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We had a behaviorist as a guest speaker at our club last month.

She couldn't recommend Dr. Karen's Protocols for Relaxation enough.

These resources are readily available online, and they have a lot to offer to anyone working with a dog on impulse control, over-arousal, manners, and much more. Any dog or puppy that will sit or lie down can begin.

Links below, and a google search for Tier 2 will bring up even more content.

https://journeydogtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/ProtocolforRelaxation.pdf

http://championofmyheart.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/new-rp-2014.pdf
 

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There's some really, really good information in these protocols. Boy if everyone with a puppy or a rescue or young
disobedient dog would read these and train them, we wouldn't see all the behavioral problems people discuss here.

Yes google Dog Behavioral Modification as there's numerous chapters that aren't in the links.

Thanks WI Backpacke for the great info!! Can't wait to try some of it.
 

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I did this program with Dena and Keefer years ago, it's fantastic. Even though it's not a stay exercise, if you go through the entire protocol you should end up with a pretty darned nice stay! Since down is a more relaxed pose than sit, (which was in the original RP back then), I used that instead. I see that the list of exercises now are using a down.

Dena got it right away but at first, Keefer was a bit confused. He thought he was supposed to DO something but he couldn't figure out what, lol. He did finally realize that all he had to do was BE to get a reward, and then he started to really relax. I also combined the exercise with mat work, which had the added benefit of creating a portable chill spot wherever we brought the mat, such as to training classes. I laid the mat on the floor and they'd go lay down on it, and I'd put the treat on the mat right in front of their faces.

Thanks for the reminder, WI - I always meant to do RP with Halo but never got around to it. It would be a good thing for Cava now that it's colder, dark, and often rainy when I get home from work this time of year.
 

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I'm teaching this right now to Heidi when she wants to bark incessantly at the horses to move them around.
She quickly picked up on it- she now sits herself down and then lies down after a stern look or 'ack' from me.

Next I plan to use it in the truck when she reacts to dogs walking on the street. I think she's got the idea now.
 

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I'm teaching this right now to Heidi when she wants to bark incessantly at the horses to move them around.
She quickly picked up on it- she now sits herself down and then lies down after a stern look or 'ack' from me.

Next I plan to use it in the truck when she reacts to dogs walking on the street. I think she's got the idea now.
Are you going through the entire program? It's intended that each day you go through all of the exercises for that day (modifying as necessary), and if you are able to do them all, then you'd do the next day, and the next day, etc. If you have trouble with any of the exercises for a particular day you would stay at that day until you overcome them before progressing further. The point isn't to rush through it since the idea is to induce a relaxed state.
 

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Thank you, these are great, and we will work on them!

I predict that we will get permanently stuck at the exercise where I have to walk over to the door and touch the handle...as a rescue, Rumo always has some low level of anxiety about me leaving him. He always has to know where I am, and runs into the front hall if I walk towards the door...so that one is gonna be hard!
 

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I predict that we will get permanently stuck at the exercise where I have to walk over to the door and touch the handle...as a rescue, Rumo always has some low level of anxiety about me leaving him. He always has to know where I am, and runs into the front hall if I walk towards the door...so that one is gonna be hard!
That's fine, try to think of ways to break that task down into smaller bits, and work your way up to the full task at whatever pace works for you and your dog. If you can take a step or two towards the door and return to treat, start there. Eventually you'll be able to actually touch the door handle, but don't worry if it takes you awhile to get there.
 

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What Debbie said. :)

The small steps, repeated, are what build in tiny increments toward the dog’s frame of mind after working through these exercise sets.

The behaviorist who suggested this repeated over and over that this isn’t about proofing a sit/stay, it’s about conditioning and changing the dogs state of mind. Equally helpful for dogs that door dash, as for dogs that cannot mentally relax at a competition or waiting their turn at training. Neat stuff. :)
 

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You're right, maybe I was thinking about it too much like training "Place" or "Stay" and needed to just relax (myself!) and think more about the dog's frame of mind.
Exactly! One thing to keep in mind too, is to be aware of your own demeanor. Don't stand straight with squared shoulders, try to adopt a more relaxed posture. I would stand with one leg slightly behind the other and lean back on that hip, away from the dog rather than looming over them. I'd relax my shoulders, tilt my head to the side, and breathe slowly. I'd move slowly to deliver treats on the mat. If they relaxed onto a hip, I'd reward that. If they put their head down on the mat, I'd reward that - anything that showed me a more relaxed pose. No markers though, this is not training per se. And I also would count off the seconds in a quiet, calm voice rather than silently in my head. The sound of that quiet counting seemed to become a conditioned relaxer all by itself, associated with just laying on the mat doing nothing and getting the occasional treat.
 
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