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How to Correct Dog Aggression

In today’s dog training climate there is a growing trend amongst dog trainers to only use treats and clickers and avoid any type of correction.

The problem is that such methods tend to be far less effective and lead to more dogs in shelters and more dogs being put down due to a lack of success in training.

Dog aggressionThe best way to effect change with dogs is with a stabilized approach to dog training.  In other words, an effective dog training program should include tons of positive motivation stabilized with humane and proper correction.

In this video I show a simple way for you to think about correction as it relates to dog aggression.

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Check out our dog training DVDs

Where is your dog on the spectrum? Dog Training

 

One of the things I’ve learned throughout my years of training dogs is that dogs are quite often the product of their environments.

NO.  I’m not going to sit here and say that aggressive dogs or bad dogs always come from bad dog owners.  They sometimes do.

Dog TrainingBut more often than not, dogs with some serious behavior problems come from good dog owners who simply don’t know how to keep their dog on the proper end of the spectrum.

If you can maintain the proper state of mind with your dog then you can find that it becomes quite easy to rid yourself of unwanted behavior problems.

After watching the video above, ask yourself where your dog fits on the spectrum.

The truth is that it’s very difficult for many dogs and many dog owners to stay in the proper half.

We’re here to help.

If you live in Utah or would like to send your dog to Utah for our award winning training then click here to get a spot on my calendar.  We can talk about your dog and programs that can help put your dog in the right spot.

If that isn’t an option, check out the different dog training DVDs we offer.

No! I Can’t Tell You How to Train Your Dog- Critical Thinking About Dog Training

Dog Training QuestionsThe Dog Training Problem

Every month we get tens of thousands of visitors to our sites and we get numerous questions from dog owners across the world.  Let me first start out by saying,

I Love Answering Dog Training Questions

The problem is, though, that too few people actually critically think they’re dog training problem before coming to us.  Quite often the questions we get are as simple as:

“Can you tell me how to train my dog?”

or

“Can you teach me how to get my dog’s aggression to stop?”

And that’s it!  That’s the entire question.  No background, no mention of what they’ve tried, no follow through, etc.  This frustrates me but it also has helped me understand that many dog owners have a critical thinking problem.  They aren’t looking deeply at their problem, they see the problem on the surface, and they are looking for superficial treatment.

This won’t do.

In order to solve your dog training issues you need to understand the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ and more.  You’ve got to think about your dog’s problem critically.

In the following Podcast I share with you my dog training formulas for getting to the bottom of ANY dog training problem and solving it whether it be destruction, aggression, housebreaking, or anything else.

Click Play Below for Your Dog Training Podcast

Make sure to listen in as I’ll be taking this podcast down soon and putting it on our members only website.

Other Dog Training Resources

In the podcast I mention various resources.  Here are links for some of them:

Healthy Dog Food Delivered to Your Door

Dog Training DVD Products

Get Help From Our Utah Dog Trainers or Send Your Dog to Utah for Training

Diabetic Alert Dog- Linda Cree

Diabetic Alert Dog- Linda Cree Interview

There are few people in the United States working with diabetic alert dog training.  Linda Cree of BFF Dog Training is an expert training dogs in Wisconsin for dog owners all over the United States.  She uses a system to train a diabetic alert dog to indicate to it’s owner when blood sugar has dipped too low or spiked too high.

Many people aren’t aware but dogs are able to smell the chemical changes that occur within the body of someone who is undergoing a diabetic emergency. Science has proven certain dogs can become part of a reliable health alert team (once dog & human are properly trained). Using her medical background and training with the nations best dog trainers and behaviorists she can find dogs with aptitude/desire to do diabetes work and connect them to humans with needs. This helps to ensure that their dogs can smell these chemical changes, recognize them for what they are, and indicate to the owner what is happening so that the owner can follow through with the proper medical protocol.

This type of training can be a life saver for a person that has diabetes.  Her system is unique, fun for the dog, and very specific for getting results that last.

 

Diabetic Alert Dog- The Interview

Listen in to the interview below to learn about diabetic alert dog training.

Diabetic Alert Dog- What You’ll Learn

Linda shares some fascinating information about her dog training in this interview.  Among what you’ll learn is:

  • What dog breeds can be trained to be diabetic alert dogs.
  • The type of temperament required and sociability needed in order for a dog to be trained for this task.
  • The ‘cheap’ labor that one can employ with their dog to get them to perform this job.
  • Whether or not an owner can get their own dog to be trained for this or whether they have to buy a dog that is already trained.
  • If these dogs can be trained to help children or if they are just trained for adults.
  • What rights a diabetic alert dog has and whether they get the same access to public areas that service dogs for the blind enjoy.
  • A ‘blueprint’ that Linda uses to teach each dog how to recognize the scent of someone who is in a diabetic emergency.
  • The unique and somewhat ‘gross’ way that Linda employs in order to capture the scent she needs to train her dogs.
  • What percentage of dogs is really cut out to do this kind of work.
  • The working lifespan that one could hope to get from their diabetic alert dog.

This has been one of our more unique interviews.  This style of training is truly heroic as these dogs work to keep their owners safe and healthy.

 

E-Collar Training- Interview With Robin MacFarlane

E-Collar Training- Robin MacFarlane

Robin MacFarlane is an e-collar training expert and owner of That’s My Dog and The Truth About Shock Collars in Dubuque, Iowa.  She’s been training with electric collars for years and a big part of her work has gone to helping thousands of dogs from around the globe all while debunking various myths and mis-informations about e-collar training.

Dog owners will send their dogs to her from around North America because of her unique systems for helping dogs learn to overcome various issues with this style of training.

E-Collar Training- Listen In

Click ‘Play’ below to listen to the full interview.  It’s a quick half hour and will give you a ton of great information on e-collar training.  Make sure to take notes.

E-Collar Training- What You’ll Learn

In this podcast you’re going to learn:

  • Whether or not e-collar training is humane?  You’ll find out the REAL philosophy and motivations behind e-collar training and how they are not what you’ve heard about from the internet, your vet, and your next-door-neighbor.
  • Little known facts about WHY you just may want to be training with electric collars if your dog is nervous, anxious, shy or otherwise sensitive to outside distractions and stimuli.
  • Whether or not you can use this tool to train aggressive dogs (hint: the answer is likely the OPPOSITE of what you’ve been reading online.)
  • A simple and quick understanding of how the e-collar is used to train a dog to come when called.
  • What tools you need to accompany your electric collar when you first start training (if you’re just starting with the e-collar by itself you are probably doing it wrong).
  • A simple comparison to help dog owners understand how the e-collar actually feels.  Robin has ALL of her clients feel the e-collar before using it with their dogs and you’d be surprised the reaction some of them have.
  • How to figure out which is the right level to set the e-collar on for your training.  This will be new information to many who’ve been hearing wrong information for some time.
  • How far this method of training has come in the last 50 years and why your perception of e-collar training may be based on what USED TO happen decades ago.
  • What ages of dog you can use this tool with.

Our goal at our company is to help as many dogs and as many owners as possible.  We’re huge advocates of proper e-collar training because we know how humane and helpful it is for dogs and dog owners.  We encourage you to get in touch with good trainers like Robin if you are looking for instruction on how to properly use these tools with your dog.  Feel free to check out our e-collar training course as well.

Integration Dog Training- (Video)

Integration Dog Training

At my Salt Lake City dog training company we work with hundreds of dogs per year.  One thing that is almost a universal constant, though, amongst our dog training clients is that they have little time to get their dog trained.  Life tends to get in the way.  Whether it’s work commitments, family projects and activities, hobbies, or other time users it is uncommon that we have a client that has hours a day to devote to their dog training efforts.

What we’ve done over the years is develop a unique, yet simple, system that we call ‘Integration Dog Training’.  Although it’s simple in concept it’s a game changer when it comes to getting the results you want from your training efforts.

What it entails is simply ‘training as you go’.  It means being ready for training moments as they present themselves and being prepared and proactive enough to recognize those moments and train them.  Let me give you an example with a video below:

Integration Dog Training- Video

Integration Dog Training on Youtube

This is just a quick little video but the concept is very meaningful to you as a dog owner.  Let’s examine just a few things that are going on in the video:

  • On the way into the home our trainer, Joe, is working on off leash heeling.  He had taken them out to the bathroom which means they were already outside.  He merely was integrating the training and taking advantage of the short walk back to the house to work on their off leash heeling.
  • Going into the home he took just a quick moment to have the dogs wait.  Why not?  You’re already going through a doorway with your dog.  Take an extra 5 seconds, integrate your dog training efforts, and have them wait before coming in.  It’s an easy time to train and it helps the dogs come in with a calm state of mind.
  • Coming into the house Joe didn’t let the dogs go nuts and run around.  He kept them on point and on task.
  • Finally, before sitting down to eat dinner Joe had the dogs go to their ‘place’ command.  Dinner time is a great time to train because you’re sitting down, you might as well integrate your training and have the dogs stay put while you eat.

Was there anything super-profound in this video?  Not really.  Yet I’ve rarely met the dog owner who has decided on his or her own to start integrating their training.  When you integrate your training into your daily life:

  • Your dog gets trained to a higher level.  Think about it.  Most people picture training as putting the leash on, grabbing the bag of treats, and going to the living room or backyard or park to work on specific skills.  Dogs are smart, though, and soon know your ‘game’.  They’ll likely comply during training but, who cares?  I don’t need my dog to be obedient when nothing is going on.  I need my dog to be obedient when someone rings the doorbell, when we encounter other dogs on the street, or when I’ve got guests over.  By integrating your training you train for real life and the dogs get trained to higher levels.
  • Your life gets easier.  All those hours of training that need to happen in order for your dog to become fully trained just got easier by making them fit in while you watch TV, eat dinner, walk through doors, take your dog out to the bathroom, etc.

So how can you do Integration Dog Training?

Integration Dog Training- Simple Steps

There are a few simple things you can do to for this type of dog training:

  • Leave a leash on your dog.  In the beginning stages of ANY training program I like to leave a leash on the dog even around the house.  This makes it simple to grab the leash were I need to guide or correct.  Most people make the fatal mistake of attempting to train their dogs verbally.  Dogs don’t learn that way.  Leave a leash on your dog so you can teach rather than tell.
  • Always back up your commands.  Fatal mistake #2 is giving commands that you aren’t able or willing to see through.  Your dog will see through you on this and will not obey.
  • Make it easy.  Don’t try to kill yourself getting tons of training done every day.  Simply let your day flow and allow the training to happen around that.

Podcast- Create An Environment Where Your Dog Doesn’t WANT To Be ‘Bad’

Create Environments For Dog Training Success

I’ve come to realize, over the years, that you are far better off proactively creating environments where your dog WANTS to be obedient and problem free than you are trying to address dog problems one by one as they come up.

This podcast goes into checklist detail on what you can do to create the right environment for your dog.

The following is an abbreviated transcript of the call.

I once had a client several years ago who had beat cancer.  When he got the diagnosis from his doctor he decided he didn’t want the chemotherapy and instead decided to treat himself.

He told me that cancerous cells can’t exist in a body that is pure, or something like that, I can’t recall 100%.  So he decided that he would only drink pure and balanced water, organic foods with no pesticides, nothing processed, etc.

The result?  His cancer went away.

Now, I’m not a doctor, I’m not a natural healer and I have no way of knowing what went on with his body.

Nor am I going to talk much more about the subject because I know that people get very strong opinions on both sides of this argument on how to treat cancer and that isn’t the purpose of what I’m talking about today.

What I wanted to get at with this example is that what he said made sense to me.  That if you create a body that is running on pure fuel and doesn’t have toxins and contaminants then a cancer couldn’t live there.  Whether that’s true or not it did make sense.

I also was able to relate it, however, to what goes on with our dogs.  Let’s look at bad behavior…I’m talking aggression, destruction, hyperactivity, getting on counters, etc. as the cancer that plagues dog/owner relationships.

My experience has been that if the right environment is created for this creature that we invite into our homes, it becomes so much more difficult for that cancer to get a foothold.

An example.  With our Utah dog training business, CommuniCanine, we have a service called our Boot Camp.  That’s where we take our client’s dogs into the homes of our trainers.  I can tell you, and many of our clients have a hard time believing it, but by day two, and frequently within the first half hour of the dog being OUT of their owners home and into our home the dog is COMPLETELY different.

I’m not exaggerating.  In most cases the same dog who was trying to attack everyone, peeing all over the house, jumping on every guest, barking excessively at every noise, etc. is doing NONE of those things by day two.  We typically keep the dog for 3 weeks because we need to proof the change, teach a lot of skills, and get lots of repetition but it never fails that we can see dramatic change almost immediately.

The ‘why’ is because the dog is coming from a toxic environment.  Now, I don’t mean that in an offensive way.  But the dog is coming from an environment where it was allowed to do awful things into a new environment where that behavior is not tolerated.

So when we do boot camps our challenge isn’t to get the dog to stop those behaviors or even get the dog trained.  Our challenge is to take a newly trained dog and help the owners create an environment where that training can be maintained.  Essentially, we’re taking this newly created, beautiful snowflake with all it’s complexity into an owner’s home and trying to teach them how to not blast the heater.  That is our challenge as dog trainers.

I’m not saying creating the right environment is the only thing that needs to be done for our dogs but I’m becoming more and more convinced as the years go on that we need to be more proactive than reactive when it comes to our dog’s behavior.  Instead of looking at ‘Crap, my dog is doing this, that, and the other’ I think we need to be creating an environment that is more prone to success for our dogs.

That is the purposed of today’s call.

I’m going to present a number of ideas to you.  I’m going to do them in checklist form.  I want you to understand, though, that not all of these are hard and fast rules.  I’m simply going to present EVERYTHING that we’ve worked on with clients that has had some benefit in creating the right environment.  Not all of these things need to be done with every dog.  But I want you to have a cache of information so you can start experimenting and see what works best for your dog and your situation.

  • Free affection.  There’s nothing wrong with giving your dog attention and affection because you love the big lug.  The problem comes when dogs come to seek that attention and affection all the time.  In a literal sense it becomes like a drug that when they can’t have it, due to you being busy with other tasks or you being out of the home.  In such case we see a lot of destruction and anxiety.  The dog is seeking his next fix and it comes out in the form of eating up your stuff, pacing, barking like a maniac etc.  Try to tie a lot of your affection to tasks.  If you want to give your dog some love have him do something first; even as simple     as sitting, lying down, recall, etc.  When your dog comes up to you and demands attention have him lie down a few feet away from you.  Not as a punishment or a time out but simply to help him learn to relax on his own, at which point you reward that state of mind by allowing him up and giving affection.
  • Have your dog wait at doors.  If your dog goes out the door first does that mean he’s staging a coup against your governance?  Not usually.  But I like to teach a lot of what I call ‘checks and balances’.  Little behaviors that are super easy that can become habitual that are little reminders throughout the day about calmness, structure, respect of space, etc.  Along with other checks and balance I like:
  • Sitting before eating.
  • Sitting before putting a leash on
  • Stopping when you stop on walks
  • Use a stabilized approach to training.  Dog training has gone the route of child rearing.  Years ago, my opinion is that the culture of child rearing was too harsh.  Smacking the heck out of your kid with a belt is not my idea of good parenting.  It seems like in order to compensate that society has done a complete U-Turn and now looking cross-eyed at your kids will get you a visit from social services.  It seems like many of us parents lament the passing of balance and stability.  The same is true with our dogs.  Many decades ago training was too harsh.  But now it’s completely done a 180 where you can’t ever use anything other than a treat and a firm tone.  Any sort of training collar is taboo and heaven help you for giving a leash correction or e-collar.  Folks, you can have your cake and eat it too.  You can use corrections from leashes and collars that are humane.  Corrections done well aren’t designed to hurt the dog, they’re designed to get the dog’s attention, move the dog into a different state of mind, discourage certain behaviors, etc.  You can accomplish a great deal without hurting your dog.I say this because many dog owners that I meet see a disconnect.  When I talk about creating an environment of calmness, respect, etc. they get that and want it.  But then the other trainer is telling them that if the dog jumps they have to turn their back, if the dog bites they have to say ‘ouch’ and give the dog a toy and can never correct the dog.  This new style of training is absolutely ridiculous.  I study it and learn from it because I like to know how to better motivate my dogs with positive principles so I’m not saying it’s all bad.  But any time you find a spectrum and you set yourself up on one of the spectrum I believe you’re doomed for failure.  In this case if the spectrum is one side being zero corrections and the other side being all corrections and no motivation they’re both barking up the wrong tree.  You need stability and balance.  So when you are looking to create this environment I’ve been speaking of be firm but fair.  Give humane corrections for misbehaviors.  Dogs are physical learners and using a correction for misbehavior is warranted, humane, fair, and more.  Make sure your corrections are not emotion based but are simple reminders of behavior you want.
  • Be careful how you leave and come home.  You can be creating an environment of anxiety by placing too much importance on your comings and goings.
  • Do a few solid down stays per day.  We often like to do them during dinner time and during our wind down time while we watch TV at night.  This is something I’ve always done because it seemed to help but it wasn’t until I did an interview with Chad Mackin that I really nailed down the ‘why’.  Many dogs get over-adrenalized meaning their adrenaline spikes and they use that chemical influx in their systems to make choices.  By doing down stays throughout the day the dog learns to self-regulate that adrenaline and it leads to an environment that is calmer and more conducive to harmony vs. being nutty.
  • Be careful to not inadvertently reward negative behaviors.  For example, I’m not a fan of people training their dogs to use a bell to go potty.  Many dogs abuse it and it becomes a little butler bell for the dog to summon their owner every time they have a whim to go chase a squirrel in the back yard.  The same is true for the dog who brings the ball in his mouth to the owner and nudges him until the owner throws it.  The owner thinks the dog looks so cute there with his puppy-dog eyes and ball hanging out of his mouth but often, if the dog could talk, he’s be saying ‘Hey, you. Yeah you.  Shut up, stop what you’re doing and pay attention to me.’  And what does the owner do?  He acquiesces and does what the dog wants.  There are a lot of behaviors like this.  Dogs whining until you pet them.  Dogs vocalizing to demand to be allowed on furniture.  Things like this are ways that your environment around the home gets out of control.
  • Do teach kids how to interact with dogs.  Our kids, which are wild and crazy kids like any others, typically ask to go play with the dogs.  They generally don’t pay them too much attention around the house.  We’ve taught them to leave the dogs alone when they are eating, chewing a toy, or sleeping.  This is by design.  Contrast this with dogs who live in constant anxiety because kids pester them, bother them, follow them around, etc.  I’ve heard lots of excuses from parents that the children are young and can’t be taught just yet.  While I understand the limitations of teaching a young child I also know that even the youngest kids who are just walking can be taught to leave the dogs alone.  Does that mean that dogs and kids shouldn’t hang out and be friends?  Nope.  It does mean, though, that I, as the parent, want to be the gateway for that relationship.  Dogs have a mentality of a 2, 3, 4, or 5 year old child.  I said mentality, not intelligence level.  I can’t very well expect that I can leave my two kids alone, who are 7 and 5 years old, and have them work out their relationship in a way that is acceptable to me.  Why would I expect to do that with my dogs and my kids.  I’m the gateway for my children to learn to respect each other, not hit, bite, punch, or slap one another.  I need to be that same gateway for my dogs and kids.
  • Don’t let your dog be the first to greet your guests.  It’s your job to greet guests and your dog’s job to greet them when you’ve allowed it.  Make sure your dog does a down stay when someone comes over and only greets your guest when you let the dog up.
  • Work on high level obedience and ‘core behaviors’.

 

I’m Coming To Birmingham, Alabama- Dog Training

Birmingham, Alabama Dog Training

I wanted to write a quick post to let you folks know that I’ll be coming to Birmingham, Alabama in May of 2013 during the week of May 6th.  I’m honored to be invited by Rick Clark of The Barking Zone.  Rick has come up with some interesting and unique ways of running his dog daycares and even offers Dog Daycare Franchises for those looking to get into the industry.

Rick and I have gotten to know each other over the years as he has been studying from my dog training DVD’s and we’ve talked about dog behavior and training.  I even had the privilege to interview Rick about his business for my marketing radio show for pet business owners. 

I’m excited now to be able to come down to his neck of the woods and work with him on his dog training goals but to also work with the dog owners from Birmingham and the surrounding areas on their most pressing dog training issues.

While I’m in Birmingham we’re going to be setting up group sessions and private sessions for local dog owners.  Space will be very limited.  For those interested please contact us to let us know of your interest and we will update you on availabilities, pricing, schedules, etc.

Use this link to contact us.

Birmingham, Alabama Dog Training Invitation

 

Dog Training Birmingham, Alabama 

Birmingham, Alabama Dog Training- Courses

I’ve become known over the years for standing out with various skills.  If you are in need of help in one of these areas I invite you to contact us for more information:

  • Puppy training- If you can avoid various pitfalls with raising your puppy the chances are far better you’ll end up with the perfect adult dog.  The majority of the behavior problems we deal with at our training company could have been avoided with doing things right from the beginning with a puppy.
  • Fixing dog aggression- I’ve really been able to make a name for myself with fixing dog aggression.  I’ve traveled the U.S. and to various other countries to work through aggression problems with numerous clients.
  • Big time behavior modification- If you’re dealing with big issues like destruction, separation anxiety, etc. I can help you.
  • Advanced off leash obedience- I have a unique and proprietary system for using an e-collar in a humane fashion to quickly train reliable and high level obedience training.

I invite you to come out and enjoy a workshop, private session, etc.  Contact us for more information!

Interview With JJ Belcher- Scent Work

Scent Work- JJ Belcher

I had the privilege to interview JJ Belcher of Sublime K9 in Tucson, Arizona.  JJ’s company is doing some really cool dog training classes and activities.

One of those classes is scent workScent work (nose work, sniff work, scent training, etc.) is essentially training the dog to use his sense of smell to locate a specific odor amongst other odors.

It can be used to teach a dog to find a scented oil, a cell phone, money, marijuana and other drugs, or a whole variety of other odors.

In this interview you’ll hear from the expert himself on how you can train your own dog at home to learn to use his sense of smell for fun and enjoyable training.

Scent Work- The Interview

Press play below to listen to the interview:

Scent Work- What You’ll Learn

You’re going to learn tons of stuff from this interview.  For example:

  • What kinds of dogs can be trained for nose work (hint: it is highly possible you may have one)
  • What drives or impulses a dog must possess in order to be trained to find things with his or her nose.
  • The different types of odors that your dog can be trained to detect and find and why some of them may be more difficult than others.
  • The benefits to the average pet dog.  If you are dealing with destruction (chewing, digging, etc.), anxiety, hyperactivity or other behaviors this could be of GREAT value to you.
  • Whether or not a young dog of a few months or an old dog past a decade can learn this skill.
  • A step-by-step process where JJ plainly lays out how you can take a dog from not understanding how to use his nose for directed finds all the way to where a dog can find a specific odor or even track a person.
  • How to troubleshoot various training challenges and make this sport and training much more challenging (and rewarding) for your dog.
  • Much, much more.

This was a fun interview and one that I think is really relevant to today’s dog owners.  I find that many dog owners today understand the value of training their dogs to ‘work’ yet most dog owners don’t have dogs that are capable of excelling at herding, agility, protection sports, and other dog related activities that are becoming more popular.  In contrast, scent work can be taught to just about any dog, of any age, in any location, with very low cost of entry.

Enjoy the interview, we had fun with it.

Video- Dog Training Reader Question

Dog Training Reader Question:

The following is a question from one of our clients:

I am looking for some personalized advice from Ty about one of my dogs.  Overall, everything is going great, and I am making great strides with the basic obedience using Ty’s methods in the DVDs. I have a 4 year old Am-Staff mix named Lucy who is obedient about 65-70% of the time. When she’s not is when she gets into trouble with other dogs. I’ve done a lot of reading and research on aggressive behavior, and I stumbled across Ty by accident while reading a rescue blog. I am so glad that I did because the way he teaches is exactly what I was looking for. I have some experience training, as I trained my now 14 year old yellow lab to do some competitive obedience when I was a teenager. He was a breeze to train because he was willing to learn and eager to please. Lucy is absolutely the love of my life, but she is stubborn and has a mind of her own. She isn’t a terrible aggression case, but she gets snippy from time to time when around new dogs, especially if those dogs are acting out (for example, when another dog excitedly tries to get to us while passing by on a walk). I’m tired of being embarrassed by her occasional outbursts, so I’ve been scouring the internet and books for a solution. Already, things in the videos are working to get her much more consistently listening to me. We have a long road of practice ahead, but her heel command has already come a long way.

What I wanted to ask Ty about is more specific to Lucy’s personality. I rescued her at about a year old. She came from an inner city shelter and was clearly not taken care of before I got her. She seems to me to have been beaten at some point. She’s naturally fearful, and is specifically very fearful of objects touching her. If you approach her with anything in your hands she jumps away or cowers. I have never, in the 3 years I’ve owned her, hit her with any object. She came to me with this behavior already engrained in her. She’s also suspicious of unknown things. For example, it was my husband’s birthday recently, and I brought in a bunch of helium balloons, and she’s terrified of them. She’ll co-exist with them when they’re up by the ceiling standing still, but if I move them, she runs away and hides. I can coax her out and make her lay near me while I hold them near her, but she is clearly terrified the whole time. In the past, I’ve tried to work on this issue, but the training methods I came across were very treat based, and it frankly just hasn’t worked at all. For example, she is very afraid of being touched by a frisbee, and the manuals I was using say bring the frisbee close to her and give her a million treats while slowly moving it closer. It does little to nothing for her. She remains just as afraid no matter how many treats I give her in the presence of a frisbee. I did this exercise many times with little improvement. She will pick up the frisbee and play with it on her own, but if I hold it and bring it near her, she’s very afraid.

This suspicious attitude also comes across when we’re training. I have done lots and lots of the crazy man method with her, and overall, it has tremendously improved her heel command. When there are little or minimal distractions, she’s basically 100% at my side now, and when there are distractions, she’s about 60-70% obedient. This is a big step up for us, and it’s improving every time. What I’m still struggling with is how hard it is to get her to be eager about listening. My other dog, who I’m also using Ty’s methods on, is naturally EXTREMELY eager to please. Crazy man has worked wonders on him, and he heels like a champion no matter what now. It’s really fun to walk with him because he is so absolutely in sync with what I want from him. He would also sit or lay down on hot coals if I asked him to. He has that trainability factor. Lucy on the other hand, is reluctant and stubborn. When doing the crazy man, she tends to hang back a little bit, and isn’t snappy about changing directions. She does it, but it isn’t eagerly. She’s the kind of dog that when I ask her to sit, and the ground is wet or cold, she half sits and hovers above it. She’s very stubborn.

Basically, my two questions are 1. What is your suggested approach to her fear behaviors? and 2. How do I make her more eager to learn without treating her to death?

I really, really appreciate any personalized advice. I love my dogs more than life, and I respect Ty’s methods wholeheartedly.

Thank you again,

Erin

Dog Training Video Response

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Dog Training Response Summarized

1- You are correct about treat training, it doesn’t inspire change because it doesn’t challenge a dog to challenge it’s boundaries.  It only challenges the dog as far as he or she likes a treat.

2- I always think in terms of mindset meaning; what is the dog’s mindset or state of mind when it encounters that distraction.  If I don’t like the mindset how can I change it?  I often find that a dog’s mind follows the body so we need to train the body to just be and to relax.  A down stay or a place command while you have balloons around does not allow the dog to go into the flight response.  A dog, when stressed, has only three options; fight, flight, and avoidance.  Flight is like mental atrophy and if we can get rid of that response through a down stay then the dog must stay around the object that caused the fear and learn to adapt.

3- It may sound contradictory at first but I also like to introduce stress while moving.  If you had her focused and on a walk and just started holding the frisbee and then graduated to getting it closer, etc. you could see some results.  The point I want to get at is that a dog is not a multi-tasker.  She can’t be thinking of many things at once.  So if you oblige her to walk properly it doesn’t give her room to be thinking hard about other things which allows her mind to then accept those things.

4- As far as more eager a few ideas I have are: 1- Over exaggerated with praise.  For example, when she’s lagging a bit while walking pat your leg and really ‘up’ the praise.  2- Continue focusing on obedience overall.  The adage that dogs want to please their masters is true, but only if they see you as the master.  The better your obedience becomes overall the more bonded you’ll become and the more her desire to please you will increase.  3- Watch your timing.  Make it very clear that a correction is a corrrection and praise is praise.  A lot of dogs are hesitant and that can be confused for stubborn.  When you make the boundaries incredibly clear for them it allows them to trust you and trust the system much easier and you’ll see a dog ‘lighten up’ as a result.

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