• electric

    March 1, 2011 at 3:37 am

    @Mike D’Abruzzo 611 wrote:


    Glad you like the website!

    To answer your questions:

    1. What kind of dogs are these? Do they like to play tug? Tug is a great game to play and tire them out if you do it properly. I would definitely suggest doing ONE at a time, but 5 minutes of tug can be better than a 30 minute walk. There is a video in the video section showing an example of how to play.

    Hi Mike, thank you for your great reply!

    The dogs are:

    1) Female, Australian Shepherd/Lab mix, about 50-55 lbs, adopted as an adult from a shelter 5 years ago so she would be around 7-8 yrs, no major issues, a bit of separation anxiety. Her I can walk if need be, she’s an easy dog. She will play fetch with a ball as well.

    2) Male, Louisiana Catahoula (long term fostering him for a rescue) he is 5 years old and 65 lbs. Won’t play tug, but loves to catch snow that I throw. I don’t know if this is a good idea for sustained exercise because he does a lot of jumping. He’s very reactive/adrenaline dog, with redirected aggression, will attack my other dogs if he gets too excited. Won’t play tug. He does okay in public and is controllable, I could walk him but I prefer not to as it does get stressful for us both. Hates the car. Now that I think about it he will play ball too. He’s never tried to bite me but has pain aggression and will snap if given a needle or I accidentally quick his nails for example.

    3) Male, mixed breed, could be anything, probably boxer mixed with about 10 other things, age 3 years, 65 lbs. He was the pup of a foster I had that was pregnant, so I raised him from birth (did many things right and some things wrong). My plan was to train him for competition obedience and agility but I received bad training advice, or what I think was bad advice, and he grew up to be too aggressive. Won’t play tug, not very toy driven, not interested in fetch. I can do anything to this dog, I trust him to never bite me or attack one of my other dogs but this is the dog I can’t walk or trust in public, VERY aggressive toward strange dogs and mistrustful of strangers. Barks at children. Has nipped at 3 people (all 3 were reaching toward him as he was in full aggressive display and either restrained by leash or confined – really makes you wonder about people). His exercise to date has been running in the yard with whatever various dogs I had. He’s always been excellent with his “pack members”. I started training him for OB when he was a pup. He has pretty good phase 1 (with treats) sit, stay, stand and down with no body language and with mild distraction.

    I just want to clarify you think it’s best not to allow the dogs to play together for the time being. The 3-year old is the one I’m unsure about how I will exercise him. Tug was a good idea but these guys aren’t interested, and I can play ball in the yard with the other two. Any other suggestions?

    @Mike D’Abruzzo 611 wrote:

    2. Definitely focus on pack structure. But it is OK to start phase 1 exercises. In the aggression rehab section there are further details under “establishing the relationship”. It really isn’t going to be so much about who goes through doors first, it really is more about who is making the initiatives and who is “in control” of all important. Working on “climb” in a very technical manner is a great place to start. Be sure there are no distractions when you start. Everything you will need around the house will branch off of that one command. We’ll coach you through it.

    Thanks for the advice! I read through the pack structure and about making initiatives, and I feel that I already do those things. However, my dogs’ behaviour suggests that I am missing something. I feel like the devil must be in the details here. For example, my dogs go out on a schedule, but since I work consistent hours their schedule is the same every day and the dogs anticipate going out by both the time and my actions. For instance, they know they go outside before bedtime after my TV show is done. So when i switch off the TV and it’s around the right time everyone gets up and gets excited. Is it OK for them to anticipate things like this? Is there anything else I should be doing? Crating them more?

    One other very important thing is that I have a friend/dogsitter who spends time with the dogs while I am at work. He spoils and coddles the dogs more than I do. I told him, for example, that he should not give exuberant greetings when he arrives and the dogs get all wild. He tells me he “forgets” that rule sometimes. He also has a clear favourite dog (the 3-year-old male) that he pets the most often and buys the most toys for, etc. When he walks them he allows them to walk in front. I know the dogs need consistency and I wonder if I don’t allow my friend to sit for/walk the dogs for a while if that will help solve some of the problems? Maybe I’m grasping at straws? I really want to do the right things for these dogs. I want my foster to finally find a home and to be in control of my living situation and I will do what it takes to make it right.

    I’ll start heel and climb this week. Thanks for the videos, I saw them in the video section and I’ll review them many more times.

    3. Definitely do not “yank” for anything. Especially with a prong collar you may fire the dogs up more. Stay calm and try to avoid situations for now. If you can’t avoid a situation drag away in as calm a matter as possible.


    Get muzzles for sure and start doing “party hat” drills. It sounds like you have a big project ahead of you so don’t overwhelm yourself. Find a way to manage the situation and keep the dogs and yourself safe while we chip away. The muzzles will help take away the option of redirecting when we work on the leash walking. In the meantime, find time to teach what the word “heel” means , with NO distractions. You can do this around your house – one dog at a time. Don’t expect it to work on the outside yet. Everything is phase 1 at this point. This means teach what words mean and teach simple concepts that we will combine when you are ready for phase 2.

    I’ll buy a muzzle sometime this week. I found a store that carries one that looks like the one in your video. We’ll do heel and climb but only in the house.

    Thank you SO much for your help and advice. You have no idea what a relief it is to have hope! There are no local trainers in my city that do any sort of behavioural work so this is a real help, and the videos are great.

    Thanks for the starting point. We’ll begin fun OB work this week.