Tag - dog behaviour - Dog Handling

To content | To menu | To search

Tag - dog behaviour

Entries feed - Comments feed

Sunday, September 2 2018

Good Dog Training Newsletter - August / September 2018

The Good News from Raewyn!

  • Deb and Benni are on track with their Jumpers Career 1st win out of two in Jumpers C on his first Jumpers Champs outing. That's what I like to see.
  • Pam Sharp has caught the Agility bug. It has taken three years but finally she's got it. Jade is working really well and now Jack is getting the treatment and loving it. Pam has become a DOGSNZ Member
  • Tina and Koda and finally working off lead and Koda is less interested in the traffic on the road. They will go far these two. AND Tina is the greatest lawnmower at club. Thank you.
  • Sue and Floyd are working on their togetherness and sometimes it is almost good. We are going to make Flygility Floyds first sport at the moment. He loves to work alone.
  • Megan has taken over training for her pup Bobbi and he has a talent for Fly too.
  • Sharon and Gracie have joined Taupo Club to achieve Silver CGC and Sharon has become a DOGSNZ Member so they are coming to speed training on Wednesday nights to see if we can improve weaves and pace. It's working.
  • Christine Longton got so mad with me at Club Comp she made Storm do a round without dropping a single rail. I have a training method for Christine now. Just make her as mad as hell and her work with her dog improves out of sight. :-)
  • Alex has agreed to co ordinate the Rally O group for the Summer. Fantastic thank you Alex.
  • Katie and Cash are now out of Puppy at 12 months of age and are moving to Learners Agility in club Comp. Cash has the top Puppy Agility points for the year so far. Well done Katie.
  • Pipa is our fastest new Fly Mini. What a future she and Chris have in Fly.
  • Kelly and Awhi are back - baby needs bonding time with its Daddy. So Kelly had no choice but to come to class with Awhi to make that possible
  • Katrin has returned to Obedience with a new young rescue dog 'Snoopy'. Welcome back.
  • We had the pleasure of Anabella's company with Cairo at the last Club Comp. An ex Club Secretary who moved to Auckland a couple of years ago and is now back in rotorua maybe we will see more of her.
  • Its goodbye to Chloe and Jessie and their dogs Beaudie and Nadi. going to live on Waiheke Island. Fancy leaving us for Waiheke Island. Hard to understand really.

Have great training, enjoy your competitions and love your dog every day.


Sharon and Gracie
July Club Agility Day Winner

Report by Alex Jones on Mark Vette Workshop highlights/key notes:

Mark’s training and systems are based on genetic design, dog behaviour, neuroscience. His ‘training’ is based around gaining and maintaining a learning state, association, positive reinforcement, contrast training, counter conditioning and desensitisation. A wolf has 99.96% of the same genetic makeup of our domestic pariah dog, the 0.04% difference provides domestic dogs with:
Prolonged juvenile state (they remain immature, playful, able to learn and be a puppy for longer than that of a wolf because they can. Its no longer a necessity to grow up to survive)
A tolerance to unrelated dogs
Human orientation
Extended formative periods (1-4mth of age is prime time for learning)
Ability to cross foster (co-exist with stock/cats/kids/other animals without considering them prey)

The above points are used to elaborate on behaviours and mannerisms for training and learning behaviour throughout his techniques.

The formative period, this is the key time to:

Socialise and bond

Teach appropriate separation

Site specific bonding

Joining up/follow response
Learning state: (this was a primary part of the training) to learn how to recognise, switch into and maintain a dog in their learning state (Parasympathetic Arousal). When a dog is out of state and in Sympathetic arousal they are unable to learn and as such techniques are required to return to a state of PSA vs. SA

Dogs learn through association, counter conditioning and desensitisation, contrast training (pressure on/pressure off) and boundary setting. Corrections are made away from the handler so the handler remains viewed as a safety.

Building a shared language between dog and handler… Dogs are postural communicators using body language (BL) as a primary method of reading, reacting, communicating through life. A key takeaway from this is to reduce the amount of noise we make when communicating with our dogs and return to BL as a primary way of speaking to our canine friends.

We were fortunate enough to spend an entire day dealing with older pups/dogs that are outside of their formative period and displaying behavioural problems, something I learnt a lot from and hope to take back to my own work and that of my colleagues in the shelter environment, primarily this entailed:
Back to the den (re-establish crate training)
Joining up
Learning state (Parasympathetic arousal)
Balancing +ve reinforcement and contrast training
The importance of the initial meet and greet and steps to ensuring this goes well
Identifying trigger points and stacking behaviours
Key command was what is referred to as a “zen down” this is a modification on an obedience down where you are encouraging the dog to go into a down and then relax their hips to either side bringing both hindlegs resting on the same side of the dogs body. This position activates the vagus nervous system which encourages appetite, resulting in reduced stress behaviours, responsiveness to the clicker and establishing PSA, a clam state and therefore the ability to learn.

Tools of the trade: Lead, Clicker, treats, slip collar, clip station, crate.

I would highly recommend having a read of the book as this stuff is all in there, any questions please just ask.

Friday, November 10 2017

Good Dog Training Newsletter - November 2017


by Raewyn Saville

It is with a heavy heart that I type those above words. Linda was a very close friend of mine. We were always pleased to be able to help each other and be there for each other, although the ledger was rather in my favor as she seemed to need to bail me out far more often than the other way.

If you have a friend you are close with cherish it and hope you never receive a txt such as I received on Saturday morning the 4th of November. I flicked my phone on at 8.15 and saw there was a txt from Linda. Great I thought she is telling me she is in good shape and coming home soon. In disbelief I read the following: “7.20a.m. Hi Raewyn Paul here terrible news I'm afraid. Mum died early this morning. You are on Mum's list of people to tell so that should tell you how much she thought of you.......”

So hard to comprehend. However, I don't envy son Paul. That list of who to contact would have been very long as Linda loved and was loved by everyone who knew her.

Linda came to Dog Sports to bring Labradoodle Minnie for training. After the death of their previous Labrador, there were not going to be any more dogs. Family members didn't think Mum and Dad's place would be the same if they didn't have a dog, so their brought Minnie as a present. At the time Linda thought it would be great as Labradoodles are small to medium sized dogs, but she grew and grew. It became obvious to Linda and I that she was a Standard Poodlex Chocolate Labrador and therefore gonna be a big dog. As a somewhat batty ball loving gentle giant Minnie bonded with Linda through their love of long beach walks at Ohope and coming to training at Dog Sports plus endless ball retrieves.

A few months back Linda sought medical help for chest issues and was diagnosed with a heart condition and medicated for her symptoms although there seemed to be some confusion as to exactly what her heart was actually doing and what might be wrong with it. It was decided by the Specialists after much testing that there was a necessity for surgery. She waited quite some time for an admission to Waikato Hospital. Although we all knew she was not herself, none of us thought she would not pull through and be back with us as soon as possible.

At our Meeting to organise the Fly Tournament for December held on the same day Linda died we had her txt apology to Debbie that she would miss the meeting but hoped to be able to come and watch the Tournament as her recovery progressed. Linda had been a hard working volunteer at the last six or seven Tournaments.

To Bill Minnie and family everyone at our Club is beyond belief that Linda is no longer with us. She called Dog Sports her refuge and we had shared her happy and sad times over the last few years. Farewell Linda, the Club will never be the same without you.


By Raewyn Saville

Your dog needs a leader and you also need a leader! When you get your new puppy it is so great. A warm sweet smelling cuddly thing who absolutely has to trust you. You need to try really hard over those first weeks not to give the puppy any reason to doubt that he can trust you. You need to try to avoid things that hurt him. He needs to be kept warm and learn to sleep in his own safe enclosed bed space. He needs to know where his food is coming from. Preferably your hand. He needs to transfer all the trust that he had in his Mama Dog and siblings over to you. By 14 weeks this has been achieved (or not). It is very hard to go back and start over if things have gone badly wrong during this period. That is often what happens with rescue pups. But I believe if you relegate your rescue puppy or dog who is any age over 14 weeks, to a new puppy status and do all the new puppy things with it, although it will take longer to gain his trust - you can remold the dog's behavior to be more trusting and less of a decision maker.

From 15 16 weeks on the puppy starts to make decisions about when it will bark, when it will run away when it will chew its bedding when it will play etc. This is the time when you need to be enforcing some control rules. If you can do nothing else, keep the puppy crated a lot. Put it in a crate big enough for a pee pad in one end and a bed in the other. Be prepared to clean up when accidents happen and try to get the puppy out to the toilet area every two hours. The worst thing that happens at this age is the puppy gets too much freedom and doesn't know what to do with it. There is no need for any walking on lead before 20 weeks. All sorts of things come into play over this period but the main one is the dog learning that you are in control of A Food supply, and B. Freedom.

When our puppy is out of its crate it should be interacting with us one on one. That means appropriate games such as 'flick' and 'chase'. That means I am teaching the pup the word 'toilet'. That means I have a light rope on his collar so that I can make corrections without screaming 'No' and hitting him with a newspaper which as far as I am concerned is scraping the bottom of the barrel of discipline, and does not work. I want the pup to learn to follow me, plus 'go look' and learn to hunt things. During this 15 to 24 week period the pup can learn lots of words. Every time the puppy sits down when he is with me, I say 'sit good boy' and treat. When he lies down same when he stands same when he comes naturally, 'Come come come' and treat. Every piece of behavior he gives me that I want I attach a word to and treat. After a couple of weeks, I can reverse the thing. When I say sit he sits etc.

During this three month to six month period a very important piece of information is often missing from the handler's curriculum. FIRST GREETING. Under no circumstances must my puppy learn to be a first greeter. What is that? He must not learn to approach people and other animals ahead of me. It is the first step towards aggression and forward action towards prey drive. i.e. chasing sheep, chickens etc. This is the behavior that is the most easily fixed while he is a puppy and the hardest to fix in a rescue dog

I have a whole range of exercises to avoid first greeting, but the best one is the 'tie up'. Don't let your dog first greet anything. Come and work with me on this. During this whole first year of my puppy the things I want to establish are a healthy well formed dog of appropriate weight. A dog who knows how to listen and who has some basic commands absolutely nailed. During this time I am the leader of my new dog. My new dog does not know what being the leader is. He trusts me and I know that he will obey me.

As I enter my second year I have probably well started to do some flat agility equipment or started on his hunting sport work or his sheep work. Now I have to teach him to be a leader when I tell him he can be. The leadership qualities I want from my dog are all the things that I cannot do. In agility I want him to run fast ahead of me and complete the indicated equipment without me because I cannot possibly keep up with him. In hunting, I want him to use his nose on the wind or on the ground to find the prey we are wanting to hunt. My nose doesn't work like that so I need him to go and find those pigs and bail them and give voice to tell me he has it under control but hurry Ma because this pig is a biggie

I do not want to run up and down the hills chasing the sheep to a new paddock or bringing them in to dock lambs tails, I need my dog to be a leader and do that work. Unbelievably if you have done the early control and obedience stuff and the dog is pretty chilled and trusts you, its innate instincts and skills will come to the fore and it will positively automatically do the work it was bred to do. Usually without much help or training from you. If you are struggling to get the dog to do a piece of work the problems are:
1. A lack of trust and obedience
2. The dog does not recognise the work you want it to do and is probably the wrong breed for the work; or
3. The dog has body discomfort or pain or just total mental confusion due to your inability to show him what the hell it is you want him to do. See '1'.

By the time my dog is approaching 36 months, 3 years of age, he is mature enough to start making good decisions on his own. This is when the partnership begins. Some dogs, and breeds are ahead of this but by and large from three years on the dog should be your equal partner. He trusts you and you trust him. There may be occasions during that year when he oversteps the mark and needs correction. There may also be times when you get it wrong and misinterpret his work or give him wrong commands, but this is the year to really put all the building blocks in place for a long and happy relationship with a mature dog who likes nothing better than to be with you, doing what you do and enjoying your company. You can just look at each other and know 'Game's On’ That is the exhilarating, rewarding and exciting part of working with your dog.

As that dog grows older and wiser and a new puppy comes along, you then have a training partner for your upcoming dog. My old dogs have been fantastic trainers of my pups over the years.

I hope you all get to the point where the dog you own and work and live with is the best behaved most wonderful companion you have ever known and knocks the socks off your relationships with other human beings. As the saying goes....... THE MORE I KNOW PEOPLE THE BETTER I LOVE DOGS... Enjoy

Thursday, August 31 2017

Good Dog Training Newsletter - September 2017

Working with the donkey!

You may notice in the photograph that Koda the full coated Border Collie (Belonging to Tina) is a part of the walking pack.

This is my Donkey Sam forcing the dogs to be a pack and keeping everyone on the straight and narrow even with Recco (Tina's son) riding him, he is still in control. Nineteen plus years ago I got baby donkey Sam. He will be 20 in December. It took me three years to get him anywhere near trained and to stop him being naughty. I also had to teach him to accept loads on his back(he can carry 70kgs safely) and to pull carts and logs of wood and other useful things he can do on the farm, plus pull his cart with a couple of people riding in it (he can pull about 350kgs). Believe me it makes training dogs very easy.

As he became more compliant there were some things I noticed about his behavior with dogs. He wanted to dominate them. He wanted to discipline them with his feet, but he didn't want to really hurt them. He had a heap of opportunity to do damage but he never did. He has helped me to train seven of my own dogs to walk on lead properly, he has trained their behavior around him and other stock and he has taught the dogs that they need to understand someone else is the boss.

The dogs Sam and I like to help other dogs who live alone with their handlers and no other dogs as companions. These are dogs that need to learn their place in a pack. Dogs who chase cars cycles and other moving things are so sucked up to keeping their place in the pack and watching the other dogs, donkey, where their handler is etc, that they barely have time to worry about the traffic they are walking alongside on the adjacent road.

Chasing cars is a habit which is natural to Collies and Koda is no exception. Once a dog has chased two cars you have a habit. From here on we will be doing specific work around the road and Cars with Koda tied to the Donkey one on one. He should break the car habit fairly soon. It took two introductions and one on leash walk with his handler (Tina) walking alongside Sam to get him capable of being tied to the pack.

Even in the rain it is a lovely way to do a four k walk. We do it every morning. Sam is part of the cure for dogs who chase stock. If this is something you would like to do contact me for a time to start your training.

- page 1 of 13