Category Archives: Training Concepts

Building and Breaking Trust

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 activity which is physically healthy. 15089859455_43f4e6a968_z

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.

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Kind of cool when science tells you you’re on the right train of thought!

That’s it.

Go play with your dog!

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Break Stick Response

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.

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(Check out this description from Leerburg.com)

Rear Naked Choke.

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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.

Period.

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.

The truth.

Flame away.

notonefuck

Jaxxy’s Transition To A Spring Pole

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:

Jaxxy Doing Work.

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: