Ellis discusses the importance, and effect of relationship in training.
Focus on relationship. Almost can’t go wrong!
Ellis discusses the importance, and effect of relationship in training.
Focus on relationship. Almost can’t go wrong!
Everyone that reads this thing regularly, knows I do a lot of training through game play.
And, not in the surface “Create a reward event to make them work” sort if way.
But, in a profound way. Almost a spiritually fulfilling way. It impacts so many different levels.
Gives psychological fulfillment, as the activities let them express their natural drives.
And we’ve always said that it builds relationships. Builds the language we will use. Builds fluency in body language for both dog and handler. All that good stuff. I’ve always thought there was carry over into just living with your dog. Past just the “tired dog is a good dog” line.
Well, now we have a bit of proof!
In this study, they talk about how dogs develop, and LOSE, trust!
Once you read that, you will have a greater understanding of how your “Game” can effect your day to day relationship. When I coach people in play, I constantly use the common phrase “breaking trust” to tell them why not to do certain things. And, on the surface….. It could be about just the game. Like… Giving fair presentations of the toy so they can get it without clipping you. Like moving it enough that they have to “try” but not so much they feel like they “can’t”. Tugging hard enough that they are in the “fight”, and not “overwhelmed……. All that seems to be only Game related.
But this study shows that dogs can learn from how you play and do trivial activities what kind of trust you deserve.
Seems like the Clarity the dogs learn from your Game will effect them in all aspects of your relationship.
A lot of times when I work with a dog, I start with play. And I’ve always felt it wasn’t just “play”. But us really learning one another. Build trust and language, before trying to navigate sticky situations.
Kind of cool when science tells you you’re on the right train of thought!
Go play with your dog!
The article I wrote opposed to break sticks is the highest rated post I’ve ever written. And…… It’s because everyone hated it.
I see the pages and posts that refer people to it, and they all think I’m an asshole.
Apparently, the way to unite the wannabe tough guy Pit Bull bro, and the “pibble lover” hippie, is to take away their fucking break sticks.
I stand by every word of that article. I don’t use break sticks. They are inefficient, and make aggression worse.
But, the mistake I made was in not giving the alternative!
Everyone, just kept going back to “If not that, then WHAT?”
I didn’t talk about how TO do it because, telling people HOW to break up a dog fight on the internet is dangerous. Not to mention, it sounds horrible.
That’s because I use the same thing to stop a violent dog, that I use to stop a violent person.
I choke them.
Yeah…… That sounds bad. That’s why the people who know it’s the answer, don’t talk about it. They’re worried about losing public opinion.
Almost every dog professional I have ever met or interacted with online will admit (if pushed) to going up on the collar in an emergency. Google that shit and see how may trainers advocate it out loud.
Fortunately for me, I stopped giving a fuck about what the public thinks when I was a kid. And….. Apparently, NOT saying is pissing everyone off anyway.
So…… Here you go:
(disclaimer- don’t try any of this without hands on instruction form a qualified trainer. this is for discussion not instruction)
Slip Collar Lift.
Rear Naked Choke.
It’s done exactly the same way on dogs as it is on people.
And, before you argue it’s efficacy, here’s an example of a 9 year old Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu student saving a friend using this technique.
What about the “Hind Leg Suspension” AKA “Wheelbarrow” technique? Isn’t it safer?
Yes……. If you have shit dogs. Curs. Chewy frantic re-grippers. Yes….. That can break them.
If you outnumber the dogs. It can slow them down. I use it when handlers outnumber dogs. But, you still have to break the game dogs grip!
There are ONLY 2 choices.
Break Stick. And Choke. (don’t start with your e-collar bullshit. It won’t work on a game dog unless you go to a level that is quite damaging and dangerous. Same as hitting them. I actually DON’T want to hurt the dog hence these as the only options)
Break Sticks REQUIRE multiple handlers. Or at least some convoluted back-tying. And, they INCREASE drive and frustration. They do NOT change the economics of fighting. No dog gets pried off and thinks….. “Damn….. not sure I want that happening again”.
Chokes can be done done with slip collars on TWO DOGS simultaneously by a SINGLE HANDLER. Rear Naked Chokes must be done one after the other, which sucks…. But is doable alone. And, both versions give serious pause to the dog next time.
It is the ONLY correction that can have THAT deep of an effect……. AND doesn’t ADD adrenaline. Damage The dog. Or damage the relationship.
And don’t talk to me about safety. Collar lifts have LESS risk than break sticks. And a Rear Naked Choke risk is no worse. No vital areas exposed. And honestly…… The dogs that make this a necessity aren’t chewy and re-gripping anyway.
Yes…… You should train and handle in a way that makes this unnecessary.
If you have to use this you failed the dog.
This is the “air bag” in your car. You DO NOT want to use it. But…… You will to save a life.
When all has gone wrong and the nightmare has begun……. Chokes are the ONLY thing that works when it’s life or death that doesn’t have serious blowback.
There it is.
What do I do in a Blizzard?
Transition Jax to Spring Pole!
Lot of people tug. Not that many people use Spring Poles.
The way old school dogmen used them didn’t involve control. Let them at it….. Pry them off. All conditioning and gameness. No control.
But, I think they can be used as an obedience reward. Just like tug. Giving access to this type of activity to folks that can’t get in there and play The Game themselves. Plus it takes HUGE impulse control.
Jaxxy followed my typical process:
Tug. Ball On A String. Flirt Pole. Decoy Tug. Then Spring Pole.
Each progression requires more responsibility and control under higher and higher arousal, so there’s usually a little wobble in self control as they master that test.
The transition to the Spring Pole follows the same ramp up in responsibility.
The toy is kept low so the outs are easier, and I am fairly close, so it doesn’t challenge my area of influence too much.
As he gets cleaner & more crisp, I will raise the toy up, and myself away.
Eventually, He’ll be swinging like the old school pics.
But…. With solid obedience!
No collars. No food.
Only Social Drive and self control overriding Prey Drive.
Here’s Jaxxy’s first session.
And Here’s a follow up 2 days later. It’s his 3rd session:
I wrote about this a long time ago. Back then I was calling it “Reverse BAT”. But, now I call it the Faith In Handler Drill. After that article, a ton of people have asked me to demonstrate it. Here’s a video of me showing to a dog/handler for the first time.
This video has two purposes. Well, 3.
One is celebrating my little idiot. God dammit I love that dog.
Two, is showing progress to anyone following his little story.
And, last, but not least….. Showing training doesn’t have to feel like this piece of shit chore. There was only about a third more of these activities that weren’t on film. This really is indicative of the amount of time I “worked” him.
Embed the training throughout the day. Train through game play.
Make it fun for YOU. And then you may do it.
Anyway….. Here’s Jaxxy doing some work. Enjoy:
OK……. Conditioned Relaxation is one of those hot topics going around. And, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last 6 months…… you’ve seen it. Or, at least heard it described. The typical view of CR goes like this:
“CR is using massage to get a dog relaxed.”
Massaging a dog until they relax IS NOT putting relaxation on cue!
I mean….. Yes……. you do need to use massage to get the dog relaxed. But that shouldn’t be the way it stays forever.
Look at Sit. I can push the butt to the floor to “create” sit. But if someone says “Did you teach your dog to sit?”, you wouldn’t say “Sure, watch.”, then push their butt down.
If you’re still pushing their butt down…… That dog don’t know sit!
There in lies the rub (pun).
People see the massage wrong.
The first mistake people make in CR with “touch” is they pet, scratch, or stroke the dog. And that might be “relaxing”…… But not on a Therapeutic level. If I went to a massage therapist and they gently stroked my hair…… Not what I need.
Then, once people realize the therapeutic benefit of touch, they begin to go to “work” on their dogs.
AND IT WORKS!!!
Then comes the second mistake.
Since it works, they keep using it.
Like people that say “My dog knows sit”, but they have to have food in hand!
You can get your dog relaxed but you’re still relying on the inducting method.
You’re still pushing on the butt, or grabbing a cookie for sit!
Like all solid obedience commands….. You want to wean of needing to induce, or coerce!
Have had a number of conversations over the past couple of weeks that has made me realize that people don’t “get” the idea that it’s an “obedience command”.
Woman dreads the toll booth, cause her dog blows up.
I, after suggesting crating the dog till they’re past the issue, said “Cool, work his CR until you can use it a the Toll Booth”.
She asked, “How am I supposed to massage him from the drivers seat at the toll booth?”.
Last night, I was doing a little clinic for a local rescue. Several of the volunteers were clients. And I was talking about dealing with difficult dogs. CR came up. I got a gut feeling the above example wasn’t a lone misunderstanding. And, I said…. “You guys know that CR isn’t just massaging your dog till they relax”.
And, holy shit……. almost every single one of the people that I HAD TAUGHT were shocked. Like…. kinda upset.
Like…… “What the fuck do yo mean it ain’t massage?!?!??!”
Now I know break things down well. And, I know that I am very careful in my teaching to avoid misguided learning. And, if my own clients, I taught myself, are confused about that…….
There’s no way folks out on the interwebs trying to self teach aren’t fucking that up.
And there’s no way the skeptic “CR is bullshit” crowd isn’t using that as reasons to dismiss.
Hell, that WOULD be bullshit.
You can’t give your dog a 10 minute deep tissue massage every time you drive through the toll booth!
But…. you have to induce it to “capture” it.
Food goes up- butt goes down. Once that’s reliable you name it sit. Once they “know” it….. you fade off the food.
CR is the same…. Massage to induce relaxation. Name it. Fade off massage.
Both are oversimplified….. there is more to food luring & CR but, you get the point.
Anyway, if you’re still reliant on food lures, leash pressure, or butt pushing…… Your Sit isn’t “finished”.
If you’re still breaking out the massage table for a long session…… Your CR isn’t finished.
Yeah…. It’s kinda the defining feature.
But it’s not the “END”.
For more info on CR:
Go directly to the source. Kayce Cover!
Chad Mackin covers CR in his Dogmanship Workshop.
And I do it in several of my workshops as well!
So…… I’ve been going on and on about Kayce Cover’s methods. And, if you;ve been following along then you know that involves a lot of talking. Like a TON of it. In fact…. in all of her method it’s the part that catches the most objections. I even wrote an article trying to explain how I think it might work.
I also believe that there’s value in training with the old school “Koehler Duct Tape” over ones mouth. I’ve realized the impprtance of body language fluency for a long time. But, lately it’s REALLY been bubbling up to the front of my brain.
I have been a Koehler Long Line Foundation fan for a long time. And, that involves a bit of “shuttin up” to have the desired effect.
Score 1 for non verbal.
Then….. although a huge fan of Kayce’s Conditioned Relaxation, I have run into some resistance on some more gamey combative dogs. One of her long time students. and most vocal advocates, Mark McCabe reminded me of an old protocol I had gotten away from, once I found Kayce’s more “direct” method. This method sometimes called “Sit On The Dog” (the worlds stupidest name) essentially, is sitting with your dog and teahing them to be calm and still when you’re calm and still. Although I don’t stay with it forever, and want to get to the more direct, communicative, active conditioned relaxation that Kayce teaches…… It turns out to be a good, simple first step.
Score 2 for non verbal.
Then……. On the way to teach a Tug Seminar last week, I was deep in dog training thought. I was watching an Ellis DVD that I have watched a 1,000 times. And, I heard him say that “If we were really taking our time, we would do a non verbal out UNTIL they’re fluent THEN name it. Just like we do positions with food” (paraphrase)
That struck something.
I have made my little contribution to the dog training world by suggesting that instead of fading the “dead toy” signal off the verbal command for out, that we just “separate” them. Keep a verbal only out, of course…… But, also keep a non verbal, body language out. This is a lifestyle training thing. I like to help the dog remember that a sudden stillness from a being is them asking for the cessation of activity. That makes a dog much more fluent in interactions with other beings!
But, I always split them AFTER teaching the out with both a verbal AND dead toy. Ive always said if your game was good, you don’t need words.
As I was teahing that workshop I kept hearing myself say “The words don’t matter till you teach them”, and “Body language drives the game, till they learn the words”. And, as always….. Spent a LOT of time trying to get people to match their words to their actions.
Then, it hit me…..
Teach it non verbally FIRST.
Then, all the person has to do is focus on the movement. And not get distracted with a bunch of other stuff. Get your game clean….. THEN…. name everything.
Score 3 for non verbal.
I always felt like when I meet a dog, i just want to hang out. Observe. Not ask them for a ton. Just let them be. And be “with”.
Everyone has heard the old “No touch. No talk. No eye contact” rule. But a lot of other trainers are stating to suggest things along the same line. Cesar Milan. Suzanne Clothier. Nelson Hodges. Margot Woods. Bill Koehler. Mark McCabe. All different trainers from different backgrounds, suggesting a non verbal approach.
But….. How does that gel with the other big influences in my world view that are leaning towards MORE cognition? MORE language?
I think I have reconciled it in my head.
I’m not ready to commit to it as being “My official protocol” or whatever. But…… It’s really starting to gel in my mind that way.
First- Be with your dog. Learn how your body language and behavior effects them. Become observant. Learn to speak THEIR language. (I have been experimenting with this and getting HUGE results!)
Then- Teach them your language. Teach them the words that name and explain the interactions you are already fluently having.
After you are BOTH fluent in each others language…… Then, you can get to a level of communication that will seem unreal.
Whether that’s using so many words people think there’s no way it’s possible.
In complete silence!
Experiment for yourself.
I still am.
Watch This…. Then we’ll talk:
Ok….. So……. What does that have to do with Dog Training?
Well, there’s a lot of attention on Kayce Cover’s method lately. And with good reason…… It’s pretty damn effective.
But….. (and I love you Kayce) the amount and style of communication just flat puts people off.
It put me off. I was right away fully into a lot of her method. But, man, that naming everything……. And the staccato style of intermediate bridging she does…… I just couldn’t do it.
Then, I worked with her and her instructors in person. And, it totally worked. I don’t care who you are….. You can’t say that shit doesn’t work. I SAW it. And, believe me…. I was trying not to. I really didn’t want to change my position on it (aka start doing something new).
So…. now I know for sure it DOES work. But…. WHY?
I felt I needed to figure that out.
The obvious argument against it, is that the dogs don’t know what the hell you’re saying. And….. To a point…… I think they may be right.
Look, I think dogs do understand WAY more than the joke in that video. Clearly. I think they can learn a ton of words. And easily make Binary choices. Hell, I’m seeing dogs now giving cognitive feedback now that blows my mind.
I don’t think they fully understand entire soliloquies.
I think sort of like in that Frazier video, they “get” portions of what we are saying. But, I think they know we are trying to get something across to them.
And THAT brings me back to the basketball video.
Us giving a stream of feedback that they partially understand but know is supposed to be more meaningful, gives them a task to focus on. Figuring out what we are trying to say!
You know how people give “Incompatible Behaviors”? You know, if a dog’s sitting they aren’t jumping on you sort of thing.
Well, I think this may be a sort of “Incompatible Thoughts“. As in, if the dog focuses on trying to understand me, they may miss their own gorilla!
I don’t really know. I just process thoughts like this.
Hell, maybe it’s just totally distracting white noise?
But it sure didn’t feel like it. Felt like more. But how much?
I’m not ready to say they got the full English version.
But, I think I am ready to say it’s inducing “Selective Attention”.
But, don’t take my word for it. Hell, don’t take anyone’s word for anything! Go test.
And learn some shit!!!!!!
(if you haven’t been exposed to Kayce yet, you owe it to yourself to investigate. It’s paradigm challenging for sure, but worth looking into!!! http://synalia.com/ )