gotta have faith!

Share your experience and tell us how using positive reinforcement training methods has changed yours and your dogs' lives.

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erin
Posts: 53
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2012 2:58 pm

gotta have faith!

Post by erin » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:28 am

I've been reading stuff on this forum for three years and it's now time to share our success story.
I own a Labrador who came into my life totally unplanned. Ex boyfriend got her from previous owner and I got her from him when things got rough between us.
[English not my first language, please ignore misunderstandings :) ]
So. As she was settling in, I started to notice one or two not-so-nice behaviours. The one that made me look for a place like this forum was her charging other dogs, full on, hackles up, speed and barking and ...general awful social skills. It was U N B E A R E A B L E ! I dreaded the walks and I felt defeated and conflicted.
I wrote about it here. And then magic happened.
The advice I received was based around teaching the dog perfect recall and try and teach her an alternative behaviour when seeing other dogs. I did just that. I worked on recall on long line, with amazing treats and happy feelings. She has now got a very very reliable recall. I wouldn't say perfect, as we haven't experienced all potential life situations, but I am more than pleased with her recall. I still reward her often. Not every time, but definitely on 'special' occasions, like recalling from some food or some unsure situation involving another dog or child or human..
The alternative behaviour I actively taught her was to walk by my side, not in a heel position, but quite close to me everytime she sees a dog, because then and only then the marvellous treats will come out. It worked like a charm. Her greediness helped, truth be told.

But I also changed her diet to raw food, and I also changed my attitude. I looked at my dog and I knew I had to try and understand her better. Not just in the good times but bad times too. So, at this point, even though she was by now restricted to leashed walks, I developed a special smile that assured her over and over again. Even when I felt the leash tightening as she was getting ready to launch, I still smiled at her and reassured her that it's all good.
So, recall, diet, loose leash walking, relaxed and understanding attitude, lots of walks in lots of different places - and voila! I now have the virtually perfect dog who can go anywhere with me, leashed or unleashed, who is happy to come back to me EVERY time and who counts on me to show her the way.
So, we thank you guys and well, I hope to be able to share a more professional opinion as my dog behaviour studies go on. Because, yes, my dog and this forum have decided that dog behaviour is what I would like to educate myself about. It's going great so far.
Cheers!

WufWuf
Posts: 1371
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 7:53 am

Re: gotta have faith!

Post by WufWuf » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:56 am

Wow :D What a lovely update :D Well done for all the hard work you've put in to getting where you are today and good luck with the studies (BTW your English is excellent!)
Operant conditioning rocks but classical conditioning rules

JudyN
Posts: 6974
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Dorset, UK
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Re: gotta have faith!

Post by JudyN » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:01 am

That's fantastic - and an inspiration to other owners of dogs with similar issues :D
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

gwd
Posts: 1958
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:33 pm

Re: gotta have faith!

Post by gwd » Fri Nov 29, 2013 6:15 pm

this made me smile.........well done to the both of you.
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