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  • Riggan

    Member
    May 10, 2021 at 4:48 PM

    Dennis,

    Can you tell us a bit more about what you have been trying? Have you used a long line? Do you use any type of correction? How much have you worked with her with distractions on a leash or long line? If we know more about what you are doing, we might be able to give some better suggestions or see why it is not working.

    Riggan

  • Riggan

    Member
    May 3, 2021 at 11:23 AM

    And here is what he was dealing with while we drank coffee and enjoyed a bacon and cheese scone. We were a bit away from all the action, but he was certainly hearing and taking it all in.

  • Riggan

    Member
    May 3, 2021 at 11:19 AM

    Oops! I forgot to post the pictures. Here is a happy dog in the creek.

  • Riggan

    Member
    May 2, 2021 at 10:56 AM

    Welcome, Mike! As others have said, it is a great group of people here!

  • Riggan

    Member
    May 2, 2021 at 5:07 AM

    Ezekiel, It is never too late! And 2yo is still relatively young – not quite out of the “teenager” years. Depending on what the behavior is you want to correct, you might want to go back to the beginning and retrain the skill as in the video, or it might require a slightly different approach than you would use for a puppy. Or you might be able to just “clean up” the behavior you already have. You say your corrections were off and you expected too much of the pup. Those are things that you can simply start being more aware of, and your dog will quickly notice the difference! Can you tell us more about what you would like to change / improve?

  • Riggan

    Member
    May 1, 2021 at 10:22 AM

    Red, wishing you success on this journey. Please let us know if you have any questions or if you would like to brainstorm what you want to ask / say to this trainer. I would also encourage you to think carefully through the skills / tasks you want this dog to have to help mitigate your PTSD and incorporate that into your discussion with the trainer. Service dogs for PTSD, both for vets and non-vets, have become very popular and there are many appropriate tasks that a dog can provide. Unfortunately, there are also dogs being trained in very inappropriate ways and for inappropriate tasks. Some things sound good on paper, but not in the real world. Other tasks can result in a dog that is not safe to have in public, especially if there is a flare up of the PTSD.

    It also takes a very special dog to work in any type of psychiatric assistance capacity. Dogs will naturally pick up on our emotions and respond to them. With PTSD, we are asking dogs to recognize the stress signals, but we don’t want them internalizing that stress themselves. If it is a softer type dog, then the stress from the handler will likely translate to stress in the dog, which is the last thing we want. Yet, if it is a harder dog who will not be as likely to take on the stress itself, there is also a danger of the dog assuming the leadership role instead of the person. So for PTSD (and other psychiatric issues), there is a fine line that needs to be walked to maintain a healthy relationship between dog and handler. Some dogs can deal with it and some cannot.

    Also, make sure that the training techniques that the trainer is using are ones you are comfortable with and that you believe you could use yourself to maintain (and continue) the dog’s training. You have learned a lot of really good information from Robert, so that should help you assess that piece of it.

    The director of a program that I worked with for a while whose mission was training SD for vets used to say that a partnership was only effective if the team was beneficial to the veteran, the dog, and the community. Hopefully you can work towards establishing that type of teamwork with this dog. Good luck, and has been said, thank you for your service. Don’t hesitate to post any questions here, and also to share your experiences going forward.

  • Riggan

    Member
    April 30, 2021 at 8:27 AM

    Red,

    I think you are right to be concerned. I would seriously question any trainer who has had a dog for 4 months with the results you describe. If she is 6 months old and has mainly been kept in a crate / kennel, she is well past the optimal window for socialization. Socialization is critical for any service dog.

    I was involved in training mobility assistance dogs for several years, so I do have some background in this field. A Malinois would not be my first choice for a service dog except in rare situations where the owner had the unique personality and activity level to be able to work with a Mal and give it both the physical and intellectual stimulation that it needs. My program had a Mal pup donated to us from a breeder who said she was the lowest key Mal she had ever encountered. Even so, a “low energy” Mal was far too high energy for 99% of service dog owners. Maybe you are that unique person that would be a good match for a Mal, but please don’t make that decision lightly. The bond between a Service Dog and handler is very special and unique, but if it is not a good match, it can be a miserable life for the dog. Many years ago, I wrote an article about the ethical use of Assistance Dogs. If you are interested in reading it, you can find it at https://drive.google.com/file/d/198bWFtNJtWAkUJouWHJK2F0wpQE1wxtk/view?usp=sharing.

    You mention that you have vision issues. I don’t know where you live, but many states require advanced certification to be able to train guide dogs. A poorly trained guide dog can threaten the life of both the handler and the dog. It is not something to take lightly, and even after training many dogs and service dogs in particular, I would not even consider training a guide dog. I would go to one of the national programs that have been doing this for many years. Before trusting my life to some trainer, I would certainly want to know what their credentials are.

    Unfortunately, there are many pet dog trainers who also think they can train service dogs. There is so much more to it that just training the dog! That is the easy part! To really be a good service dog trainer, the person must also have a thorough understanding of the disability that the dog is being trained to mitigate; understand the capabilities of the eventual handler and use training techniques that the owner can learn, utilize, and maintain; work with the owner to train them to handle / manage the dog as well as maintain her skills; be available to help with issues as they occur during the partnership; and much more. There are some trainers who do a great job, but there are many others who do not.

    I wish you well. It sounds like you have some very difficult decisions ahead of you.

  • Riggan

    Member
    April 22, 2021 at 5:28 AM

    Ovidiu,

    This is not an uncommon problem, especially when the pup’s initial exposure to cars is negative. I have also worked with dogs, however, who did not like cars even though everything was done “right” from the start. Zvonimir gave some good advice. I’ll add a few other things that have helped with dogs I have worked with.

    1) Like Zvonimir said, start giving the pup his meals in the parked car. To start, it might help to have both doors open (have the pup on leash or some other way to ensure he is safe if he happens to hop out!). This helps relieve the pup of being “trapped.” When he is eagerly hopping into the car for his meal, you can start having one door closed. When he is comfortable with this, close both doors. Then you can start feeding him while the car is running, but not moving. Then just drive around the block and come home. Take your time with each step, and if possible, avoid having to actually take the pup somewhere during this period. You are starting to recondition him to the car, so it will take time.

    2) You said you have a hammock. I have found that the older hammocks can be a problem for some dogs. They are more of a “U” shape, and tend to roll the dog around. Some dogs are very uncomfortable with this unsteady surface. Some of the newer hammocks are designed to lay flat on the seat with “anchors” that tuck between the seat and the seat back to secure it firmly on that side. There is less rolling of the dog, helping the dog feel more secure.

    3) Just like humans, some dogs are more prone to car sickness than others. This can make any trip in the car miserable, no matter what you do. Signs are typically anxiety, drooling, and possibly vomiting. If you can find ginger snap cookies with real ginger in them (many commercial varieties don’t actually contain ginger!), you might try giving one to the pup. You can also use either benadryl or dramamine for dogs, but be sure to check with your vet for the right dosage. Don’t feed your dog right before taking him for a ride if he is prone to car sickness.

    4) Once you do start going for short drives with him, always go someplace REALLY fun for him! Take him out, play with him, let him sniff and explore someplace new. You want him to learn that car ride = fun time coming.

    He may never learn to love car rides like some dogs, but he should at least learn to tolerate them. If you do all the above and he is still very stressed by the car, you might need to talk to a veterinary behaviorist about using anti-anxiety medications for a while as you continue to work on counter-conditioning him. Good luck!

  • Riggan

    Member
    May 10, 2021 at 7:23 AM

    Shielah,

    Robert did a Resource Guarding video lecture on April 9 where he addresses your situation specifically as well as food or location guarding. It is at https://robertcabral.com/courses/resource-guarding/. If you have some specific questions, be sure to ask Robert using the AMA (Ask Me Anything) form at the bottom of the Members page. You can also get input here, but Robert is always the expert, especially with such serious issues that carry risk of injury to people or the dog. Good luck working through this issue with your dog.

    Resource Guarding

  • Riggan

    Member
    April 26, 2021 at 7:35 AM

    That’s great to hear, James! I think one of the things we have enjoyed most with Lance is watching him learn to just be a dog. The little things like, “Balls can be fun to chase!”, “You mean you WANT me to put that in my mouth?” (as we work on retrieval), the big sigh of contentment as he lays on the sofa between us, etc. Just recently, he is starting to look at some strangers with curiosity rather than fear. We have now progressed to the point where there are several people he will allow to feed him from their hand, and a few who can pet him. With each person, it seems to go a bit faster. Step by step… As you say, there are days when I wonder if we will ever have him to a point where he is no longer living in fear, but more and more days we are amazed at his progress and his joy in life. So worth it!

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