Episode 216 - Living on the Edge - May 8

Any time new episodes of It’s Me or the Dog are airing on Animal Planet in the US, Victoria will answer questions about that episode later that week. Post your questions to Victoria about the most recent episode here anytime.

Moderators: emmabeth, BoardHost

User avatar
BoardHost
Site Admin
Posts: 192
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2006 9:32 am

Episode 216 - Living on the Edge - May 8

Post by BoardHost » Sun May 09, 2010 2:02 pm

Victoria will be in this thread on Monday, May 10th at 9pm EDT to discuss last weekend's new episode of It's Me or the Dog, Living on the Edge.

The Schoenherz family have an out-of-control male shepherd-mix puppy named Sammy, who is reactive to the sound of the doorbell and behaves rambunctiously. He nips at everyone, including sons Zach and Tyler, and Mom Jennifer is away at work a lot, so Grandma Marietta has to care for the dog. Sammy's problems are so serious that Marietta is thinking of rehoming him.
BoardHost

User avatar
forkin14
Posts: 514
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 6:21 pm
Location: Danville, VA / Foxboro, MA
Contact:

Re: Episode 216 - Living on the Edge - May 8

Post by forkin14 » Sun May 09, 2010 3:30 pm

Regarding the doorbell training:

My dog is almost 2 years old and has some problems when it comes to people at the door. She is fine when someone comes into the house (her jumping has stopped thank goodness) and immediately runs to find a toy she and the guest can play with :lol: The main issue is that if she hears someone at the door, and nobody comes inside, she gets VERY stressed (or at least what I believe to be stress). She whines loudly, runs back and forth and is panting. She will only stop once we open the door and show her nobody is there. I always put her in a "sit and stay" when I open any door, but in these cases it is impossible to get her to focus because she is so antsy from a potential guest coming in.

To explain it a little better I must tell you about my living situation.. My boyfriend and I had lived in an apartment, but had to later move in with his parents. Our "apartment" in the basement is completely finished over, but there is still an unfinished section of the basement (storage purposes) that can be accessed from outside the house and there is a door to access to our "apartment". This is how we take her in and out of the house. So when she hears someone come in from the outside into the unfinished part of the basement but not into our "apartment" that is when she gets very stressed out.

Would the same "desensitizing" to someone opening the outside door/knocking on the door work in our case?

maximoo
Posts: 1111
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:07 am
Location: South Florida

Re: Episode 216 - Living on the Edge - May 8

Post by maximoo » Sun May 09, 2010 5:13 pm

Hi Victoria: Great episode! In fact I liked this ep more than the others b/c it showed your skills off better than some of the other eps. When the 'bone' thing didn't work, you were quick to do something different/safer. It didn't look like you got bitten, and I hope you didn't but did you get nipped a little? And did Sammy try to bite you in edited scenes? I would like to know if you did any "resource guarding" training that was edited out? That to me would be a big priority.
Also with the doorbell /guest training why didn't you teach "go to place' as you did with other dogs? I do like this desensitization to doorbell training. In fact I think both techniques are useful. However if a dog becomes 100% desensitized to doorbells/knocking could that become a safety concern. I mean sometimes I don't hear a knock on the door & it could be an intruder seeing if someone is home. No dog barks & they decide to break in whereas a barking dog might make them move on to another house.
Regarding the leash biting, you have in the past just had the owner get a chain leash. I'm sure Sammy has chewed thru a number of leashes.
It was very unfair on the grandmother to handle/train a dog she had no interest in. That wasn't the deal and the dghtr should not have gotton a dog unless grandma was on board. But I am glad she did try hard & it seemed they started to build a relationship.

Have you heard from this family since the training? How are they doing with Sammy?
One more thing, are you coming to So FL anytime this yr?

sj96skittles
Posts: 262
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:38 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Episode 216 - Living on the Edge - May 8

Post by sj96skittles » Sun May 09, 2010 5:27 pm

When u were working on the leash biting with Sammy why didn't u use the chain leash? I wonder if you'll cometo Texas sometime!

Bon27
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 1:35 am

Re: Episode 216 - Living on the Edge - May 8

Post by Bon27 » Mon May 10, 2010 1:49 am

Victoria, You are the best! Thank you so much for all the tips you're giving the world for people who don't know how to properly train. You are truly making the world a brighter place by giving people a chance to bond even closer to their animals. However: I'm wondering how does one learn what you know or is it just through experience? Again, thanks and I'm so happy Sammy's family is committed to keeping him. I've rescued many abused dogs and although I've never known the proper training procedures I've usually given the dogs time to trust me (on their terms). Lucky for me, it's always worked but with your training tips--the sky's the limit. All humans and animals can be happy together. So much thanks for your dedication! :D
Bon27

mmoonnaa
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 9:31 am

Re: Episode 216 - Living on the Edge - May 8

Post by mmoonnaa » Mon May 10, 2010 9:57 am

Hey Victoria! I have three Shetland Sheepdogs. I love them but sometimes I wonder that my life would be much easier if I do not own the dogs. I live in Finland and we watch it's me or the dog every day. I'm not very good English but I will try to tell a bit of our situation. The oldest dog is 5 years old ("Pörri"), the second youngest of four years ("Mimi"), and the youngest of our dogs is 2 years old (''Sohvi "). The youngest of our dogs is a 4 year old puppy dog. The oldest dog was very nice before, not barked, and did not make their needs inside. This began when the middle dog Mimi came to us, makes Pörri needs inside the home when I go somewhere. Even if we would just trade quickly. I know that it is due to the difference between anxiety. Mimi again is very good, nothing bad to say, even though it sometimes barks but it may end up quickly. Unlike dogs Sohvi, kind of family among the but out with it can not go, I do not think that you either you have met like this dog yet. Many would have closed the dog if it were a different family, people will say it really angry because not stop barking at all. Jo we got out of it begins to bark and rage. Sohvi pulls on a leash and must not be any under control. Faith only, everything has been tried. My family just starting to be tired of this, I would like to take dogs for long walks, but I can not. I can not control this one. Pörri runs well on a leash, but attacking other people and dogs per year, but withdraws from the situation almost immediately. I am hopeless with Sohvi and I'm only 17 years old. I hope that you can really help me with my problem with my dogs. I also believe that my dog Sohvi behaves towards other dogs a bit aggressive or fearful. You should see for yourself this: D

And, if you want, you can view pictures of my dogs here. Mimi is a tri-colored, Sohvi is blue (bi merle) Pörri is brown (sable) http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2 ... e869fc76a7

Have a nice summer ! :)

-Moona and dogs

User avatar
RoseTyler
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:47 am
Location: Portland, Oregon
Contact:

Re: Episode 216 - Living on the Edge - May 8

Post by RoseTyler » Mon May 10, 2010 11:16 am

Happy late Mothers Day Victoria!

I loved this episode! I was pretty emotional, but happy Sammy is on the right track!

My question is about the muzzle. I noticed Sammy seemed pretty calm, when the muzzle was on. Sometimes, when I put muzzles on some of the reactive dogs, we just use the cloth ones, I notice that some dogs will go and lay down as soon as the muzzle is on. Could the muzzle act as a calming device as well as safety?

I also was super happy about the doorbell training. My boss kept changing the doorbell, and I kept saying.."STOP!" Let them get acclimated to ONE! As you all know, dog daycares at pick up time can be really hectic!

Thank you for another great episode! I hope Sammy is still doing well!
Dogs are perfect at being dogs, people are perfect at screwing them up

braeraphael
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2010 8:45 pm

Re: Episode 216 - Living on the Edge - May 8

Post by braeraphael » Mon May 10, 2010 1:28 pm

This is definitely an episode that I would love to see how the dog is doing months from now. It was such an educational show on how you always remain positive and clam even when the dog is out of control. When Sammy was playing rough with Zack, it never even came across my mind to not jump in and pull the dog away. I realize now, if you had, the dog may have become possessive over Zack, and that may have hurt him even more. Also, the dog wasn't trying to be dominate, he just wanted to play, and that was the only way he knew how. I learned something new watching your show. You really know dog behavior.

What makes a dog become so possessive over bones, toys, ect.? Is it fear, insecurities? Is that a common behavioral problem, especially when you see dogs in a house without any boundaries?

It amazes me to watch your show and to see the results of positive training. It would be so damaging to Sammy had someone else come in and used "old school" methods. There is no such thing as a quick fix. But with patience, compassion, and perseverance, a dog has so much more potential in behaving better. Brains over force! Positive training builds such a stronger relationship with you and your dog! GO Victoria GO!

Salomé
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:52 pm

Re: Episode 216 - Living on the Edge - May 8

Post by Salomé » Mon May 10, 2010 5:48 pm

Victoria,
Yet another fantastic episode! I've always been fascinated by desensitization techniques, so the combination of that focus *and* having a half-GSD in one episode had me riveted. I actually became sniffly when you announced that a fence had been donated. I was thrilled for Sammy. (BTW, is he part Akita?)

A question about desensitization: I have a 14 month old GSD who has become totally neurotic and OCD over reflection/shadow/light chasing after just one 30-minute exposure to a laser light almost 7 months ago! My best friend thought it would be a fun game for him but that single brief episode has transformed him into a dog always on the hunt for even the possibility of a laser light. I stopped it immediately after that one time but it's too late. He now chases reflections or just goes into a frenzied state of excitement in the vain hope that there may be a laser light somehow, somewhere. As I posted elsewhere on this board, I've tried: every trick possible (ignoring, walking away, leaving, giving a task, brief crating, etc. etc.); endless, daily mental and physical exertion; and also what you did with that Gordon Setter (? I think?) in the UK. NONE of it has worked and I'm at my wits end. Do you think that there is some form of desensitization technique similar to what you did with Sammy which might fix this? I'd be so grateful for any idea or suggestion that you may have.

Salomé

GoofyDog2
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 2:43 pm
Location: PA, USA

Re: Episode 216 - Living on the Edge - May 8

Post by GoofyDog2 » Mon May 10, 2010 6:38 pm

Victoria, I was as surprised as you were when Sammy snapped at you when you approached him as he was resource-guarding his bone, and then continued his attack when you turned your back. I know this is a good technique when a dog is only playing, but you said that he really meant to do harm, and of course that is dangerous. :shock:

I have heard that it is better to confront a dog when it is being aggressive, rather than turning away, and especially not to run away. Is there a way to "read" a dog's intentions? And can the dog's body language be read to determine if it is playful, fearful, possessive, or territorial, and how should one act in those circumstances? Thanks! :)
GoofyDog

doggy style
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:47 pm

Re: Episode 216 - Living on the Edge - May 8

Post by doggy style » Mon May 10, 2010 7:19 pm

victoria, why did sammy attack you like that? it seemed he had intentions to really hurt you. i know he had a bone in his mouth but you were far away when he started to charge you.why was this dog showing all that vicious behavior? another close call too.

thepennywhistle
Posts: 669
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:20 pm

Re: Episode 216 - Living on the Edge - May 8

Post by thepennywhistle » Mon May 10, 2010 7:53 pm

Victoria,

Powerful episode, full of good things to know. Sammy's family certainly seemed to have been
tossed in at the deep end of dog ownership with such a strong-willed fellow. It reminded me
very much of my lack of knowledge about handling my first GSD puppy, such as how to deal
with the constant mouthing (I ended up walking her in riding boots for a while). We were lucky --
I stumbled across what was a good trainer for the time, otherwise I'd have been as helpless as
Sammy's family. I'm so glad you were able to step in and help them.

My question is what do you suspect might have been at the root of Sammy's aggressive behavior?
Was it just that nobody knew how to step up and take the leadership role in this dog's life? Was
he just a confused bully-brat because he had no guidance, or did the aggression go more deeply
than that. I wonder, was he perhaps taken from his litter early, or from a singleton litter, as he
didn't even seem to understand the 'dog' messages you were giving him.

It's a huge responsibility, being constantly on guard to prevent disasters for the length of that
dog's life. Once a dog has gone that far down the road with the aggression, do you think they
can ever be pulled back and be trusted, once communication and relationship demarcation is
made clearer?

Thanks for sharing your time and knowledge with us, and I'm very glad you still have all your fingers :)

Skye and the white collies

Victoria
Site Admin
Posts: 280
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2006 9:28 am

Re: Episode 216 - Living on the Edge - May 8

Post by Victoria » Mon May 10, 2010 8:02 pm

Hello, everyone! Thanks for joining us tonight. I'll be here to answer questions about last weekend's episode. Let's get started.

nikkitoni
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:02 pm

Re: Episode 216 - Living on the Edge - May 8

Post by nikkitoni » Mon May 10, 2010 8:08 pm

I'm always amazed at the level of denial that dog owners put themselves in. Why is it that people are so nonchalant about their destructive dogs? Seriously - what is it that causes these people to NOT see this? Are they that blind? Is it their ego? This episode reminded me of a lady I recently ran into at a dog park. Her dog was a pitbull mix and was attacking other dogs and chasing a kid. I confronted the lady and asked her to watch her dog, and of course, I was the bad guy for pointing out that her dog was attacking other dogs, and her excuse was 'he's a puppy'.

Victoria - when us normal people run into people who have destructive dogs, what should we do? How should we approach them on it? I'd love to be as straightforward as you are, but people are very defensive when it comes to their unruly dogs...

Victoria
Site Admin
Posts: 280
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2006 9:28 am

Re: Episode 216 - Living on the Edge - May 8

Post by Victoria » Mon May 10, 2010 8:08 pm

forkin14 wrote:Regarding the doorbell training:

My dog is almost 2 years old and has some problems when it comes to people at the door. She is fine when someone comes into the house (her jumping has stopped thank goodness) and immediately runs to find a toy she and the guest can play with :lol: The main issue is that if she hears someone at the door, and nobody comes inside, she gets VERY stressed (or at least what I believe to be stress). She whines loudly, runs back and forth and is panting. She will only stop once we open the door and show her nobody is there. I always put her in a "sit and stay" when I open any door, but in these cases it is impossible to get her to focus because she is so antsy from a potential guest coming in.

To explain it a little better I must tell you about my living situation.. My boyfriend and I had lived in an apartment, but had to later move in with his parents. Our "apartment" in the basement is completely finished over, but there is still an unfinished section of the basement (storage purposes) that can be accessed from outside the house and there is a door to access to our "apartment". This is how we take her in and out of the house. So when she hears someone come in from the outside into the unfinished part of the basement but not into our "apartment" that is when she gets very stressed out.

Would the same "desensitizing" to someone opening the outside door/knocking on the door work in our case?
Maybe.

Thanks for the detail. Constant repetition can desensitize the dog, but it depends on how stressed out she gets. If she gets really stressed out by the constant repetition (possible), then it can backfire. I'd suggest you get a trainer to come help you out, as your problem is specific and quite interesting. There could be other variables that a trainer would be able to recognize and work with as well.

Good luck!

Post Reply