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Home Forums THE LOUNGE Dog Section & POSITIVE training (woof woof!)

Viewing 25 posts - 26 through 50 (of 113 total)
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  • #1840389
    Bianca
    Participant

    Great idea for a thread!

    This is Mitzi. We got her as a 1yo rescue. She is 5 now. She was abused and starved for the first 8 months of her life, then dumped at a shelter when she was close to dying. She was on a drip for 4-5 days. Undiagnosed but suspected brain damage (suggested by vets). She has trouble focusing, but tries really hard. Particularly when she is tired her right eye goes out sideways. 

    She is terrified of (as in will have panic attacks):

    • Storms (even very distant) 
    • Harley motorbikes (most other bikes are fine) – even the sound in the distance
    • Nerf guns (but not real guns)
    • Water (we had to dry bath her for years, now sometimes I can gently sponge her)
    • People fighting (my husband and I don’t fight, but we play fight sometimes and if we get too loud she gets upset)
    • Small blond children
    • Children in groups

    For a long time she was terrified of men, and people who picked up anything around her. 

    She does have basic obedience, but only up to a point. We have taught her hand signals to go with them, and also physical signals for when she is distracted. For example, usually to sit we will say “sit”, combined with a hand held in front of her, index finger pointing up. If she is having trouble focusing (i.e. on walks) we may also touch her gently on the bum or under the chin depending on where she is facing – she responds to either so I see no point in changing it. For drop, we say “drop” and point to the ground in front of her. When on walks we put a couple of fingers gently on her nose as if guiding her to the ground. 

    To teach her these she gets lots of praise as her reward for trying. “Good girl” and a pat works very well. Sometimes at home she likes a treat as a reward too, but when out she isn’t interested in food at all. 

    She has a lot of allergies too, so she is on a grain free diet, 3 zyrtec tablets a day, and because one of her allergies is grass, we also have some expensive hiking boots just to take her on short walks. She is still getting used to the boots, they are only new. 

    Anyway, this is Mitzi!

    I think the bottom one is a much older photo – she hasn’t had that collar for a couple of years. 

    As you can see though, she is very good at sleeping. It’s one of her strong points. The top two photos are very recent. 


    #1840425
    jerseygirl
    Moderator

    She has a lot of allergies too, so she is on a grain free diet, 3 zyrtec tablets a day, and because one of her allergies is grass, we also have some expensive hiking boots just to take her on short walks. She is still getting used to the boots, they are only new. 

    Any pics of her in these boots?!!!

    Hunter has sensitve skin too and is on a grain free food. Are you finding grass is more irritating for her right now, it being Spring? Hunters skin got really inflammed last week that he needed go on a corticosteroid. It must be hard not being able to bath Mitzi to help get rid of allergens on the skin.

    How do you manage her panic attacks?


    #1840426
    jerseygirl
    Moderator

    What does everyone think this is about. Danny has a tendency to stand between your legs. 

    This is my niece but he does it with other family members and with me too. He even did it to someone they were chatting with in the park one time. 

    I think he displays some possessiveness at times. When I go around there with Hunter, after the walk and we’re just hanging out back at home, he’ll try commandeer all my attention. So if I then go to acknowledge Hunter or give him a pet, Danny will get right up close and demand it for himself, make it difficult for me to reach over to Hunter. He’s an attention hog. 

    Hmmmm, dépends who I find. I’m happy to do the work, I just need an interpreter and aide to find out what’s winding him up and advice on steps to take! Dominance? Fear? Frustration at being on a lead !! 
    He can’t continue going round barking like a rabied angry writhing crocodile on the end of a leash !!

    Vienna, my sister and I have speculated about this with Danny’s different behaviours like you are with Baloo. Some things can look like dominance when are actually fear or something else entirely. And vice versa.  But im now wondering, is it important to really know one way or the other? If the training for overcoming the behaviour is going to be the same method regardless? What im garnering from this positive reinforcement training is knowing when they’re about to go into the unwanted behaviour and being right there to redirect. 

    Don’t get me wrong. I’ll still be speculating the WHY’s of their behaviour until the cows come home. It’s interesting! But with Danny’s lunging and barking at cars/bikes for example – whether it is in fear, whether he thinks it’s a fun game, whether he thinks he’s protecting his humans from it, at the end of the day, cars/bikes are not really something that can be avoided. So whatever reason he has for going mental at them, he needs to learn a different, more acceptable (and safe!) behaviour. 

    Another one of his habits when on leash is dropping down during the walk when there is something/someone coming toward him. When he was going to puppy school. the trainer there said it was fear based. Then another woman who looks after dogs and often has several down at the park said it was about them assessing the scene, person, dog or whatever is coming. I tend to agree with that. Then another woman who saw him do it while we had him out on a walk said she had a border collie at home who does the exact same thing and she knew of another that did also. So then we got to thinking is it breed related… Like dropping down in a paddock and assessing a mob of sheep and which way they were going to move. Anyway, what was that I said about cows earlier?… 


    #1840485
    DaButtercup
    Participant

    Posted By Bianca on 10/09/2017 5:42 PM 

    She is terrified of (as in will have panic attacks):

    • Storms (even very distant) 

    Have you heard of dog “Storm Jackets”? They are supposed to calm your dog during storms (also works for fireworks and etc.)


    #1840500
    Bianca
    Participant

    Posted By jerseygirl on 10/10/2017 3:42 AM

    She has a lot of allergies too, so she is on a grain free diet, 3 zyrtec tablets a day, and because one of her allergies is grass, we also have some expensive hiking boots just to take her on short walks. She is still getting used to the boots, they are only new. 

    Any pics of her in these boots?!!!

    Hunter has sensitve skin too and is on a grain free food. Are you finding grass is more irritating for her right now, it being Spring? Hunters skin got really inflammed last week that he needed go on a corticosteroid. It must be hard not being able to bath Mitzi to help get rid of allergens on the skin.

    How do you manage her panic attacks?

    I think I do have a couple of pics, but they are saved on my old phone so I’ll have to try to upload them later. They are on instagram (along with a video of her trying to walk with them) @mitzidoggo – you don’t need an account to view them on a computer I don’t think . They are the Ruffwear Grip Trex – $122 for the set! 😮 But they are holding up way better than the Petstock ones that wouldn’t stay on and fell to pieces. 

    Yes, Mitzi is bad all year round but much worse at the moment. Thankfully the zyrtec works on her. She can’t take the steroids designed for dogs –  they make her sick. She does have a steroid based spray to help on bad days but I have to dab it on because she is scared of the spray. 

    Until recently her panic attacks (especially over storms) were managed with strong xanax. But I don’t want her on them forever. And I have discovered that she finds David Attenborough documentaries very calming, so the last few panic attacks we have played her David Attenborough docos – she slept through a storm that way recently! It wasn’t an overhead storm though, I think next winter will be harder and I might need some xanax as back up. 

    I have heard of the thunder shirts but haven’t bought her one yet. She is pretty happy to wear coats though so it is probably worth a try for next winter in particular. 


    #1840581

    Thunder shirts certianly seem to have 5 stars from people who need them for their dogs….
    When fireworks night is approching or there is a storm, i put on loudish pop music…. so any boom booms in the music drown out the boom booms outside.

    Jersey, interesting, yes. I think it does matter whether its dominance or fear. I treated Kyra as if she were dominant and i realise now she was sht scared of stuff and i should have been positive reinforcing rather than ‘come along dog, nothing to be worried about’….

    We’ve got an appt with positive dog trainer on Tues. . Watch this space…


    #1840662
    jerseygirl
    Moderator

    Jersey, interesting, yes. I think it does matter whether its dominance or fear.

    Yar. I watched some ZG videos with shy/fearful dogs after I posted.

    Watch this space..

    *watching* 


    #1840668
    Azerane
    Moderator

    Hubby’s mum bought a thunder shirt for one of his family’s small terrified dogs. I don’t know that it helped at all I think she was just too ingrained in her fears.


    #1840671
    Bam
    Moderator

    I don’t think it’s dominant for a dog to stand between the legs of the owner. It’s a good place where you are protected and can see the same things the owner sees.


    #1840676

    Jersey…. errrrrr not before Tuesday…. you’ll get tired just waiting…. :


    #1840748
    Bianca
    Participant

    Posted By bam on 10/12/2017 5:14 AM

    I don’t think it’s dominant for a dog to stand between the legs of the owner. It’s a good place where you are protected and can see the same things the owner sees.

    Or you are off in your own little world sniffing something and have no idea you just wandered through someone’s legs and nearly tripped them up because that smell is SO GOOD! 


    #1841605

    G’day all !
    Been a tad busy of recent,

    So we went to the positive trainer vet lady (it may not have been as joyous as it could have been as her business partner passed away the day before in the clinic !!)

    Lots of info which was the opposite of what I had heard (soooo many opinions on the net and with ‘specialists!’).

    Here’s some of the ‘positive training’ tips :

    I must always say goodbye when I leave the house – Baloo has been abandoned 5 times in 6 months so he NEEDS to know that I will be coming back and this code word will make him understand that I am coming back.

    I must NEVER play hide and seek (with my body – not with toys) as this will reinforce his fear of being abandoned again.

    I should use a loving nickname for him when we are having cuddle sessions and ONLY use this for positive.

    I can say NO.

    I can walk with a long leash and with Baloo in front, but he must be given the command from me to ‘move on’ or whatever…

    He is allowed to sniff (on command) and he must then come with a little tug of the leash and ‘come on now’.

    He can eat before me (and then go off and sleep and not bother at dinner table) as long as he waits for the command to eat when plate is on the floor

    I should NOT play ball with him by throwing it in the air and him having to jump up on his back legs (as this will become a natural movement for him which is unacceptable in dog-human or dog-dog situations. I WAS doing it to strengthen his hind legs – we’ll find another exercise for that. He has to understand that all 4 paws should remain on the ground. This is mainly because he is starting to have tendencies towards dominance of other dogs we meet. Maybe it’s not a problem with less dominant dogs.

    For the same reasons, I should NOT play tug with him or do anything which causes him to pull and tug and be ‘aggressive’ – even if it isn’t ‘aggressive with me’.

    As he is ball fixated and knows how to ‘find’ – I SHOULD play hunt games with several different toys with him in the garden to tire him mentally.

    I MUST work on the ‘heel’ command and/or ‘close’ command so he focuses on me.

    I SHOULD use a Gentle Leader / Gentle Walker (I’ve chosen a Gentle Leader as he barks, lunges and can appear aggressive towards other dogs)

    Calming plant-based stress relief COULD be helpful – I’ve ordered Bachs Rescue Remedy PETS

    I should use a clicker for training – it’s very consistant and he’s obviously a bright boy and needs channeling and boundaries to understand that I’m in charge, I make the décisions and he can just lay back and be led in life !!

    Hope that helps – I’ll let you know how we get on.


    #1841701
    jerseygirl
    Moderator

    Well VB, Im exhausted!

    Not from waiting for you to post but just from all that info ^. That must be difficult to retain and apply consistently. Or is some of it what you had in place already?

    Calming plant-based stress relief COULD be helpful – I’ve ordered Bachs Rescue Remedy PETS

    Didn’t you get some Pet Remedy for Henry? Would that one be worth a try also?

    Let me know how you get on with Gentle Leader head harness. Im trying talk sister into that for Danny. But they tried a head type harness for a previous dog and he didn’t like it so she’s already got in mind that he will be the same. I believe it can take a bit of getting used to anyway? 


    #1841731

    Yes good memory jersey. I bought some “pet remedy” spray.
    I have tried it but I don’t really want to spray it every day when I go out and the cats Cali in particular goes mental when I spray it. she rolls about on the floor where the spray has obviously landed and it’s a bit like catnip
    For the gentle leader, that’s the one where the dog has to put the nose through the strap a bit like a muzzle, but the gentle Walker is where the shoulders go through a bit like a harness. so that could help your sister if her dog is pulling but without barking or being aggressive which is the impression that Balloo gives.
    but yes a dog does have to get used to it by putting his nose through to get the treat for example for at least a few days before he’s worn out on it on the lead. they say that you can make a dog put it on (by nose getting treat) and then leave it on in the house for a bit for him to get used to it it can be up to a week without going out with the strap on his nose for him to get used to it but I believe it will be worth it in the end.

    It has to be.

    And yes I’m exhausted too… lol… and as you so rightly say… it has to ALL be consistent….


    #1841732
    Bam
    Moderator

    GI think it sounds wonderful, Vienna! Now you have a plan and he will have rules to follow. I think it’ll help a lot.

    A back leg/hip strengthening exercise Effi’s physiotherapist has given her might perhaps be an idea, if he trust you to stand behind him. You bend down and lift one back foot off the floor so he must balance on three legs. Then you do the same with the other leg. Then you go further and push (very gently) on his hips, to throw him off balance a little. Just a little, just so he has to stabilize and find equilibrium on the hind leg he’s standing on. This isn’t a heavy duty exercise by any means, but it’s very good for building functional strength and stability.


    #1842350
    Hazel
    Participant

    Posted By jerseygirl on 10/08/2017 8:04 AM 

    That’s annoying but cute at same time, Hazel. Do you have trouble keeping a straight face?

    Getting some of that energy out in the yard should help, I think. After he’s expended some of that, could you do some short leash training sessions with him at home?  You mentioned him not being interested in treats or toys, is that just when you’re trying use them to help couteract his pulling? Is he interested in them at home?  That would be valuable in training sessions. 

    Yes, it’s very hard to keep a straight face! 

    He loves his toys and treats at home. I think he’s more food motivated, I  tried to teach him to fetch and would treat him after he brought the toy back, after a couple of times he wouldn’t even go after the toy anymore, he just sat in front of me waiting for a treat. 

    Some pictures of the little monster:

    Vienna: Glad to hear that you found a trainer! Some of her advice didn’t quite make sense to me, but she’s the expert and knows best I reckon.  How is it going so far? Can we get some pictures of Baloo? 


    #1842744

    Hazel : yup no worries. Once I’m on my pwoper compooter and not this silly ipad thingy

    What things didn’t make sense to you ? ( If i can’t explain them to you, then me neither ! Haha)


    #1842903

    Here is the gorgeous, handsome, proud Baloo (who is driving me crazy (and sad) with his reactivity towards other dogs….)

    Just look at him  


    #1843068
    Bam
    Moderator

    He looks like the happiest dog in the world ?


    #1843107

    Yeah well… the things which hide behind a photo !! LOL.

    We were alone in the forest and so he was happy. Had their been another dog around he would have been in high alert zone and barking his agression to the entire County…

    We are hanging off on things that wind him up for now as he will be in surgery in 2 days time so I’m spoiling him a bit.

    Training will recommence when he’s back on form.


    #1843127
    jerseygirl
    Moderator

    Maybe ask the vet to hypnotise him while he’s under?
    “When you wake up, you will be the most perfectly behaved (and healthy!) dog the world has ever seen”. Or something like that.


    #1843160

    Ooooooo yes, I LOVE that idea !!!!!

    Or just remove the hormone out of his brain which is sending him bonkers !! LOL

    Although I AM sure that Bach’s Rescue Remedy has NO effect on him !!


    #1843163

    Currently at kitchen table practising positive reinforcement as neighbours yappy dog is going hell for leather next door and of course Baloo wants to join in (walls are thin!) – so the cheese bits on the table are doing a grand job !!!!

    He is calm – So am I – yay !!!!


    #1843433
    Hazel
    Participant

    Aww, Baloo is so cute!

    Yay for neighbor dogs helping with training!  We have one like that next door too. Luckily Otis doesn’t feel the need to bark back, I think that dog scares him.

    About the trainer’s advice, a good bit of it made sense to me, a few things didn’t. Like the abandonment issue. I figured if a dog is anxious about being left alone, it would be best to make as little a deal about leaving as possible, and rather put more emphasis on coming back. Turning your leaving into a big routine seems counterproductive because I think it would just amplify the dogs stress level. I also disagreed with him being allowed to walk in front of you. That’s a leadership position and I think giving him that spot could confuse him about his position in the pack. I would have him walk behind or next to you. That’s only when you’re actually walking of course, if you’re hanging out somewhere and let him explore on a long lead, that would be different I think. But maybe it also depends on the dog, if he’s naturally a follower then allowing him to do this might not have the same negative effect as with dogs that are more dominant. And lastly, I don’t think playing tug would make him more aggressive. In the wild it’s more of a team work thing, it’s how they tear apart their food. I think it’s actually a nice way to bond with your dog, or for the dog to bond with other dogs. After all, it takes two to play tug.  I think it would only be a problem if he doesn’t actually want to play, but rather wants to take the toy away from the human/other dog. But even then, it would be more of a possessiveness issue than an aggression issue, in my opinion.

    Just my 2 cents, but I probably don’t know what I’m talking about. 


    #1843600

    I think the tug thing is as he’s a dominant (or trying – lol) if he plays tug he gets it into his head its OK to ‘play rough’…. whereas in a doggy meets doggy situation, it wouldn’t be polite to be overboard. He’ll of course have his instincts, but we’re trying to downscale them a bit.
    (I guess in the case of an extremely submissive dog who gets ‘beaten up’ or bullied by other dogs, maybe they, inversely, would need to play tug… ?)

    I’m really not sure of the walking in front bit either – so many different theories – I think it’s based on the “he must come back when called” theory of leadership (same when eating before human : can only eat on command)

    As he is leash reactive, to walk by the side or behind would be making him 3 times more frustrated than he needs to be. And, trust me, he is VERY frustrated already !

    The ‘I’m going out’ command is said calmly and matter off factly (is that a word?!! lol) and when I return NO fuss is made (big fuss = “Oh my god, I’m back it was SO horrible outside, cuddle – lucky you’re here now!! Pleeease don’t let me go out again).
    I suppose it makes sense (although again so many different opinions on the net) to say “I WILL be back” don’t worry. As opposed to a “silent I’ve disappeared, NEVER coming back” as he has had so many times in the past 8 months.

    I remember once with bridge dog Kyra, I once left her with my parents in their house for an afternoon.
    Knowing how she panicked when she saw me leaving, I snuck out without her seeing me leave, thinking she would just think me in a different room

    OMG ! M&D reported back that she stressed for the whole 5 hours I was gone, searching upstairs and down and up and down and in the garden, not settling at all.
    I vowed from then, to always make sure she saw me leave the house (I didn’t say anything, nor excited) but just so she understood I left through the front door and I will return back through it…. It was much better for her.


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