Sandra and Patch first session today in Skegness with Diesel. Patch is 13 years old and Sandra thought there was no hope with his age. Despite the typical barking to begin with this was half way through. Which for a reactive Dog is a massive achievement. Sandra was put off training after she first rescued Patch with a bad experience. She has persevered and now sought out training and her hard work really is paying off. Well done both 🐶
Most of you who know me and Train with me know that I reward with either, food, treats or praise. Some of you even think its bribery, think that its over the top or over essential and I re educate you. Now it was asked yesterday why Sandra was not giving Patch treats and heres why just to clarify for anyone else interested but too scared to ask. You can clearly see in Sandras hand that she is carrying a treat pouch, she even drops it at the traffic lights. How many of you noticed when we stopped Patch stress increased, he was looking back at Diesel and because he has had training with treats he knows now not to bark all the time as it is an unwanted behaviour. So this was a 2 minute segment out of a 1 hour session. Some Dogs like food constantly as a reward, some Dogs cannot take food because the stress levels are too high, some Dogs have been known to snap when given food because they know they are programmed to want the food, but because they are stressed they don't really want the food so they snap which can cause a negative reaction from their human. This happens a lot with Patch.
So example from Patchs perspective;
"Oh my God why the hell is that Dog walking with us, I'm scared, I'm stressed, why is he there, Mum, Muuuuuuum hes there still hes still with us, why is Tasha holding his lead, why. I dont understand this, I don't like other Dogs. I cannot cope with this. No I don't want the food, I have butterflies in my tummy, but I will take the food anyway because I am programmed to want food, normally I like food, but this is scary and stressful."
Human reality; Patch is stressed, his body language is not happy, drop back the distance, he's still spinning, he's barking, he's telling us he is not happy. OK when he is quiet reinforce with food. OUUUUCCCHHHHHH Patch snapped the food and got my hands.
Patchs perspective; OH MY GOD MY HUMAN SCREECHED SOMETHING IS WRONG I BLAME THAT DOG AND THAT DOG ALL THESE DOGS I CANT COPE.
Read it and re read it, its horrible isn't it. Ever been afraid? Yep this is how reactive Dogs feel. If you have ever expereinced anxiety imagine all you can do is bark and scream and bark to say nooooooooo I am not okay? Horrible isn't it but still these people are forcing us into this uncomfortable situation and it sucks ass massively. So I have turn my hand to each Dog I work with and boy they are so different from one another, I have to think fast and on my feet.
Tashas brain; OK Dog is scared, he is seeing "Good Boy" and vocal cues as a stressor, everytime we praise he is getting scared and he is not remaining calm. OK show him the food, no he doesn't want it. OK keep walking. No, don't stop, its a stressor, no really don't stop. Too late he has had too much time to focus on the stressors around him. OK talk to him don't use a high voice, use a calm voice. OK handler, relax, loosen up, don't be stressed, loosen up. OK keep walking, Try the food, can you give the food without making a noise if your accidentally nipped. No, OK cannot move and give food to a Dog what to do now, can't throw the food on the floor, trigger to stop. OK lets keep walking, drop back the distance. OK he is doing good. OK increase pace, good all is good, OK he's OK!
This is my brain and this is just an example of how this is when I work with Dogs, I have to be mindful of 1) Dog in Training 2) Owner 3) Diesel 4) Environment 5) Other people 6) Other Dogs 7) Myself
So remember when I post a video or I am doing or not doing something, there is a reason behind it, every Dog is different just like kids, I will use whatever tool I can to help the Dog from my brain. Never ever ever a physical tool but tools within my brain and body language. Hence falling backwards last week and giving myself a head injury. I will do whatever is in my power force free, to help a Dog and their handler in whatever way I can:)
Patch smashed it in town on Saturday and coped really well with the Xmas Market too. He handled being around 4 Dogs at the Indoor market and managed well considering he was only a few yards away. For Patch this experience is similar to what it will be like in the Summer. PLEASE DO NOT TRY AT HOME WALKING A REACTIVE DOG WITH ANOTHER DOG. This is a part of reconditioning Patch, and managing both Dogs in such a way where neither one becomes injured and please remember Diesel is trained to do this, so please do not try this at home. The video is for Patch's progress and for his Mum to look back on and smile