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Old 10-12-2009, 12:31 PM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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Default If there were only one thing...

that you could teach your puppy, and you did nothing else, what would it be?

That tug of war thread got me thinking about this because someone thought that most people don't know to teach their pup or adult dog the rules of the game and so they shouldn't ever play...that the dog would become aggressive and "mean." My take on this is that the rules are definitely important, but even if they don't teach rules, most dogs aren't going to get aggressive from this. There may be an accidental bite or some rough thing....or some may get really too worked up and it is conceivable that they may go from play to prey, but that is pretty rare. Most dogs see this as a game. After all, they invented this game. You see two dogs, sometimes three, playing tug with each other and it does generalize to humans. I know. I've always played with my dogs and it's really a trip when three of them get in on the game. (Chuli won't play, but my foster Beagle, toker and Jose` would play together.) And not too many people get hurt seriously from playing tug, even if they don't do it quite right. My little Beagle didn't know the rules, but I let him play anyhow. He had a super soft mouth and didn't get too worked up.

So, I thought that if I had to tell someone what not to do with their dog or what to teach their dog, the game of tug would not be a high priority to me because there are so many other things that people do wrong with dogs that cause really, really serious problems.

My biggest, hugest, giaganticist, most significant priority....if I could do nothing else in the way of teaching my dog anything else would be SOICALIZATION. To me, that is the single most important thing I can think of for the education of a puppy.
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:37 PM
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I agree.. but to me socialization is more than just 'one thing'

If I had to teach only one thing it would be 'down' there are lots of 'bad' things a dog cannot be doing whilst in a down.
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:41 PM
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I think that could be part of Abby's problem. She's pretty neurotic to start with, but then when she does see things she doesn't understand rather then being curious and reacting calmly, she flips out.

The biggest problem we have on walks is unfamilliar shapes on or around the road or side walk such as man hole covers, drain pipes, and sewer grates.

If Abby was used to seeing unfamillar things and had been taught to be calm when encountering things that she doesn't understand, maybe she wouldn't have developed the phobias that she has that seem to plague her.

Unfortunately with Abby, even though we go over the same places again and again and we positively reinforce what good behavior she does exhibit, it's like every time we pass the same man hole cover or the same sewer grate it's like she's seeing it for the first time and in her panic to escape the "thing" she forgets whatever we accomplished with her on her previous walks.

To be more clear, we walk the same route every day. We'll pass something that terrifies her, we'll get her to stop, calm down and sniff the terrifying man hole cover. She relaxes somewhat and her eyes get soft. Then, we treat and it seems like maybe we accomplished something.

Next day same walk same manhole cover same terrified reaction.

Bizarre. Never had a dog that's this strange. LOL.

Kind of a sad situation for her, really.
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:43 PM
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Carrie this isn't fair!! OMG, One thing?? why not two lol?

Ok, very conflicted here between socialization and recall...........so I am going to pick recall (IF I have to pick JUST one ).
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:50 PM
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Ado, I was going to say recall.. but thought if I had a rock solid emergency down that could fix most running off problems, as well as reactivity problems, leave it problems.

If I could train a second thing (and leaving socialization out) I would say recall.
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:53 PM
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Okay, so I cheated. Socialization is indeed very general and wide spectrum. I got more for my money with that one, didn't I?

Okay....so, the second thing then would be to stay near me.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:24 PM
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I agree with Dekka. Outside of socialization, a down.

With a down, the dog can't run off, can't bite someone, can't jump on someone, can't pick up inappropriate things, most of the time when asked to down will drop or at least loosen his hold on anything he has. I do in fact put much more emphasis on down than anything else I teach, and it is always a fall back command that I can use when other commands (come, leave it, etc.) fail.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:31 PM
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That's hard... my gut instinct was to say a down/stay. That can be a life saver- literally.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:37 PM
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I was going to say recall too, but down is a good one. But a recall could get a dog out of a danger zone, where a down from a distance might keep a dog in danger.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:39 PM
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Down would be my #1.

Second would be STFU, especially with Aussies
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