Tag Archives: difficult dogs

Meditation For Dogs?

Impulse control is one of the most common problems with “problematic dogs”.  They see the squirrel/postman/dog/bike, and they are gone. You do not exist to them anymore.

And, the typical training responses are:

A- Correct them big enough so they will listen

B-  If you get a high enough value treat, they would listen.

C- If they “respected” you, they would listen.

I’m sure there are more, but, you get the point.

Here are the problems with those.

They work. In the short term, they totally work.But they cost you in different ways.

A- You can correct the shit out of a dog and get it off of something. But….. Unless you have the hardest of the hard dogs, it going to damage the relationship. Never mind that it can damage the dog. But, you see this with old school trainers. Their dogs are obedient as hell, and totally under control. But, their squinting like they’re looking into a spotlight. Flattened dog. Not my idea of a good relationship.

B- You can put a handful of treats in the dogs face and “magnetically” draw them away from whatever got them nuts. Totally works. But you have to have higher value treats than the “distraction”. And you have to have them all the time. And your dog is excited by the food, and so you end up with this hyper, fat, stressed out dog. Not to mention the stressed out parents! There is a very familiar look on their face as the get to the bottom of the life saving bag of cheese.

C- If you live with the dog skillfully in your home. They wait for their food. They yield you space. They listen to you INSIDE. But….. OUTSIDE…… They’re a monster. I don’t think the problem is “respect”. If they didn’t respect you IN the house….. Maybe that argument would have legs. But, I see TONS of people who have angels in the house, and a devil on the streets. Those dogs (generally) don’t lack “respect” they lack impulse control. So, the “respect” camp will say “Rules, Boundaries, and “Limitations”. Obedience to correct behavior. And it sorta works. If they’re “downing” they aren’t chasing. But the problem comes with how you keep them doing these things when they get REALLY excited. And now we’re back to the bigger “Carrots and Sticks” issue of the above A, and B.

Look, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use food, or corrections. I use both. But you should use them to TEACH….. Not to “manage”. And that’s a HUGE difference.

Nice. Sounds good. So what.

Now that everyone is mad at me……

I’ll tell you what I do.

I teach my dogs to meditate.

Ok, that sounds like hippy shit….. But it’s kind of true.

The “Place” command is meditation for dogs.

The place command, is asking your dog to lay in a bed (or whatever) and stay there until you release them. But, it really goes much deeper than that. For them to be ABLE to stay in their spot, they have to have some self control. They have to be able to stay calm, even through temptations. Now, that is good for your ability to manage them. But, honestly, it’s really just good for them to have that kind of emotional control. Dogs are cute wound up, and playing…. But…. For their own sanity, and health, they really should be ABLE to bring it down for a bit. A long “stay” is a great way to develop those skills. They end up working the same kind of skills as people when we meditate. They learn to relax into this spot, and stop fighting the urge to get up. They learn to have a thought enter their head and try to steal their attention, and let it go without having it break them. They learn to center themselves, and allow distractions to come and then go. No shit, it is meditation for dogs.

Now, I chose “Place” and not a “Down” because I’m way more concerned with geographic location, and emotional state than a particular position. The “Place” command allows them to stand up. Stretch. Circle around. Whatever. Just stay on the bed, and stay cool. Now, they don’t have to stay there forever. But, should be able to stay there for at least 30 min. Then when they can manage that, you go to novel places or add other distractions!

Yes, you food and corrections to shape this skill, but the point is to get to as little food and corrections as possible. Ideally, I want the relationship (Social +R and -P if you want to get fancy) to be the motivator.

The whole point of this isn’t to have the “Place” as a management tool. That’s just a cool side effect.

The point is to help the dog literally increase their ability to SELF REGULATE. It is just like meditation for people.

And, just like meditation for people the benefits will show in areas off the Place/Meditation mats….

That improved impulse control can solve a ton of issues. From separation anxiety, to different types of reactivity.

It allows the dog to be able to display their respect for you, and listen to you ask them to ignore the squirrel/postman/dog/bike.

So,  teach your pup, the long “place”. Understand what it’s for.

Teach your dog to meditate.

Hell, you could learn how and do it with them.

Probably wouldn’t kill you to learn to relax a little yourself!

Calming Signal Or Stress Signal

Apparently, there’s a little “controversy” going on regarding “calming” signals.

Some people call them calming signals, and mean that they are signals that the dog is calming down. As in, they are self soothing, and those are the “tells”.

Other people say that they are “stress” signals. As in, the dog is worried and feeling anxious, and those signs are their “tells”. I’m not talking about ALL “stress signals”. I’m talking about the overlapping ones. Obviously, “Whale Eye” isn’t a “Calming Signal”. The arguments occur in the overlapping ones. “Yawning”, “Shake Offs”, Etc…..

Still, other people say that they are trying to calm other beings down. This is popular socialization circles. They see the dog doing “Shake Offs” and feel like it’s not a “tell” of their feelings, but that they are actually trying to signal the other dog to calm down.

These discussions can get heated.

(Of course….. everything gets heated on the internet)

So…. Who’s right?

They all are.

Dogs use signals for all of those reasons.

Communication evolves. And here is my opinion of how these developed.

Dogs naturally display certain indicators of relaxation. These are the classic indicator type of calming signals. The dog isn’t consciously doing them. They are “tells” of their deepening relaxation.

When this is done enough….. Dogs have trained themselves in conditioned relaxation. As in, they associate those actions with a deepening sense of relaxation, and when they start feeling stressed, they do them in an attempt to induce the sensation associated with it. It’s the same signals designed to self soothe. Same signals….. Drastically different causes.

This happens when they interact with other Dogs. They feel stressed, and so they display those signals. The other dogs see this and (if they aren’t rude little shits) back off a bit. Dogs see the pattern, and realize that those signals can induce relaxation in others. Now they are using them as a communication. Same signals…. Another TOTALLY different cause.

Damn…..

That doesn’t seem helpful.

If they can mean all three things, how are you supposed to know what they mean?

Ah….. The same way that you know your wife is pissed, before she says a word. The same way you know your best friend has a secret they’re just dying to tell you. You get to fucking know your dog!

The same expression can mean they are getting calm, and that calm is leaking out. They’re getting stressed and trying to self regulate. Hell, they can literally be asking you for help with that same signal! As in “Mom….. help! I’m scared of that!”.

Your main job in this relationship (hell in ANY relationship) is to learn their communication. It’s about very subtle differences, and context.

If my dog is laying in front of a fire place and yawns….. He’s probably deepening into “relaxed”. That’s a calming signal.

If I’m having him face some of his issues during training and he yawns. He’s probably self soothing. And that’s a stress signal.

If he’s playing in the yard with dogs, and yawns out of nowhere, and that’s just before play stopped for a second. That was a calming signal as in “hey let’s take it down a notch”.

You have to go through training and life experiences with your dog until you “know” what they’re saying.

So, they’re all right.

Pay attention to your dog, and let them tell you what they mean.

Next time you are on the internet with someone over the meaning of dog signals….

Quickly look over your shoulder and see if your dogs isn’t sitting there just trying to tell you something.

It’s a relationship. Go relate.

Freeeeeedom (think braveheart)

Chad Mackin, renowned dog rehabilitation expert, told me once that “The slack leash should be the primary reinforcer”.

I know from my stints of wasted time at the various correctional facilities of my youth, that being restrained is infuriating.

The problem is, the way most people use the leash, it is strictly a device of restraint. It keeps them from getting to things they find interesting. So, the leash is a source of serious frustration and stress.

Here’s the real problem…. We aren’t even consistent with that!!!!!!! Sometimes, we give up because the leash frustrates us as much as it frustrates them. So…. We say “screw it”, and give up on restraining them just let them pull us to whatever it is.

That is HORRIBLE!!!!!

That’s because studies show that intermittent reinforcement INCREASES motivation!!!

Yep. That’s right. It’s like lottery tickets. If you win just often enough…. It keeps you playing.

So the way it plays out is this:

The dog wants to get to something and is restrained. This creates huge frustration….. So he tries really really hard. And sometimes….. Sometimes….

Sometimes, it works if he just pulls HARD ENOUGH.

That makes him more motivated to pull, and when he is not successful, he gets even more frustrated…… and yep…..

pulls harder….. and gets MORE FRUSTRATED!!!

3515170999_85dbd861e7

AAAAARRRGH!

Well, neato, that’s what’s wrong. What the hell do you do about it.

You have to change how you see the leash. It isn’t a handcuff on a rope. It’s the “string between two cans” we use to listen to our dogs.

tin-can-telephone

You, AND your dog have to view the leash as the way you communicate, and navigate.

The biggest reward you can give a dog (or a person for that matter) is freedom, and autonomy.

You have to TEACH them how to make the right choices. And the leash helps you do that. The leash used masterfully, reduces frustration. It’s a beautiful thing to see. Here’s a clip of Chad working with a dog at a socialization seminar. Watch the details. It’s super subtle. But man it’s profound.

I have been studying and practicing this method religiously for a few months now, and the improvement in my dogs, and the dogs I work with has been nothing short of miraculous.

If you want help with your leash skills and you’re in Maine, contact me and I’ll try to help. And if you want to learn from the master….. Check out Chad at Pack To Basics!!!

I’ve Changed My View On Pit Bulls And Dog Aggression

Ok. Ring the bells. Blow smoke out of the chimney….

I’ve changed my mind about something.

Now, if you know me, you realize how big a deal that is. I’m a tad stubborn. But, I think it’s only a fool that keeps their old position in the face of new evidence. So here is my revelation:

All Pit Bulls are not genetically dog aggressive!!! 

(Not all pit bulls are genetically predisposed towards aggression. And, while it may be more prevalent in this breed, it is still extremely rare. They aren’t ALL born to fight.)

Now, in the world of dog rescue, this has been the accepted position for a LONG time. And I have always disagreed. And it’s started a lot of “discussions”.

See, I grew up around the world of fighting dogs. And what I saw, was dogs that were clearly aggro to dogs and totally cool to people. So, when I went into rescue, I was in the position of convincing people that “just because they are aggressive to dogs, doesn’t mean they are aggressive to people”.

But, then as I got more into rescue circles I saw MANY Pits that fought, socialize with other dogs. I couldn’t resolve that in my head. Of course, and no one in rescue likes to admit this, but….. There IS a higher predilection for fighting with bullies than other breeds. And their play style is OBVIOUSLY harder. So…. There is a difference. But…… How to wrap my brain around it?

I think I figured it out.

Their communication sucks.

Wait…. No….. That’s not it.

Well, it is technically, but I figured out the reason their communication sucks!

My new mentor, Chad Mackin, is one of the most respected experts in rehabilitative socialization. And he said “Aggression is not a trait….. It’s a behavior“. That BLEW MY MIND. Because I had always thought the increased dog aggression I saw in Pits was genetic. But in the last few years I’ve successfully integrated multiple Pits with aggressive histories into my home. And I thought I had just  been “managing and preventing” their fighting. But after reading about Chad’s work in socializing….. I knew there was more to it.

So…. What are the traits that we bred into them that created the aggression behavior.

Well, we bred them with a SUPER high pain threshold. And Lot’s of drive (they adrenalize easily). So. So what? Why would that make them fight?

Well, fights are painful. So fear of injury and pain are a deterrent for most animals. But we bred Pits to have crazy high pain tolerance. So, we removed one barrier.

Now, we get interesting. In the wild…. Fights are expensive. If you get a cut…. You can die of an infection. If you get a broken leg, you can be killed by a predator. Or not hunt. Not good. So smart animals avoid fights. Problem is When you’re in adrenaline mode, your ability to make choices goes way down. Chad likes to say that “dogs can’t make the right choices, unless they’re in the frame of mind that allows the to make choices”.  He means, that when a dog is adrenalized, he CAN’T make choices. He reacts. Well, we bred these guys to be “drivey”, “motivated”, whatever. What that means is we bred them to get into the frame of mind that stops thinking about the cost of what they’re about to do is. And that removes the last reason.

And that’s how fights happen.

The “calming signals” that dogs throw at one another are designed to let the other dog know, that they don’t want a problem. But these signals are also called “stress signals”! And that’s accurate. See, when a dog feels wary of a possible fight…. They feel stressed. And they throw those signals. The other dog sees them and throws their own. Then both see the other as wanting to avoid the fight.

Here’s a super common “Pit Bull gets in a fight” scenario:

Pitty runs up to another dog throwing ZERO calming signals, because he doesn’t feel like it’s necessary. After all, he’s not scared. Then, the other dog starts throwing signals, and the Pit doesn’t recognize them because he’s either never been around other dogs, or at least other non-bullies. So, he doesn’t have much experience reading them. So he keeps being “rude”. The other dog goes up the continuum and gives some “warning signals”. The Pitty has no idea what this dog is “getting aggressive” for and goes into adrenaline, which renders him unable to consider the risk reward of a fight. Boom…. Fight happens.

If that happens enough. The Pit will get conditioned to go into adrenaline habitually around other dogs. Now you have an “aggressive” dog.

Looking back to my childhood, Dogmen were adamant about not letting game dogs around other dogs out of the pit. They always said it was because they COULDN’T be around other dogs. But maybe (even if subconsciously) they just didn’t want them to learn how to socialize. Dogs that read signals don’t habitually adrenalize. And a thinking dog may choose to turn. In a pit you can’t afford to have your dog “considering” whether of not it “wants” to fight. If your dog hesitates…… Doesn’t IMMEDIATELY scratch…. The fight is over. So I think their segregation from other dogs was more of a cause than a symptom of aggression.

Great….. But what do we do about it?

Well, if you catch a dog before they are habitually adrenalized around dogs, you just have to teach them how to communicate. That means spending time with them socializing and being the moderator, or bouncer. You have to watch the other dog for those signals, and enforce them. I watch for the other dog to give a lip lick or what not, and I will go in and split them. Gently. Not loud or fast. Just enforce the signal. I praise (calmly) for good signals. Hell I praise for good reading! And as I gently lead them they slowly learn how to communicate, and I intervene less.

(Now, that is GROSS oversimplification. If you’re serious about learning how to do this right, attend one of Chad’s Socialization Seminars. Or, talk to me about private training)

If they’re already HABITUALLY adrenalizing….. You have to get them balanced enough around other dogs that the above process will even have a chance to work!

That’s gonna be a project unto itself. But it’s doable.

My two males have hospitalized each other a few times, and were BOTH habitually adrenalizing on sight. It took me 4-5 months. But now…. They play, and lounge together. They sleep on the couch together. They even wrestle, and play. Hard. And they give signals!

And more importantly……. They listen to them!!!!

Anyway,

Just wanted to say that I have changed my view. Pit Bulls are NOT naturally dog aggressive.

They are naturally bad communicators, and that leads to fights. And they adrenalize easy, and if that becomes habit the will BEHAVE aggressively habitually. You still have to take more care with them than most other breeds. But they are not born wanting to fight.

“Aggression is a behavior. Not a trait.” -Chad Mackin

Those simple words changed my understanding of my beloved breed.

Quite Possibly The Best Post Ever On Operant Conditioning

Wow. Scientific information, AND, Southpark?!?!

That, my friends, is a hard combination to beat.

Check out this amazing post on TerrierMans Daily Dose. It is really something special. It has a layman’s description of operant conditioning that actually works. It has references to Cesar Milan, who as cliche’ as this sounds, was one of my big inspirations for starting this dog journey of mine. And it has Southpark! Arguably, one of the best shows of all times. Hell, It’s a Southpark clip ABOUT Cesar Milan……. I mean, how could this be better! Check it out- Jay

The Three Parts of Operant Conditioning

What we call “dog training” is also called “operant conditioning.”

For all the mumbo-jumbo you hear about dog training, there are are only three basic parts to it: positive reinforcement, aversive reinforcement, and extinction.

Positive reinforcement is any kind of consequence that causes a behavior to occur more often. Examples include food, praise, and play. In some situations, positive reinforcement can be the removal of an aversive reinforcement.

Aversive reinforcement is a consequence that causes a behavior to occur less often. Examples include a leash pop, a harsh sound, or any kind of nonverbal aversive communication made through body movement or positioning. In some situations, punishment can also be the removal of a (positive) reinforcement.

Extinction is simply a complete lack of response. The nonresponse should be total — no eye contact, no noise or sound triggered by the dog, and no responsive body movement. The dog is invisible.

MTU1MjUxMTI4_o_cartman-vs-the-dog-whisperer---video-clips---south-park-

Watch the short animated clip above, and you will note that the cartoon Cesar Millan uses all three methods to train South Park’s Eric Cartman after “Super Nanny” collapses and goes insane in the face of the trials and tribulations of this spoiled-rotten child.

Step one in the Cesar Millan bag of tricks is to extinguish Cartman’s negative behavior.

What Millan is doing by ignoring Cartman is signaling that a “new sheriff” is in town — one that will not be overly reactive.

When Millan talks about “calm, assertive energy” what he is really saying is that the owners have to react less.

READ MORE……

Screw Yellow….. Get A Muzzle?

By now, you’ve all seen the “Yellow Dog Project“.

You know…. The yellow paraphernalia that indicates your dog needs space.

Postcard6x4-TYDP

At first I thought this was a good idea. You know, very polite way of saying, “please don’t molest my dog”.

The problem that I find developing, is two fold:

1. Most “non-dog” people won’t know what the hell it is. And let’s face it….. the less “dog-people” they are, the more likely they are to to molest, this, now, “cutely adorned” pup. OK, that’s obvious. That’s the YDP’s mission right now. Spread the word. Fine.

2. Here’s the “Cobra Effect” for this particular conundrum: IF people DO learn about the YDP….. They will naturally assume that dogs without yellow are OK to molest! Think about it….. Your talking to someone. You’ve worked for MONTHS to get your troubled little mutt well behaved enough to be out in public. They are in a down stay, on a 3 ft leash. Out of nowhere, someone decides your cute dog “needs a kiss”. Goes into a pushup in your dogs grill…… And gets “bit” (don’t get me started on what constitutes a “bite” I’ll do that in another post). “WTF……! Why didn’t you have YELLOW on that dog? I would have never done that if I knew he was sketchy?!?!”.

And that right there is the problem. The YDP is inadvertently perpetuating the “Lassie Myth”. You know…. Every dog is Lassie. Awesome, and loving, and friendly. Every dog, just CAN’T WAIT to be hugged and caressed by every person they see. Well, every good dog. Except for the really F**ked up ones. And they should never go out of their house. Well, at least without yellow on so good people know to avoid them.

Son. Of. A. Bitch.

Why do I have to put a symbol on my dog to alert you to the fact that I’d prefer you not invade their space without my knowledge or permission. How ’bout you don’t molest other beings without invitation as a general rule? Or, if you’re one of those “animals are property, and not autonomous beings” folks….. How ’bout you don’t touch MY shit without asking!?

Really….. Is that too much to ask?

Look, I’m not trying to blast YDP. Honestly, I applaud them for trying to help the “non Lassie” dogs of the world. I don’t have a better idea, or I’d be promoting THAT.

I’m wrestling with this issue myself RIGHT NOW.

One of our dogs, is a naturally HYPER dog. And he thinks the best way to show affection is to press his face into yours as hard as he can. Which, wouldn’t really be a problem if he did it slow. But….. Stupid, doesn’t do ANYTHING slow. And so some would call this more of a “muzzle punch” than a kiss. We know this is problematic. We are working with him with professionals. He is NOT allowed unsupervised around unapproved people. And anyone that is allowed inside his 3 ft leash radius is warned, and guarded. The problem is with that pesky word “allowed”. See, I can’t stop people from invading his space. I mean I “can” (remind me to tell the story about me pushing an old woman into a display of cat food at a PetCo), but I can’t catch everyone, ALL the time.

That example I gave earlier, was not made up. In fact….. What actually happened was even more ridiculous. I had to take our little hyper ball to the vet to have a bandage removed and staples replaced in his leg. And I KNOW he’s problematic. So, I ask for him to be sedated to get through this as easily as possible. They say no. After wrestlefucking the bandage off and seeing his level of stupidity, they agreed to sedate. Vet returns with a tech, and all the gear. We put on the local, and are waiting for it to work, when the vet just puts in a staple. All hell breaks loose. After wrestling my now CRAZY dog into submission. I ask what happened to the sedative. “Oops….. Forgot…… Most dogs don’t need that.” “Should we sedate him now?”. Screw it. Just staple him. He’s already pissed, lets just get it done. Three staples later….. My dog is WOUND. I mean, no exercise for a week, in pain, traumatic experience at the vet WOUND THE F**CK UP. When we get done. I IMMEDIATELY take my dog to the other side of the room and start running obedience to get his brain back on me. It works. About a minute or two, and he’s back. I go back over to the vet. Put him in a down And hold my 3 ft leash. As I’m discussing aftercare with the vet….. The tech decides my dog needed a kiss, after doing so well. Seriously. She really did. Of course he punches the holy shit out of her. I correct the hell out of him, and re-down him. He holds it. Of course he cut her. Muzzle punches do make teeth contact many times. Whatever. According to the vet, the tech, and unfortunately the law….. My dog just “attacked a person, and bit their face”.

This puts me in a prolonged discussion with my local Animal Control Officer. Who has to inform me that my dog now has a “bite history”. And as I describe the incident, he acknowledges that the circumstances suck. He tells me the only thing I could have done better was to have my dog in a muzzle. I explain that a muzzle wouldn’t have done anything. He still would’ve punched her. Probably still cut her. Hell if he’d have had a “basket/metal” muzzle on, it would’ve been WAAAAY worse. It was at that point he enlightened me. See, the muzzle isn’t for the protection of the people. It’s FOR THE DOG! 90% of the bites this guy sees are from dogs that are PHYSICALLY UNDER CONTROL, that someone WITHOUT PERMISSION tries to kiss/pet. The muzzle prevents that. No one wants to pet the dog with a muzzle. Hell, no one wants to be near a dog in a muzzle. This ACO, actually told me “you CANNOT stop people from touching your dog without permission. So if your dog even has a chance of reacting poorly to a kiss from a stranger….. Either, don’t take them out in public to avoid it. Or muzzle them so no one will approach”.

Screw the Yellow Dog Project….. Just muzzle them.

He’s right. I usually have to ask people not to approach my little problem dog, and it’s hard. Cause he’s so damn cute. Last time I took him in to the vet for his “bite quarantine” follow up. he was muzzled because they required it. And you know what….. No one wanted to pet him. Hell one guy literally stood up on the bench to avoid him. A kid started crying because she was scared. Awesome.

So much for elevating the opinion of the breed.

What are we teaching people?

I know this will never work, cause people suck…..

But couldn’t we try, just not screwing with beings or property without invitation?

Probably not.

I’ll just get all our dogs muzzles.

And one for me too. Since honestly it would be really convenient for people to just avoid me too.

Wow. I may have just created the perfect social tactic. Next time you’re in a bar, and don’t want to get hit on, or on the bus, and don’t want to socialize…..

Just break out your Hannible Lecter muzzle, and enjoy the privacy.

hannibal20lecter1

But just to be sure…. I’m gonna put a yellow ribbon on mine.

Can’t be too careful.

Leash Rant Revisited.

OK, when you’re REALLY, REALLY pissed about something, you have to stop and look at it and figure out, is my anger completely righteous,  or, did I contribute to it, and that’s why I’m so mad? Well, I was good and pissed. So, naturally the next part of the process was introspection. Mad, is only a good thing, if it creates drive to solve the problem that is pissing you off. Just MAD…… That’s just a waste. Just drama.

So, in that light, I’ve given my incident lots of thought. And, I’ve tried to not just blame it on the other people (my first reaction). I tried to see how I could have done better. Aside from having my dogs so well trained that I can get a down in motion and not have them break while being goaded by an aggressive dog from an inch away, thus allowing me to run the offending dogs away…….
Here’s where I think I really screwed up. I wasn’t running neck lines on their rigs, because I was letting them have a more relaxed tempo. Neck lines are lines that hook collars to the tow line, so if a dog on the team starts to lag, or drift it keeps them in line. But just making the rounds by my house, and not being around other dogs, I don’t use them. This allows one to drift a tad, or drop back for a second. Just a bit less “strict”. Now neck lines per se, wouldn’t have helped with the fight, but it would’ve necessitated collars and collars would have! But, I didn’t have them on. Just their harnesses. :(
When I take my dogs around other dogs, I always have a slip (or at least a flat) collar on them, just in case shit hits the fan, I can adjust their oxygen, and stop things if I need to. But, I ASSUMED based on a decade of running dogs on this route, that I wouldn’t see anything. So, no collars. Would’ve been the only tool to help in that situation. My two redirected and got tangled with each other. I could’ve ended it quickly, and begin untangling. Repeated as necessary, until they stopped initiating, or I got them untangled and could adjust distance, and bring out of drive, and work my way back to them sitting controlled with each other. Certainly would’ve stopped my bites from the breaking up my two. And probably would’ve avoided the bites from the loose dogs as well, If I were standing tall, and obviously controlling, they most likely wouldn’t have run in for their cheap shots. Certainly would’ve minimized the damage they did to each other, and reduced the time.
But, I didn’t. I assumed.
Lesson learned:

1. Always, always, always, use the gear that would work if EVERYTHING went wrong. Never assume.
I’m the asshole that didn’t put his seat belt on, because “I won’t crash”.
Won’t make that mistake again. Even if you decide on your gear, and strategy. The walking stick/spray deterrent/slip collar/etc….. won’t work if you don’t bring it. :oops:
Maybe someone can learn that from this, without getting a hole in their own face.

2. Working on a variation of a neck line that is rigid. Prototype will probably be PVC over a normal neck line. but will eventually be more sturdy that that. This would allow me to take dogs on a pull, and insure that they CAN’T redirect. Well, they technically “could” redirect, but they couldn’t engage. And that’s gonna make it easier to deal with. I’ll keep you posted, if I come up with something useful!

Really, it all boils down to what you learned as a kid. Be prepared. If something makes you mad, figure it out. Don’t just be mad.

 

 

Michael Ellis Speaks The Truth!

Man, I like Michael Ellis. Very balanced trainer. Very, very clear instruction. Solid science behind his methods. Tries like hell to use softer, enjoyable methods, but understands that “corrections” must be used in some situations. Still, attempts to use them as little as possible. And this is on SUPER high drive performance dogs that are VERY hard to manage.

But, mostly I dig his honesty. He is one of the most honest trainers I’ve ever seen. If you’re unfamiliar with him, watch this clip. It is only 5 minutes long, but gives a real solid example of why I like him. And for a short clip it delivers a surprising amount of info!

Check it out HERE.