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  #71  
Old 06-28-2012, 08:41 PM
j0equ1nn j0equ1nn is offline
Sean Smith
 
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Well the problem started with not getting solid advice on what to do when he was growling. If you recall, or if not if you skim this thread's history, you'll find multiple cases of me asking what am I supposed to do when my dog growls at me, and received 2 answers:
1. Back away from him because this will show him his growl worked so he knows he doesn't need to escalate to something more serious, and
2. Whatever you do don't back away because it will show him his growl worked and that he can intimidate you.

Deeming this insufficiently consistent to replace my prior training at guiding eyes, I continued to follow my instincts based on that. Apparently it was the wrong way to go because the dog started snapping. In hindsight I think I should have listened to Maxi24 and gone with option 1. His advice was effective in almost entirely curing my dog of guarding toys. Also what Emily said this last round is making sense to me too. What stardogs said also rings true. We have been exploring the possibility of hiring a trainer. We have a friend involved in animal rescue who hooked us up with a trainer in the area named Rex willing to work with us for free and he turned out to be a lunatic. If you think I am an abusive maniac for physically restraining my dog and trying to correct him for biting me, you should talk to this nut, but I posted about him already. And he calls himself a professional dog trainer too. I know it's easy to blame me for any problems going on but the information I get on this end is pretty confusing and hard to sort through. Also, 99% of the time or more, I get along with my dog like an old friend. Perhaps I am overstating my problem and welcoming these personal critiques, but there's no point talking about the stuff that isn't a problem. I resent being accused of wanting to dominate my dog or enjoying these encounters, to me these comments come across as nothing other than an inability of posters to prioritize the point of all this over their own egos, and feeling a need to hurt the feelings of people saying they didn't give good advice. I hate seeing my dog get nervous. I hate when he acts guilty, I hate having to discipline, but I know that sometimes it's necessary, I just don't know exactly how all the time. I like when my dog is hanging out and having fun. The idea I have to explain this is ridiculous.

Anyway yes, the internet is the internet, and anything I hear is filtered first by my ability to describe the situation, then by the ability of the reader to understand me, then by their ability to communicate their ideas to me, then my ability to understand them. I often feel I'm making this sound worse than it is. I also get a lot of conflicting information. I suppose you could accuse me of being here just to take, in fact it's true, I joined the dog forum because I wanted advice on how to help this dog. If I wanted to, I could instead list my chosen kill date for my "food-agressive pitbill with mysterious past" then have a little count-down and it would be everyone's fault but mine. But instead I am taking personal responsibility and I still think I can help this dog. And I am honestly listening to you. I agree after considering what was said that trying to punish him for biting was a mistake and I will not make that mistake again. Additionally, the times when he snapped I did not honestly feel like I was in danger or out of control, I just honestly thought I was doing the right thing. I do not think it's too late to alter my approach before it gets to that point.

Obviously I am more interested in averting the need to deal with my dog trying to bite me, but it also seems obvious to me that one should be prepared with the knowledge of how to behave if it does happen. Just like one should be prepared with how to act in the event a dog growls while working on preventing that. If I had been prepped with how to react to the growling, I would not have to think on my feet and rely on dated and possibly damaging dog training techniques, which lead to the biting.

It is easy to start pointing fingers in this situation. I see a lot pointed at me and it's tempting to turn it around and say I've been asking questions about anything related to what's happening well in advance, anticipated any possible situation, and have gotten more holier than thou criticism about what I should NOT be doing than I have received encouragement and help with what I SHOULD be doing instead. If you find what I'm saying nothing but an affront on your ego then yeah do me a favor and stop bothering with the thread because I don't care about your ego.

You can choose to be offended by my suggestion that most dogs like this may be too quickly put to sleep, or you can just appreciate that someone has the honesty to share that this is what's going through their head. I'm not saying anyone in this conversation is guilty of this, or of anything, but if you can't accept that this is a natural thing to go through the head of someone like me and take it in stride you might want to double-check your credentials.
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  #72  
Old 06-29-2012, 05:04 AM
Teal Teal is offline
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Funny, because I know at least *I* told you what to so the dog WOULDN'T growl... you said you started it, and that it was working.

You LEFT the dog with someone else at a CRITICAL time in training. Now, you need to start over.

Please go back to page 1 of this thread and go from there.
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  #73  
Old 07-14-2012, 04:50 AM
j0equ1nn j0equ1nn is offline
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I've been reluctant to check this forum again after seeing how easily a conversation can devolve into personal issues, but here I am. Seeing how many views the forum gets I feel like if for no other reason it could be constructive to post about Sam's progress for the benefit of other readers. I'm disgusted by the people who came out and said things suggesting that my dog was going to fail or end up being put to sleep just because their feelings got hurt by something I said. This is extremely unprofessional and, in my opinion, strips you of any claim to being a "professional" on this matter.

I maintain that an important element of the knowledge one needs to have in my situation, is what is the appropriate way to act in the event that the behavior you are trying to eliminate does happen. It is crystal clear that the best course of action is to prevent the behavior from happening. But in the absence of any knowledge about what to do if it does, a person is in danger of reacting to it in the wrong way, as I did. Please take this as a lesson and learn from it in advising people in the future if you're going to be a "professional" on advising people about training dogs.

Sam has been doing very well. I decided that I was going to hand-feed him all his meals for a couple of months, and not worry about trying to teach him much on the topic, just get across to him the idea that his food comes from me. Also, we taught him a command "Look" which just means to look me in the eye, and used this to teach him that after each handful he has to look at me to get the next one. He learned this well and looks at me right away when he's ready for more food. There have been no incidents or problems related to food since the last one I described.

I will post occasionally about his progress, and read whatever anyone else wants to contribute. And all those people who predicted this dog would fail, I'm going to prove you wrong and ask you to shut the hell up.
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  #74  
Old 07-14-2012, 07:42 AM
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Danefied Danefied is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j0equ1nn View Post
I've been reluctant to check this forum again after seeing how easily a conversation can devolve into personal issues, but here I am. Seeing how many views the forum gets I feel like if for no other reason it could be constructive to post about Sam's progress for the benefit of other readers. I'm disgusted by the people who came out and said things suggesting that my dog was going to fail or end up being put to sleep just because their feelings got hurt by something I said. This is extremely unprofessional and, in my opinion, strips you of any claim to being a "professional" on this matter.

I maintain that an important element of the knowledge one needs to have in my situation, is what is the appropriate way to act in the event that the behavior you are trying to eliminate does happen. It is crystal clear that the best course of action is to prevent the behavior from happening. But in the absence of any knowledge about what to do if it does, a person is in danger of reacting to it in the wrong way, as I did. Please take this as a lesson and learn from it in advising people in the future if you're going to be a "professional" on advising people about training dogs.

Sam has been doing very well. I decided that I was going to hand-feed him all his meals for a couple of months, and not worry about trying to teach him much on the topic, just get across to him the idea that his food comes from me. Also, we taught him a command "Look" which just means to look me in the eye, and used this to teach him that after each handful he has to look at me to get the next one. He learned this well and looks at me right away when he's ready for more food. There have been no incidents or problems related to food since the last one I described.

I will post occasionally about his progress, and read whatever anyone else wants to contribute. And all those people who predicted this dog would fail, I'm going to prove you wrong and ask you to shut the hell up.
LOL you’re quite the gem aren’t you?

The fact that you feel any failure would be the dog’s says a lot don’t you think?

Though that’s not what this is about, I for one would LOVE to see you “prove us wrong” as you say.

Good luck to ya.
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  #75  
Old 07-14-2012, 12:11 PM
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yoko yoko is offline
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I agree prove everyone here wrong!

And for anyone who is lurking or a guest here who stumbled on this thread:

Please please please ask questions and help your dog correctly.

This guy may have gotten by intimidating his dog for so long before actually trying but in the time that he wasted you may have an incident and lose the dog. If you have any questions or need anything clarified just ask.
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  #76  
Old 07-18-2012, 12:43 AM
Majii_Kins Majii_Kins is offline
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I'm a cat owner, not a dog owner in part because I feel I cannot meet a dog's immense needs. I realize I'm late to the thread but if you guys would please humor my one inquiry. . .

If I were to theoretically bring a 3 1/2 year old into a household like the one Sam is in, would that be a good thing, or a bad thing? I don't get a very "child-appropriate" vibe from the descriptions of Sam's behavior.
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  #77  
Old 07-18-2012, 01:20 AM
JessLough JessLough is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danefied View Post
LOL you’re quite the gem aren’t you?

The fact that you feel any failure would be the dog’s says a lot don’t you think?

Though that’s not what this is about, I for one would LOVE to see you “prove us wrong” as you say.

Good luck to ya.
It's not the dog's fault, silly, it's OUR fault for not giving him the right advice.
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  #78  
Old 08-21-2012, 03:02 PM
j0equ1nn j0equ1nn is offline
Sean Smith
 
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Default Sam's anti-pulling training

Once you start looking to figure out who's fault something is, it usually means you've stopped focusing on the solution. I'm not there right now, and hope to never be. But anyway, I'll take as much blame as you like (of course that also means I get all the credit when my dog becomes the best dog in the world). After all it's up to me to do the right things here and turn this into a success.

I also want to say for any readers, that the things that I'm going to describe as working are just things that worked for MY DOG. I advise you to talk to an actual dog trainer or someone with more experience than me before trying this stuff with your dog. My techniques are coming from working with my dog's personality. And in my opinion my dog is a little eccentric. So here goes..


I've found that it takes a lot of stress off if I can systematize my approach to training Sam. Like, I come up with a set of rules for what-happens-when, and then I don't have to constantly struggle with how to react. And if something seems to not be working, I tweak the rules until it seems to be improving. So, more specifically, when I walk him...

I put his harness on him as well as a pinch collar, and I hook the retractable leash up to the harness with it locked at about 4 feet of slack. For the first 3 months I did not use the pinch collar at all because I didn't like the idea of it. But basically, I have been the only one who can walk Sam. My fiancee is usually here but she can't help me with this chore even though she wants to, and it can be really annoying. Also he seemed to have no negative associations with the pinch collar even though I know in his prior home it was the only thing that was used - he sees it, like anything associated to going for a walk, and gets very happy and positions himself to have it put on him. So, read on and see what I do with the pinch collar. Note that at the start of the walk, the collar is on him but not being used.

So we go outside and start walking. If he pulls on the leash, I stop and make him sit and wait for a "Let's go" before continuing. Sometimes it takes several in a row, but this usually works and reminds him not to pull. Also, the handle of the leash makes a clicking sound when the leash is pulled on, so sometimes when he's nearing the end of the leash I just jerk it back slightly to make that sound, and this will be enough to remind him not to pull. So, we walk around like that, and I count my steps. If I can take 100 steps without him pulling at all, I make him "Come here" (come to me and sit facing me) then "Look" (look at me and wait for what's next), and if he does that he gets "Your free," which means I unlock the leash and allow him to run around up to the full 30 foot extension. Sometimes I wait a little longer to get to an area where it's safer to do this, but usually it's not necessary - he knows fully not to go in the street after sitting at every curb for 4 months. Also the commands "Come here" and "Look" he almost never botches because he knows what comes next if he does it - he can be pretty **** smart when he knows it'll get him what he wants..

If, on the other hand, he continues to pull when I stop and will not sit when I tell him to sit, I switch the leash to the pinch collar, shorten it to about 2 feet, say "Let's go" and continue walking. I make it this short so that if he does dart at something he won't pick up too much momentum before the collar tightens. It only took a few walks for him to learn to never pull when he's on the pinch collar. If he can go 100 steps without pulling like that (which at this point is usually automatic), he goes back to the 4-foot leash on the harness, same policy.

Once he's on the long leash after the "You're free" command, there are some new commands he has to heed. If he heads in a direction I don't want him to go in, I click the handle of the leash like I described above, which just means not to go that way. If he walks around the wrong side of a tree or utility pole or just goes off in the wrong direction, I say "This way," and he has to come around to where I'm walking (but does not have to stay next to me). If he hits the end of the leash and does not immediately stop or turn around, I say "Come here," and he has to come to me, sit in front of me, and await instruction (which if he does well is just another "You're free"). If he fails to do any of these things, I usually repeat the command once or twice and if he's not listening he loses his freedom and goes back to the harness with the same policy described at the beginning. He is very very good at following the commands on the long leash because he does not want to lose his freedom. It's harder for him to behave on the short leash because he has to contain his boundless excitement, but he's improved a lot.

One thing I like about this system is that he almost never has to even feel the pinch of the pinch collar, just having the leash hooked to it is enough. Another thing I like about this system is IT'S WORKING! At first he would just go back and forth from harness to pinch collar whining the whole way. Now a typical walk is just a couple stops and sits on the harness as we walk toward the park, then "You're free" and he maintains his full leash privileges for most of the walk. When I have to down-shift him to the harness, or (rarely) the pinch-collar, it's usually just once now. Also, when I need to walk him on a short leash for longer periods (like on a crowded sidewalk) there is very little pulling. He's even responding to "Leave it" when there's another dog close-by, which a couple months ago was impossible. I think another month or two of this and my fiancee will have no problem walking him, without even needing the pinch collar.
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  #79  
Old 08-21-2012, 03:03 PM
j0equ1nn j0equ1nn is offline
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Default latest on Sam's food agression

Okay, now about the food aggression. I hand-fed him every meal for about 8 weeks, hoping this would help him understand that the food comes from me. In between handfuls he had to look at me to get the next one. He didn't have a problem doing this, but he always looked worried the whole time. He would often stop eating 1/4 to 3/4 of the way through and just look too nervous to continue. That didn't change much even though I did it for 8 weeks. Eventually I decided to move to letting him have the bowl, but keeping my hand on his back while he ate. As long as my hand got there before the food did he did not growl. I decided to test to see of the growling had gone away. No. Any time I gave him his food bowl, then touched him, he would growl at me. He also stops eating before the food is done, and hangs out in the room lying on the floor a nervous wreck, and runs over to the bowl any time someone gets near it. No change AT ALL.

I decided to try giving him treats while he was eating. But I wanted him to know the treats were coming from me. So I would try to get him to look. He's okay with coming to me when eating and leaving the bowl behind (though he's nervous when he does it), but I can't get him to look at me in the middle of eating. By trying to give him treats I just was making him more nervous about what he's supposed to be doing, and what he wants, etc. He also started acting a little more nervous at other times, like he would be lying in my bed, and I need to move him out of the way a little so I could lay down, and he would growl slightly. Whenever this happened he got kicked out of the bedroom. But I was feeling like his trust for me was starting to break down a little and that is surely a road to ruin.

So a couple weeks ago I was flipping through a bunch of dog training books in a book store and a couple paragraphs (incidentally from Dog Training for Dummies) stood out to me. It said that if your dog is food aggressive, the most important thing is that you get the dog to trust you that you're not going to take away his food. The method it suggested was very different from what I've heard elsewhere. It said to give him his food in a room by himself, or in his kennel, and leave him undisturbed while he eats. It said that if your dog stops trusting you about his food, he's going to stop trusting you about other things.

I thought about this and my thought process was like this: Suppose someone does not trust you and you want to gain there trust. How do you do it? You do not do it by taking complete control over the thing they treasure most and make them seek and gain your approval for every iota of access to it. The idea seemed worth a try.

He does not have a kennel, just his dog-stroller, but that's not big enough for him to comfortably eat a bowl of food in. I tried having him eat alone in a room with the door closed. He took a few bites then begged to come out. So I tried leaving the door open and just staying away from there for a while. When I checked up on him, he had just eaten a few bites of food and was back to guarding it. One day I was at the point where I really just wanted him to eat so he wouldn't be hungry. I tried giving him a can of wet food with no dry, and he gobbled the whole thing up and came back to me with his tail wagging. On the other hand if I give him dry food by itself, he barely touches it and guards it.

Compare this with: I was eating some cashews one night. Sam was begging for the cashews. I don't award him for begging, and had been giving him no treats at all since he wasn't finishing his meals anyway. But by the time I finished eating them, he was being good (and clearly still wanting one) so I had him sit and gave him a cashew. He does not like cashews. But he will not admit this. It's like he wants to eat them to be cool because I am eating them. So he puts in on the ground and starts guarding it, just like his food, even though I know he does not want it.

So what I decided to do was back down a lot about controlling the food. I started preparing the meals differently. Instead of mixing together the wet and dry, I put the dry on the bottom with the wet spread on top. I have him lie down and stay for the bowl, then just give it to him and go about my business. Every time, he eats the wet layer, and then some of the dry layer, I think just depending on how hungry he was. So I take the leftover dry food and measure it, and top it off to his usual amount and use it in his next meal. If he eats the whole thing, he gets some special treats. After a couple days of this he started finishing his dinners entirely in one sitting, and not acting nervous or weird at all. He still will not finish breakfast. I enacted the policy that he can't have any treats unless he finished the last meal he was given.

I noticed that the other growling instances disappeared completely. In fact, he became EVEN MORE cuddly, which previously I did not think was possible. He would rub up against me more readily, lie on his back for a belly rub more readily, and just seemed happier. I've been doing the meals like this for about a week. Even his behavior on walks has improved.

I'm not totally sure this is the right thing to do indefinitely, but the important thing seems to be that I provide him with food that he likes, and not make him feel like he has to compete to get every bite. I feel like I could live with having a dog where I just have to tell people to leave him alone when he's eating. Even the odd time someone might touch him, he's not going to bite or even snap, just a little growl... But I'm still researching and trying things.

And finally, yes I am a gem.
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  #80  
Old 08-21-2012, 06:28 PM
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misfitz misfitz is offline
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Whatever happened with calling the number on his tag? Did anyone every try to contact the owners??
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