Need tips

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Need tips

Post by Sharmych » Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:38 pm

I adopted a 1 yr old St Bernard. He is quite a handful! He had no training other than sit and he was potty trained. I got a gentle leader for walking but he fights it constantly. I had the vet check its fit and he said I had it adjusted just fine but after 4 months he still walks much better with a prong collar. I make him sit before he gets anything-let out, food, brushed, etc. I say 'sit' he dances around 10- 15 seconds, then I physically put him in a sit. (pull up on the lead, hand on his butt.)Should be immediately be putting him in a sit if he doesn't do it the first time I say sit? How long between the command and the response?
I had him neutered in December, so that aspect is taken care of. We walk 2 twice daily about 20-30 min. I turn him out in the fence every morning and encourage him to run and play before the horses get turned out.
He was just awful with the cats but that has improved immensely. I got that under control by just going ballistic for 3 seconds. Screaming and yelling like a banshee, generally scaring the crap out of him.
How do I handle company. He just kind of mauls new people. If someone walks in before I get the prong collar in him I can not hold him back. He is not in any way mean, just big and over bearing. Scary if you don't care for dogs. Thanks, Sherry

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Post by Maxy24 » Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:14 pm

For walking on a leash have you tried training without a tool? I always recommend at least trying to train without a tool first because many dogs don't need them. If he pulls stop moving until he stops pulling, then continue and repeat EVERY time he pulls. The other way is as soon as he pulls turn in the opposite direction and walk that way. By doing this he learns pulling stops his walk or destroys his plan at getting further ahead.

If he does not sit when you ask him to he may not know the sit command well enough yet. Does he usually sit when you ask him? If he does then after you ask him to sit wait for a few seconds and then if he does not sit just leave. He does not gt to go out or get dinner or get petted.
If he is not quite sure what sit really means then i would retrain it. Ask for a sit and then lure him into it using a treat. After a few times of that simply use your hand without the treat and give the treat when he sits. make sure you say "sit" BEFORE using the hand signal. If he starts sitting after you say the word but before you use the hand signal you will be able to soon stop using the hand signal and can use only the command. Make sure as soon as you move from luring to the hand signal you have treats out of sight for the sessions so he does not think the sight of them is part of the cue to sit (either have the treats in a pocket or on a table next to you). then you can start using the command for things like going out and eating or getting pet. If he decides not to obey then he does not get what you were going to give him.

I can't say I agree with the way you trained him around your cat. That way often makes the dog feel that the cats are a negative thing and when he is around them you get angry so they are dangerous. I always train the dog to associate being around the cat with good things (treats or a game near them) and gave praise whenever he was calm near them. If he started acting out he was separated from them for a few minutes and then I brought him back in.

You can practice having company over with a friend. If your dog acts out the company turns around and leaves for a second or ignores her. if she is calm they pet her and pay attention. If you have company over that does not want to help you practice than put her away until everyone settles down.

I hope this helps, keep us updated on her progress!

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Post by Mattie » Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:47 am

You will find an post on how to get your dog to walk on a loose lead here ... .php?t=858 also one on clicker training ... .php?t=513

Prong collars are unnecessary and not needed, all you need to do is follow the instructions on loose lead walking. You do have to do it every day for about 10 minutes and your dog will soon be walking nicely on a loose lead. Every time you dog gets to the end of a lead and put tension on the lead it is far too late to teach him to walk next to you. All a prong collar is doing is to hurt him when he gets to the end of the lead and teaches him nothing.

Clicker training is very good for other things to teach your dog, it is much kinder, easier on you and lest stressful for both of you.

When you have a dog that can't walk on a loose lead, doesn't understand what you are asking him to do, etc, he is not a happy dog just as you are not a happy owner.

Dogs don't generalise so if you teach sit in the kitchen, you have to teach it again in the living room, hall, outside etc, he doesn't know that sit in the kitchen also means sit everwhere else.

Start by learning to read your dog's body language, that will go a long way to you understand him and teaching him what you want him to do.

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Post by Sharmych » Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:46 pm

Maxy and Mattie,

I tried waking him with a regular collar and he is just too big and powerful for me to handle at this point in time. If he sees a cat another dog or jsut something he wants to sniff, I may as well be a leaf fluttering on the end of his lead!
The only reason I am using the prong collar is that he is so much more at ease with that rather than the gentle leader. With the leader he is constantly pawing at it and dragging his face on the ground trying to get it off. I tried loosening the nose piece but then he pulls it off.
As for the wild banshee yelling I don't leave his lead on him all of the time and he seems to know that. A cat walks by and he goes after it. I wouldn't mind but he has begun to get rougher with them and they cry out and Zeke finds that more fun. 2 of cats have their claws but don't fight back, Just once and he would leave them alone because he is a big baby. I have tried a squirt bottle, shaking a can of beans, nothing seemed to faze him until the 3 seconds of me acting like a crazy woman. At least that takes his mind off of the cat and the cat can get away from him.
I will try the turn around and ignore him this weekend.
Thank you for all of your suggestions,

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Post by Mattie » Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:48 pm

Walking a dog like him on a collar can damage his neck, he needs a harness on. You can attach a lead to the harness and one to the collar for extra control.

You don't she horses with prong collars on, they are a lot bigger and stronger than dogs, Any dog can be taught to walk nicely on a loose lead by the method that is on this board. All it takes is about 10 minutes every day, or even two or 3 times a day.

No gadget will teach a dog to walk on a loose lead, all gadgets, including flat collars, can do a lot of damage if you don't teach them to walk on a loose lead.

There is another side to the prong collar which your dog may already be doing. If he is looking at a cat, decides to go after the cat then feels the prongs on the collar, he could blame the cat which would make him a lot worse when he see cats in the future. Each time this happens, the next time he sees a cat he is worse.

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Post by Maxy24 » Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:18 pm

I tried waking him with a regular collar and he is just too big and powerful for me to handle at this point in time. If he sees a cat another dog or jsut something he wants to sniff, I may as well be a leaf fluttering on the end of his lead!
I have nothing huge against prongs as a last resort but you may want to try some less painful methods first perhaps a no pull harness along with actual training. If you do us the prong please still try and train the dog as well (don't correct the dog with the prong for pulling but do one of the methods I described, the prong will keep him from dragging you away but the training will make it so you can stop using the prong eventually). I urge you to try other control devices that don't hurt him first though...Head halters are not my favorite since a lunger can hurt their necks and many dogs don't tolerate them well (training needs to be done to get all dogs used to them). This is a better designed one (will not hurt the neck)
My trainer friend finds that for control (not really training, you still have to train the dog) a harness designed for no pulling work best, She recommends this one: ... ti-harness
I would give it a try before the prong if I were you, just see how it goes with some training. in fact she does not like collars much at all, her dog's wear the harness and a collar out on walks (collar for ID tags).
A regular harness will not help though, it needs to be a no pull type, and make sure it has directions on ho to fit it correctly.
As for the wild banshee yelling I don't leave his lead on him all of the time and he seems to know that. A cat walks by and he goes after it. I wouldn't mind but he has begun to get rougher with them and they cry out and Zeke finds that more fun. 2 of cats have their claws but don't fight back, Just once and he would leave them alone because he is a big baby. I have tried a squirt bottle, shaking a can of beans, nothing seemed to faze him until the 3 seconds of me acting like a crazy woman. At least that takes his mind off of the cat and the cat can get away from him.
Yes keeping your cat's safe should be top priority, I have two myself! The thing though that I noticed with everything you tried is that they are all aversive (negative things to tell him he's bad) and unfortunately he may associate cats with bad stuff.
what I would do is teach him a focus command (I use the word focus, some people say watch me) and it is a command that makes the dog look at you. Basically you take a treat and hold it to your nose. If he looks at you give the treat (clicker training works awesome for this because he may only look at you for a second). Repeat this and add in the word, say "focus" then move the treat to your nose and give it to him for looking. Do this until he starts looking as soon as you say "focus" but before you move the treat to your nose. Then he understands what to do when you say focus.
Then work with him on it. Drop an object on the ground and when he looks at it tell him "focus" then give a treat when he looks at you. Roll a ball and do the same thing. Drop a treat (out of his reach and have him on a leash) and do the same thing. Then bring out one cat and tell him to "focus" if he does then give him several treats. If he does not then kitty goes away again and you practice more.
Praise ANY calm behavior when he is around the cats. If he is with you and a cat walks in that he does not go after give him TONS of praise, maybe a treat or a game of tug. Anything that makes him understand staying calm when the cat comes is good for me. This also means he cannot get the chance to chase the cats. so when you are home have him drag a leash you can pick up when he starts to chase. If you are not home he should be crated or put in a separate room without the leash (never leave the leash on when you are gone). He should always be watched around the cats.
What you an also do is have him on leash, let a cat in the room and as soon as he looks at her make a noise or drop something that causes him to look away from the cat. Then give him a treat. If a cat walks in and he looks away from him give him a treat. If he looks for a moment and then decides not to chase and looks away give him a treat.

You should do everything in your power to prevent him from chasing because it is a self rewarding experience for him (super fun stuff). You could also try making him run in the opposite direction of the cat, cat walks in and you toss ball the OTHER way so he gets to chase the ball. This will teach him where to properly target chasing (he needs to have a high ball drive first though). he thinks they are toys and needs to learn he cannot chase them (you prevent it with the leash an limited access), that staying calm near them is good (through praise, treats and games) and where he can properly use his chasing instinct (balls and other toys) and it is your job to teach him!

Also did you do a proper introduction between him and the cats when you first got him? Some time watching them run and play from behind a baby gate may help him get used to their quick movements and help him to ignore it (without you having to use a leash to hold his huge self back).

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Post by Mattie » Thu Mar 27, 2008 4:51 am

Maxy24 wrote: A regular harness will not help though, it needs to be a no pull type, and make sure it has directions on ho to fit it correctly.
Depends on the harness, one were the strap goes round the chest is useless for teaching a dog not to pull, that encourages a dog to pull because they have something to pull into.

I use a trail/tracking harness were the strap goes either side of the neck which makes it difficult for a dog to pull into to because there isn't much for them to.

The plus side of one of these harnesses, you have a strap on top to hold and if you raise your hand when holding this, with small dogs use the lead, this lifts the dog's chest which makes it even more difficult to pull, in fact, done properly I have never met a dog that could pull if you lifted the chest a little. You don't have to lift the dog up, just put pressure on the chest by lifting the hand while holding the top strap.

Also, this top strap gives you extra control of your dog.

There is a post on here somewhere that explains how these harnesses work, I am going out now but will put it up here when I get back.

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Post by emmabeth » Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:39 pm

Other people have given you some great advice on your dog...

Two things I want to tell you about.

Firstly - handling any animal and controlling them, starts with controlling yourself. It all starts with what your mindset, your attitude is.

If you start out with a 'dont you f-ing dare' and 'im stronger than you, im the boss' type attitude, your relationship will ALWAYS be a struggle, a battle you feel you must win.

The simple fact is, this dog is ALWAYS going to be bigger and stronger than you are. YOu cannot change that.

If you carry on, eventually he will learn that you can jump around and make all the noise you like, hurt him and attempt to frighten him... but if he EVER learns to turn on YOU and hurt you and frighten you..... he WILL win.

So the first step is, to stop the battling and fighting. You are a human and he is a dog, arguing and fighting with anyone is pretty stupid, but doing so with a dog.... well...

Change your attitude - you are not the 'boss' (and in any case... would YOU respect a boss who used pain and shouting and screaming to teach you anything? Hell no!), you are his mentor, his teacher, his companion, his team captain. You are there to teach and guide him.

Not to be some evil dictator overlord to whom he must bow and scrape and fear above all else.

When you are out of the mindset that you must confront and battle and always win, you find you can think your way round a problem instead.

If he lunges and bounces at people to greet them, have him on the otherside of a set of secure baby gates. Teach him with the use of those, that it is when he SITS that people greet him, otherwise, people will ignore him and he will miss out on treats.

Teach him to control himself!

Second thing: Aversives. Unless they are so aversive that your dog hits the deck in fear, you are highly likely to find that you need to increase the level of aversion. Your dog WILL in time learn he can pull into the prong collar, he can ignore you screaming and shouting.

What is more, if he likes people now... but you continue to cause him pain whenever he meets them, he will go off people. And would you really prefer that he hurl himself at people to bite them, to make them go away, as he associates them with pain?

If he merely thinks cats are fun right now... but you carry on making him think that cats mean you turn horrid and nasty... how long before he decides cats are in fact evil and the world must be rid of them? And tries to kill them all?

A good friend of mine has a lovely St Bernard... she has worked long and hard to rehabilitate him after such methods as you are trying now, were used on him. He is now manageable, in fact to see her out with him, you would struggle to see what it is she does with him that is 'managing' his problems, she can allow strangers up to him to have photos taken with him, take him to dog shows even though he is very dog aggressive...

But managing her dog and undoing all the problems abuse and bad training have caused has taken her all the time she has had him, and he is still a very damaged dog.

I will get her to tell you about him, he is a very very fortunate dog, because once a dog of that size learns he can use aggression, that he IS bigger and stronger... there are very very few people who will take them on.

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Post by Pooh Bear » Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:13 pm

Hello Sharmych,

I don't post here a great deal, though I do read the boards, but emmabeth has asked me to stop by this thread. To be honest I am wary of posting too many details on a public forum, but I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you have by PM.

I have the St. Bernard with shall we say, challenging behaviours. He came to us when he was 2 years old having been terribly abused, at least some of it in the name of training. We knew about his aggression with dogs before he arrived, his problems with people took a few weeks to surface.

I don't intend this post to be a training schedule, you've already received lots of good advice already. It's more a cautionary tale about harsh training with giant breeds. I live with the consequences of it, and as much as I adore my dog, it's not a situation I would wish on anybody.

Your dog is probably bigger than you (or will be eventually), he's stronger than you, he's got bigger teeth than you, stronger jaws, sharper claws and absolutely no morals or conscience whatsoever.

You are defining your relationship with him in terms of physical power, aggression and dominance. You can never win that battle. If your dog decides one day that he has had enough and turns on you, you don't have any hope whatsoever of winning that fight. I actually think that is true of most dogs, at least those medium sized and over, but in giant breeds it is pretty much a certainty.

If the only tools you have are pain (e.g. prong collars) and fear (e.g. screaming and shouting) then you are digging yourself into a hole with him, and the longer it goes on the harder you are going to find it to climb back out. He will become desensitised to them, and you will have to hurt him more and scare him more to get the response you are looking for. The only question is what will give first, your nerve (how much can you bear to hurt him?) or his good will?

Take that to it's logical conclusion and you can probably already see where I am going with this. One day you just might push him too far, and he is going to push back. If you're lucky it'll 'just' be a bite, but it could be much much worse. Either way, he'll probably end up dead as result of it.

The good news is, it doesn't have to be that way. There is no need at all for you to rely on strength and power to control him. You have wits and insight, and a dog who basically wants to please you. Those combined are the most powerful tools you could ever ask for.

When he came to us, my dog had learned to defend first and ask questions later.

He has been taught in the harshest possible way that human hands mean pain, especially were collars/necks were concerned. He was so collar shy that he had to wear a house lead for over a year. (A house lead is just a very short lead that allowed me to hold him without having to touch his collar or get too close). At first, even just accidentally brushing a hand against his neck as you passed him was enough to provoke a reaction. It took months and months of work to reach a stage were he would let me gently touch his collar (in a completely relaxed and non threatening situation). 3 years down the line I can hold his collar in some carefully managed situations. But if I was forced to grab him harshly and unexpectedly (say he was about to run into a road or something) I suspect he would still react. It was a lesson too deeply learned, to ever be entirely forgotten.

Of all the behaviours we had to deal with, that was by far the most difficult. He was (is) a big powerful dog with no manners or social skills whatsoever, I had to control him for his (and other people/dogs) safety, but at times I could hardly touch him, let alone rely on strength to hold him back.

I had to learn to control him from a distance. So, if he was on the sofa, and I wanted him off it, there was no question of me ordering him off it. It would reinforce his perception of it as a prized resource, and something worth guarding. Then what was I going to do? Haul him off? No chance. Instead I used clicker training to teach him to target for a treat. So he learned that if I held my palm out and said touch, he could come over touch my palm with his nose and get a treat. If I wanted him off the sofa all I had to do was stand back, and ask him to touch, and he would get off the sofa to target my hand. He got a treat. I got the sofa. No challenge, no fight, everyone wins.

I also worked a lot on his self control, and this is something that is still very important with him today. I taught him to 'leave' a treat. So I would hold it in my hand so he could sniff it but not reach it. The moment he stopped sniffing and trying to get to it, I would click and treat. Eventually he learned that I wanted him to wait for his treat. Now I can hold a treat right next to his nose and he will sit patiently for as long as I care to hold it there, until I say he can eat it. I can put him into a down stay with a treat right in front of him and he will stay there until I say he can eat it. These are useful skills for general everyday manners (so I don't get mugged by him when I am putting his bowl down for example), but it's far more important as a self control exercise.

In the early days, when I still struggled to control him around other dogs, I could use 'leave' to maintain his eye contact and keep his attention while other dogs passed us. If he is in a situation that he finds stressful, or even just too exciting, I can use it to monitor how well he's coping. If he struggle to maintain a leave then I can be sure he is going to be reactive with other dogs. But it's a also a calming exercise and after a few minutes of practice he will be back down to a manageable level and will be generally less reactive and stressy. As long as I catch him early enough.

Much later I was able to use it to control him around scavenged food. He has never had any interest in chasing cats, but he did nearly pull me under a lorry when he ran into the road after some take away rubbish that someone had dropped.

I had to use a head harness with him for a while. ( I used a Kumfi dogalter). He hated it, but I persevered and eventually he realised that no head harness meant no walk. It was always a means to an end though, a tool to give me control while I trained him. So he learned that he was not allowed to step straight off a kerb. He had to sit and wait for permission first. That was pretty tedious to train because I had to make him sit and wait at every driveway, but the more consistent you are, the faster they learn. I no longer make him sit at a kerb (it's too hard on his legs) but he still waits and looks to me for permission.

He also learned that he was not allowed to eat scavanged food, and that if I told him to leave it, he had to leave it. In return he got some special treat or snack off me. Maybe he's not as daft as I think, because he soon realised he could 'pretend' to have found something to eat, in order to get a treat off me. :roll:

After a while I could stop using the dogalter, he had become so used to listening to me, and obeying me, while we were out, that it just came naturally to him. At first I continued to put it on him, but not clip the lead to it, then I started to take it off part way through the walk, then just take it out with me, and eventually I didn't need it at all anymore. Personally I would never use a prong collar (and it would be unthinkable with my dog anyway), but if you must use it, then use it as a training aid, something to give you physical control for a short period while you develop the verbal control that you really need.

A side effect of all the above, was that every walk became a training session. No matter where we went or what we did, I had to be the most exciting, motivating and interesting thing he was going to encouter. No matter what else was going on around us, what food was on the floor, what dog was passing us, what other people were doing, I always had something better and unexpected ready. That meant a whole variety of treats, games and generally silliness. Yes I probably looked like a lunatic most of the time, but I can live with that.

So if there was a dog approaching us, he didn't have time to worry about that. Before it was anywhere near us we'd be in the middle of a game of hide and seek, with a reward of baked liver every time he found me. If there was fast food rubbish up ahead that he wanted to check out, I was already running in another direction and he needed to pay attention to me, because when he caught up there'd be a piece of sausage and a game of roll over/belly rub on offer. Tug toys that only appeared on walks, rough and tumble games that we only played outside. Anything at all, to outdo all the potentially exciting and distracting things that he might come across.

He would also be very difficult with visitors. He'd be bouncy, he'd nip and sometimes he would try to either hump them or pin them (by climbing onto your lap and pushing his head into your chest/neck) which was pretty intimidating to even the most dedicated visitor.

We dealt with this by having a very strict routine with visitors. First he would be shut in the other room, wearing his house lead, and usually with me in there with him. Visitor would be brought in and sat down. He would be brought through, on his lead. If he pulled or whined I stopped walking and we just stood there till he calmed down. If he didn't calm down in a minute or two I'd ask him to sit and go back to 'leave' for treats until he did calm down, then we'd try again. Eventually we'd get to the living room (and initially this could take 20/30 mins to get this far). Then he had to sit in front of the visitor, take a treat off them, and then they would fuss him. If he stood up, no treat, no fuss, same if he nipped or whine. At first I had to use sympathetic friends as stooges, but he learned suprisingly quickly. I still keep him on lead to introduce him to new people or people who find him intimidating, but with regular friends and family it's no longer needed.

He knows exactly what is expected of him, and as long as a dog has clear consistent rules to follow, they will usually try to follow them. Don't ever forget that he really does want to please you.

I am finding this very difficult to write, because I am leaving so much out, it is totally disjointed, but it is already turning into an epic, so I will just carry on as best I can.

There are a couple of things in your post I wanted to address specifically.

First, the issues you have with sit. You need to stop forcing him into a sit. Saints are all prone to hip problems, and you should never be putting pressure on his hind quarters. But you also need to remember that he is a Saint, they are big, clumsy, cumbersome, and in many cases downright stupid dogs. He is not going to react to a command with the lightning response of a collie or GSD.

My dog is a particularly slow (physically and mentally), and it took me a long time to understand how important it is to accept that and work with it. If I ask him to sit, it might take him a minute or more to actually sit. He's not being disobedient or difficult, it just takes him that long to figure it out. First he has to work out what I am asking him to do, then he has to translate that into an action, and finally he has to physically organise himself into a sit. It's a slow process.

In the meantime I have to shut up, stay still and wait. Because if I start moving about or talking, he's got even more to process and frankly we could be there all night while he figures it out. It's actually not so bad with sit, as he tends to sit if he doesn't know what else to do. But if I ask him to do something a bit complicated, like lie down, then we are talking about anything up to a couple of minutes for him to actually do it.

With basic obedience this is trying, but not that big a deal, but in other situations it becomes essential to understand where he is up to in his thought processes. For example, when I was tying to work out what his triggers were with other dogs, both in terms of space and behaviour, I was missing them completely. I would see the other dog sniffing the ground, or walking away and suddenly my dog would go completely ballistic. But actually the eye contact and the stance that had triggered him had happened maybe 1/2 minute previously.

But aside from that, the other thing I would say is choose your battles carefully. The important thing is that he is listening to you and obeying you. Does it actually matter if he dances for a few seconds first?

Just step back a little and think about the things you really need him to do the things you would like him to do, and for now just forget the rest. Concentrate on the bigger picture and don't stress over the little things. If they aren't going to affect the outcome then they just don't matter.

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Post by Owdb1tch » Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:45 pm

I'd just like to say that this is the most marvellous post and may we have it pinned please?

PB you have a very lucky dog.
Find the cause, find the cure.

A dog is never 'bad' or 'naughty'. It is simply behaving like a dog.

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Post by katowaggytail » Fri Mar 28, 2008 5:31 pm

Blimee Pooh Bear, what along detailed post, sounds like you have (and are still) doing wonders for your dog.
I've read it twice already, I never thought that ST.B's had a lower thinking/reaction time. I've learnt a lot.
Thank you.

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Post by newBCmommy » Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:00 am

I just wanted to say I enjoyed your post very much, PB. There's a lot there to inspire many of us who are working with difficult situations with our dogs. Thank you for sharing.
Cindy W.

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Post by MEL AND ZULU » Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:23 am

Wow, how informative! :D

The thing i found gr8 about this post is thats its owner friendly :lol:
So many times i read something and have to really try hard to figure out what they are actually trying to say, but here it was easy to understand and heartfelt. :D

I can relate to alot of these issues and dog training is something that is done everyday with my Boxer Zulu. No quick fixes to our man made doggie problems but my understanding of dogs has not only improved over the years with having a difficult dog, but through joining this forum and being able to take things like this away and really put them to use knowing that they are all in my dogs interests :D

We still have hiccups and problems, specially with visitors and with hubbys family arriving from Johannesburg to stay with us for three weeks over Christmas i know that we need to really focus and brush up on this area before they have a 40kgs Boxer dog sitting on their laps while trying to watch TV :oops: , the first thing im gonna do is dig out my house lead from my box or magic tricks!! :lol: Thats the name for the million dog training aids i have stashed away but have never actually used. :lol: :lol:
The canny collar is the only thing i use daily for walkies time, and my clicker and treats bag.

Should i have any probs i'll be knocking on pooh bears door for help :lol: :lol:

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Post by Sheena » Sat Mar 29, 2008 4:42 pm

Great ideas for those of us with large excitable dogs. I can strongly recommend the Dogmatic head collar and Premier easy walk front attachment harness for large breeds. I am quite sure my dog would have been dead under a car if it wasn't for these two items.

They do get used to the head collar eventually.

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Post by Mattie » Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:26 am

WOW Pooh Bear, what a wonderful job you have done :lol:

As promised, the harness, this was written by a friend and I do have permission to post it where I want. The lady who wrote it has several deaf dogs that are good at agility, all her dogs are rescues and all came with problems but these harnesses took a lot of pressure off the dogs as it has with my dogs.

Different designs of harnesses do different jobs, and I prefer the trail type harness which is a webbing v fronted design. The V at the front means that the dog can't set its shoulders and push, like a horse into a collar, (horses push not pull).

The lead connects to the centre point of balance and the dog can't have his full body weight to push into like he can with a collar. A dog can push all their weight behind a collar. The lead clips to the main body strap that goes round the body behind the front legs. The further back this, the better, preferably where the ribs dip upward is ideal. If the dog creats tension in the lead, the body strap raises slightly upward, without causing pain, which interupts the forward momentum, and the dog doesn't have enough power to push. If the handler is on the ground and the lead is low, the dog will be able to push into the harness more.

The main thing is the "Comfort Factor", the dog feels comfortable and surprisingly un restrained as it is evenly distributated so doesn't need to fight as with the lead to collar. Nothing tightens up or affects the dog's breathing, provided it is correctly fitted with V front going far enough down the chest, the dog is more relaxed and so is the handler. Good walking training is a doddle as the handler is more relaxed and can chatter away to the dog, the dog isn't concentrating on battling to breath or escape the neck pressure.

When he came to us, my dog had learned to defend first and ask questions later.
I took on a dog that did this only he didn't bother to ask questions, he bit. Joe is a JRT/Whippet and also has brain damage thanks to his previous owners. It took me 4 years to find the key to him coming back, he had been beaten so much. His brain damage leaves him with no attention span which has made training difficult. I had very little experience with dogs but used to train horses. By putting the principles of training horses into training Joe, he learnt quite a lot.

Principles of training is the same for everything, you me, our children, dogs, horses etc, but they do have to be adapted to take in the mental state and brain capacity of what/who is being trained. I train by trying to set up to succeed the child, I used to run a pre school playgroup, dog horse etc. The most important aspect of any training is consistancy, the more consistant you are the quicker they will learn.

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