Trainers: Improving poor handling in a client

mrose_s

BusterLove
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#1
Trainers.
About 7 months ago we had a woman join one of our training centres to start attending group classes with her 18month old Dobie.
Nice enough dog but being a bit of a ratbag.
He would almost drag her off her feet when walking him, jump all over her and mouth her anytime he felt like it and has a habit of trying to pick anything up off the floor and eat it. (Has already had surgery once for impaction)


So in the 7 months his behavior has somewhat improved but it still has a way to go with her. She is very small in stature and hasn't got much strength, she has trouble accessing any sort of assertive voice to be clear with him and her leash handling skills leave a lot to be desired.
He knows he can't use those behaviors with me so anytime I borrow him for a demo he's an angel but the moment you hand him back he's a terrror.

To get down to our training centre there is a sloped driveway and often he just comes trotting in leash dragging and she comes in after to pick it up, he pulls so much walking in that she thinks he will pull her over so she drops the lead before he pulls her over.

She has just started working him on a prong collar again, she discontinued it after an odd lump came up on his neck under his skin. It disapeared before the vets had a chance to x-ray him and couldn't offer anything certain as a diagnosis. She stopped using the prong in which time he nearly entirely desensitized to the check chain.
She's just started using the prong again because she can't walk him without him dragging her up to people.

So she's sent him in for 2 weeks board and train while she has maintenance at the house. I have already discussed with her that while we can progress him a lot in 2 weeks, if she allows the same behaviors to continue once he gets home then they will all return.
I said I'd put plenty of focus on his urge to pick things up and eat them also.

He arrived yesterday, I got him out and, go figure, he walked with perfect leash manners everywhere.
His obedience isn't bad, I know she works with him a lot. So I built on that.

One things that struck me was his total lack of interest in grabbing random things off the ground. Which I know isn't so much a handling thing because I took him for a demo the other day during class and he dove out quick as a cat while I had him and almost got piece of stray sandwhich wrapping down his throat before I pulled it out.

I started to wonder if all of that stuff is him displacing due to the stress of being handled by her?
I feel bad for them both, she loves him dearly but she shouldn't have got a Dobe. He's a fantastic dog, smart, social, affectionate with enough drive to play with.
They're just a bad match.

I'm kind of at a loss of how to keep helping her improve. I've told her plenty of times NOT to let him pull through the prong just because it's easier to walk him then on a flat or check chain. That she needs to deliver a correction if he puts tension into the collar. He's not a hard dog, but she still lets him drag her.
He rushed a dog I was holding onto the other day, I just reached down a gave a little check with his lead and he bailed and went and sat by her side, I just wish she could do it herself.

Any tips for helping someone like this improve?
 

Moth

Mild and Slightly Nutty
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#2
Has she tried a head halter instead of a prong?

If he can get accustomed to wearing one it may help her and give her more control over him.

Just a thought.
 

mrose_s

BusterLove
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#3
Yeah, we have used a head halter. She worked with it for about 3 weeks with. Little improvement, he would just drag through it. We spent a fair amount of time showing her how to apply and release the pressure but by the third week she was almost in years at the end of class. :(
 

SizzleDog

Lord Cynical
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#4
No head halters for dobes please! :)

When it's not half-til 1am, I'll write more.
 
Joined
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#5
I'm kind of at a loss of how to keep helping her improve. I've told her plenty of times NOT to let him pull through the prong just because it's easier to walk him then on a flat or check chain. That she needs to deliver a correction if he puts tension into the collar. He's not a hard dog, but she still lets him drag her.
He rushed a dog I was holding onto the other day, I just reached down a gave a little check with his lead and he bailed and went and sat by her side, I just wish she could do it herself.

Any tips for helping someone like this improve?
When I have a student with handling problems, I work on training them like I would a dog :p

So we practice how to hold the leash - thumb through the loop, grab a bite, close your hand. Hands on your belly button. Focus on what they SHOULD do instead of what they SHOULDN'T.

When they can do that with just the leash, I'll be the dog and have them practice walking. Exhale. Drop your shoulders.

Then we add the dog, sometimes with me double handling. Hands on your belly button. Look where you're going, one of you has to.

Marking and praising of course when they get it right. :D

Once they know what it feels like, and know what physical action to take with their bodies to get that feeling, I usually see a big improvement.
 

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