Teaching "solid" Behaviors

Discussion in 'Training Challenges' started by brodys_mom, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Kay Laurence is fabulous - I've had the opportunity to attend one of her seminars and can't say enough about her. I think especially when you're dealing with fear issues, you can't think of anything as being remedial. Sometimes the fear takes over and they just can't think. Just keep working on basics. You can't go wrong.

    Feeding dinner in the front yard is great - but do keep people at bay, as you're doing. It will have a two-fold effect: one, it will get him more relaxed (eventually) and allow him to realize that yes, he can eat, and live, and be ok in the yard. And two, if something/someone were to approach, you'd handle it/them (keep them away/keep him safe) - and that's going to (eventually) build that trust between you two to immeasurable levels. If you're going to work with him at a time that you know will be busy, maybe don't "do dinner" but take out some steak or something you know he finds totally irresistable, and lots of it. Pay him WELL!!! You want a huge bonus involved. And don't foget - if he does something like not barking when maybe yesterday he would have, jackpot him! - dump a huge jackpot out for him, or let him dive into that bait bag and grab a huge mouthful, and make a party out of it. Trust me, there's something huge to be said for jackpots!! Think if you worked extra hard, all thru the entire night on a really hard tedius project for your boss and all you got was "nice job" and your regular paycheck - and think now if you got "WOW, that's incredible!!!" and a HUGE bonus check for a job well-done!!!! You'd try to do it again!!

    Great news that Brody hasn't released his anal sacs in a couple weeks. While it may not sound like much to anyone else, and clearly there are so many things to work on, that in itself is huge (especially for him!!) and it's a good meter for you. Personally, I could rarely get a "sit" out of Makena (when on a walk and a dog was approaching), so we blew that one out the window. If I could have her stay calm and just start stuffing food in her mouth, I felt it was a win. Find out what works *for you*. Every dog and every situation is going to be different, and each dog in each situation is going to be different still - and what worked yesterday may not work today, but may work tomorrow. And while yesterday was a really good day, today (and even tomorrow) may be lousy - but then there may be some great days ahead. You know how it goes. What I did learn - sometimes if there was a so-so day, then a not-so-good day, we'd take a day or two off. Sometimes they get tired, just maxed out and need a rest. And if she had a bad outburst, we'd definitely take a day (or two) off - cuz the chemicals in the body stay there for 24 hours or more. No sense in fighting body chemistry. If we were walking (and also in your case) when you're working at home - when that "scary" thing is about to approach, don't wait for "it" to get there. Make sure your treats are really high value - whatever Brody's brownie fudge sundae is - and just start stuffing way ahead of time, and don't stop til "it's" gone by. Trust me, he knows "it's" there. If he has to look at it, stuff away anyway. Let him look while he's chewing. Makena always had to -- until the day she started coming for her chicken first - then she'd eat, look, eat, look, like a tennis match. Over time - much much time - his brain chemistry will change. He'll start associating the feeling of all that scary stuff with the good feeling of eating. Again - if he noticably makes a huge leap, doesn't bark when a dog or person walks by (or whatever), he keeps it together, jackpot him, dump treats all over the place, give him a handful, let him dive into that baitbag - whatever!! Throw a party!!! Throw a parade!! He'll notice and it's a huge help, it makes a big impression. Turning him around is a very long process - but it can and will happen. It's gotta happen slowly and over time tho. And it will happen when Brody is ready.
    southerngirl and brodys_mom like this.

  2. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I only borrowed Kay's book from the library and just renewed it so I can read it again. I have so much reading to do it's hard to balance the learning with the application. I home-school my kids and this is planning time for September, so I'm getting double behind!

    I appreciate your advice so much as I know you have worked long and hard to get Makena where she is today. Even though her issues are different, the affect it has on us as owners is the same, I think. Stress, fear, tears, frustration, then hopefully relief, joy, pride, peace.

    I have yet to discover Brody's brownie fudge sundae. I was surprised at his lack of enthusiasm for some raw meat scraps when I was trimming some steaks for dinner. He sniffed, he licked. He dropped it on the floor and poked it with his paw. I had to pick it up and offer it to him a second time, like it was a raw carrot or something! We have yet to try liver, but the freeze dried stuff is so expensive here. He likes hot dogs and cheese, but I use those often on our walks. I had some really smelly cat treats that he went nuts for, but they had a lot of wheat in them, so I don't really like to use those. Maybe just for very special treats they would be okay.

    Hmmm, now I really want a brownie fudge sundae!
    southerngirl likes this.
  3. jackienmutts Honored Member

    You're correct, in that it is a total roller-coaster - both for us, and the dogs. But with lots of patience and practice, the ups and downs get more and more level all the time. I had loads of frustrating days, came home in tears many many times, had days when emotionally I just couldn't take her out - and so I wouldn't. Some days we all need a break - humans and dogs both. And some days I think she needed a break from me.

    I used to keep changing treats all the time, til I finally realized Makena would have probably sold a leg for chicken, then I just watched for sales. I didn't spend a lot of time cooking, she surely wasn't picky. If I was really pressed for time, I'd put a breast on a plate, put garlic powder on it (cuz stinky is good), and put it in the microwave. Took me only as long as cutting it up into bites once it was cooked. And presto, she had her favorite thing. I also used London Broil when it was on sale, liver, I still do sometimes buy Jenny-O turkey meatballs (in the frozen section) and cut them into little bites, use all kinds of things, but give him good bites, worth his while - not huge mouthfuls, but for working on fear issues, I made her treats bigger than I did for normal trick training. One thing I didn't use (for working on reactivity) was packaged treats. Just not high value enough. As for Brody turning down raw meat - do you feed Brody raw? If not, did he know what to do with raw meat? Does he ever get it? Some dogs, who don't normally get raw meat, don't really know what to do with it at first - it's foreign.
    brodys_mom and southerngirl like this.
  4. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I don't feed him raw. As far as I know, that was the first raw meat he'd ever had. I cooked up a burger patty for him then broke it into pieces. The first couple he played around with for a while, then ate them. He does that with a lot of things: blueberries, ice cubes, broccoli. He likes to see if he can make them bounce by pushing on them with his paw.
  5. MaryK Honored Member

    Glad to hear Brody is improving, you're finally 'getting it'. Books are there as a guidance, it always pays to remember that all dogs are different and will have different reactions. Sometimes with some dogs you do have to 'bend the rules' a little, just as you do with people/kids.

    For example, Leaf (my new puppy) was scared of certain things when out for her walk. She's like Jackie's girl Makena, likes to look at what scares her. I just squat down (she's still quite tiny) put my arm around her and tell her 'that's a big boy toy (bucket scoop thingee clearing land for a house to be built) or whatever it is that's scared her. Plus of course, she does have the advantage of her totally bomb-proof Big Bro as guidance too. But, even though she's VERY food orientated, the first time she didn't take the proffered treat - and that's saying something with Leaf!

    I wouldn't 'force' food between Brody's teeth - Positive Reinforcement Training is about gently guiding the dog, never forcing him, so if he doesn't want to take a treat, then don't worry!

    Any way you can get a door bell fixed to the gate - remote one - that way people could ring before having to unlock the gate. That's what I would do, as it then gives Brody and yourself a chance to get organized before they actually enter. It's natural for a dog to protect their territory. Some dogs like Zeus, don't worry about people putting their hands through/over the gate etc. but some will get very upset.

    I had a GS who adored my Mom's friend, but when that friend tried to climb over the side gate (which was locked) so she could wait comfortably in the back garden for us to come home, she got 'stuck' astride the top of the fence, couldn't get down and sure couldn't get over either, as my GS (who normally didn't live there we were just staying while the conveyance on my new home was finalized) decided NO WAY LADY, I may know you well but you're DEFINITELY NOT COMING IN WITHOUT MOM HERE! And this dog NEVER barked or did anything untoward with people, but she was very protective of 'her' home.

    Make your treats the highest possible value to Brody, his meal isn't high enough, when you take him outside for quiet training. He needs to know it really is worthwhile to be quiet when people walk past, so that treat must be very, very high value. Otherwise it's 'ho hum, not paid enough to be quiet, so I'll keep barking'.

    Allow Brody to show you how he wants to handle things, we can learn so much from just observing our dogs.:)
    jackienmutts and brodys_mom like this.
  6. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I will look for one of these. We don't have a doorbell at all, so I don't know if this will work. You have to pass by our kitchen window to get to the gate so I have thought of putting a sign on the gate saying: Beware of Dog, Do not open gate. Please tap on window.
    Still working on what he considers high value. I tried putting several treats on the floor to see which one he went to first, but he pretty much chose a different one every time. The one that he seemed to really like was the Turkey Feast ones that I got from Costco a while back. The ones with the palm oil in them. I can't buy those in good conscience, so he's stuck with hot dogs and cheese, maybe an occasional bit of chicken or hamburger. Jackie mentioned garlic powder to make things smellier, and therefore more attractive, so maybe I'll give that a try.
    MaryK and jackienmutts like this.
  7. southerngirl Honored Member

    Instead of Beware of dog you could put "Dog in training, Please tap window" that way people will understand that they need to be patient because you are working with Brody.
    brodys_mom, MaryK and jackienmutts like this.
  8. MaryK Honored Member

    Good idea Southerngirl, that way people will not be afraid of Brody, but does as you've said, warn them to give everyone time to organize Brody. I'd put it on the gate though so it's IN THE VISITORS FACE LOL some people just do not see signs unless they're right in their face! You could have it laminated, doesn't cost a bomb at all, so it's weather proof. Maybe one in the window and on the gate to be sure:D

    The remote door bells are quite simple to install and not all that expensive either. You've probably got much more advanced systems than here.

    This is an Australian one but it will give you and idea on how that work, though price will undoubtedly be different, more than likely cheaper!

    http://www.bunnings.com.au/products_product_door-chime-remote-control-remote-dc679_P4066511.aspx
    brodys_mom and southerngirl like this.

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