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

Viewing 13 posts - 101 through 113 (of 113 total)
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    I’m totally with you on harnesses regarding control (or lack of). So many seem to get them because their dog pulls too much, but instead their dog can pull more. I get that people use them because they don’t want their dog choking themself, but there are alternative that prevent that and also allow control.


    @Vienna, I know how you feel about Baloo! I had one with very similar problems. He had an accidental bite on record very early on when I first got him. A # of things went wrong…

    He was a rescue, I had him only 2 months so far & we went on a group dog walk with a bunch of other dog people. My small group stayed a little behind, my dog was on a long lead & there was tall grass on either side of us & a curve in the sidewalk coming up. I had no idea he had a fear of things on wheels & a lady came zooming by around the corner very fast, he got scared & tried to bite the bike, unfortunately he bit her. My aunt had gone to help the woman & my dog seemed sorry like he knew he just done something bad. He thankfully had all his shots & everything & to my surprise, my aunt had them handy in her purse, the lady was ok & knew it was an accident but my dog had to be house quarantined for 10 days.

    Unfortunately I was traumatized & ended up somewhat sheltering him for several years after that because if another incident happened, he would be put down. This caused him to be more uncontrollable any time we did take him out & I couldn’t afford training. After our other dog passed away, who was his buddy, he became pretty grumpy & also developed food aggression. He started to feel very insecure but aside from that, he honestly was a very loving dog.

    I finally decided to get him into training after he was showing more & more food aggression. The guy I found for training was affordable & was a military dog trainer, EXCELLENT trainer, he worked wonders. I didn’t trust anyone else to train him to the extent he needed it.

    Anyway, a few tips on food aggression, & something you tried recently due to a health issue with Baloo, continue to prop his food up. This is good for a number of reasons, 1, for larger dogs, it’s often too much strain on their necks to reach down to eat from a bowl, so propping it up is much more comfortable. 2, it also makes a dog feel less dominant over their food. A dog who is standing completely over something feels empowered & territorial over that item. Putting it higher gives them less advantage to defend something that’s “theirs.”

    We also started having my dog face the wall when he eats (maybe you do this already?) This way he’s not focused on any other movements behind him. & if you can, you can also crate him when he eats. This keeps everyone safe & it also helps a dog feel more secure because he knows no one can come steal his food so easily. I also did some training with my dog to make him leave food until I told him he could have it. I actually also started making him work for his food. So any trick he knew how to do, I would ask him to perform those tricks every time he was about to eat. (sit, such as shake, spin in a circle, down) & I wouldn’t tell him to “take it” until he made eye contact with me. Sometimes I tested it farther & made him stop eating when I told him to. This might sound mean in a way, but with a food aggressive dog, they need to know they cannot be so possessive over it. He was a rescue too, but they need to learn they are safe & no other animals are going to steal their food.

    Sort of same thing for toys, if they get possessive of toys, the toy should be taken away completely for a short time every time they get possessive. If they get too possessive over certain toys, you may want to take all of their “valuable” toys away & start that training with lower value toys, their less favorite ones.


    Anyway, a few tips on food aggression, & something you tried recently due to a health issue with Baloo, continue to prop his food up. This is good for a number of reasons, 1, for larger dogs, it’s often too much strain on their necks to reach down to eat from a bowl, so propping it up is much more comfortable. 2, it also makes a dog feel less dominant over their food. A dog who is standing completely over something feels empowered & territorial over that item. Putting it higher gives them less advantage to defend something that’s “theirs.”

    Oh, I like this. Makes a lot of sense. And totally hadn’t thought about the “standing over something” / empowerment connection, in regards to food before. So this is a really easy way to avoid that. Cool,

    I think I may try raising Hunters food & water too, even though he’s a little dog. He goes into coughing fits sometimes. Hes almost 14 and the vets think he may have lost some integrity of structures in the throat. It’s not a collapsed trachea, but something similar. I cannot recall exactly.

    @Vienna, does Baloo wear a muzzle without fuss already or are you going to have to train him to accept it. It’s would be good if they could wear learners plates lol. Sort of a way to signal to other owners that your dog is training in certain aspects and not necessarily a dangerous dog.
    The muzzle can take away some stress on you and that is a good thing. Hopefully Baloo will pick up on that. It also means you can exercise him longer and in different areas without worrying. Again, good for you both.


    A story about Hunter from this week: so glad he doesn’t live up to his name!

    I ducked out to the shops for about 15-20 mins this week and when I returned & opened the front door, Hunter was right there to greet me.
    He is normally blocked off from being able to go into the hallway and rest of house where the rabbits are. I don’t know how long he’d been there. It’s possible he only just came through if he heard my car or the keys at the door. Normally, if he’s gone into this area when Im home, he makes a beeline for any bins that may have tissues. I didn’t see any evidence of raided bins. And the barriers to the bedrooms were intact and rabbits not on high alert. Phew!

    This happened because I forgot to secure a door that is normally always left secure. It’s a sliding door that he can nudge open with his nose so I have a heavy crate in place so it cannot slide open. When I do the buns litterboxes, I often unblock this door to make a more direct route to outside for myself. I’ll have to come up with a way to remind myself to block it off properly again straight after or stop using that door altogether.

    I have had each rabbit individually on my lap and Hunter sitting right beside us and no dramas. So I was pretty confident in his lack or prey-drive.
    Still, it was unsettling to find him where he shouldn’t be. And a reminder how easily I can make errors and probably will continue to…


    Jersey I think you can get leads in bright colours with bold print that say thing like “FRIENDLY” or “FEARFUL” etc as an added caution to other dog owners. However you also need to be close enough to read it or have the leash not swinging around like crazy. I would think dog jackets with such print are probably also available.

    Found it. Not sure they’d ship to you but they do leads, harnesses, jackets etc. There’s one that says “NO DOGS”


    Haha, that poor little dog model wearing the “nervous” coat. Seems to be well suited though!
    My brother is an advocate for local councils to implement some sort of colour code system that gives people a quick visual guide to a dogs status. It was a while ago that he mentioned it, but it would only be something worn on the collar like the registration disc, from memory. Im not certain how visible that would be.


    Vienna: I’m sorry Baloo got into a fight, that must have been so scary. How did the other owner react? I’m glad there weren’t any injuries. Getting a muzzle for now is a good call. I’ve considered doing that too in the past. Not because of aggression issues but to keep people from touching the dog without permission. It’s really aggravating when you turn around and find someone crouched down, being all over your dog without even asking first. And then, if the dog reacts negatively, somehow it’s your fault.  It can also keep people from letting their dog run up to yours. Yelling ahead “It’s fine, he/she just wants to play!!!” Well, maybe mine doesn’t?! 

    Mimzy: I agree with you about the slip leads. Lots of people consider them cruel, but I think it’s safe to use them if you know how to do it properly. We have two for Otis. The first one we bought is very thick and round, so it doesn’t cut into his neck. It does have a stopper on it that’s supposed to keep it in place right behind the ears. Unfortunately he pulls so hard that it just won’t stay put and slides further down his neck. We recently bought a different one, it’s thinner and flat. I put it around his neck and snout in a figure eight, which keeps it perfectly positioned. When he pulls it does put pressure on his nose. He’s catching on very quickly (staying next to me without a lot of pulling), and it’s much easier to walk him now.

    Azerane: I’ve never seen those before, that’s a cool idea!

    jersey: Naughty Hunter! I bet you didn’t know whether to be mad at him or praise him. 


    Mimzy. I agree, harnesses are built for pulling but these are anti-pull harnesses, not Julius K9 type ones.
    The anti-pull means the harder he pulls, the more the resistance. So they pull less.
    The trick is to then teach them to walk to heel, to praise for not pulling and then get rid of the training tool.

    I’ve seen the walker’s hi viz jackets and leads with the animals state of mind on.
    They’re good.
    And yeah, a muzzle will prob be enough for everyone to give us a wide berth
    Having said that, greyhounds are quite often seen with muzzles on but because they seem quite calm on the lead I didn’t take a wide birth with my old dog.
    I guess its for their prey drive, rabbits and mini dogs…. lol


    Just a little update. I can’t believe it’s been 2 months already since last post. WHERE did March go?

    About 3 weeks ago, a Monday night, Baloo wasn’t being particularly different but I “cracked” on a walk when all was going kinda OK and then we met a dog that he went berserk at. It was the last straw, I came home wrote to the rescue to find him a new home, in the country, room to move and no neighbours when he barked !

    So this was the 3rd RED CARD (soccer!) that Baloo had got from me in the past 6 months.

    After each evening of these ‘red card’ moments (ie being returned to the rescue!), evenings of tears and frustration and tears and knowing I’ve ‘failed’ him, he totally feeds off this energy and is near perfect for the next 72 hrs, the little s*h*t !! (lol)

    So, of course he’s still here !!!!!

    I’ve found another ‘positive’ behaviourist (having passed by another one who was only 50% positve (!?!) and with Baloo’s behaviour “would certainly have NOT been given positive education with his rehabilitation” ) who we have seen once just last week and I have found private land where we can go, off lead and train, without other strange dogs around.

    Behaviourist has said that Baloo is stressed to almost max (whining and hiding when bunnies move and barking at buns and turning and pacing) and that he should not be walked where we were walking as he is just too stressed to cope with all this new stuff (he was kept in the owner’s house and garden for pretty much his 7yr life).

    So no street walking, not yet. Hence the private land I have now access to.
    And certainly NO ecollar, which in his state would make him even more neurotic about the behaviour he should have.

    Also, he is so obsessed by his ball (think border collie), that it is an unhealthly obsession and he is no longer allowed his ball.

    He is also now taking Prozac…. (lol)
    The prozac molécules will hopefully ‘dull’ the neurones which send the panic into his head when he sees things he’s not comfortable with.

    He spends time with my friends’ two ENORMOUS Bouvier beotches. They are so totally non-reactive, that they don’t pay any notice to his incessant and uncecessary barking and they are big enough not to be intimitaded by him.

    So it’s a perfect situation which gives me a little ray of hope !!
    I’m so happy to see him seemingly comfortable in the presence of other dogs.
    A first in his 7 year life !!
    When my friends see him on their land, they are gobsmacked that I could even think about returning him to the rescue.

    I could never of course, I don’t think, give him up, not knowing where he would end up and quite sure that the person who took him wouldn’t be working quite so hard as I to get him sorted out. So unless I find the perfect person, he’s staying here.

    A part of me is so sad I’ve not got a sociable dog and prob won’t ever be able to take him to the beach or for forest walks or any walks actually, but the other part of me says accept him for who he is, spend these next few years with him, and then get a perfect (!! hah !!) dog to do all that stuff with later in life.

    I plan to work him 3 times a week outdoors, building our bond and making him understand he doesn’t have to be responsible for everything in life and stress about it.

    We are SO hooked on “click and treating” now. I realise my voice was too inconsistant for marking a good behaviour.

    And simply to let him run free on the land, without a lead (or his muzzle !!) and just be the dog he was born to be !!!

    (You wait I’ll be posting in a few months with a different version no doubt… but for now, with the long, light evenings, things are looking better than 3 weeks ago).


    I thought I would post a little update! Made lots of progress with Otis and his leash manners.

    Loose leash walking/heeling like a pro:

    Auto sit when I stop:

    He’s still pretty jumpy when we’re out walking, but he’s getting much better. He acts unimpressed when we run into other dogs, a leaf blowing in the wind might make him jump out of his skin, though. 

    Vienna: How are things going with Baloo? Would love to hear how he’s moving along! 


    Hi Hazel, a little birdie told me you bumped this post so I thought I would get back to you.

    So many things have happened since April when I found the (then) new trainer. Although she is a positive trainer and exceedingly nice, I found after an immediate slight improvement in Baloo’s behaviour (reactions to rabbits and barking in garden) we had plateaued on acheiving any more improvement. In these very hard situations, all you need is hope from a professional and somehow you keep going forward.

    As Baloo was obsessed by the ball we started using this for only work purposes, he was not allowed a ball to just play with.
    But whenever we were out and he had got excited for one reason or another it was very hard to bring him down to a normal level.

    Fast forward two months ago and it was suggested by my current trainer to get in contact with someone she knew who specialises in reactive dogs.

    Fast forward to 3 weeks ago and I dropped him off for a two week residential stay at this lady’s house who has found a way to start Baloo on his next journey which hopefully will be a calm and contented one, for him and for me.

    Initially believing that he was simply undersocialised with all dogs, she introduced him to very calm non-reactive male dogs and although he at first tried to assert his dominance on them by mointing, they didn’t react and within one minute of the first meeting they were comfortable in each other’s presence. By the end of the third day he was happy in a small field with five or six other male dogs around him.

    This ability to have full-on contact with other dogs has helped him in the next stage of his rehabilitation which has been identified as being stimulated outside of the house. He would bark at anything out of his control : leaves on the ground; leaves on the trees; a bird flying overhead; somebody walking; a mopeds going past; anything at all. The more he barked, the more he barked !!

    So this is what the trainer has been concentrating on, and this is what seems is at the base of Baloo’s reactivity.

    It seems that he is very reactive to any voices and commands targeted to him (for the first seven years of his life he had conditioned himself and his family to answer to his every whim and request, making him a very frustrated dog when the human didn’t do what he wanted (ie. me!)) so the new training which seems to be exceedingly effective for him is just clicker training, absolutely no talking. Just hand gestures if required.

    She recorded her lessons and posted on the net each evening, so i could see his journey, his improvement, and what i should be doing too.

    The first week she had him she was very patient and waited for exactly the right time to use the clicker and treat (4mins 30secs of attention seeking, energetic, in-your-face barking) and as Baloo like any other dog, is very intelligent, he soon picked up on keeping quiet and I have had him for four days now and he is teaching me how and when to click (and treat of course!!) LOL. My treat pouch with chopped-up frankfurters is an absolute tool in this success.

    In time we will both learn to ease off on the treats and clicks but for now we seem to be moving in the right direction. For him to even see a dog in the street 50 yards from where we are and not react other than returning to me for his treat, is simply a life saving miracle in my eyes.

    All this has been achieved by a calm, quiet, completely positive method by someone who seems to be a dog whisperer rather than a simple behaviourist.

    I’ve had him back only 4 days and this is not a quick fix, nor is he the perfect pooch (yet) but i have been given hope and the right tools to move forward. She made it clear that HE has the capacity to get over this frustration, it is now up to ME to click and treat (initially) ACCURATELY to continue this work.

    No pressure, then.

    So glad that your work with Otis seems to be going in the right direction too! It makes such a difference to OUR own enjoyment of having a dog, doesn’t it?!
    Clicker training can work with jumpy dogs too, treats when something scary happens will make him less scared of scary things, as he will start to look at you for treats !!!


    Oh wow, I’m impressed! Sounds like you’ve found an mazing trainer that really understands Baloo.  So happy to hear he’s making a lot of progress, he’ll be cool as a cucumber in no time. How does he do with recall? Otis doesn’t really have any.  The other day he slipped out the door and ran down the street at full speed. Naturally he chose to go right for the highway. We managed to get him turned around and he ended up back in our backyard, where we had him trapped. It still took me 30 minutes to catch him, needless to say he was having a blast. Scared the hell out of me though, he could have easily gotten run over. Now that he’s good with walking on a leash, it’s time to tackle the next big thing, recall. 

    I love clicker training too! The only problem is, when he’s outside he’s too distracted to eat. However, the other day he actually took the treat from me instead of ignoring it. He did spit it out, but I guess it’s still progress. 


    Finally a morning where BB doesn’t show me a yellow error page

    Hi! Since last post we have had our ups and downs. Mainly due to me doing wrong things. LOL. Two weeks ago I filmed myself doing some training and sent it to the trainer and she gave me feedback which was mostly – why are you doing that? What did I teach you? You’re going to have to start from zero again…
    So its ups and downs and some days are good and some days are bad. What we are concentrating on at the moment is in a dog free area (carparks late-night, private land) is the command “Leave”. This will then allow me to ask Baloo to leave when we see another dog. This is also accompanied by a pull on the lead so he gets used to that frustrating feeling of not being able to go forward. When he turns on his own he gets a click/treat. If he doesnt turn by himself, he gets pulled away with no click/treat.
    The ball has been completely removed from any training or games.

    Positives. Always focus on positives. He does not bark AT me demanding my attention. That is very clear. As soon as he does, he either gets ignored or isolated for 10 secs. It hasn’t happened for a while. And this was a big problem. And so easy to fix. Wow.

    Also when I’m home in uk and in a national park where i (and he) can see everything around us for a certain distance, this is great. Generally other (off lead) dogs dont come bounding up to us as there is so much other stuff to smell and do, so we can actually have “a normal walk”. –
    A rare but beautiful occurrence…. i am green with envy when i see other people with balanced dogs.

    If a dog does happen to come to us, one thing is clear, Baloo’s lead MUST BE SLACK. Its only happened three times, and my heart has jumped out of my chest, but its gone ok. If the lead is taught, Baloo feels it and starts frustration barking so that the whole meeting is scuppered.
    Street walking is still too hard from him.

    Recall training is – hmmmmmmm – good when there are NO distractions !!! LOL
    He is still on a 10m lead in public areas.

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