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Discussion Starter #1
I stumbled upon this while looking for info on ways to strengthen recall and wondered what you guys thought about the methods this guy uses. Has anyone used it successfully? I have to admit I'm skeptical and yet, oddly drawn to the concept.

Welcome to the Natural Dog Blog - Natural Dog Blog – Training and More

Here are few tidbits of his explanation of NDT:

"In Natural Dog Training, you learn how your dog processes the world, emotionally, and then you learn specific techniques that make you the center of your dog's emotional universe. You learn how to work with your dog's most social and cooperative instincts, their hunting instincts. And your dog learns to trust you, to turn to you for an answer to the question of "what do I do...now?" (i.e. what do I do with my energy?) in any situation, no matter how challenging."

And...

"One of my favorite definitions, and maybe the simplest, is that we don't focus on being in control of the dog's behavior. If we set things up right, emotionally, the dog will happily control his own behavior so that it's always in alignment with our wishes and desires."
 

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When you have something new to sell, you make it sound difficult, mysterious and inovative. So far, I see smoke and mirrors.
 

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In my quest for great training info, I ended up here. Never heard of this guy and I doubt he has anything better to offer than what I can learn here and a few other places I visit.
 

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He lost me with this statement: Part of the art of Natural Dog Training is learning how to balance those aspects of yourself, your inner mooseness...

Our inner mooseness?? :rolleyes: Seriously the site is really large but doesn't actually say much. Too slick for me.
 

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He lost me with this statement: Part of the art of Natural Dog Training is learning how to balance those aspects of yourself, your inner mooseness...

Our inner mooseness?? :rolleyes: Seriously the site is really large but doesn't actually say much. Too slick for me.
Me too? He wants me to be a Moose....not an Alpha.....a Moose. Dogs eat moose. I think I will just be me, no moose, no alpha, just Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for your input. I did a double-take at the mooseness, as well. Channelling my inner moose doesn't come naturally to me.

Ezra is 8 months old and I'm ready to step it up. He's got the basics down, working on recall with distractions & increasing the length of stay. But I want more, moRE, MORE!
I do believe that agility or maybe even SchH will be in our future. I have the time to commit, will have to figure out $. Forget about Ez, *I* need something to do with all my energy!
 

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the word Natural is a buzzword, used to sell most everything...I agree with DFrost!
You'll never learn on the internet what you can learn hands on with a great trainer that specializes in your training goals.
 

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pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for taking some time to check out my site.

A few thoughts:

DeeMcB: I'd say that the main reasons that I frequently end up working with people are to help strengthen the recall (although there are some steps along the way that contribute to that outcome) - or to help solve problems (like aggression, anxiety, hyperactivity, etc.). Even if you don't buy into the whole theory/approach completely, I think you'd find that playing tug and "pushing" (according to the instructions in the links that Jason L posted) to be really helpful with the recall.

Here's another link that sums up some of my thoughts on the steps further along the path to the rock-solid recall:
Get Your Dog to Come When Called No Matter What - Natural Dog Blog – Training and More

Realizing that the whole "mooseness" thing can be off-putting (DFrost, Denali Girl, Whiteshepherds), another way to sum up what I try to teach is:

  1. How to increase your dog's attraction to you - particularly when they're in a high state of drive (as those are generally the times in the "real world" when communication, or a recall, are most important)
  2. How to help your dog relax (which is a key aspect of their staying focused when energized) - and minimize stress for them.
  3. How to turn your dog's attraction to other things in the environment (squirrels, cats, other dogs - and particularly the things in their environment that "trigger" unwanted behaviors) into a stronger attraction to you.
  4. How to use that attraction to elicit obedience behaviors (and resolve the stress and tension at the root of problem behaviors).
That's pretty much it in a nutshell, although increasingly I've been also focusing on another key component, which is:

  1. Overcoming the obstacles in a person's approach to working with their dog (i.e. the "Inner Game") - as those things might actually be standing in the way of getting the results they want. As I'm sure many of you here are aware, it's often the habits of the owner that create the habits of the dog - and so changing a dog's "habits" often comes down to changing a person's habits.
The "moose" is a metaphor that's supposed to help in understanding the prey/predator dynamic happening within a dog as they process their environment emotionally.

It's good feedback to hear that it didn't quite make sense to you - or that it seemed like "smoke and mirrors" - my goal with the Naturaldogblog has been to make it all crystal clear for people - which is why there are so many words on the site, I guess. I *think* (hope) you'd find the articles to be clarifying, not mystifying. That being said, because I have written many of the articles on the site in a sequence - some of the later articles might make less sense without the context of the earlier ones. So thank you for your criticism, and I hope you don't mind if I take it constructively.

And DeeMcB, I think you're right - that "channeling your inner mooseness" doesn't always come naturally, at first. But in my experience, the more people learn about the method, the more they see things that make sense whether they're looking for a paradigm shift or not.

If you're into "Alpha" - then you might see a different explanation for why the alpha things work the way they do.

If you're into +R, or OC, then you might simply see some interesting techniques that don't require a "new paradigm" in order for them to be useful.

Many people with whom I work haven't found the success/relationship with their dog that they are looking for with mainstream dog training methods. Often those people really resonate with the approach that I write about.

I was actually one of those people, back when I happened upon "Natural Dog Training" - if you read the bio on my site, you'll see that I had a hopelessly aggressive dog who would have rather chased squirrels for months on end than come when called. When mainstream methods seemed to be failing me (and trainers - who one would assume would have an interest in helping - were telling me to euthanize my dog), I decided to look for an alternative.

At the time my dog was 6 - she's nearly 14 now. While I might have to rely mostly on hand signals now (she's gone deaf in the past 6 months), she comes when I call, and gets along with other dogs. I'm certainly glad I didn't take the "advice" that was offered to me way back when.

My hope is simply that you'll try the things out, with an open mind, and see what the results are for you.

Best, and happy new year!
 

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So if my dog wants to go after a deer I should pet her while she is all riled up then run away because she will naturally chase after me instead of the deer. Then when she catches up to me I should wrestle with her because then she'll know what catching a deer feels like and not want to do it anymore? This guy wants you to buy his DVD's and books- he has more than a loose screw IMO and obviously hasn't tried the whole deer and running away thing,lol
 

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RE: Be the Moose...

Well, I just have to say that I have visited Neil Sattin's Natural Dog Training blog. I did because my middle dog (GSD mix) was having issues with my 3rd dog (another GSD mix). Other training techniques did not seem to help and he (Duncan) was just getting worse. I was looking for a particular trainer and just happened upon Neil Sattin's dog blog. It appealed to me right away and I got the whole "Be the Moose" metaphor; perhaps it's because I'm a fan of Dave Mech (top dog in all things wolf) and I've also read "Of Wolves and Men" by Barry Lopez.

In the wolf world, young adults don't have to be taught to heel, sit, down, stay or any other action as they know them instinctively. For example, they "heel" alongside the moose as they're running it down, they go "down" and "stay" in anticipation of jumping out at a deer or moose wandering nearby. The moose is THE most exciting thing to a wolf and they always come when the moose calls...no matter what. So I get the whole moose thing. And no, that doesn't mean that you want your dog to hunt you down like it would a moose but it does mean that you MUST be the most exciting thing in your dog's world so that he'll come when called no matter what. That is it in a nutshell for me...I want to be the center of my dogs universe. I don't like negative reinforcement and I found positive reinforcement way too exhausting, and neither method worked for my Duncan. Natural Dog Training is working, to the extent that I practice the techniques. The notion that you could "elicit" the desired obedience rather than impose or demand it is so much more user-friendly for me and fits in nicely with my vision of what I want to be able to do with my dogs.

These days, where Duncan used to be terminally tense, never relaxed and would explode without warning, he is now relaxed and supple. Instead of his jaw always being shut tight, it is frequently open and relaxed with tongue lolling. I see him so much more playful and joyful than before. And I'm not even a faithful practitioner of Natural Dog Training; I've never met Neil Sattin or Kevin Behan in person nor trained with them. I've only perused their web sites and off-handedly practiced a few of the techniques. Imagine the results I'll get when I really apply the methods whole-heartedly! I have to admit that, for me, most of the changes in my dogs have come about mostly because I've changed how I look at my dogs and their behaviors. It's no longer me trying to force them to fit into my ideals, afraid that they'll misbehave in some way. The most valuable lesson I've learned from NDT is that everything my dogs do is right, they are never wrong. It's my job to ensure that they know when to bite, what to bite and "to bite or not to bite". It's my job to answer these questions: "What do I do with all my energy?" and "Where's the danger?" When I do those things well enough, often enough, my dogs will trust me and THEN they will come...no matter what.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!
 

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Hey Everyone,
Thanks for taking some time to check out my site.
I want to say I apologize for making light of the inner mooseness thing but I can't. It makes me laugh everytime I say it. I didn't know we all had a moose waiting to get out, but I guess that explains why my jeans are getting tight. ;)

Seriously, kudos to you for jumping in and letting people know there's a person behind that website and for defending something you believe in! I will say I apologize for saying your site was slick. Until Jason L pointed out your blogs I hadn't noticed them...so there was more there than I thought originally.
Best of luck to you and those who follow your training methods.
 

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Ah, this is that guy who has all sorts of wonderful theories about how wolves actually hunt moose in defense [the drive], isn't it?

Hint: Dogs aren't being aggressive when they chase squirrels.

Applying wolf behavior [to include Dave Mech's research into wolf family dynamics] to domestic dogs fails to take into account the crucial fact that we've selectively bred dogs for temperament and behavior.
 

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Perhaps, but the underlying mechanics and principles remain the same. And whose to say that all that breeding and refining has eliminated the heart of the wolf from all canines. After all, people can be trained and refined for all kinds of special tasks/careers, etc., and yet they still remain human. I know...apples to oranges but still...just sayin'.
I can't help but wonder why it seems so hard to consider another point of view as having merit even though you don't agree or understand it fully. Why is it so easy to fall back on ridicule?
After all, lively and intelligent discussion relies on differing viewpoints; that's how new ideas get refined or eliminated. Here's a thought...you could always put NDT methods to the test and try them on for size. It's just another way to honor our beloved pets and allow them to be the dog(s) they are meant to be.
 

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Lively intelligent discussion involves having your viewpoints challenged.

Support them with something. You're just being defensive.

Give me a reason to throw almost three years of training out the window to try your method. How many dogs have you titled with this method?

And again... Dogs who chase squirrels aren't being aggressive. I question the ability of anyone who believes that, to teach a dog anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
As was previously stated, I do believe that some of the ideas presented in NDT are sensible (ie, playing tug). In fact, they piqued my interest enough that I went and bought tug toys today and spent some time engaged in games with Ezra. The idea of playing tug with your dog isn't new, revolutionary or unique to NDT, though.

I also wonder - and perhaps our Stalker....I mean, uh, Neil - will chime in on this. Who is the population you are marketing NDT to? Are you marketing to the average pet owner who is having problems with the "activities of daily living" with their dog, or are you targeting owners who seek to show & title their dogs? Maybe there isn't enough of a difference but I sensed from the site & comments that most of your clients were the former (as am I). I would imagine that Joe Dog Owner might be more open to the techniques than someone who showed their dogs and had history & research on their side.
 

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Interesting!

I'm not seeing where this method is any different or special then the hundreds of methods that are out there already being/been taught?

Using a long line, using the dogs basic instincts, etc.. Not all dogs have prey drive nor will they have any desire to tug..

I'm going back to read more...
 

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I also wonder - and perhaps our Stalker....I mean, uh, Neil - will chime in on this.
That's a bit unfair. It's either a discussion about dogs, and you'd like to learn more, or you really don't want to hear what he has to say. And how could it possibly be the former when you're criticizing the fact that he chimed in in the first place?
 
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