetition. We all know that, but it's easy to forget that they can learn the "bad" stuff really fast, if they get to practise it. For what it's worth...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
UConnGSD,
Is theeverlasting treat ball one you can buy at Petco or is it through a catalog order?He mentioned the training cube,I think it was called.

twonhshepherds,
That's what the trainer was basically saying.We have taught her to behave this way due to getting the wrong advice.I should have stopped the obedience classes right away and gone the private route but I had most people telling me to keep going to get her use to them.I think the away period will maybe get some of the bad experiences out of her and with better focusing skills and a calmer demeanor we can approach dogs in a more positive way.Athena is the type of dog that has always needed soft correcting and we weren't like that.We didn't hurt her but we were more harsh then we should have had.Do you know what I mean?Can you define reactive for me?I guess she is but I may not be correct in the term.Where do you do this control unleashed classes?I have heard of it but didn't think there were any in NH.
Thanks for all the activity suggestions.We will be trying them out.Also the reactive dog group where would I find that?
 

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Allie, this trainer sounds like he will be good. I totally agree with most of what he says - expect for the food becuase she's had this recent trouble with her tummy. Personally, I would make her sit before you give her meals then let her eat in peace - least until she gets better.

Exercise is going to be tough but do able - can you call the neighbor before you're ready to go out, say you're going to be outside with Athena for a little while and could she bring her dog in? Unless the neighbor is a raving loonie, she'll be helpful becuase she won't want any more trouble down the road between Athena and her dog.

Oh and in addition to what your trainer said about no dogs on the couch, no dogs on the bed etc, add no dogs walked before you through a doorway, they have to sit at the back door before you let them go out.

Raising a GSD puppy isn't easy but it's rewarding in the end. The more you work with her, the closer the bond with her will be. They love the work.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Jenn,
I'm going to make her sit and stay for her food and I do my best to go out before them.I've been told all this but just didn't do it all the time.The things you know for the next time around.......The neighbor has already said that, that will be a good excuse to take her dogs for a ride or something on the weekends.Once I talk to her more she'll probably let me put them in the house during the week for an hour or so to exercise Athena.I take care of her dogs when she goes away so I have access to her house and know her dogs.I don't know what it is about these **** dogs but with all the things I have encountered with Athena,stomach issues and aggression I am looking forward to hopefully next year if all goes right getting another one.Like someone said there like potato chips, you can't have just one.......
 

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Sounds like your neighbor will be very supportive, excellent. Shepherds aren't easy to raise but Athena will do just fine becuase you're getting on track with her young. Most important thing is consistence - if you always make her sit before she goes out, she'll do it automatically. If she tries to get through the doorway - any doorway - before you, put your knee out to the side to block her. She'll stop soon... there's a long list of things you can do to establish dominance without being harsh.

In my case, the 4 GSDs before him never had the issues Mien Luther had - he was an over the top nutcase, 9.5 on the volhard scale, missed his calling as a junk yard dog. I learned a lot from training him and every dog since has been better for it. Especially Miss Moon, she's the type who'd run my life if I hadn't laid down the law.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I think I'm going to start a journal of how to do it right the 2nd time around.I have learned so much in the 9 months I have been an owner but like with kids I wouldn't trade it for anything,well, the kids maybe for a million or two.
 

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