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Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Raven
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Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by Raven » Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:35 am

Okay...I just carefully composed an inquiry to the Forum to find out that it didn't get posted. I can't duplicate it and have run out of time, so here's the super-condensed version.

I had the "luxury" of learning about my present neutered male DS before he came to live with me.

He is a neutered male DS surrendered at 14 months; no training; socialized with adults but not with other animals or kids. Prey-drive--which is off-the-charts--was never channneled (one known bad other-dog attack). No abuse in his past. Lacked focus. Bad mouthing problems. Intelligent, VERY confident, high-energy, interactive, powerful, a "happy," playful guy. Defined by his interim caregivers (experienced DS handlers) after his surrender as "just a very tough dog."

Training/re-training is a process. I don't have unrealistic expectations. I've had GREAT SUCCESS in the six-months he's been with me (he just turned two!) with some things, but with some other things, there's merely been "hard" improvement. I can testify that he is, indeed, a very tough dog.

I discovered in October what he would do with someone he perceived as an "intruder." He "asks no questions and takes no prisoners." He reacted before he processed information on two occasions. Part of my training with him has been to offer distractions once he learns something/what is expected of him...except there wasn't indication from his past or present that he would immediately attack without as much as a snarl, growl. He goes from "0-60" in a millisecond...as is his way in many things.

In December, he reacted to a friend in a very aggressive manner...what lawsuits are made of. Not good.

I'm dealing with many issues with him--and now there's this.

I know that I've not provided a lot of details, but experienced DS wisdom and/or direction to KNOWLEDGEABLE reading material regarding the DS/protection breeds would be greatly valued.

My last DS had early attack training where something went "wrong." She was sold to people who couldn't handle her--and that went badly, too, ending in abuse. She was surrendered to a shelter who broke protocol by not putting her down because she was "mean." Our journey together had many successes...but it didn't come from "cookie-cutter" training. I also can't subscribe to the training philosphy that "a dog is a dog is a dog."

Thank you for e-listening and offering any wisdom.
Though I can only hope to become the person who my animals believe I am, the things that they have taught me have made me a better human being. ~~~Sharon~~~

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Marjolein
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Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by Marjolein » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:24 pm

I think finding any breed specific books will be hard to find in English. And, to be honest, the ones in Dutch do not offer much help with rehabilitating the dog you describe either ;)
All I can say, owning a totally soft DS (Ivil) and a " medium-rare" (Dingo) one, is that giving them structure, an outlet for the energy, together with 100% consistent discipline, yet respectfull (violence will be answered...).
People with the more k9-service dog type can probabely help you out more...
Just wanted to say, I agree that " a dog is a dog" is not true. I've had people with loads of experience with GSD's who told me what to do with my dog Dingo, I'd say that wouldn't work, when they insisted on trying I'd say "fine, but I'm not driving you to hospital" and some of them did nearly get bitten (He's a very social dog, not that explosive, so I could take the risk, but we laughed when they gave me my dog back "no, no that doesn't work" :roll:
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turnnburn52984
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Tell us about yourself: Lifelong animal person- I professionally trained horses before my children were born. New to DS's, but not new to high drive working dogs. :) Currently have a 1 1/2 yr old DS, Koenig, and a 2 yr old English Pointer Sara. They are both rescues. Oh yes, I work at a multi species non-profit animal rescue, on Bainbridge Island, WA

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Location: Tacoma, WA

Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by turnnburn52984 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:11 am

This is the BEST statement I've heard in a long time. Thanks Marjolein.

Giving them structure, an outlet for the energy, together with 100% consistent discipline, yet respectfull (violence will be answered...).
People with the more k9-service dog type can probabely help you out more..


Your first paragraph nearly copies my dogs story.
"He is a neutered male DS surrendered at 14 months; no training; socialized with adults but not with other animals or kids. my guy wasn't really socialized with adults either, he was tied out in a backyard Prey-drive--which is off-the-charts--was never channneled (one known bad other-dog attack). Yup, my brindle too. Can't really be trusted with other dogs, except his 'sister' Sara.No abuse in his past. Lacked focus. YES on lacking focus! He was a nightmare! Koenig's only abuse was neglect. Bad mouthing problems. Intelligent, VERY confident, high-energy, interactive, powerful, a "happy," playful guy. Sounds just like KoenigDefined by his interim caregivers (experienced DS handlers) after his surrender as "just a very tough dog."

I'm not sure your troubles have too much to do with the DS as a breed, but more with high drive, working line dogs, potentially with weak nerves.

Most aggressive dog's I've worked with have had some fear issues. Do you think your boy is acting out of fear, or true aggression? I also have not met many dogs that really do attack with out any warning. There is something. A look in his eye, tension in his body (or just facial muscles) his stance.... there is something that will eventually clue you in on 'Oh $hit, look out, he's gonna blow!' It may be a very tiny signal, but it's there. You have not had him too long, You're realistically still getting to know each other, especially if he was under-socialized as a young dog. He's got a lot of catching up to do!

For the time being, until you get this aggression sorted out, how are you handling the situation? It sounds like you're very aware of the dangers. Have you thought about crating him whenever strangers are around? Or at least putting a basket muzzle, and a leash on ALL the time company is over?

Not that I don't love this forum (I do!!! :D ) but www.leerburg.com has a forum with LOTS of working dog folks. Many people over there are super experienced (certainly more so then me) and may be able to offer you some tried-and-true advice, where all I have is management issues.

Good luck- and thats for giving your boy a better home!
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Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by Raven » Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:47 am

Alright...it happened again! Posted a reply and it didn't take. Sigh. (Yeah...go ahead...ask it. How can she own problematic animals and not even login to post?)

Many thanks to both of you for having taken the time to read my post and respond.

I do not condone nor practice physical confrontations with my animals, especially DSs (unless they need to be taken down--ugh). My boy cannot be overly or aggressively handled. (Most DSs cannot be, anyway, and people usually find that out the hard way, don't they?)

I strive to be consistent in my training and daily life with my beast(s), but as for the husband...well.

A friend of mine who trains dogs/people for protection/obed/search-rescue/etc.) has said that I have given my boy, Thor, too much freedom in the house while away during the day. I won't crate, so he said that I need to restrict him to a certain part of the house. (His method also includes never allowing a dog off-prong--EVER--for the first year, even if to let him out at 3 a.m. to go potty.)

And the prong means very little to my boy. He's compliant at best, but since he was on-prong when he attacked our friend (and is always on-prong in the company of people or even going out to the truck), it really doesn't matter to him. (He is a full-force brute. He broke two parts of my new stockade fence by body-slamming it during play and keeps on going like nothing happened.)

Thor DID show signs that he was going to do something; my husband and I both saw it, but it was very subtle and he instantly reacted. (Yes, our friend encouraged Thor to come to him when I'd asked him not to, but regardless, it is my responsibilty to make sure that I have control of everything...and clearly, I did not.)

Not that he isn't the only dog to do, or ever do this, but Thor makes associations VERY quickly. For instance: doesn't like kids, saw kids getting on a school bus and heard the sound the school bus made, so the very "sound" of a school bus....And he's like this with EVERYTHING. (One of his nicknames is Verge because he's always "on the verge" of something.)

A few months back, I introduced Thor to the basket-muzzle in small increments. The very day that he walked without going bizerker, he felt the muzzle loosen, fell back for a second and pawed it off before I knew he'd slacked. Exactly what you don't want to happen. When I went to put the muzzle back on, he drew back his head and the snap clipped his neck. Did it hurt? No, especially when he body-slams stockades and breaks them and keeps on a-goin'! But, it was a negative associaton with something he didn't want to do, so we're back to working up to it again.

As for fear-aggression...I'd have to say no. He is so damn confident. He wants things his way. As for his prey-drive, I've seen his eyes fully dialate in full sunlight. When he gets in this mode, I have to be careful how to handle him, lest he will transfer aggression, which he has done.

All this said, he has come a long way in six months. I also started video-taping our sessions; I'm able to see mistakes that either he or I make that I sometimes miss during the session. HOWEVER...he decided that he didn't like the camera...so that's become another thing that we're working on.

In controlled environments, his heel-work is excellent (he had none before), even off-prong. I introduce distractions and always end any and all sessions on a positive note. He's learned to walk beside me or behind me off-session in the house--but I don't think he does it because he's ACCEPTED his role. Make sense?

I wouldn't call him a people-pleasing dog, though he has an occasional moment here and there where his face melts when his Mama praises him for a job well done.

Some time ago, I'd plugged into Leerburg's site but only snooped around. Good to know that that site is a good resource.

Again, many thanks to you both. I love my insanely smart, Viking bizerker-type boy and need to do the very best by him. That said, in moving forward with how he reacted toward our friend (who he'd met before), I need to chart things out first. I don't want to aggrevate that behavior AND make for further negative associations.

Love the photos of your dogs. How awfully good-looking they are!!!! (My guy, too, is drop-dead handsome.)
Though I can only hope to become the person who my animals believe I am, the things that they have taught me have made me a better human being. ~~~Sharon~~~

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Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by Raven » Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:55 am

Though there's a further reply in my last post, I did forget to mention that Marjolein's comment about enough exercise was also very well taken and excellent advice. After the December incident, I did pump up his activity level. Admittedly, he still needs more. He gets a lot of mental stimuli, including new things to learn and overcome...but that activity is just as important.
Though I can only hope to become the person who my animals believe I am, the things that they have taught me have made me a better human being. ~~~Sharon~~~

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Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by icvanstra » Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:06 pm

Raven wrote:Alright...it happened again! Posted a reply and it didn't take. Sigh. (Yeah...go ahead...ask it. How can she own problematic animals and not even login to post?)
The website will time you out if you are not actively using it. Even though you are typing the response in the 'white box' ... the software doesn't think you are doing anything because you are not moving from window to window.

I've found (not just this PHPBB board but others as well), if you type up your response in something else like Word or notepad then you don't have to worry about the timeout problem.
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Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by vneerland » Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:19 pm

Raven. I do not think there are DS books that will help you with your issues. I get a very alarming picture when you describe your dog. His behavior is not dominant, I hate to say. There is absolutely never any need for a dog to, lets say, get enraged by the sound of school bus. I would guess you might be better helped by seeking advice from someone who understands (problem) dogs, beyond the advice of a 'trainer' who would recommend you keep a dog on a pinch for a year? Any dog? A pinch? Are you kidding? :oops: Unfortunately, I get the feeling that you are indulging him a bit too much. He does not like the camera, you say. And I wonder why his likes and dislikes matter so much. You are trying to desensitize him to the world we live in. I assure you that camera's do not attack dogs, and dogs should learn so. :mrgreen: Strange that he should even have an opinion about it. :o
While I am not telling you to put your dog in a crate and forget about him, I do feel that it might be very advantageous if you did set strict(er) rules and let him earn his privileges, instead of them being a normal part of his daily life.
Please understand that I am not meaning to attack you. I have been around a great number of serious working dogs, many with quircks and most in need of some sort of guidance. While internet diagnosis is virtually (pun intended!) impossible, I do feel that you are best helped by an honest opinion, even if is it no doubt not something you would want to hear. :?
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turnnburn52984
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Tell us about yourself: Lifelong animal person- I professionally trained horses before my children were born. New to DS's, but not new to high drive working dogs. :) Currently have a 1 1/2 yr old DS, Koenig, and a 2 yr old English Pointer Sara. They are both rescues. Oh yes, I work at a multi species non-profit animal rescue, on Bainbridge Island, WA

Want to know anything else, just ask!
Location: Tacoma, WA

Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by turnnburn52984 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:12 am

Have you heard of the NILF way of keeping dogs? (Nothing In Life is Free) It sounds like this may very well be a way to go with your boy... but this includes a crate, and no toys for him... all toys belong to YOU. He does not get them unless you're attached to the other end, or interacting with him.

I kind of agree with Judith, that your dog sounds like he may be having his way with you. (being indulged) Just something to think about. You may have a rough road ahead, but it'll be worth it.
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Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by Raven » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:16 pm

Judith (and others),

I appreciate your forthrightness (and everyone elses). That's why I posted: for honest, experienced opinions. Thank you. :D

I don't equate confidence with dominance; Thor is confident. (There's a handler out there who doesn't like to use the word "dominant" as a trainer because they think too many trainers use that word to mask problems that they may not completely understand. Makes sense to me, but enough on that.)

Everyone is right: I have allowed my boy too much freedom in the house. Before I crate, I need to come to terms with own deeply intense prejudice of them. I'll work on that, and in the meantime, I've restricted his access, which I'd already begun to do after the "incident."

Never heard of NILF approach as Turnnburn put it (no toys), but the restriction to toys makes complete sense to me when you're making your dog earn priviledges and learn his position/role.

I'd be interested to hear more about the approach(es) taken with Koenig because of their similarities. (Yes, two different dogs with some similarities, but that doesn't keep me from being interested.) :P

Another piece of this puzzle is that one must be able to make changes in order to affect changes, and clearly, I need to buck up and do this. I may have had successes with my approaches in the past, but if the approach isn't working as it should for any one beast, doesn't make sense to continue and expect the same results as in the past.
Though I can only hope to become the person who my animals believe I am, the things that they have taught me have made me a better human being. ~~~Sharon~~~

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turnnburn52984
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Tell us about yourself: Lifelong animal person- I professionally trained horses before my children were born. New to DS's, but not new to high drive working dogs. :) Currently have a 1 1/2 yr old DS, Koenig, and a 2 yr old English Pointer Sara. They are both rescues. Oh yes, I work at a multi species non-profit animal rescue, on Bainbridge Island, WA

Want to know anything else, just ask!
Location: Tacoma, WA

Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by turnnburn52984 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:12 pm

An open mind!?! Yay!!!!!!
I'm so used to 'new' people on Leerburg posting with problems, and leaving in a huff because they get honest, straightforward answers.

Gold Star fro Raven!

I'm out the door, but I'll post later today with more NILF info, and some pack structure stuff. Your dog (I've missed his name...?) does not need, and IMO should not need to feel confident about anything besides YOU. He should have 100% confidence in YOU as a pack leader. He needs to understand you'll fulfill your role as pack leader and handle anything that gets in your way, be in control of every situation.

More later, I promise. :)
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Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by GSDNanny » Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:04 pm

I think there are several factors going on with Thor. First of all, his age. I have found that with all the many GSD rescues through my household over the years as well as my own GSDs/DS, that at 18-24 mos the hormones have kicked in and they are exerting their prowess, testing every situation along the way, somewhat like human teenagers. If they dont have proper/strict guidelines with boundaries, then they push that envelope; an inch becomes a mile very fast with these very intuitive/intelligent DSs. We have to stay on our toes because they are reading us and the environment constantly. And this is all coupled with the fact that you are trying to re-establish his baseline so far as social training.

I didnt realize I had been using the NILF method all this time but it works for me. I have not cared or revealed to my dogs that their dislikes in my household matter one bit. As long as they are physically safe, then they have to learn to adapt and deal with whatever is dealt. This is my house, by the way. They are family but I make the rules. That said, I do believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; meaning that I take no chances. My DS absolutely HATES children evidently left over from her previous home. Therefore, I eliminate any possible interaction whatsoever with children. I introduced proper socialization when I got her as a rescue at 8 mos old but the damage was done. When I realized that pushing or forcing her to tolerate children was only exacerbating her issues, I relented. I feel that further efforts are futile and I would absolutely NEVER take a chance that could potentially harm a child.

Zip is not confident or dominant but she has had fear aggression issues that have slowly subsided over the past four years. (I have had to deal with only a few dogs that I would say are truly confident.) Not that I would totally trust her, just accommodate the situation.

Like yest, the cable man was putting a new box in the bedroom. Hubby brought Zip to the bedroom door because the cable man had never seen a DS before and was curious. I monitored the situation closely as hubby does not read our dogs like I do. I told the guy not to make a move, to be very still, he obliged. Zip saw the guy and did her warning quick snarl and then went back to affectionately nuzzling my husband, his hand tightly holding her collar. Fair warning, she said.

My dogs are crated on a rotation for short times during the day. The doggie shuffle as I call it. Zip and the older GSD each have a bedroom, opposite ends of the house. That way intruders can hear the barking but unannounced family that comes in when we arent home will be safe. They know not to open Zip's bedroom door.
:o

Denise Gatlin & Zip, Shooter & the K9 crew

Livin' in the deep south - Louisiana

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Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by Raven » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:38 am

I am so very appreciative of the feedback. Thank you all!

I feel that I may have short-changed my boy a little, though, in my concern to the recent "incident." He has had much in the way of accomplishments since coming home to me six months ago. (Thank you, turnnburn, for recognizing that he does have to "catch up" and that we are "realistically" still getting to know each other.)

SO! I do--and will always--celebrate his accomplishments. And I want to take him to his full potential. Now I have to get other things in order, which apparently includes me getting over my (insert expletives) long-time hatred with crating. Ever since crating became "the rage' for Joe-Schmoe dog owners, there's been gross misuse--we all know the types of stories regarding that. Ahhh, yes...an intense dislike for crating....

And if I feel it, he will, too. :!: SO! I have to change my opinion through education--and make certain that I "do the deed" correctly.

Thor (Thorzine--tee-hee) does have to work for things and is not included in everything...but now I need the guidance to fine-tune matters. Again...thank you all.

Though I have felt some mixed messages (or is it better put by saying that I'm hearing suggestions or examples that seem counter-intuitive to me???), I think it's because I'm on a "different page" sometimes.

If you ask 12 people a question about anything, you can get 12 different answers. I poked around this forum before posting, so there's a reason I ended up doing so. (Taking in only problem animals, you can imagine some of the approaches from people that I've encountered over the years . One of my favorites was from a "cookie-cutter" trainer who--come to find out only trained pups and small dogs--suggested that I straddle a newly adopted large dog who wanted to rip everyone apart while another trainer offered that with her advanced age and unpredictable behavior...maybe not a good idea.)

Someone once told me this: it's one thing to have protection dogs who are trained to work and kenneled and then intergrated into family life, but it's another thing to have protection dogs go straight into family life. A rottie-lover trainer agrees with this while a GSD-lover trainer does not.

Thanks, again, everyone. I'm getting psyched about the learning/overcoming a bias and celebrating my boy's future accomplishments! He really is awesome. And he'd be the first to tell you that. (Judith would've needed to cover her ears on that last one!)
Though I can only hope to become the person who my animals believe I am, the things that they have taught me have made me a better human being. ~~~Sharon~~~

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Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by GSDNanny » Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:29 pm

I dont like to crate either BUT I use it as a positive issue. The crates are where my dogs eat and lavishly they do eat! When I bring in the large bucket of raw deer bones, they all see which can run the fastest to their crates. Hurray!! :party1: To them, crates are wonderful places to experience the best of treats. They also eat all their meals there and rest afterward. With these deep-chested breeds, I always rest them after their eating to possibly alleviate the potential for bloat. Plus, it keeps them from eyeing each other's deer bones thinking one has gotten a bigger one and the fight be on! :starwars: I leave their crates open when they are out in the house and sometimes they just go in and rest freely. It is their safe zone. I never ever use the crate as a punishment, ever. Always positive. :wtg:

I feel with time, you and Thor will come to a wonderful mutual relationship. I, for one and can say this for others here, thank you for going to the extra effort to research and ask for advice/input so that you can accomplish this. Do keep us posted on your and Thor's progress. I love a great dog story! :w00t:

Denise Gatlin & Zip, Shooter & the K9 crew

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Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by leih merigian » Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:04 pm

Hey Raven,

One thing I learned very quickly with my first dog is that everyone (every Joe or Josephine Blow you meet on the street) is an expert in raising and training dogs. This goes for many of the "trainers" out there, too. Always remember that you know your dog best and never take any advice that doesn't sound right to you, for your own dog.

The NILIF and TANSTAAFL (there ain't no such thing as a free lunch) methods are not new, and really work. There are many books out there about this stuff, but one that is very straightforward and easy to "get" is Ruff Love, by Susan Garrett. It's a very small book and easy to get the info you need quickly. You may not want to use every element of her program, but even if you follow it in general, you've got the info you need to implement this kind of method in a very clear and easy to understand manner.

I love crates, and with my current puppy, I have my first XPen, and it's one of the smartest buys I've ever made. She can be in the XPen and have more room, but is still learning how to be quiet and relaxed when in the house, while being safely contained. I have it in the kitchen, where we spend most of our time together, and when she's free and able to move around at will (in the kitchen only), and I'm busy cooking or doing dishes, she'll often just go into her XPen and play with a toy on her mat. You make it a very high value place by giving great treats when they go in, and while they're in, when behaving well. When we come in from outdoors, she runs into her XPen on her own. I have her rest in there before and after meals...again, she runs in there on her own, as she knows the system/our structure, and it's become such a high value place for her. And, when I go, "Ready? One...two.....THREE! Go kennel!" she's literally quivering with excitement just waiting for the cue to go in there. You make it a great place that they want to be, by the value you build in it for them, and you then have no reasons to feel badly about using a crate or confinement place. I don't know any other way to keep them out of trouble when you can't be directly supervising them, and since prevention of unwanted behavior is part of the key to success, what a great tool to have!

Another thing you'd probably like and get a lot out of is also by Susan Garrett, a DVD called Crate Games. She explains her system for creating high value in the crate, and it's all a big game to them. You don't use any verbal commands at all in the beginning, you simply reward the right behavior with great treats. By the time my girl was 9 weeks old (yes 9 WEEKS), she knew to sit and wait to be released whenever I put my hand on the kennel or XPen latch. And, this knowledge transfers very quickly and easliy to any door; put your hand on the door and look at her, and she sits and waits to be released to go thru the door. And, all of this without a "sit" or "go kennel" verbal cue. Now, at 8 months, we're working on her staying in the crate or XPen until released, even when the door is open for extended times, and regardless of what I'm doing. There is no stress at all involved for them; you explain the rules thru the reward system, then reinforce them consistently, and voila!, great crate and XPen behavior without any stress.

Very occasionally, I'll use it for a time out, when needed, but only rarely. Let's say she's on a settle down while we're eating dinner, and doesn't manage to hold the position. Fine. No problem. She just loses the reward she'd have received for making it thru the whole meal until released, and she just goes into the XPen (right next to our table in the kitchen, so she's still with us)...."oh-oh! Too bad! OK, go kennel..." She goes in gladly since she's always gone in gladly, just forgoes any treats in the process, and she's fine in there with her toys and us right there finishing our meal. Next meal, she gets another chance to show she can earn the reward of being out with us during our meal, and also, the food reward for compliance, too. And, worst case scenario for her is she gets to go into her very high value XPen if she can't quite make it :D . (And, I should add that I built up to this, too, by rewarding her for behaving well while we were eating and she was in the XPen, before she was old enough or mature enough to be able to hold a casual down for the length of a meal, and even when she could do that with me, she couldn't do it yet with my husband eating, too...so I built it all up by using the tool of the XPen.)

So, forget about all the people who misuse crates and think about what a great tool a crate can be when used properly. You'll be glad you did ;) .
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Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by Christie M » Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:15 am

Raven wrote: SO! I do--and will always--celebrate his accomplishments. And I want to take him to his full potential. Now I have to get other things in order, which apparently includes me getting over my (insert expletives) long-time hatred with crating. Ever since crating became "the rage' for Joe-Schmoe dog owners, there's been gross misuse--we all know the types of stories regarding that. Ahhh, yes...an intense dislike for crating....
Everyone has made some great suggestions and recommendations. My only comment right now is about crating. have always used them, more out of convenience than anything. Its keeps the kids from killing themselves....which my smart dogs constantly try to do. But in dealing with clients, I have seen one additional value.

Defense and fear aggression are the same thing, with only one difference - the presence or lack of confidence. But if we see them as the same thing, then we can address the natural situation that occurs for any animal and that is fight or flight. If a crate is properly introduced and utilized, it offers a flight option. It is the one place that dogs can escape to where there is no chaos. Dogs are incapable of escaping the environment in which they live. They don't have to be fearful for stress to effect them. And if they are naturally defensive, new human/animal presence is stress. So the presence of a crate may (or may not) offer your dog an alternative that is less stressful for him to choose.

Honestly, so far none of my dogs are human aggressive unless they are told to be. However, my female was very dog aggressive when she was younger. If nothing else, she learned that choosing to move herself to her crate resulted in reward. Choosing to begin an altercation resulted in some pretty harsh consequences.

Eventually, with many dogs, just having the option of an escape alleviates the mindset of "I can't flee......so I might as well fight.."
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Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by vneerland » Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:12 pm

Eons ago, when I was green in dogs, there were no crates available. The entire concept was foreign (literally!) to me. And had it been around, I am sure I would have refused it, on grounds of an unhealthy and uneducated aversion. I learned, though, through experience, that my prejudice was totally ungrounded. My kids love their crates. If a dog is missing, check if you left a crate open and find them snoozing there (when they could easily have opted for people furniture instead). The love to go in at night and eagerly await their treats. The babies all learn that it is their own place, where they regularly sleep upside down. As a matter of fact, if no crate is available, I have seen many dogs (even those yet unfamiliar with a crate) crawl under a desk or cabinet for some den-like feeling. My house now sports many of those ugly non-fashionable accessories. It is not (just) for my ease, but truly because the dogs enjoy their totally private secluded space as well. True, some dogs at first resist the restriction. But that soon wears off and makes place for what seems to be a definate approval.
Try it. Once Thor is used to it, I doubt you will still resist its existence like you do now. :) For I feel sure that you will see that all the crate statements in this thread hold true.
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Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by Raven » Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:27 pm

Appreciate the comment from Lieh that was akin to we live with our dogs and if particular advice doesn't seem suitable....

Hello, Christie.

I've already ordered Crate Games DVD, Ruff Love and scoped out the crate I want for The Shark (his first nickname as he's always on the move). Been talking to the husband about all of this; he was against it, too, but said he'd support my decision...so...now he plans on watching the DVD with me. :D

It "clicks" about the den setting. The lightbulb finally went off on that one. All my other dogs used to find an enclosed "place." Duh. Man...see what thick-headed prejudice can do?

What hasn't quite pieced itself together yet is the connection between the crate and unacceptable behavior....I'm supposing that our on-going training ties in with the whole crate thing to make it all one big "package." I'll get it.

In his previous home, my boy did pop the gate on his crate in an enraged episode. He was put in his crate while another dog was freely allowed to walk up to/around it. Animal aggressive though he is, he was also placed in a "boxed in" situation.

I have a smart boy who has connected a lot of dots in our time together...and he's always up for something new. (Me, too.)

:cheer:
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Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by leih merigian » Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:37 am

Raven wrote:What hasn't quite pieced itself together yet is the connection between the crate and unacceptable behavior....I'm supposing that our on-going training ties in with the whole crate thing to make it all one big "package." I'll get it.

:cheer:
Just use it as a great place and don't use it for timeouts right now. Simple ;)
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Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by vneerland » Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:54 pm

leih merigian wrote:
Raven wrote:What hasn't quite pieced itself together yet is the connection between the crate and unacceptable behavior....I'm supposing that our on-going training ties in with the whole crate thing to make it all one big "package." I'll get it.

:cheer:
You mean a dog that seeks the 'safety' of the crate when it knows that it has messed up?
(not sure if I understand your question)
If I get upset with one of my many dogs here, you will often see the non guilty parties scoot into the crates, at least until it blows over. And the guilty parties have been known to seek refuge there too, since I cannot recall that I ever ignored that 'admission of guilt' on their behalf. Most I will do in that case is fuss some more, and close the door (for a while) A fairly light punishment for some great crimes. :lol: (lets us both cool off) And yet, they all love their crates. Like kids, that will not grow into beings that hate to go to bed, if they have ever been sent there by exasperated parents. I don't know of anyone that hates their bed anyway. (especially come mornings) :mrgreen:
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Re: Experienced Insight & Reading DS Material

Post by Raven » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:26 am

Just received and surveyed Crate Games DVD.

Awesome.

Her approach to crating allows me to accept the concept whole-heartedly and with an open mind. (Have had moments of thinking how I could've used this with my last adopt...don't think that I could have until a certain level of trust had been otherwise established--which did happen--lest my face and arm get taken off by reaching in and up in the crate. Every dog, and their past, is different.)

As for my boy, I'm optimistic with this new concept. The foundations to which she refers will get laid have already been introduced with good (and continued) progress. He made me very proud this morning--connected another dot! And a hard dot for him, too!

As for the logistics of the crate, the one I wanted (that accomodates a great Dane) will not fit--the space available is short by one (expletive deleted) inch. (I often refer to my cozy abode as the perfectly sized dog house.) The other crate at which I looked is not tall enough for him to stand. And I need at least one door along the length.

I've looked a lot online, but if anyone can suggest suppliers, I may not have looked at them. My husband is a steel worker and builds gigantic industrial things and has offered to make one--but I don't want to go there. REALLY don't want to go there.

Thanks again to all who have taken the time to offer your experience. Thor is really an incredible dog with a lot of potential. (If one can think of a dog as being funny--he is. Remember when Robin Williams was a young stand-up? Full of zest and energy and ridiculous and off-the-cuff? Thor is the young version of Robin Williams of Dutch shepherds. He's gotten more serious about the things that he should, yet I don't want to obliterate his sense of humor.)
Though I can only hope to become the person who my animals believe I am, the things that they have taught me have made me a better human being. ~~~Sharon~~~

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