Dar Growled on Walk--fear based

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Postby ArtGypsy » July 27th, 2009, 11:50 am

Hi Guys.........
Well, I walk Dar most every day around town with his Gentle Leader--...He seems to really enjoy the walks, but will RUN the minute he even THINKS I've reached and gotten it from the drawer. :(

The trainer-gal who sold it to me said one of the things it does is 'calms' the dog-----I don't know if he's CALM, per Se,, but it definitely takes the bounce out of his step when I first put it on him. If we go ahead and start walking, his tail goes right up and he's fine. But say I have to answer the phone after it's on, or I put him in the car, he looks ASHAMED. He's head is lowered and well, it's kinda pitiful.
I have NEVER heard him growl before!!!

When someone comes to our house, Dar is uber-friendly. People on the other side of the fence make him more nervous-----jumping around, barking at them...

hackles up (his hackles raise even if he's thrilled about something) and won't come close.

When I have him around people with the head collar on, he's very shy and runs behind me to get away from whoever is talking to us...ESPECIALLY if they are focusing on him.

((Except when we go to the trainer/boarder for him to play. Even with his head collar on, he's THRILLED to see them and is a wiggle butt))

Yesterday, I was walking him through the winding sidewalks in the park, when two women came around the corner at us...I stepped aside, so they could get by and Dar and I stopped. Dar scooted around the back and me and growled at them when they walked by. :o

I'm thinking of getting a prong collar for him; despite the myriad attempts to lead him around with a flat collar and reward him, he just pulls too much for me----I'm just not strong enough.

The walks are good for Dar, as they wear him out in a different way than him playing in the back yard or on his spring pole. It's a good thing I'm really FAST walker, or I think he'd be pulling me even more than he does with the head collar.

I feel like I've failed Dar by considering the prong,,,,,,,,,,,I really really wanted to do the positive stuff, but maybe I'm just not consistent enough, or maybe I"m just too lazy. :|


---------Jody, who hates it when Dar runs from his head collar.....

Ps.

Every time I put the GL on him, I praise like crazy and try to give him treats. But even though he's really treat motivated other times, he really could care less when he's got the collar on.
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Postby TheRedQueen » July 27th, 2009, 12:05 pm

My initial thoughts are that if he's starting to growl, that a prong collar might not help matters, but make things worse. If you use a physical correction for a behavior that is fear-based, it can cause the dog to fear that thing even more...or become *more* aggressive. The fearful behavior may NOT be equipment-based...so be aware of that.

The prong will definitely help you with the pulling, as does the head halter...but remember, they're both TOOLS. They're to help you get the behavior that you want...(loose leash walking/LLW)...but it's not an overnight fix, no matter which you choose. Unless you choose to use them as management tools, you'll still have to work on not pulling, and weaning him off the equipment.

I don't use head halters much anymore, because unless the dog is conditioned to them early on, they often shut down as you're mentioning. My first choice is a buckle/flat collar, then I go with a front clip harness. Both pieces of equipment go along with TONS of positive reinforcement for LLW. I do use head halters for reactive/aggressive dogs, so the head/mouth is under better control.

How old is Dar now...?
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Postby mnp13 » July 27th, 2009, 12:29 pm

According to the GL's website the head collar works as follows:

http://www.buygentleleader.com/View.asp ... escription
More effective…the Gentle Leader allows owners to communicate with their pet in a way that dogs instinctively understand. The nose loop encircles the dog’s muzzle and applies light pressure in the same manner in which lead dogs naturally communicate with dogs lower in rank. Because of the placement of the nose loop, the dog immediately understands its place in the hierarchy and recognizes the owner as the leader.


In other words, it works by mimicking dominance. Training through dominance practices is not always the best thing.

He seems to really enjoy the walks, but will RUN the minute he even THINKS I've reached and gotten it from the drawer.

This tells me that he hates it, though you obviously know that already. Some people don't like prong collar use, but my dogs start dancing the minute I get them out because they know they are going somewhere. He shouldn't dread you putting it on, and though he likes the walk so probably just puts up with it, his behavior when you are not actively walking is more accurate as to his state of mind.

People on the other side of the fence make him more nervous-----jumping around, barking at them... hackles up (his hackles raise even if he's thrilled about something) and won't come close.

Fence stuff is generally barrier frustration; kind of like "I'm not sure if you're here for a good reason or a bad reason and I can't get out so you stay away!!" It's no different from dogs in cars or any other confinement.

When I have him around people with the head collar on, he's very shy and runs behind me to get away from whoever is talking to us...ESPECIALLY if they are focusing on him.

Does he do that when he's on a flat collar? It sounds like he is totally shutting down, so he is basically lacking confidence to meet people.

It's a good thing I'm really FAST walker, or I think he'd be pulling me even more than he does with the head collar.

He shouldn't be pulling at all with the head collar. One of my pet peeves about head collars is the "up and back" pressure on the neck. If the collar is fitted correctly and he's pulling anyway you may be causing physical strain (not necessarily harm, but it's not a natural movement for a dog.)



I feel like I've failed Dar by considering the prong,,,,,,,,,,,I really really wanted to do the positive stuff, but maybe I'm just not consistent enough, or maybe I"m just too lazy.

Why? There is nothing "bad" about using prong collars. If you use them correctly they are not any different than any other training tool. They correct bad behavior.
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Postby ArtGypsy » July 27th, 2009, 12:36 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:My initial thoughts are that if he's starting to growl, that a prong collar might not help matters, but make things worse. If you use a physical correction for a behavior that is fear-based, it can cause the dog to fear that thing even more...or become *more* aggressive. The fearful behavior may NOT be equipment-based...so be aware of that.

The prong will definitely help you with the pulling, as does the head halter...but remember, they're both TOOLS. They're to help you get the behavior that you want...(loose leash walking/LLW)...but it's not an overnight fix, no matter which you choose. Unless you choose to use them as management tools, you'll still have to work on not pulling, and weaning him off the equipment.

I don't use head halters much anymore, because unless the dog is conditioned to them early on, they often shut down as you're mentioning. My first choice is a buckle/flat collar, then I go with a front clip harness. Both pieces of equipment go along with TONS of positive reinforcement for LLW. I do use head halters for reactive/aggressive dogs, so the head/mouth is under better control.

How old is Dar now...?


Thanks so much..........
Dar is pretty close or 'is" 11 months now.
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Postby juniper8204 » July 27th, 2009, 12:53 pm

I agree with what mnp13 said, though I am by no means a trainer...just been to A LOT of training classes.

As for the prong collars, I can honestly vouch for them, and there's no reason to feel bad about using one if your dog responds well to one. I use them on three of my four dogs...the only reason I don't use one on Raja is because she is just a bit too young...maybe in another month or two. When I first got Mindy from the pound in 2006, she pulled like crazy on the leash. Once she reached about 6-7 months old, I tried the prong on her and she was really receptive to it. Now, with constant practice on both of our sides, I can walk her around the neighborhood on a flat buckle without the slightest tug. I'm still working on this with the other dogs.

My trainer told the whole class that the prong collar is actually very humane...moreso than the choke collar which gives a correction that is many times ignored (causing a constant correction) and can cause severe damage to the trachea. I've tried the GL before with not much success...my dog would just thrash around and act like I was killing him. Prong collars have always worked much better for me.

I read somewhere that having the prong collar is like adding doggy-power steering...and that is very true. But also keep in mind that it is a tool to use to acheive getting your dog to respond to your commands and to hopefully be able to one day walk without the aid of one. It's very easy for someone to use the prong collar as a crutch.

BUT, just because it worked for me certainly doesn't mean that the same applies to everyone else. In the end, you have to do what you are comfortable with and also what is best for your dog.
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Postby Malli » July 27th, 2009, 1:05 pm

all I can say is I had one on Oscar a long time ago. His initial reaction was awful - he bucked around like a horse- and then more or less got used to it. In the end I felt it didn't really "help" for pulling, he couldn't pull as hard but he did still pull, and he'd do that "rub on everything" thing. In the end 3 things did it for me, that it didn't really work(for us, anyway), that it wore the fur off his nose in a strip, and then one day I heard someone comment on his muzzle :shock:

Honestly I've found the prong doesn't have much of an affect when he wears it, except for the correction :| Its the only thing(I tried the flat collar, Gentle leader/Halti, choke chain, modified choke chain, and martingale) that has ever truly worked for him.

To me, it sounds like the issue might be more then the Gentle Leader - IMO that is quite an odd reaction.
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Postby amazincc » July 27th, 2009, 1:47 pm

Fence stuff is generally barrier frustration; kind of like "I'm not sure if you're here for a good reason or a bad reason and I can't get out so you stay away!!" It's no different from dogs in cars or any other confinement.

So... is it possible that Dar views the GL as a sort of "fence/barrier" around his mouth? And that it makes him feel insecure?

Jody... I wouldn't be too freaked out by the growling, as long as it wasn't combined w/lunging at the women... clearly, he was uncomfortable/unsure since he hid behind you.
I do agree that a prong is not such a great tool when you have a very fear-aggressive dog, but - as aways - it depends on the dog and the circumstances. Dar doesn't sound like he has those issues.

I personally think that some dogs are very "sensitive" (not quite the word I was looking for, but I can't come up w/a better one... :P ) about their heads/mouths... when Sepp was neutered and had to wear a cone he actually couldn't function... at ALL. He wouldn't eat/drink, wouldn't go potty, and acted like he was paralyzed from the neck down. :rolleyes2:

I would try a front-clip harness, personally, and see if that makes a difference. I would also let him play/run around in the yard first, and then take him for a walk... sometimes tiring them out before-hand can make a huge difference. :)

Dar, you knucklehead... :heartbeat: :giggle:
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Postby BullyLady » July 28th, 2009, 12:27 am

I find prongs to be an excellent tool to help LLW. I had the problem with Sirius (great dane) that he couldn't focus on training because he was too wound up, but I couldn't exercise him because he didn't have the training to behave well on a walk. And when the dog is 150 pounds that's a severe issue. That's when I discovered the prong! I started using it on the suggestion of a trainer friend and I was really pleased with the results. It's a negative reinforcement tool, which scares some people off, but I found it to be really helpful, and hardly use it for actual corrections, just the self-corrections that are issued when the dog pulls too tightly on the lead.
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Postby mnp13 » July 28th, 2009, 2:01 pm

BullyLady wrote:just the self-corrections that are issued when the dog pulls too tightly on the lead.


In my opinion, self corrections are the BEST way to get the dog to modify behaviors. If I am setting a dog up to fail, I also set the dog up to self-correct for that failure. Generally it's a very bad thing to set a dog up to fail in a training situation, but because you are giving the dog control over the outcome they seem to pick up the message much clearer and faster. that's the reasoning behind the "turning" method with teaching a dog leash manners. They are 100% in control of what is happening to them with no input from you and they quickly realize how to remedy the situation.
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Postby DemoDick » July 28th, 2009, 4:47 pm

amazincc wrote:So... is it possible that Dar views the GL as a sort of "fence/barrier" around his mouth? And that it makes him feel insecure?


Yes, this is not only possible, but likely.

The pulling is a seperate issue. If the dog is pulling, there is an underlying lack of respect going on. This is not fixed with correction collars alone. Plenty of people who think they need to use a prong actually have dogs that will respond to a flat collar correction, if it is correctly applied. Unfortunately, for many people, a prong quickly becomes a management instead of a training tool.

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Postby ArtGypsy » July 28th, 2009, 10:17 pm

DemoDick wrote:
amazincc wrote:So... is it possible that Dar views the GL as a sort of "fence/barrier" around his mouth? And that it makes him feel insecure?


Yes, this is not only possible, but likely.

The pulling is a seperate issue. If the dog is pulling, there is an underlying lack of respect going on. This is not fixed with correction collars alone. Plenty of people who think they need to use a prong actually have dogs that will respond to a flat collar correction, if it is correctly applied. Unfortunately, for many people, a prong quickly becomes a management instead of a training tool.

Demo Dick



:rolleyes2: :oops: :rolleyes2:
Yep.
and I can easily see that happening to me.........

and pulls HE DOES.

just got back from a walk---------he has his GL on and was doing okay. we stopped to talk to neighbors, and I figured this was a good time to work on his shyness.....as soon as the neighbor lady and son sat in the grass, and let Dar come up to them on his own, he was soon giving kisses and butt wiggling like crazy.

We wondered since he was 'being so good', that maybe we could see how he acted without the GL . It was off maybe 10 seconds, and OFF he went towards the tree to smell something.
If I hadn't 'run' those few steps with him, I would have been on the GROUND. :sad2:

So....I put the GL back on him, and VIOLA'....he stood more still, "calmed"? down, and wagged his tail as they petted him again. No more pulling/dragging me around the yard.

sigh.

I should have got a Maltese.... :crazy2: :( :crazy2: :(

-----Just joking. but still. I feel inadequate....
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Postby amazincc » July 28th, 2009, 10:55 pm

ArtGypsy wrote:
-----Just joking. but still. I feel inadequate....


Oh, I do, too... all the damned time. lol
Which really isn't a "bad" thing, because it makes me want to keep learning, and it keeps me asking questions...

The day I declare myself perfect I will shoot myself. :| :wink:
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Postby ArtGypsy » July 28th, 2009, 10:57 pm

amazincc wrote:
ArtGypsy wrote:


Oh, I do, too... all the damned time. lol
Which really isn't a "bad" thing, because it makes me want to keep learning, and it keeps me asking questions...

The day I declare myself perfect I will shoot myself. :| :wink:


:x
Thanks, Christine...........*sniff*
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Postby amazincc » July 28th, 2009, 11:12 pm

Are you bringing Dar to NY???
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Postby mnp13 » July 28th, 2009, 11:19 pm

.I put the GL back on him, and VIOLA'....he stood more still, "calmed"? down


no. SHUT down.

If you put it on and it's a "magic" change then it is not functioning as a training tool, it is functioning as a management tool and that is very different.
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Postby ArtGypsy » July 29th, 2009, 7:21 am

mnp13 wrote:
.I put the GL back on him, and VIOLA'....he stood more still, "calmed"? down


no. SHUT down.

If you put it on and it's a "magic" change then it is not functioning as a training tool, it is functioning as a management tool and that is very different.



OH. :( :?
Even if he seemed 'happy'? ((cause of the new people lushin' all over him?))......butt wiggling and such?


sigh.




Thanks, guys for your input/expertise........

One might think I've NEVER had dogs before........at least dogs that didn't 'mind' obey, whatever.

my dogs always minded me, ya know? would come to me if I had that 'tone' ,,,,,,,
and maybe that's it.
Maybe with the other breeds/mixed breeds I treated them more like I treated kids. At home he minds me so much better.......even with things he REALLY wants, like the cat, the cat's bowl, jumping up on the door, etc.
But outside that gate?

anyway.........thanks again.

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Postby ArtGypsy » July 29th, 2009, 7:46 am

amazincc wrote:Are you bringing Dar to NY???



No...............I really needed this trip to NY to be as stress free as possible, (given the timing with everything else going on, ya know)

There's too many other things going on for me to be bringing in Dar on top of it.

:rolleyes2: :rolleyes2: :rolleyes2: :rolleyes2: :rolleyes2:
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Postby furever_pit » July 29th, 2009, 9:52 am

I don't think you should feel bad about introducing the prong collar either. It's a great tool when used correctly (like all tools, lol). They don't have to be a crank 'n' yank kind of exercise, which is how many people view the prong unfortunately. And you can definitely still use positive reinforcement while using the prong.
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Postby plebayo » July 29th, 2009, 9:03 pm

I am not a fan of gentle leaders. I know many dogs that wear it every time they go on walks and still they don't enjoy them one bit. Sometimes our training tools work against us.

I do think you could use a prong collar, but why? I guess my question it, strength or not, why not correct the problem? Also using a prong collar could make his reaction worse if he decides he is really freaked out about something. You could have the same issue with the prong collar as you have with the gentle leader.

I'm kind of curious as to what your corrections are when he pulls you? When my dog's do something I don't want them to do I make an "ah-ah" noise. I've always done it with my horse and it carried over to my dogs. It gets their attention regardless. When my dog is pulling me, I do a quick jerk and release. Your dog pulls because he is used to the tension being on his neck, you should be teaching him to back off of pressure rather than go into it.

I'm not anti prong collar but I feel like it doesn't teach your dog anything because when he isn't wearing the collar he will still pull you around. If that's what you need to teach him how to respond to a leash correction better, in hopes of moving him back down to a flat collar, than I think it could work. But i don't think a prong collar should be the answer to your problem. When you go for a walk YOU are in charge, and you should be the one calling the shots, you dog should never lead unless you allow them to. He needs to learn that he isn't in charge, you are.
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Postby mnp13 » July 29th, 2009, 9:45 pm

I do think you could use a prong collar, but why? I guess my question it, strength or not, why not correct the problem? Also using a prong collar could make his reaction worse if he decides he is really freaked out about something. You could have the same issue with the prong collar as you have with the gentle leader.

If that happens it is user error.

I'm kind of curious as to what your corrections are when he pulls you? When my dog's do something I don't want them to do I make an "ah-ah" noise. I've always done it with my horse and it carried over to my dogs. It gets their attention regardless. When my dog is pulling me, I do a quick jerk and release. Your dog pulls because he is used to the tension being on his neck, you should be teaching him to back off of pressure rather than go into it.

A prong collar is actually designed to give a very efficient "jerk and release" correction. 10 flat collar corrections are less efficient than one single prong collar or martingale collar correction.

I'm not anti prong collar but I feel like it doesn't teach your dog anything because when he isn't wearing the collar he will still pull you around. If that's what you need to teach him how to respond to a leash correction better, in hopes of moving him back down to a flat collar, than I think it could work.

In my opinion, this is true for any training tool. the eventual hope is for the dog to respond no matter what they are or are not wearing.

But i don't think a prong collar should be the answer to your problem. When you go for a walk YOU are in charge, and you should be the one calling the shots, you dog should never lead unless you allow them to. He needs to learn that he isn't in charge, you are.

I agree with you 100%. However, it's not always possible for a smaller handler to get that point across to a large dog. That's were tools like a prong collar work very well.
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