• suburbanpaws

    September 3, 2011 at 4:18 am

    Hi Mike –

    Thanks so much for your reply. Here are the answers to your questions:

    How has Dublin been raised in regards to the exercises recommended in the “pack structure” section?

    I should mention to you that I’m a graduate of Animal Behavior College and so I’ve tried to be proactive with all my dogs (we have 4) but Dublin has been the most trained and worked dog of all my dogs especially with leadership exercises. He was my training partner when I was doing my externship. NILF (Nothing in life is free) and demands are never given into – though Dublin never demands anything. If anything, Dublin is the MOST understanding of his role and boundaries in our home. No demands for petting, I determine when play starts and stops and manage all the toys/bones etc. No free feeding and no eating until given the okay. He sleeps on his own bed but comes up on our bed when asked to and waits for permission to do so. Same with the couch. Although I have basic knowledge of dogs I really feel I don’t have near the knowledge or experience to deal with much more than basic obedience and basic problem solving. My true passion is to become knowledgeable about aggression issues – this has always been my true interest, but unfortunately not a part of a lot of dog training curriculums. Most of what I’ve learned about aggression, fear and treatment has been learned on my own through reading. It’s ironic I have my own dog to work with in that area! In working with Dublin (and studying your methods!) I hope to become, not only a better doggy parent but a better trainer.

    There is a clear communication of relationship, possession, and boundary control in our home. I realize, however, that Dublin doesn’t trust me to protect him or he wouldn’t feel the need to do so himself so I’m missing something somewhere.

    Also, if you can tell us what forms of discipline he has been exposed to and what were the results of? IE shouting, physical with hands, prong collar, gentle leader, etc…

    No harsh methods – I know a fearful dog’s behavior can only be worsened by using such methods so I have made every effort to work with him on a rewards based system while also making an effort not to reinforce his fear/anxiety. I have tried a halti with him but didn’t stick with it. No choke/chain/e-collars, no force, no dominance theory techniques, no flooding have been used thus far. I did, however, have a trainer who was a friend of a friend, come to the house and subsequently did not ask her back as I felt she was too harsh with Dublin. Too many leash corrections and harsh tones. I use the no-reward marker “uh-uh” when he doesn’t follow commands but never jerk the leash, push or pull him or force him in any way. I use positive reinforcement and the marker “YES!” for the desired behaviors.

    I’ve been working with him on the “look” or “watch me” command on walks but I’m having a hard time with distractions. I think I have to step back and work on the command at home before taking it out into the scary world.

    But, we also need to find what he takes to well without stress when we need to guide him.

    Dublin is highly food motivated AND ball motivated. I find that in the light of almost anything (almost) a ball thrower and the ball can change his mind. I haven’t tried this in high stress situations so I can’t say ALL situations. Treats and fetch are how he gets to know and love the humans who have been willing to get to know him.

    Gentle discipline does wonders for dogs like him and puts us in a position to have more focused and successful counter-conditioning and desensitizing.

    I agree completely! Thank you SO much. I’ve been studying your site all night and day and watching all your videos. I’m hoping to be even half the trainer you are someday so any and all advice, input, suggestions, criticisms etc are absolutely welcomed and appreciated.

    Rebecca & Dubs