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  #11  
Old 12-19-2010, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by corgipower View Post

Keep in mind, there's a reason I need a SD in the first place...all that pain I feel when he grazes me runs from my arm through my entire body and lasts for three days...And that's just one of the many issues.
I really was just trying to be funny and banter. I figured anyone with a well trained malanois was clearly not a wuss. Hence the big grin smilie. Sorry, no disrespect intended at all.

Dekka's idea might work very well - especially if the dog has to pick the object up from the floor - they HAVE to use their incisors for that (I taught one of mine to retrieve a shoelace) and they have to be more thoughtful/purposeful about what they're holding.

Anyway, sorry to have caused offense, I'll go back to my hole now
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:40 AM
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No offense was taken. The finger wagging smilie was used facetiously. Just one of those misunderstanding bumps as we get to know each other.
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  #13  
Old 12-19-2010, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by corgipower View Post
Do you think it's doable or should I just wait until I'm able to get a new dog in a few years?
I think that depends on how truely bad the mouthing problem is, how much time and effort you are willing to put into fixing it, and how badly you need this dog to be your service dog now. That's all stuff you'll have to answer yourself.

PERSONALLY (****Just my opinion!!****), I think you set yourself up for a difficult time, trying to use a malenois as a service dog. My organization tried a mal once, and gave up after only a few weeks of training; we've tried several GSDs and none have completed training. I have only ever heard of one mal used as an assistance dog, that was a hearing dog self-trained by an extremely experienced (and relatively well-known) hearing dog trainer. And there's a big difference between temperments for hearing dogs and service dogs, and IMO mals are somewhat well-suited as hearing dogs.

So, I guess what I'm saying is, if you strip away the emotional attachment and all the work you've already put into this dog and don't even take that into consideration; you're probably better off starting from scratch with a new dog of a different breed. But it's doable with this dog, it'll just take a lot of work on your part.
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:06 PM
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My organization tried a mal once, and gave up after only a few weeks of training; we've tried several GSDs and none have completed training.
Why is that?

I suppose I'll work on it with him...I just won't get too hopeful about it working out. But it can't hurt anything to try, and if nothing else, it'll just make him smarter and make me smarter and I'll be better prepared for the next dog.
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  #15  
Old 12-20-2010, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by corgipower View Post
Why is that?
Well see, the thing is, everybody thinks that service dogs have to be really smart to do their job; that they have to be smart enough to be trained really fast or something. But the trouble with a dog that learns really fast, is that he learns stuff you don't want him to learn, really fast. One of our GSDs, I swear was smarter than me; she was always one step ahead. Those qualities make them really fun for trainers to work with, but make them really difficult for the majority of our recipients to be able to handle.

As far as training, with the really smart dogs we always say that it takes a day to learn the behavior, and a month to learn how not to do the behavior. As soon as they figure out what to do, they start getting creative and trying other things.... such as mouthing the retrieve items. If you're using shaping to teach a behavior, it takes a trainer who's really experienced in shaping those specific behaviors, to know when it's going on track and when the dog's starting to get too "creative."

We have a shepherd mix right now who went to an experienced foster's home, and within a week now he's guarding her - when anyone seems to be about to touch her, he'll growl and act aggressively toward her.... So she's sending him back, she can't handle that (and obviously we can't have a dog like that working in public). We've had another shepherd who also guarded.

I can't remember specifically why the mal was released; it was several years ago and she really wasn't in the program very long. Maybe she was reactive with other dogs? I don't know.


But you're right, it doesn't hurt to keep trying. Like I said, it's up to you to decide how badly you need a service dog, to decide whether to get another dog or just keep trying with this one.
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Old 12-20-2010, 04:33 PM
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But you're right, it doesn't hurt to keep trying. Like I said, it's up to you to decide how badly you need a service dog, to decide whether to get another dog or just keep trying with this one.
Getting another one right now isn't at all an option, and won't be for at least a few more years. Out of the dogs I have, Tyr's the only one who even has a chance to try to be a SD - the corgis are too small and both are retired with injuries anyway, and the other mali is way too unpredictable in public.

Thanks for the input!
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