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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:51 am 
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:( Well, Sadie and I finished up our distance class last week, and we'll be taking a break from classes until I find a new trainer to work with. Two weeks ago, during regular class, Sadie bit one of the other handlers. Granted, the lady stepped right on her when we were walking to course, but Sadie lunged and latched on to the cargo pocket on her shorts and almost ripped it clean off. The instructor and I talked about it, and she didn't want Sadie in class with a muzzle or a prong collar or anything else that could be consider negative training tools, and they have a pretty strict policy about aggressive dogs. So :ymsigh:

I suppose I have been waiting for something like this to happen since we started last October. Sadie has such definitive boundaries and such a hair trigger, it doesn't take much to push her to an aggressive reaction. She has snapped at a couple dogs, but never a fight and never at people. And of course because she has been so good, my talk about giving her space from last fall sorta lost it's impact and everyone was getting lax around her. Apparently lax enough to step on her #-o As one of my friends put it, that is like stepping on a landmine, the lady is lucky she only lost her pocket :-o Still, I agree with the instructor, I don't think trying to eat someone's shorts is an appropriate response.

I met Lamar, the behaviorist, at Mis and Mike's yesterday. We did more talking than training, though Sadie sat in the house with the poodle, was totally cool with the kids, gave Kass lots of kisses and even let Diva lick her face. She was pretty peeved about that one, but she'd already gotten a correction from Lamar and is smart enough to realize she's not going to win a battle with him. But it's back to square one on a lot of her behavior training. It is so frustrating to have a dog whose problems have improved immensely but is still having extreme reactions. I just don't think I'll ever be totally trust her around strange people and dogs. Safe, probably, trustworthy, doubtful.

We discussed some alternatives so Sadie doesn't lose her agility mojo. There is no doubt in my mind, nor the mind of the trainer, she could excel in competitions. I have learned a lot about agility and can certainly practice on my own, but I think I still need a little structure to get us to the point we can go to events. So I'll be looking at either doing agility at Triple Crown, where they train Schutzhund dogs and will have a different approach to a driven working breed, or setup private lessons somewhere. I'll probably take her for a spin at the agility field this weekend when no one is around, just to keep our skills up.

I swear, life with this dog... ~X(

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"You must be a very small minority no matter who you hang around with. Maybe you should start a magazine, Vegetarian Hog Dogging Monthly, find some like-minded individuals."
- Inspiration for my next project from TBH

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:08 pm 
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Julie N wrote:
Still, I agree with the instructor, I don't think trying to eat someone's shorts is an appropriate response.


I have said it before and I will say it again....... I do!

I understand that most people take a dog for granted these days but that is the problem, not the dog. Its an animal, fight or flight is mostly a social subject in humans, a topic for behavioral debate. Not so in dogs. They are animals and need to be respected by their human counterpart if there is to be harmony.

I would bet that out of all the dogs we have, yours, mine and the Brooks, 80% of them would bite a person who ignores personal boundary, acts lackadaisical and steps on them......

I know that in reality, none of that matters, BUT Sadie still got a raw deal on that one in my opinion.

Steve

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:29 pm 
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I would have to argue that Steve...you step on one of ours they yelp and run..Lamar and Mike have tested that theory.. :))

I do feel Julie got the raw deal here, but I think Sadie & Julie belong in a different group. They both need an agility instructor that understands pray driven breeds
(like Julie talked about)

Anyway Julie chin up Lady!! You have lots of support and help around you ;)

~Mis

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:53 pm 
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Oh, I don't disagree with you, Mis. Becky is WAY soft and obviously not cut out for such a driven breed BUT I still feel like Sadie got a raw deal......

Have you ever seen the movie Best in Show?

Lets just say that if I were a dog, in the exact same situation, with the exact same person, Id have bitten her too!

Steve

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:54 pm 
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Oh and remember, I was there and watched the whole thing go down!

Steve

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Remember the dog wags the pedigree and the reverse is not true.

16, intelligent and articulate, I'm a fan!


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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:04 pm 
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The whole situation stinks, especially since it seems like Sadie was making such progress! I'm curious...what's the difference between the place where you were going and Triple Crown? I know you said they are more familiar with driven working breeds, but how do they handle them differently? Just curious.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:41 pm 
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I am sorry but if someone stepped on me I would yell, dogs can't yell they respond in theire own way... Sadie is getting the raw end of the deal here.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:07 pm 
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Yeah, I do think it is a little unfair to banish Sadie from the class for one incident that was essentially provoked, but personally I think Sadie overreacted. I suppose I understand where trainer is coming from, but when you have such black and white rules, like absolutely no negative training of any kind, it doesn't give us flexibility we need to work effectively. She said we were welcome to come back when Sadie's "issues" were resolved, but I think it will be a really long time before I can trust her to not bite someone who steps on her, so...

Amber, I'm hoping that because Triple Crown does work with such driven working dogs, they might have a trainer that would allow a prong collar in between exercises so I could correct for behavior issues. I believe that for training tasks, like actual agility skills, positive reinforcement is the the way to go. But for behaviors that are unrelated to those tasks, like bowing up to strange dogs in class, the only thing that works with Sadie is negative consequences. Trust me, I tried positive reinforcement to reward good behavior for two years, and it had zero impact on her reactivity. That is what our trainer wasn't willing to work with, that this individual dog needed a different approach for training skills versus controlling behaviors.

Of course if I take private lessons somewhere, that eliminates the strange dog/strange people/being stepped on by fellow students issues, and I bet we'd progress at a faster pace. So I'm considering that as well.

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"You must be a very small minority no matter who you hang around with. Maybe you should start a magazine, Vegetarian Hog Dogging Monthly, find some like-minded individuals."
- Inspiration for my next project from TBH

True Blue Lacys: http://www.truebluelacys.com
More Lacy Pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/julieanna/sets/72157605027566732/


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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:18 pm 
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Julie N wrote:
Of course if I take private lessons somewhere, that eliminates the strange dog/strange people/being stepped on by fellow students issues, and I bet we'd progress at a faster pace. So I'm considering that as well.


True but you wouldn't have the benefit of a provocative environment either. So you wouldn't get the added benefit of working on behavioral issues during class. I honestly do believe that having Sadie in that environment once or twice per week was beneficial to your continued behavioral work.

Steve

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Remember the dog wags the pedigree and the reverse is not true.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:42 pm 
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But again that goes back to the issue of being in with the right training group.


Had it been a child that accidentally stepped on Sadie the damage could have been massive.
Sadie reacted without thinking (Julie is aware that Sadie does this so she knows I`m not being tacky) Julie & Lamar are trying to teach Sadie to think before she reacts...the raw deal is that the agility trainer doesn't understand Sadie needs consequences.

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Bayed Blue...Bayed True...That's A Lacy Dog
If You can't keep up with the Lacy Dog...stay on the porch!
http://www.nationallacydog.org/index.html
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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 4:15 pm 
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I do think the socialization is good for her, but I also think it needs to be in the right environment. As everyone saw at the meeting, she was great, but everyone there, including the kiddos, knew how to respect working dogs. Agility was an OK place for socialization, but no one else had a dog like Sadie, so no one else really knew how to act around her. I had to be extremely vigilant and proactive all the time, and one of the few times I wasn't, this happened.

Private lessons would at least be a stop-gap measure to keep her moving in the right direction. But obviously they cost a whole lot more than the $15 for our group. So that's another concern.

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"You must be a very small minority no matter who you hang around with. Maybe you should start a magazine, Vegetarian Hog Dogging Monthly, find some like-minded individuals."
- Inspiration for my next project from TBH

True Blue Lacys: http://www.truebluelacys.com
More Lacy Pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/julieanna/sets/72157605027566732/


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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 6:04 pm 
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Sorry to hear about this Julie but I tend to agree with Steve, she got a raw deal. I know if you steped on a couple of my dogs you might just get a nip too. My heeler ike was the worst, he has claimed his fair share of torn wranglers from guys that thought they were bader than the dog. I would never trust ike out by himself but he is one of the best heelers you would ever met. If he knows you, and im home, he is ok. if he doesnt , his guard is up and you or anything wont get close to me. Ive just learned how he reacts to different situations and treat him accordlingly. When I leave home, I know everything will be here when i get back and that is worth its weight in gold!
I hope you find a new place for training her, and I love to watch the schutzhound competions. I would think a lacy could do gret in that environment also :D Keep your head up and one of these days she will amaze you!

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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:13 am 
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I would almost count on Triple Crown allowing the use of a prong collar or other type of correction collar in between runs. We have a correction collar made by Triple Crown for Ruby. http://www.triplecrowndogs.com/product/1583/StarMark-Collar.html We use positive reinforcement as much as possible but we need to allow for immediate consequence for negative actions.

We trained Ruby with that collar and a lot of treats early on so her "manners" are pretty solid unless she doesn't get run out. Then she just wants to play, chase anything that runs including the neighbors. She doesn't bite, but she did have a problem early on when playing she'd try and grab an arm or nip a leg. That was when the correction collar came into play.

I know I wasn't there nor do I fully know the whole situation, however I can see Steve's point. You've mentioned in previous posts that you advised about Sadie's issues to the class. If people ignore warnings, bad things happen. Am I saying that the lady is 100% resposnsible for Sadie's reaction, of course not, but had she not gotten so relaxed as to step on another dog, let alone a dog with additude issues, the situation wouldn't have occurred. All dogs have the ability to bite and I think people forget that.


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 Post Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:31 am 
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SteveW wrote:
Have you ever seen the movie Best in Show?

One of the funniest ever! And not long ago I flipped channels to a dog show, listened to the announcers for 3 minutes, and knew they just had to be the ones the movie was based on. Hilarious! After seeing the movie, you can't see a dog show without busting a gut.

But oh Julie... this sucks! And the conversation about what is appropriate, how that desired behavior has been bred into the overall dog population, and the by-products of that, can go forever. It is looked at as a black-and-white issue, but the reality is more complex. For generation upon generation, dogs that bit, regardless of how appropriate that is, have been put down. So that characteristic has been bred out, unfortunately along with lots of great working characteristics and prey drive. The willingness to accept 'punishment' is one of the fundament differences between a wild animal and a domestic one. You can't put a wild animal on a leash, and try to get it to follow you by correcting behavior. Try that with a wolf and you have a disaster on your hands. It goes against all their survival instincts; their genetics. It doesn't even work with cats, because cats are more simbiots than they are domesticated animals.

Some dogs are closer to their wild wolf ancestry than others. Given that Lacys have wolf bred back into them not as long ago as most other breeds, its my opinion that Lacy characteristics are reflective of being closer to 'wild' than other breeds, which lean more toward the 'domestic' side. This contributes the strong prey-drive, the hunting instincts and skills, the pack mentality.. and also an unwillingness to be 'punished'. And I'm quite certain that being stepped on is viewed by the dog as being punished. I suspect that, if you polled the Lacy owner population, dogs that don't respond well to rude behavior are also dogs that exhibit strong hunting drive and skills. So the black-and-white approach to biting, even in response to bad human behavior, is one of the many ways the dog breeder world is eliminating working skills.

My next statement will go against the grain of widely held beliefs about how to handle a working breed, but I believe the most effective way to train a Lacy is to recognize its wild roots. That means training them the way wild animals are trained, and that means understanding and using Operant Conditioning. Unfortunately, there are a lot of trainers out there who sell themselves as positive trainers, and who avoid aversive techniques for 'ethical/humane' reasons, but who don't have a deep understanding of Operant Conditioning. They use a 'recipe' approach to training, and when a dog like Sadie comes along that doesn't fit the recipe, then everything falls apart. Someone who really understands, and can walk the talk, would help find a way to shape Sadie's behavior to extinguish the undesired behavior. Obviously I don't know Sadie the way you do, and while I know some of what you have done while you turned your life upside down on her behalf, I don't know the trainers you have had helping you. From what I have read, though, there has been a combination of positive reinforcement and 'traditional' training, but nothing that is truly solid Operant Conditioning from someone who has mastered it. If I'm wrong, just let me know and I'll 'STFU'.

As I've watched Cannon responding to clicker training, and studied the science behind it, I've really been convinced about what it can do. I've also realized that using Operant Conditioning is a real skill. As a new "OC" handler, I make mistakes constantly. They are obvious once they are pointed out, and I can see all the undesired behaviors that I have unwittingly trained into Cannon. Using OC with dogs has evolved rapidly over the last several years. There are a few real masters out there, and I guess what I'm asking is... has anyone who really gets Operant Conditioning and has mastered the techniques had a chance to work with Sadie? Someone who has all the tools, and uses whichever OC technique is appropriate for the situation?

Dang I hate to see Sadie missing her agility classes!

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 Post Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:42 am 
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Jim Browning wrote:
My next statement will go against the grain of widely held beliefs about how to handle a working breed, but I believe the most effective way to train a Lacy is to recognize its wild roots. That means training them the way wild animals are trained, and that means understanding and using Operant Conditioning. Unfortunately, there are a lot of trainers out there who sell themselves as positive trainers, and who avoid aversive techniques for 'ethical/humane' reasons, but who don't have a deep understanding of Operant Conditioning. They use a 'recipe' approach to training, and when a dog like Sadie comes along that doesn't fit the recipe, then everything falls apart. Someone who really understands, and can walk the talk, would help find a way to shape Sadie's behavior to extinguish the undesired behavior.


I'm certainly intrigued by this idea and think it brings up a valid point. I feel like Lacys need a much more intense style of training than your typical pet. Now, intense doesn't mean abusive or even negative, it could very well mean strict OC rather than mixing in positive reinforcements. R+ has worked to shape tasks for Sadie, like certain agility skills, but I always have this feeling that it isn't quite clicking the way it should. Almost like she can out-think R+.

Do you have any good resources to post on OC? Especially as it relates to behavior issues or advanced training like agility. I think the approach we are taking with her behavior issues now is working, but I'm not sure how much OC it uses. I'd definitely be interested in some more reading, especially before we start agility again.

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"You must be a very small minority no matter who you hang around with. Maybe you should start a magazine, Vegetarian Hog Dogging Monthly, find some like-minded individuals."
- Inspiration for my next project from TBH

True Blue Lacys: http://www.truebluelacys.com
More Lacy Pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/julieanna/sets/72157605027566732/


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