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Discussion Starter #1
OK...1st off. I have to say that I was laid off 2 weeks ago and am actively looking for work. I am single and have a mtg payment. Anyhow, I can not go to Shutzhund training as aften as I would like (pay as you go). Aspen is 6 mo old and when we are out there we work on obedience. We are currently working on fuss (I am very new to this). However, when it comes time for other dogs to work on protection, Aspen tucks tail when he hears the training whip.

My trainer, suggested I walk around him and the other dog in training while he is using the whip. He has also had me wag his tail for him and pet him with the whip. Since I can not go on a regular basis, would it be OK/wise of me to get a whip and make the sound during training sessions here at home? I would really like for him to get past this fear. He did much better tis time then the 1st time. So, I know he is improving, I just dont want to lose what we have built while I am unemployed.

Ideas are greatly appreciated.
 

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I think many helpers use way too much whip. If it makes him scared, I would simply ask the helper not to use it. If the dog has the right nerve and drives for Schutzhund, eventually it will be a non-issue. If the whip is too confrontational for him right now he needs to be worked in ways that tap into his drive and build his confidence, not just to become desensitized to it.
 

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.

He has also had me wag his tail for him and pet him with the whip. Since .

Ideas are greatly appreciated.
Are you saying your helper is telling you to play with him so his tail wags and then pet him with the whip?? Because if what you wrote is correct then you need to find another helper because you can wag your pup's tail for him all you want but if he is not doing it on his own it means nothing......I hope you just wrote this wrong....

To me a 6 month old puppy is a little baby....all I would be doing with him for quite awhile is playing tug and ball and making his life really fun. You can worry about protection later. Your job right now is making you the most fun thing in the world to play with second to your ball, tug and food.

Plus there are stages in the development of a puppy where they go through fear periods. I would be careful not to overexpose him to something he is already showing a problem with.

Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I did type that right. We used this method (wag tail) on my sister's great dane in Basic OB class at the local petsmart as well to get her over her fear of shiney floors. It really does work. We also pet the bottom of her chin rather then the top of the head to help her gain confidence. We are trying to show Aspen not to be afraid and that it's really a game.
 

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DolphinGirl,
Stop.....
Your puppy is showing a nerve issue at this age. Could it be his/her age? perhaps. Could it be a phase he/she is going through at the moment? perhaps.
Proper training does make a dog stronger.....but "improper" training techniques, and inexperience can damage a puppies "mental growth".
The whip is another training instrument, and when used correctly....can help build drive.
But quite often it is used incorrectly....and much more than it should be.
Work on your puppy's strengths....and "expose" him to the training environment....but don't push him.....
He is only a 6mo old dog.....give him/her time to mature.
Many mistakes are made from helpers & handlers alike....they want too much...too fast.
*But also keep in mind...your puppy may NOT pocess the correct nerve strength for the sport*...this is the reality that many of us have to accept from time to time.
Best Wishes,
Robin
 

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DolphinGirl, the technique you describe (getting your own whip and using it) is called flooding, basically over-exposing the dog in order to desensitize him. It can work, but it can go horribly wrong. I think the more important question is why? Why is the dog afraid of the whip? If the dog is afraid of it, why continue to use it at this time? Why do you want the dog desensitized to it? Usually it is used to stimulate more aggression and drive, so you would not want the dog completely desensitized to it, but it needs to be used properly to insight the right reactions otherwise it's worthless and doing more harm than good.

I am of the mind that protection work is *not* a game. At 6 months I would not have my dog being worked in defense or whipped until he bites or anything like that, much to young to "push" those buttons. There is plenty of time for bitework and bringing out the real aggression and fight in the dog.

Have you talked to your breeder? S/he should be able to give you more insight into Aspen's lines and how/when the dogs are worked in protection.

Also as Robin says, if he really is scared and doesn't enjoy the work, it may not be the right activity for him.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I will hold back on any whip work. I am just wondering if anything we did accomplish at training will be lost with my hiatis. When at training, we are working on obedience. At home, I made a flirt pole and use his fav toy as the "prey". He has a high prey drive and loves this game. He is also doing awesome at obedience, but he his hiccups. He did start showing fear a little over a month ago, but I have been working on his confidence. His confidence took a shot when he was attacked by a Huskey at the local dog park. Before then, nothing scared him.

Thanks for your input.
 

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Are you saying your helper is telling you to play with him so his tail wags and then pet him with the whip?? Because if what you wrote is correct then you need to find another helper because you can wag your pup's tail for him all you want but if he is not doing it on his own it means nothing......I hope you just wrote this wrong....

To me a 6 month old puppy is a little baby....all I would be doing with him for quite awhile is playing tug and ball and making his life really fun. You can worry about protection later. Your job right now is making you the most fun thing in the world to play with second to your ball, tug and food.

Plus there are stages in the development of a puppy where they go through fear periods. I would be careful not to overexpose him to something he is already showing a problem with.

Good luck!!
Couldn't agree more.
 

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Has your dog been exposed to gun fire yet at a distance?
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
No....no gun fire or fireworks, except at a distance when visiting a friend, and the occasional shotgun on the farm behind my house. That didnt phase him. I thought I might hear some this weekend since there was some police K9 training going on as well...but there was an issue that caused a delay in training and no gun fire was used.
 

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I also think your helper telling YOU to wag your dog's tail shows a huge lack of basic dog understanding......jmho......

Have you done a lot of research on helpers in your area?? This board is a good place to start...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have with the locals and he has several awards. He just was mentioned in the paper for a police K-9 recieveing his drug cert 1 mo early. One of the local officers told me about him as well as a few others when I said I was looking for a good trainer.
 

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I remember an episode of dog whisperer where Cesar had the owner hold the dogs tail out so he couldn't tuck it...wonder if your trainer is of the same mindset?

At this time I would just work on obedience, and tracking. It is free!

If your pup is SchH material, the protection phase will come out later with the right helper...
The book Schutzhund Obedience Training in Drive by Gottfried Dildei & Sheila Booth is excellent for working on your own in obedience(maybe find a training partner though!)
And Tracking from the Beginning by Gary Patterson will help with your tracking if you need it!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
This technique came from both the trainer at Petsmart for my sister's dane and this other trainer. Neither of them talks about Cesar.

I remember an episode of dog whisperer where Cesar had the owner hold the dogs tail out so he couldn't tuck it...wonder if your trainer is of the same mindset?
 

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I know it isn't Cesars methods, just old school training... There are other ways of engaging a dog and building confidence!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
ok...we are also petting from under the chin more-so then over the head with her dane. I try to do the same with Aspen. I praise him lots..although he did just get yelled at for running into the house instead of sitting on the carpet and wait to get wiped off before coming in...we had a horrible storm blow through with lots of tornado warnings. Aspen has no fear of the weather (rain/thunder/lightening) but decided to come bounding in since the storm blew out my screen door and my slider was open.
 

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Awards for Schutzhund or what? If he does police K9 training and you want to do Schutzhund you may want to start club/helper shopping. Being experienced in one area of dog training doesn't necessarily carry over, and just getting the end results doesn't necessarily mean the person actually understands the dog or has the dog's best interests at heart. Since you are Aspen's owner you need to control his training and advocate for his best interests. I also have a puppy about the same age and I would never allow a helper or anyone to put my puppy in a situation where he was clearly uncomfortable or fearful, especially in a training situation where the goal is to build the dog's confidence and power. I don't care what titles or awards they have. If you have to desensitize the dog so dramatically there is something wrong with the training.
 

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I sorta remember reading a thread on the board a while ago, where these type of techniques (like wagging the dog's tail for him) was discussed. The theory was that a dog's emotions and body postures are intrinsically linked and an automatic expression of their minde-set. They are not aware that they are wagging, tucking, cowering, posturing, etc . . . it just part of how they feel. They do not make conscious decisions during normal interactions and life situations to wag their tail, to lower their head, to fold back their ears, etc. The brain/body connection is hardwired. So the train of thought is that by manipulating the dog's posture and body language it fires the neurons in their brain associated with that body language - wagging their tail for them fires the neurons in their brain that makes them feel happy, holding up the head of a shy dog makes them feel more confident, and so on. I have no idea if this is so, but I found the discussion interesting, and I wouldn't want to dismiss it too quickly without understanding the theory behind it a bit more.

I remember in that thread that someone was saying that using a halti on their shy dog and physically preventing them from lowering their dog's head did help in building the dog's confidence. Not sure if the head manipulation was what made the difference or not, but I'd like to see some of these techniques used with a number of dogs and see if they make a difference or not before dismissing it.

It is intriguing thought - I think I'll test it by putting Gryffon through the motions of cooking and cleaning and see how that works!
 

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I sorta remember reading a thread on the board a while ago, where these type of techniques (like wagging the dog's tail for him) was discussed. The theory was that a dog's emotions and body postures are intrinsically linked and an automatic expression of their minde-set. They are not aware that they are wagging, tucking, cowering, posturing, etc . . . it just part of how they feel. They do not make conscious decisions during normal interactions and life situations to wag their tail, to lower their head, to fold back their ears, etc. The brain/body connection is hardwired. So the train of thought is that by manipulating the dog's posture and body language it fires the neurons in their brain associated with that body language - wagging their tail for them fires the neurons in their brain that makes them feel happy, holding up the head of a shy dog makes them feel more confident, and so on. I have no idea if this is so, but I found the discussion interesting, and I wouldn't want to dismiss it too quickly without understanding the theory behind it a bit more.

I remember in that thread that someone was saying that using a halti on their shy dog and physically preventing them from lowering their dog's head did help in building the dog's confidence. Not sure if the head manipulation was what made the difference or not, but I'd like to see some of these techniques used with a number of dogs and see if they make a difference or not before dismissing it.

It is intriguing thought - I think I'll test it by putting Gryffon through the motions of cooking and cleaning and see how that works!

Interesting indeed but in my world this is way too much to try to get a dog to do the sport. Really, they either bring it or they dont....

Nothing wrong with working with them to build their confidence but wagging their tail seems a little extreme...

But heck, give it a shot and see how it works. I'm always open to new ideas!! :)
 
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