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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all, I would love to have some advice regarding our new puppy!

Mum and Dad recently bought a handsome sable 8 month old pup (Shadow) who was being bullied by his previous owner's older male dog (hence why they decided it would be best to rehome him). He's from the Czech line and is an absolutely sweetheart - he'd been bought by the previous owners to train as a guard dog but they found he didn't have the right disposition, being such as a sweet and gentle dog. However, he is a big boy - he's going to be 9 months old soon and is around 60lbs!

Mum and Dad have tried to train him, but I suspect he is too intelligent and stubborn to listen to their repeated insistence on "sit, sit sit SIT SIT". He will learn quickly if he sees the need to and is motivated, since I did teach him to play fetch in under half an hour. I used a bag of treats and lots of praise at first, but after he got the hang of it, he fetched simply for the pleasure of having the ball thrown so he could fetch it again!

My parents have been having difficulties getting him to heel; my mum's pretty frail and can't handle his size and strength - she was taking him on a walk once when he spotted a cat and raced after it, causing her to fall on the road. He's a lovely boy otherwise, I know he's only a pup but I think it's important we train him now so as to avoid any future problems - I think it'll only get more difficult as he gets bigger and older and I don't want it to get to that stage. Furthermore, the reality is that if they simply can't handle him, then their options are to either send him for boarded training (which is quite expensive and probably beyond their means) or to rehome him again, so I want to do my best to train him as I know he has the potential to be an absolutely amazing dog!

I've been researching different dog training methods. My parents have tried using the reward-based method which was demonstrated to them by the trainer, but they haven't had much luck with that because he only listens when he knows there's a treat in your hand, which obviously isn't ideal. I came across the Koehler method a few years back, and I think this method might suit him - I particularly like that Koehler treats the dog like a thinking animal who gets to make his own choices, and I think that'll suit Shadow because he's a clever dog and I think he'd respond better to training where he gets to think and make his own decisions? Am I right in this, or should we just continue with the reward-based training?

My parents aren't too keen on the Koehler method - unfortunately, they do see it as being a "harsh" way of training, so it'll be up to me to train him. I've read the book several times, but I'm just a bit nervous - I don't want to mess things up. Do you have any tips? Also, the book needs about 13 weeks to train the dog, but I'll only be visiting my parents for 8 weeks. Would it be possible to condense the training into this period of time? I don't mean leave stuff out, as Koehler was very against that, but say I were to have 2 training sessions per day instead of one - would that work?

On a side note, Shadow started chasing his tail (and peeing like a girl) when he was with the previous owner, and they suspected it was in response to the bullying. Is there any way to train him to stop doing this, or will he eventually grow out of it once he gets his confidence back? (we've only had him for a few weeks, after all!)

Thank you!


EDIT: Here's a picture!
 

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You don't need a 'one method' or 'one-sized fits all' training.
Positive reinforcement is an excellent way to train a dog; this is what your parents are attempting to do, but in the meantime, your mother needs to have physical control of your dog. Halti, gentle leader, front hook harness, prong collar, are devices that can help. You or her, would need proper instruction on using a prong collar. Halti's often work quite well, but dogs usually hate them, and can hurt themselves. I haven't tried a front-hook harness, so I can't say, they could try one of those.
Are your parents taking classes? Are they willing to take classes? It should be them training the dog.
I'd be suggesting they take a class that is 'mostly' positive reinforcement with a trainer that puts safety (the dogs and your parents) first, aka 'balanced trainer'.
 

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In my opinion the reward based training methodology is better than any other methodology when it comes to train a dog.

Whatever method you choose, it's up to you but make sure to take one step at a time. I mean if you are teaching a specific command e.g. the "sit" command then wait until your dog is fully trained on that command before jumping to the next one.

Best advice I can give is to make your dog realize that he has to earn his desired behavior. I mean he should be only getting treats, if he is behaving as you want him to. Hope it helps.
 

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No matter how well trained a dog is,if your parents aren't well trained and confident handlers the dog will do as it pleases.The tail chasing must stop immediately!It can quickly become obsessive compulsive behavior.Is he getting plenty of exercise?
 

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Koehler triggers a bad reaction in positive only trainers because he says to do things like hang the dog on a choke chain if it doesn't respond. If you have his book, read it and pull out what is useful, then disregard the rest. I personally don't care for treat training for most tasks, but it works well for simple things like sit and down. It's very distracting for other behaviors and when you don't have treats, your dog may ignore you. I've tried all methods. I prefer a balanced approach, so I use a pinch or training collar when I need it and I use treats when I need them. Now, I've moved away from treats and I use verbal praise, which is all my dog needs.

If you know Koehler and can use it safely, then try it. If I have time, I work my dog 2-3 times a day until his attention starts to wander. 10 minutes at a time is enough. I take months to set a behavior in my dog. With recall, I wait a year before assuming the dog will never ignore a command. Others here have different methods and schedules.

Make sure whatever you use, your parents are comfortable with its since they will be handling him when you leave. Since you are there for a short time, make sure he responds to Sit, Down, Heel without treats by the time you leave. Also Wait at doors, not crowding when they are walking in the house. Get him started on Sit Stay for three minutes and a long Down Stay for ten minutes. Also, teach the Place command. I'm sorry this is not a German Shepherd, I think it's a Rottie Mix but it's the best and most patient teaching of Place I have found.

 

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Here are some different methods. Pick just one and stick with it. These are both treat based. I'm not recommding any one trainer, just showing you options




 

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Koehler... not a fan.

Dogs need leadership, not negative reinforcement.

I do use an ecollar for certain behaviors.. but not before dog knows command.

I do use a properly fit prong collar.

Old enough to remember negative reinforcement techniques, but this is a super intelligent breed and should learn commands quickly. Then repetition, repetition until it's an almost ingrained behavior.

There is no magic or quick fix. Time and consistency - IMHO.

Good luck
 

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Dont use Koehler, it's abusive and out-dated. He has good methods on training a guard dog like the decoy work and setting up environments. But he goes too far in suggesting to hang a dog until he passes out to get him to stop biting you. Use a clicker with positive reinforcements.
 

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Dont use Koehler, it's abusive and out-dated. He has good methods on training a guard dog like the decoy work and setting up environments. But he goes too far in suggesting to hang a dog until he passes out to get him to stop biting you. Use a clicker with positive reinforcements.
Not abusive. The technique you are speaking of is for behavior modification not training, and is not speaking of your puppy biting but addressing the issue of dogs who turn on their handlers in response to being restricted or corrected. Not outdated, still widely used and highly successful.

Now clicker training is in my mind abusive. I am going to give you NO direction and NO foundation and then I am going to sit here and taunt you with something you really want until you accidently do what I want. Then I'm going to do it again, and again, and again. That's cruel.:shrug:

To the OP, before you use Koehlers method, study it and learn it. There is a whole system to it, each thing leads into the next and lays your foundation. And he was a big believer in homework:smile2:
 

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In a "nut shell" ..." KMODT" is about teaching your dog to "Make Good Choices." And I am not "aware" of any other "method" that can guarantee a fully off leash trained dog in "Ten Weeks??"

By and large most "effective" Dog Trainers pick and chose parts of the "KMODT and mold it to fit "today's" sensibilities. I view "Conversal Leash Work" as a variation on KMODT leash work ...you just "guide" the dog in the intended direction, instead of making the "Hard right angle changes" of direction regardless of where the dog is. A dog trained in "KMODT style, quickly learns that it is in his "best interest" to "Choose" to pay attention to you."

"Controversial Leash Work" ... see here:

And a discussion on "KMODT" from sigh ... a former member and pass "Trainer" can be found in this thread:
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/training-theory-methods/577802-koehler-method-dog-training.html

So if your goal is a fully "Off Leash Trained Dog in 10 weeks??" Go with KMODT, if all you want is a well trained well disciplined dog, there are other ways of getting there.

I'm going to break out a few things for you from this thread.:

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/7837361-post12.html

Rules Discipline and Structure is what a dog needs, Crate Training would be step one, and a no Free roaming in the house policy and Place would be part two and three. No bed privileges and no up on the furniture. It does not need to be for life but 30 to 90 days would be best. Indoors the Dog would be in "Place" or in his Crate period.

Place and Sit on the Dog train calmness into the dog, there is a thread in that link that explains all of that. :)

The basis of training a dog to walk "properly" on a loose leash is in the first video clip here:
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/5296377-post8.html

That's it get that down understand the concept behind it by watching your dog and understanding how he moves and your job is done. It was the first thing I was taught ... I ditched it I figured I knew better ... I was wrong ... back to basics ... worked out fine.

So I never had a problem walking a dog with a regular collar and flat leash but at a "Boxer Rescue event I was given a Slip Lead Leash?? Well ... if you can walk a dog properly with a flat leash and regular collar ... a SLL is a piece of cake! Details on using a SLL are here:

Slip Lead leash - Boxer Forum : Boxer Breed Dog Forums

So you can use "KMODT" but you don't "need"to. KMODT works but so does "Place and Sit on the Dog" and a "No Free Roaming in the house policy for the dog, and those are not a part of the "KMODT." Those are all things you can do and none of them would be considered "harsh." :)

Handsome dog by the way and the high anxiety level with the "previous" owner ... not really sure why the dog "needs" to be exposed to them?? If he needs to be around the "previous owner" and you want the behaviour to stop?? Two things to be done ... the dog should be in "Place" and you could correct your dog for breaking "Place" (Once properly taught) and you need to keep that owner out of the dogs "face." Tell them look but don't touch, "Advocate for your dog."


As always ... ask questions and welcome aboard. :)
 

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I use Tyler Muto's 'conversational leash work with Sonic, in situations where he is too excited to think about treats. It works, and calms him down (and I do this on a flat collar-but he is only a 38 lb dog), but I don't dispense with the treatbag and other motivators, it's just one more tool in the tool box.
It's good to keep an open mind, and all dogs are different, and even in different situations, but back to the OP. I really think you need to talk to your parents, get a conversation going. He sounds like a very nice dog, cat chasing is pretty normal for a an untrained dog. They need a way to walk him safely (without fear of getting dragged down the street), but they need to part of the conversation. Keep reading and watching and thinking, and then share your thoughts with them, then listen to them; what do they want and need.
This board is great place to get advice, keep on asking.
 

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The important thing is to find one method that works for you and your dog and use it. Jumping from one thing to another is confusing for the dog and doesn't build good training skills. I decided to try new methods with my puppy, used a lot of videos and ended up creating a few problems. We found a good trainer who is working with us on method and consistency and the problems are vanishing, almost overnight. If you have limited time and aren't finding solutions, it's worth using a good trainer to train you. You can learn only so much from a video. I share them because it's better than nothing, but unless you are very good at observing and copying a method, there are things trainers do which are hard to follow.

I have used videos successfully for rote behaves like sit, down, etc. I have not found them helpful in solving complex behavioral problems.
 

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Not abusive. The technique you are speaking of is for behavior modification not training, and is not speaking of your puppy biting but addressing the issue of dogs who turn on their handlers in response to being restricted or corrected. Not outdated, still widely used and highly successful.

Now clicker training is in my mind abusive. I am going to give you NO direction and NO foundation and then I am going to sit here and taunt you with something you really want until you accidently do what I want. Then I'm going to do it again, and again, and again. That's cruel.:shrug:

To the OP, before you use Koehlers method, study it and learn it. There is a whole system to it, each thing leads into the next and lays your foundation. And he was a big believer in homework:smile2:
So you support hanging your dog until it passes out? Hoping he regains consciousness? Or how about we trick the dog into running at full speed with a choke collar and letting him mess his throat up. I do not agree with some of his methods. I like a lot of his methods, but some are just off the wall medieval times cruelty. But please, enlighten me, I am always open to learning new things.
 

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So you support hanging your dog until it passes out? Hoping he regains consciousness? Or how about we trick the dog into running at full speed with a choke collar and letting him mess his throat up. I do not agree with some of his methods. I like a lot of his methods, but some are just off the wall medieval times cruelty. But please, enlighten me, I am always open to learning new things.
To be open to learning new things one must learn to close their mouth and open their minds.

If my dog is one that thinks it is acceptable to bite me in protest or anger then yes, I support the 'hanging method'. Which by the way is also still widely used.
As for messing up the throat, maybe. Far less damaging then being hit by a car I imagine.

As Chip pointed out, it's about teaching your dog to make good choices. And it's about a few serious corrections rather then repeated half corrections that most certainly teach a dog you are a joke, and could damage the dogs throat or worse.
Use any method that works for you, or if you are smart use them all. All tools are good tools. Some jobs require needle nose pliers and some just require a sledge hammer, but most jobs are better done once and done right.

I own a dog that would, at 14, still happily and with enthusiasm snack on an ineffective handler. He just proved that this morning, when a house guest gave him a soft check for pulling on his collar while being held back. Fortunately I was close, and guest got a piece of my mind for both the holding and the correcting.
 

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Not abusive. The technique you are speaking of is for behavior modification not training, and is not speaking of your puppy biting but addressing the issue of dogs who turn on their handlers in response to being restricted or corrected. Not outdated, still widely used and highly successful.

Now clicker training is in my mind abusive. I am going to give you NO direction and NO foundation and then I am going to sit here and taunt you with something you really want until you accidently do what I want. Then I'm going to do it again, and again, and again. That's cruel.:shrug:

To the OP, before you use Koehlers method, study it and learn it. There is a whole system to it, each thing leads into the next and lays your foundation. And he was a big believer in homework:smile2:
I don't know that "Clicker Training in itself is "abusive per se??"

But what a do know is that it "Adds an additional layer of distraction" between and owner and his dog.

To use a "Clicker Properly" one must first understand how the tool is used and then "Translate" what one "Thinks" they understand to the dog. It's "too" much crap for me! I like to "KISS" so I am the SLL guy! I believe in the absolute "minimum" of "filters" between "Dog and Owner."


So ... imagine my surprise and "Horror" when I discovered, that one of the "Trainers" I do "Respect" ... "Bonker guy" Gary Wilkes not only is "The" Clicker guy but also an "advocate" of the "Nose harness" "Crap???"

Oh well .... as they said ... the only thing three dog trainers will "agree" on ... is that "One of them is Wrong!" :)

That said ... "Bonker Guy (Gary Wilkes)" is also ... "The Clicker Guy":

Home

I say "KISS" myself a SLL and I'm good. :)
 

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OP - where do you live? Just relevant so to know what correction collars are available to you.

First, at 8 months old, this is probably just a LARGE puppy who was never taught anything. Since your mom is frail and has already been hurt, my first inclination is to tell you to use a prong collar to correct him, keep her safe AND in while you are doing that use treats to teach him position. It's not the ideal way but it's quick and effective. However, if you are in the UK then I think prong collars are not legal?

The slow way, that I prefer is to teach position by teaching them to release to the pressure of the leash. Much like as described in this blog.
The Domestics of Leash Walking | Naughty Dogge - Monique Anstee

When you use treats, you have to phase them out. In order to do that, you have to have a relationship with the dog so the dog enjoys working with you. "Work" as in obedience should be the same as PLAY to the dog.

A clicker helps the dog learn faster. It can mark the action faster than we can. but to depend on it solely often doesn't work. Sometimes we need to tell our dogs "No! This is not allowed" and since you are starting with an 8 month old vs an 8 week old, you might have to being with No! before you can teach How.

Don't worry about the "peeing like a girl". Many male dogs don't lift their leg until they get older. DO worry about the tail chasing. Do not allow him to do that. Stop him. Redirect him with a toy or attention. But do everything possible to stop it.

Aren't there any classes you can take him to in your area? any dog clubs?
 

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To be open to learning new things one must learn to close their mouth and open their minds.

If my dog is one that thinks it is acceptable to bite me in protest or anger then yes, I support the 'hanging method'. Which by the way is also still widely used.
As for messing up the throat, maybe. Far less damaging then being hit by a car I imagine.

As Chip pointed out, it's about teaching your dog to make good choices. And it's about a few serious corrections rather then repeated half corrections that most certainly teach a dog you are a joke, and could damage the dogs throat or worse.
Use any method that works for you, or if you are smart use them all. All tools are good tools. Some jobs require needle nose pliers and some just require a sledge hammer, but most jobs are better done once and done right.

I own a dog that would, at 14, still happily and with enthusiasm snack on an ineffective handler. He just proved that this morning, when a house guest gave him a soft check for pulling on his collar while being held back. Fortunately I was close, and guest got a piece of my mind for both the holding and the correcting.
LOL where do people fine these dogs???

And yes ... by and large people that "Think" Hanging" a dog is a "Training Technique" ... have no idea what they are talking about! Hanging a dog is a "Self Defense" measure! By and large I tend to think that anyone that does not "understand that ... has never seen a "Red Zone Dog??" If "PO" only advocates ... "Think" they "can Rehab" a "Dog Killing, Human Handler, Aggressive," dog with "PO" only techniques?? Jeff Gellman has a standing $25,000 challenge to "Anyone that says they can "Successfully" Rehab the "Dog Killing , Human Aggressive Dogs" that he works with on a "Daily Basis!"

So ... Victoria Principal disciples ... step on up!:



As I am want to say ... I like to keep to:


For people

... moving on ...by and large most of the "Critics of the "KMODT" have not "READ THE BOOK!"

And no it's most likely "not" the only way to train a dog to be "Off Leash RELIABLE" in ten weeks???

But as I am want to say:



:)
 

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Now clicker training is in my mind abusive. I am going to give you NO direction and NO foundation and then I am going to sit here and taunt you
Maybe you are joking. Anyways here is some info to inform people on clicker training.

It really is tried and tested for a long time so no need to dismiss it because you don't like it. Some people might simply like to use a word as a marker instead of the clicker but the concept is the same.

Clicker Training: Communicating with Your Dog, Positively and Effectively.
 

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LOL where do people fine these dogs???

And yes ... by and large people that "Think" Hanging" a dog is a "Training Technique" ... have no idea what they are talking about! Hanging a dog is a "Self Defense" measure! By and large I tend to think that anyone that does not "understand that ... has never seen a "Red Zone Dog??" If "PO" only advocates ... "Think" they "can Rehab" a "Dog Killing, Human Handler, Aggressive," dog with "PO" only techniques?? Jeff Gellman has a standing $25,000 challenge to "Anyone that says they can "Successfully" Rehab the "Dog Killing , Human Aggressive Dogs" that he works with on a "Daily Basis!"

So ... Victoria Principal disciples ... step on up!:



As I am want to say ... I like to keep to:


For people

... moving on ...by and large most of the "Critics of the "KMODT" have not "READ THE BOOK!"

And no it's most likely "not" the only way to train a dog to be "Off Leash RELIABLE" in ten weeks???

But as I am want to say:



:)
Oh yeah... Click and Treat ... Home
 
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