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.

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

Post by EADGBE » Mon May 10, 2010 8:12 pm

Hi Victoria.

That was a wild show! That dog almost bit you. You have good reflexes. Has a dog ever come that close to biting you before? Also was that dog a rescue?

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

Post by Victoria » Mon May 10, 2010 8:18 pm

maximoo wrote: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?
Thanks! Sammy did nip me a little, but it wasn't bad. What was more concerning was his intent - I could tell that he really wanted to get me in order to remove the threat he thought I posed to his bone. Regarding the editing - what you saw is what happened. Nothing was edited out, nor was there any further biting or incident between Sammy and I. That's mostly because after I got the full info from his owner about his history of protection over bones, it was easy to avoid triggers like that.
I would like to know if you did any "resource guarding" training that was edited out? That to me would be a big priority.
No. The safest thing to do at that point was to not allow bones in the house at any time since there were kids in the house. He was fine with toys.
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.
It would have been too dangerous at that point.
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?
When I last checked in with them, they were doing really well with Sammy. Regarding the leash biting, he didn't need a chain leash. He responded well to the training and ignoring technique, so it wasn't needed.
One more thing, are you coming to So FL anytime this yr
Not sure. My daughter would like me to take her to Disneyworld sometime, but that may be it for awhile.

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

Post by Victoria » Mon May 10, 2010 8:19 pm

sj96skittles wrote: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!
See my last post - Sammy didn't need a chain leash.

I love Texas. Would love to come.

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

Post by GoofyDog2 » Mon May 10, 2010 8:21 pm

I was wondering if there is a way to "read" a dog's intentions. And also if it is always best to turn around and ignore a dog as you did, or if that is only for ignoring playful behavior?
GoofyDog

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

Post by Victoria » Mon May 10, 2010 8:22 pm

Bon27 wrote: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
Thanks so much Bon27.

I'd say my training skills come from a combination of learning and experience. I did both. Studied a lot of the greats, read tons of books, worked with some really great trainers, but also applied that knowledge in practice. The best advice I can give is to study really hard and learn/read everything you can, then volunteer at a shelter. Those dogs need lots of help, and it can be a great way for you to gain valuable training experience.

Just remember that training involves a constant willingness to evolve and learn more. Science is always changing, and you must adapt your techniques as you learn more.

Good luck!

disneymom536
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Re: Episode 216 - Living on the Edge - May 8

Post by disneymom536 » Mon May 10, 2010 8:24 pm

I've seen some techniques you've used on previous shows to help with other pups who are so "mouthy". What do you recommend for a dog like Sammy to stop being so mouthy, especially with kids around?

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

Post by Victoria » Mon May 10, 2010 8:27 pm

mmoonnaa wrote: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
Hi Mmoonna,
Thanks for the message. If I understand correctly, the problem started when you brought a new dog into your home. When this happens, it can cause real stress and anxiety, including scent marking and toileting even if this was not previously a problem. Are the dogs separated when you're gone? can you put a videocamera there when you're gone to see if there is anything going on when you're away? Could one of the dogs be bullying another? Filming what's going on when you're not there will give you a better picture of what's happening and why. Have you gotten a trainer in to see you yet? Not sure if there are a lot of positive reinforcement trainers in Finland, but look for one and see if he/she can help.
Good luck!

Have a nice summer ! :)

-Moona and dogs

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

Post by Victoria » Mon May 10, 2010 8:31 pm

RoseTyler wrote: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!
Interesting question re the muzzles. Muzzles can sometimes calm dogs down, but for others it can make them more anxious. I like using basket muzzles instead of cloth because a dog can still pant and open its mouth. Sometimes muzzles can actually cause a dog to shut down because it loses its ability to defend itself so that it just shuts down. This is obviously not what you want, so be aware of that and try to avoid using them in these cases.

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

Post by maximoo » Mon May 10, 2010 8:32 pm

Hi again: Do you think a dog should learn some tricks (for confidence) after behavior problems have been addressed? Rollover, play dead, beg, etc give a dog something fun to do

Have you ever met Zak George? I think the both of you should team up for a fun show of behavior mod & trick training :D

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

Post by Victoria » Mon May 10, 2010 8:36 pm

braeraphael wrote: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.
Thanks. I'm glad that concept came through clearly in the show. Also glad you noticed it wasn't a 'dominance' issue. You're not so shabby yourself!
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?
Past history can play a role, as can genetic predisposition. It could be a previous event when the owner took the item away and the dog didn't like having his source of enjoyment taken away. It is definitely related to insecurity - the dog doesn't feel confident enough that the person won't be a threat to its valued resource. It can be quite common - it's called resource guarding and as trainers we see it all the time.
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
Thank you and well said. Couldn't have said it better myself!

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

Post by Victoria » Mon May 10, 2010 8:40 pm

Salomé wrote: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?)
Thanks. I don't think there was Akita in there - he was definitely a chow/GSD mix.
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.
This is a different deal. Sounds like some compulsion has been triggered in his brain such that he is truly obsessing. If you've tried everything (and it sounds like you've tried a lot), you might need to talk to your veterinarian about medication for compulsive disorders. Dr. Nicholas Dodman at Tufts University is a good resource for this - he's had a lot of success combining medication with behavioral therapy (he's also a Positivley Expert Blogger).

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

Post by DesperadoTheGSD » Mon May 10, 2010 8:41 pm

Hi Victoria,

First I'd like to say that your show helped me immensely when I first got my German Shepherd. Two years ago things like luring a dog into a sit or down or using a vocal interrupter was completely foreign to me. Your show was one of the things that got me interested in dog training and making sure I gave my GSD the best life I possibly could. (BTW: he's now a CGC that I can take anywhere with me and is a joy to train every day)

My question was about your definition of "insecure" and why you applied that labal to Sammy. You mentioned you thought Sammy was an insecure dog, and while I realise we only get to see what is on the program he didn't show many of the classic signs of being insecure. He had what seemed like confident body language (tail up, head up, ears up) and he was initiating a lot of contact (even though most of it was unwanted). What was different about Sammy that would lead you to label him as insecure as opposed to confident but overexcited?

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

Post by Victoria » Mon May 10, 2010 8:42 pm

doggy style wrote: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.
He was really angry and irritated at people being too close to his bone, so he wanted to let me know.

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

Post by RoseTyler » Mon May 10, 2010 8:47 pm

"Interesting question re the muzzles. Muzzles can sometimes calm dogs down, but for others it can make them more anxious. I like using basket muzzles instead of cloth because a dog can still pant and open its mouth. Sometimes muzzles can actually cause a dog to shut down because it loses its ability to defend itself so that it just shuts down. This is obviously not what you want, so be aware of that and try to avoid using them in these cases."

Thank you. No, I don't want to shut them down, I want them to have fun and feel safe! Thanks again, as I did not know that.
Dogs are perfect at being dogs, people are perfect at screwing them up

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

Post by Victoria » Mon May 10, 2010 8:47 pm

thepennywhistle wrote: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.
I think it could be a little bit of all of the above. Ultimately, he was just a very insecure dog who had been given very little guidance by his owners. I couldn't get any information about his childhood and litter info, so that could be part of the problem, too. I'm just glad that now the family (especially the mom) sees how serious the situation is and is reacting and training accordingly.
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?
They can definitely be pulled back, but there's always the concern that once a dog has rehearsed a behavior, it can always happen again - even with training. So I'm not sure you can ever fully 'trust' that dog again, but you can certainly rehabilitate and get the dog back to a point.

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