Past two evenings, and this morning I have had a small piece of rawhide in my pocket.
He reacts to store bought rawhide just as he does any other skin. He tucks tail, cowers and runs. If he knows I’ve had it or can smell it on my hands he will flinch when reached for, and cower down. So the piece in my pocket is to try and desensitize him to the smell. Although nervous he will still do obedience as long as he can’t see it, and it’s only a minute amount.
For conditioning I have either laid the piece down. and when he just happens to glance that way loving, and praising him. It has to be fast before he gets a good smell or look, and he get praised for the wrong behavior.
Often said this breed learns by watching so this evening in desperation, I tied a piece of hair on rawhide to a rope tug and worked Lexi directly in front of him. When he would get so riled up he couldn’t stand it I would put her in a down and immediately swing it in front of him praising him anytime he looked at it or showed interest. Gave Lexi a break, put Chet in fenced area and did the same with Ace in front of him, making a gigantic deal out of the other 2 going after it.
Got the piece out of the freezer and played with Ace more until Chet was really stirred up. Held it over the fence, as soon as he smelled it ran away looking over his shoulder. Immediately engaged with Ace again, making an exceptionally big deal out of it. After several minutes Chet got quite a bit closer. Although several feet away held it over the fence, and as soon as Chet looked at it praised him and immediately pulled it back to engage Ace.
Then got Lexi again and did the same. Although he wouldn’t engage with it; by the time I was done working Lexi I hung it on the fence and was able to get him to come to me while squatted beside it, and pet him without him cowering or flinching, and he was getting the praising of his life. Now to see if it holds any at all.
I know at his age he needs to exercise his jaws. Although big he is still a puppy, and he will pace constantly instead of chewing anything. As stated rawhide chews would even set him off. Have a few different chews but will not use them. Last bite he gave was over him chewing on a stick.
Sometimes with this breed, even though they are a hard breed, especially if they are trying to do the right thing a light correction can go deep, and have lasting ramifications. Just depends on the dog, and relationship with the person giving the correction.