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Discussion Starter #1
I know we have some members here that have disabilities, and I’m wondering how/if that affects training. Or do you have an already trained service animal? Feel free to DM me if you’d rather not post publicly.

I’m temporarily “disabled” from a recent c-spine fusion and bone graft. We have 2 pups and one adult that still acts like a pup. One senior who is good to go. DH was supposed to take over training while I was recovering, but he’s doing a horrible job of it, and I don’t want 3 unruly dogs running around creating havoc. Seiran (6 month unaltered female GSD) and Lyka (senior GSD recently spayed) are both with me in a gated off area of the house. Seiran does fine with training sessions with me seated. I cannot stand for long periods of time without pain, and I cannot bend over. No mobility in my neck at all at this point(brace prevents movement). Crios (2yr old unaltered male GSD/Husky mix) and Floki (10 month old altered male Belgian Mal) are with DH on his “side of the house”. They are both great training with me if I’m standing. As soon as I sit, all bets are off. Is there a trick or something I can do to have them willing to take training sessions with me sitting? Crios is toy driven, so I can’t reward with tug, so I just toss balls for him. Floki is praise driven, which is great, but both of them kind of glaze over and think it’s playtime when I sit. I train them separately, but before the surgery I would do both.

We do have a professional trainer that comes by the house and works with DH on training, but the second he leaves, DH is on the computer and ignoring the boys. And Floki has recently started barking at DH anytime he tries to train him without the trainer present. It’s at the point that I need to step in, or follow through with the agreement, which is rehoming the males. I have a great dog network so I know they will be placed in great homes, and I’d be able to see them as often as I wanted, but it would take the burden of training two very high energy, high drive dogs off my shoulders.

If I could find a way for them to transition to seated training sessions, I can have some people in my network get them out for exercise, but I want them to have solid commands in place first. Right now for exercise, I sit out back with them, and they chase each other, swim, chase balls I throw, swim, chase each other, swim, play tug with each other, swim. Rinse and repeat. I sit out and watch for about 2 hours, until they are pretty worn out. I give them about 30 minutes of break time, and then start the first training session. I keep Seiran’s sessions to about 20-30 minutes, and Crios can take hours if I let him. Floki seems to be set at 30-45 minute mark before he gets bored. But again, that’s with me standing, and I can’t handle that much time on my feet. I know more exercise and more challenging commands would do wonders for all of them, I just need to figure this out.

Any help, opinions, advice, told you so’s are welcome.
 

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holy cow, that is a lot on your plate. Glad the trainer is still coming. I guess DH just doesn't see the urgency. Often, when men are finished doing what they feel is their job, they love to zone out. Not an excuse, just typical behavior. Not sure how to get DH to realize that the dogs are now his job, too.

I am glad you have a good network. I would be wonderful is someone could board them for you while you heal, with the idea it could be a very long time. I guess it is time to have that heart to heart with your sweetie. If he doesn't have the energy to stay on top of the dogs as well as taking care of you, then don't wait to rehome or board your guys. (easy for me to say)
 

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Maybe e-collar training would help. You could give a correction without any force on you. Depending on the dog you are working with you may not need the shock feature. When mine was young we worked with a great trainer. I was having severe low back pain (herniated discs,degenerative disease, joint swelling in my hands) and giving collar corrections was an issue. We e-collar trained. It was such a huge help. After a very short period we didn't even have to use the shock feature. We taught her that the vibrate feature was the warning shot. If she didn't heed the warning she got a shock. Didn't take her long to catch on. We only use her e-collar now for nuisance barking late at night when outside in the yard. 90% of the time a vibrate shuts her up.
I don't know how you feel about e-collars as training tool but maybe think about it and discuss with your trainer.
 

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Maybe e-collar training would help. You could give a correction without any force on you. Depending on the dog you are working with you may not need the shock feature. When mine was young we worked with a great trainer. I was having severe low back pain (herniated discs,degenerative disease, joint swelling in my hands) and giving collar corrections was an issue. We e-collar trained. It was such a huge help. After a very short period we didn't even have to use the shock feature. We taught her that the vibrate feature was the warning shot. If she didn't heed the warning she got a shock. Didn't take her long to catch on. We only use her e-collar now for nuisance barking late at night when outside in the yard. 90% of the time a vibrate shuts her up.
I don't know how you feel about e-collars as training tool but maybe think about it and discuss with your trainer.
Everyone has their opinion on this but I use an e-collar. It is a wonderful tool (when trained & used properly)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
We do own two e-collars. I have used them as correction and refocusing tools with Lyka, made great strides with her. Crios doesn’t respond to one at all. Lyka yips at the lowest setting on shock, but I haven’t had to use the shock in years. The noise works great for her. The vibrate just seems to puzzle her. Crios doesn’t even blink at the highest level of shock, vibrate, or beep. Seiran is super easy, Lyka as well at this point. It’s just Crios’s high drive, high energy, and Floki refusing to respond to DH. I could place Crios with a family I know very well until I get the brace off and no longer need the walker, but it kinda breaks my heart. He’s been switched around so much. 2 original owners before he came to me, then him and Lyka both came to AZ while I was still in CA because I couldn’t walk them, and was under contract to live at the main bass of the properties I managed, so it was an apt lifestyle that I couldn’t handle with 2 big dogs I couldn’t walk. I know I need to think with my head, and not my heart, but it’s easier said than done. He’s a great dog when he is stimulated and exercised enough, has all his commands down, except recall. I don’t know, I keep going back and forth with the rehoming. I know the guilt will kill me, but I also need to think what would be best for the dogs as well.

DH is off work at the moment, until next Monday. He’s helped very little. It’s me and the PT handling my recovery. I still make dinner for everyone at night, and still do laundry and homework with the girls, and train Seiran while they are at school. And nap. Naps are my escape.

If I could wave a magic wand and have the males respond while I’m sitting, it wouldn’t be such an issue.
 

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IMHO, DH needs a swift kick to the behind. Not literally, but he agreed to do something that he is no longer doing. And you’re recovering from a major surgery and he can’t even help out around the house with cooking and other things? The least he agreed to do was take care of Floki, and he can’t even do that. Don’t let your agreement with him disappear. You can’t make a “threat” and not follow through. Then he just knows he can promise things, get what he wants, then ignore you.

Again IMHO, I would be immediately rehoming Floki at this point and considering rehoming Crios. I know it sucks, but if it’s too much for you to handle on your own, the dogs deserve better. I’m not saying that you aren’t giving them an amazing life in an amazing home, but right now isn’t a good time to be adding a new dog (Floki). Crios deserves the chance to make it work if you can, but you didn’t even want to keep the Malinois puppy in the first place, DH did. And he’s not keeping up his end.
 
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The vet handed DH his behind on a platter for the same reasons. He gets it, and makes the effort for a few days, and then just slowly drops off. As for dinner, no one would be able to eat his “cooking” and if they did, we would probably all end up with food poisoning! He does help, he’ll get the pots and pans out, whatever ingredients I need, and does any chopping, but I won’t let him near the stove. He gathers all the clothes and gets the wet ones from the washer and puts them into the dryer for me, because it’s too heavy for me to do when they are wet. So he isn’t leaving me to do it all myself, he just gets into his computer games and zones out with the dogs.

I’ve my fair share of blame also. I’m an “it’s easier to just do than teach someone to do it” kind of person. He tried to be supportive and help me with my exercises, but it hurts, and I curse, and DH takes it personally. He’s a very sensitive guy. We have always joked that I’m the man in the relationship, and he’s the girl.

It’s definitely not ideal right now, but I expected it. And I know making him follow through on the contract with Floki should be the #1 option, but honestly, he’s easier than Crios. Crios has ZERO off switch. Floki has a great one. I would never rehome Crios over Floki, but I may let one of my fellow fosters take him for a week or two to settle the overexcitable vibe Crios creates in the home.

When I’m at 100% he wasn’t a challenge, it’s just now when he’s not being worked properly that is making him act out.
 

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The vet handed DH his behind on a platter for the same reasons. He gets it, and makes the effort for a few days, and then just slowly drops off. As for dinner, no one would be able to eat his “cooking” and if they did, we would probably all end up with food poisoning! He does help, he’ll get the pots and pans out, whatever ingredients I need, and does any chopping, but I won’t let him near the stove. He gathers all the clothes and gets the wet ones from the washer and puts them into the dryer for me, because it’s too heavy for me to do when they are wet. So he isn’t leaving me to do it all myself, he just gets into his computer games and zones out with the dogs.

I’ve my fair share of blame also. I’m an “it’s easier to just do than teach someone to do it” kind of person. He tried to be supportive and help me with my exercises, but it hurts, and I curse, and DH takes it personally. He’s a very sensitive guy. We have always joked that I’m the man in the relationship, and he’s the girl.

It’s definitely not ideal right now, but I expected it. And I know making him follow through on the contract with Floki should be the #1 option, but honestly, he’s easier than Crios. Crios has ZERO off switch. Floki has a great one. I would never rehome Crios over Floki, but I may let one of my fellow fosters take him for a week or two to settle the overexcitable vibe Crios creates in the home.

When I’m at 100% he wasn’t a challenge, it’s just now when he’s not being worked properly that is making him act out.
Glad to hear that DH is helpful and that I had it wrong! It sounds like you know what you want to do.

Sorry, I probably missed it, but how long is the recovery supposed to take? If everyone can just hang on for that amount of time, or you can get both boys fostered, it sounds like you want to keep all four dogs in your life after you recover. It may just be a hard couple weeks/months for everyone, but you already knew that. I’m not being overly helpful. ?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Full recovery takes 3-6 months to ensure the graft takes. The nerve damage will never heal, so I’ll have numbness in my feet, hands, and portions of both legs and sides permanently.

Recovery varies, I’m hoping to be out of the collar on Friday, but I’m not banking on it. I won’t ever get full range of motion in my neck. The extent of that won’t be determined until about month 3.

I've been watch videos on people in wheelchairs relearning how to manage and train dogs, so hopefully I can find a solution to Crios and Floki having an issue with me sitting and training.
 

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Could you use an ecollar on DH?
I threaten all the time to put it on him instead of any of the dogs all the time! Lol. He’s a wuss though, he wouldn’t even test it on his arm after me, my 2 boys, and my 2 girls tested it first. I still have no idea how Crios acts like nothing happened when it’s on full volume. I threw the whole thing against a wall and broke it, and screamed like a little yapping dogs scream when they get scared ?
 

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I'm going to be pretty blunt, only because there is concern for your well being.

You amuse your dogs 24/7 and IMO that's the root cause of a lot of your issues. I get it, I really do. But seriously? You just had surgery! Put the dogs in their crates/places/rooms/kennels or whatever and teach them to knock it off and suck it up for a while.
Some dogs just don't know they can relax so you need to show them. Here's your crate, here's a stuffed kong, shut up and amuse yourself for an hour. Crios is never going to learn to use his off switch if you don't show him he has one. And he does have one, trust me. As far as Floki goes? DH made a deal. He dropped the ball. Live with the consequences. You have your old lady and a pup to deal with, a pup that's already behind because of her injury. Dedicate yourself to her and if she is as smart as you think she will easily adapt to your limited mobility.
 

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My dogs rest way longer than 30 mins after a 2 hr exercise!! Wow.

Isn't the malinois a foster? I'm confused why you would take a young high energy foster when having a surgery like this?
 

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I know we have some members here that have disabilities, and I’m wondering how/if that affects training. Or do you have an already trained service animal? Feel free to DM me if you’d rather not post publicly.

I’m temporarily “disabled” from a recent c-spine fusion and bone graft. We have 2 pups and one adult that still acts like a pup. One senior who is good to go. DH was supposed to take over training while I was recovering, but he’s doing a horrible job of it, and I don’t want 3 unruly dogs running around creating havoc. Seiran (6 month unaltered female GSD) and Lyka (senior GSD recently spayed) are both with me in a gated off area of the house. Seiran does fine with training sessions with me seated. I cannot stand for long periods of time without pain, and I cannot bend over. No mobility in my neck at all at this point(brace prevents movement). Crios (2yr old unaltered male GSD/Husky mix) and Floki (10 month old altered male Belgian Mal) are with DH on his “side of the house”. They are both great training with me if I’m standing. As soon as I sit, all bets are off. Is there a trick or something I can do to have them willing to take training sessions with me sitting? Crios is toy driven, so I can’t reward with tug, so I just toss balls for him. Floki is praise driven, which is great, but both of them kind of glaze over and think it’s playtime when I sit. I train them separately, but before the surgery I would do both.

We do have a professional trainer that comes by the house and works with DH on training, but the second he leaves, DH is on the computer and ignoring the boys. And Floki has recently started barking at DH anytime he tries to train him without the trainer present. It’s at the point that I need to step in, or follow through with the agreement, which is rehoming the males. I have a great dog network so I know they will be placed in great homes, and I’d be able to see them as often as I wanted, but it would take the burden of training two very high energy, high drive dogs off my shoulders.

If I could find a way for them to transition to seated training sessions, I can have some people in my network get them out for exercise, but I want them to have solid commands in place first. Right now for exercise, I sit out back with them, and they chase each other, swim, chase balls I throw, swim, chase each other, swim, play tug with each other, swim. Rinse and repeat. I sit out and watch for about 2 hours, until they are pretty worn out. I give them about 30 minutes of break time, and then start the first training session. I keep Seiran’s sessions to about 20-30 minutes, and Crios can take hours if I let him. Floki seems to be set at 30-45 minute mark before he gets bored. But again, that’s with me standing, and I can’t handle that much time on my feet. I know more exercise and more challenging commands would do wonders for all of them, I just need to figure this out.

Any help, opinions, advice, told you so’s are welcome.
You said you have people who can exercise them but you want them to have solid commands first.... gotta disagree with you there. Ask for help, get these dogs exercised, then do what Sabi said and tell them to go chill out.

And what kind of training do you do with one dog for hours?
 

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To answer your original question yes I have disabilities. My oldest is a retired service dog, my youngest is my service dog in training. So, a lot of his day to day training is disability related tasks which he enjoys, keeps him busy. I integrate him into the day naturally. I do specific training sessions on obedience and specific outings but other than that he just hangs out with me all day long and pitches in whenever something comes up that he knows how to do.

I sometimes need to use hiking poles and/or a harness on my adult male when I have balance problems and I'm not sure I can manage by myself. The adult dog is task trained also, and he was trained to work in harness. I think that's the biggie-- they help ME, and that is a job for all of them. The two younger dogs definitely help me throughout the day.

Some days I just can't do it all. And they can and will sit with me and sleep away most of the day. Today was one of those days.

What you describe almost sounds like you catering to them and entertaining them. I do that too...on a good day we go for nice off leash walks, we train for fun things...we do dock diving. But I definitely don't entertain them all day every day, plenty of days plenty of their energy is spent helping me with day to day stuff. I think you should turn the tables on your dogs and put them to work doing things for you.
 

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They do have downtime. Because I sleep in spurts, and not a full night or even half a night of sleep, I often sleep more in 2 hour spurts during the day, and the dogs are fine with that. Crios will chill out and nap when I am, but as soon as my feet hit the ground, it’s zero to sixty in 1.5 seconds with him. So maybe no off switch is pushing it, but he would much rather be working than napping. His training generally consists of basic commands for about 15-20 minutes, then attempting his recall that only seems to be present during agility, then fun stuff. Scent work, agility when the weather isn’t so impossible, and recently pulling the urban sled around with verbal commands only, since I can’t afford to have an accident actually standing on it. We fill the sled with weights, and he pulls that. When the girls are home, it’s hide and seek. They both hide, I give Crios the seek command, and he goes through the house to find the girls. Frisbee and chuck it when it cools off in the evenings. Throwing objects into the pool for him to retrieve. I guess I just consider anything I’m doing with them as training, unless it’s napping. Crios can go all day switching up one thing to another. When we stop for a day or two, he goes into destruction mode and starts chewing up everything. We need to get him a crate, I know. We switched Floki to Crios’s crate, and realized he still hasn’t earned free roam. We have another crate on order.

As for Floki, he was an emergency foster. One that DH fell in love with. Guilted me into permanently adopting him. The longer he is with us, the more settled he becomes, and after getting rid of the “cold” he had, his energy and drive went way up. He isn’t destructive like Crios, he just needs a firm confident handler. I did give DH an end date today. If he cannot put down the gaming and be more invested in Floki, and take my suggestions when the trainer isn’t here, he will be rehomed on Monday. I have a home in place already.

Seiran is a dream, so no issues there. She’s got all her commands down, and is medium energy, happy to “play” and then settle down. Lyka is getting more active, but is always very alert to my needs.

We aren’t trying to train any of them as service dogs, if I made it seem that way. I was just looking for tips on how to get them to respond to me in a sitting position.

I know I got myself into this mess, used it as a means of avoiding my fears over surgery, so now it’s time to correct those mistakes. I’ve always been a very active person before the accident, so I liked the higher energy, higher drive dog. I obviously need to reassess in my current condition with DH not being as involved as he promised to be.
 

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They do have downtime. Because I sleep in spurts, and not a full night or even half a night of sleep, I often sleep more in 2 hour spurts during the day, and the dogs are fine with that. Crios will chill out and nap when I am, but as soon as my feet hit the ground, it’s zero to sixty in 1.5 seconds with him. So maybe no off switch is pushing it, but he would much rather be working than napping. His training generally consists of basic commands for about 15-20 minutes, then attempting his recall that only seems to be present during agility, then fun stuff. Scent work, agility when the weather isn’t so impossible, and recently pulling the urban sled around with verbal commands only, since I can’t afford to have an accident actually standing on it. We fill the sled with weights, and he pulls that. When the girls are home, it’s hide and seek. They both hide, I give Crios the seek command, and he goes through the house to find the girls. Frisbee and chuck it when it cools off in the evenings. Throwing objects into the pool for him to retrieve. I guess I just consider anything I’m doing with them as training, unless it’s napping. Crios can go all day switching up one thing to another. When we stop for a day or two, he goes into destruction mode and starts chewing up everything. We need to get him a crate, I know. We switched Floki to Crios’s crate, and realized he still hasn’t earned free roam. We have another crate on order.

As for Floki, he was an emergency foster. One that DH fell in love with. Guilted me into permanently adopting him. The longer he is with us, the more settled he becomes, and after getting rid of the “cold” he had, his energy and drive went way up. He isn’t destructive like Crios, he just needs a firm confident handler. I did give DH an end date today. If he cannot put down the gaming and be more invested in Floki, and take my suggestions when the trainer isn’t here, he will be rehomed on Monday. I have a home in place already.

Seiran is a dream, so no issues there. She’s got all her commands down, and is medium energy, happy to “play” and then settle down. Lyka is getting more active, but is always very alert to my needs.

We aren’t trying to train any of them as service dogs, if I made it seem that way. I was just looking for tips on how to get them to respond to me in a sitting position.

I know I got myself into this mess, used it as a means of avoiding my fears over surgery, so now it’s time to correct those mistakes. I’ve always been a very active person before the accident, so I liked the higher energy, higher drive dog. I obviously need to reassess in my current condition with DH not being as involved as he promised to be.
If the only way to get Crios to settle is for you to nap then he NEEDS to learn to shut it down. I'm not being mean, just realistic. You have a LONG recovery and at this point unknown mobility afterward. I get liking high energy dogs, we used to call Shadow the energizer bunny. I was walking her over 10 kms a day, doing 4-5 30 minute training sessions, running agility obstacles, playing fetch and working on trick routines and scent work. And she has a bad heart. I was working 10-12 hours a day and sleeping 3 hours a night. BUT on days when I needed to invade her time I would simply crate her if she started getting in my way. Over time she learned that when I said knock it off, I meant it. Then I got hurt. Took me a while to learn to throw with my left hand. I had physio and appointments all day, all week. I could not use my right arm at all initially and it was winter and slippery, so walks were off the table. We both had a massive shift to go through, but I had taught her to roll with it so we managed. Without the foundation I laid for her I would have been unemployed, injured, with a dog I could not handle and no help. This last year she has spent 24/7 in confined quarters with me and no place to let her loose to stretch out and play fetch. Again without having learned to calm down this would have been impossible. Good news is taught my dog to lunge, think horse not dog, lol.
 

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I'm going to be pretty blunt, only because there is concern for your well being.

You amuse your dogs 24/7 and IMO that's the root cause of a lot of your issues. I get it, I really do. But seriously? You just had surgery! Put the dogs in their crates/places/rooms/kennels or whatever and teach them to knock it off and suck it up for a while.
Some dogs just don't know they can relax so you need to show them. Here's your crate, here's a stuffed kong, shut up and amuse yourself for an hour. Crios is never going to learn to use his off switch if you don't show him he has one. And he does have one, trust me. As far as Floki goes? DH made a deal. He dropped the ball. Live with the consequences. You have your old lady and a pup to deal with, a pup that's already behind because of her injury. Dedicate yourself to her and if she is as smart as you think she will easily adapt to your limited mobility.
Thanks Sabi, honestly. I do entertain my dogs too much. I have a bad habit of fixating on things, and I entertain them because it entertains me. I love to watch them get a new command down, or go for their first swim in the pool. Crios is amazingly gorgeous and graceful to watch on the agility course. Seiran picks things up the first time around, and isn’t behind any longer.

I’m worried if I take the focus off the dogs, I’m going to spiral into depression. It’s happened before. So they keep me sane, and I try to keep them happy. I throw my all into anything I’m doing. I am focusing on my recovery, with as much gusto as I’m focusing on the dogs. I haven’t actually tried hard to train the boys, but I’ve tried a few commands standing, and they immediately followed through, and then I tried it sitting, and they booked it. Guess I’m not as fun sitting. Other than that, I’ve been hands off with the boys, and just working with the girls, except for mornings. And that is just free play time for them to run and play fight and swim and get their energy out. I don’t force it on them. If they are done, they go back inside through the doggie doors. DH sleeps late, and I’m up at odd hours, so I do let them all out together. Probably shouldn’t have let DH rely on that, and make him get up with the dogs. All are normally crated or on their beds throughout the night, but since DH and I have split rooms with him upstairs and me downstairs, Crios would howl at bedtime with DH. Then Floki would join in for fun. So DH kennels them in my room at night downstairs, except Lyka and Crios who just have beds.
 

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I was just looking for tips on how to get them to respond to me in a sitting position.
You are right that this can be a lot harder with some dogs when a person is sitting--some dogs see the person as less dominant/authoritative, or take sitting as an invitation to play. One way to increase your authority when sitting is to use a shepherd's crook or cane. Not to whack the dog of course, but to block or poke him (gently) if he's being rude. You can also bang the crook on the floor, which will impress some dogs.

You might want to consider getting a sturdy electric wheelchair to use while you are recovering. You can get around much more easily and get a lot more done without getting worn out if you use one. Also, the sight of someone whizzing by in an electric wheelchair can make some dogs show a lot of respect. Of course, with your luck, your dogs might just merrily chase you. In which case the crook would come in handy.
 
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