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How do you find a trainer that will work with you to achieve the level of training required for a guardian? More specifically, I guess, how do we find our dogsavvy? I would imagine a novice trying to train by themselves would end up being a disaster, but so would a bad trainer. I'm not in any position to own a guardian, and probably won't be able to for about half a decade, but would working with such a trainer (i.e. helping with the occasional classes) for a little bit help to give us an idea of what needs to be done?
 

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Discussion Starter #62
That's so nice The best thing you can do is visit trainers in your area , see if you can find a trainer who trains how you want. For me, I cannot go the route of the trainers who bark out commands or go for the shock collars. I dont get what i want from a dog by zapping them...ever. I take that very seriously. Why? Imagine I take you & train you to be my bodyguard but I speak Greek & you speak English. There are bound to be mistakes & confusion but instead of making effort with a translator I put a gadget on you & shock you. Not nice & not likely you'll want to protect me. (I wouldn't blame you). Training is the translator between handler & dog. Trainers who jump to the zapper are in a hurry, lazy, OR dont know better. Dogs are sensitive unless bred or trained not to be.

So in searching for a trainer, look for someone who loves the work more than the $ they make from it. Look for someone fascinated with the work & is eager to go see what they can learn. If they think they have all the answers (unless it's an old someone with a LOT of miles of training) move on. The Masters I know are still learning. Observe them train & ask if your views on training & dogs mesh. For example i dont train with food or toys so to go to a trainer who rewards or motivates with food or toys... bad match. (You dont want a dog that can be bought off or distracted for a guard).

I would get as much experience as possible. You'll kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. I know I did. It's sad but I've been on field with people not fit to man a pooper scooper. And I've put myself between some dogs & their abusers. I try to mind my own business but some things put me into motion. It's my instinct to protect them just as their kind has always done for me. Sort of like breathing. So brace yourself & find you someone who doesn't see your safety as a game. Doesn't mean you wont have fun. You will.

Ask questions about their methods & philosophies but watch what they do in training. The dogs tell the truth

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I just really wonder what makes a “good” trainer and what makes a bad one. I've heard so many (what I believed) to be decent trainer’s methods shot down or criticized, accused of animal cruelty and I’m not saying all the accusations are wrong, but I just wonder what’s right? For the long run too, nothing that’s a fad.
 

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Discussion Starter #64 (Edited)
Luluspoo,

I'm sorry this is gonna be long. I can't seem to revise it down enough & I'm better showing you through parables & examples. So here we go!

This is the part where I take a big sigh & say, it's a little like religion. (No, I'm not going to go religion on you here but let me use it as an example because it's one of the things families, friends, coworkers don't often talk about because it's so hot-button topic). Okay so you have the Baptists, Catholics, Evangelical, Full Gospel, Church of Christ, Methodists, Non-Denominational, Jews, Budahists, all the way over the other end with the moon/stars people, the athiests, & even satanic worshipers. On my little list here (there are FAR more than I could think of). So that first part of the group can agree there is a God, the middle people have their own take on things, the latter believes there is not God & the Satanists think we're worshiping the wrong team. If you get people from all denominations, beliefs, etc... & you talk about the weather, the nice dinner you just had or even a movie... you'll likely have a pleasant time. Let anyone light the match on the topic of religion & you will have everything from the very quiet people who don't want to get in on this to the very loud ones who are trying to do conversions on the spot. You can have wars & busted friendships & family over it.

Dog training methods & the discussion of good or bad is just about like talking religion. You have the clicker trainers, no correction/aversion-positive only, the some aversion/correction but not too much, you have correction based crowd, & then those who go into extremes that I shall not go into because it scares my keyboard when I do. So if you ask, "what's best?" "what makes the good ones?" You will get answers that vary but everyone thinks their way is best.

Honestly & probably a little too bluntly, I will not ever trust my own personal safety to a dog who can not be corrected. This would be a little like hiring a bodyguard who had never been told no. So he wants to protect you with a machine gun at a high society event & now you're telling him, "no, sir, you may not bring your Rambo M-16 military weapon to protect me at a fundraiser for sick children." And the bodyguard, having never been told no has a melt down like a two year old. And yes ma'am, I have witnessed this personally on my own training field. If you know anyone that's been in the military, they weren't trained with time-outs & by ignoring their bad or incorrect behavior. They were trained by some drill sergeant who they hated but had little choice but to respect. They got torn down & built back up. Luckily the dog doesn't need torn down unless he's been let become truly awful (bully, high levels of inappropriate aggression, etc...)other than teaching obedience, opening that translator between human & dog through training so there is a means to communicate. Will there be unpleasant or scary moments (for handler & dog), yep, probably so. Dogs make mistakes. Sometimes when they get frustrated the dog will lash back on the handler. I've had pinches, punctures. Had my best male sink his canines in my right thigh when he sparked on a dog next to us & I stepped forward instead of back. He was wrong for going at the other dog but I make a mistake by not stepping back & using both vocals & leash/collar to correct & prevent. I have a lovely reminder in the shape of a tear drop & I still remember that day with great fondness. It's my only "tattoo" of one of the top dogs I have owned. Not because of the bite but because when he hit my leg, I felt him pull his power from the bite, he literally removed his canine from my leg by choice, took his nose & shoved my leg out of the way so he could proceed. It is the day I learned just how much control over the bite the dog has. On occasion you will see a dog that spins out of control during training & you use leash & collar to bring the dog's front up on his toes so he can't harm himself or someone else. It's not pleasant to see or do but the dog has left his thinking mind & gone into a place where he's fighting & not in a thinking way. If you are new to training & you go watch a trainer & something like this happens it can f-r-e-a-k that new person out! What a monster that trainer is. Well maybe s/he is a monster & maybe it's where the dog was in that moment & the only safe thing to do until you can access the mind again. Most of the time when this happens it's the result of poor handling or a dog with a really hot temper, rarely it can be a mental defect. (This is also why it's critical to have the right equipment on a dog & on properly so at worst it's uncomfortable.)

I'm going to make a separate post because this one's getting too long
 

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Discussion Starter #65
Okay, I now have a new computer which will hopefully not delete things & shut down mid-type. Ugh!

So one of the marks of a good trainer can only be seen when everything goes terribly wrong. I was once watching a famous tv trainer lose it on air. Oh he didn't go bats & start yelling & screaming like I've seen trainers do but when he got bit (which he pushed the dog until it had little other choice) he was shaking, fire in his eyes, labored breathing, etc... you might think this normal but a really good trainer should know that emotions have to be kept in check & you never go to a dog when you're mad...EVER. On the flip side I saw a high level pro get bitten & his voice remained calm, he gave instruction to the handler. There was no foul language, no raised voice, no anger. He did his job, he assured the handler that it was "Good this happened here & not on the street. Here we can work on the issue." He was sincere. This is the good kind.

As far as methods, there are probably dozens of way to teach the simple sit. I read one book that said to press on puppy's hindquarters & place him in a sit position. When I read this I go very easy & apply gentle pressure until puppy tries to figure out what I want & wa-la... a sit. Praise puppy, "good sit". My ex neighbor could read the same book & puppy gets its butt slammed down hard enough to make me wonder how the poor thing has hips. The method is not faulty, it's the person administering the technique. This is very important. I was taught a technique to heel bump a dog who ignores the sit command when the dog is not responding to other methods. An owner saw me do this once & became upset. "You kicked that dog". I turned & stood next to the man & applied the same method to him on his calf muscle. It took 3 times before he caught on. "OH, is that how you did it?" Yes, you're not kicking the dog in the rump. You're bumping much like you would if I was touching a friend's arm to get them to look at something, nudge... nudge. For some dogs this works better. For others they move their tush out of your way & it creates miscommunication. So for every dog you own or as a trainer you handle, you have a hat full of ways & you just have to figure out what THIS student responds best to. Then you have to watch how the various techniques are administered.

Back to temperamental trainers... it's very important for anyone seeking a guardian trainer to work with, it can never be more critical than to find a trainer who is the calm in the eye of the storm. Everything could be going to pot around him & he's just calming people down, directing & redirecting, taking a dog that's out of control & keeping everyone safe & bringing the dog back to its thinking mind. He is not the guy breathing through his teeth, raging through his eyes, sweating & trembling & being mad at the dog. Dogs make mistakes that's why it's training. If you can't check the emotions & temper at the door... do NOT train or attempt to train guardians. Go talk to any coach male or female who has worked with boxers, wrestlers... go to basic & talk to the instructors who bring our soldiers, policemen, etc.. along in training. They get mad & sweat & sometimes blood flies. It has to happen in training. But the instructors are no good if their way of handling it is to beat up all their subjects. Eventually the 'subjects' gang up on the instructor. Dogs are no different. I didn't get nailed by my dog that day out of respect, I got nailed because I screwed up. But if I was the sort to beat him up, try to scare him or make him submit... you're gonna get what you earned at some point.

Most people these days are anti correction. I've been told so often that I'm an old relic training in the dark ages. I never claimed to be new age or modern. My dogs are not fearful, not even of corrections. Yes, if they really do something that I have to give a strong correction they do look chastised however they have zero fear of me, my leash, or my collars. I pick up the leash & here they come. That does not happen in fear based training. When I am training with a dog, the dog has a warning correction word (for lack of better term for it). So if the dog is about to break the down/stay. I see him raise up & I say, "pfui it", the dog knows if he doesn't go back into position I will give a lead & collar correction. Likewise if I 'pfui it' & he goes back down, I will praise "good pfui". Sounds odd I know but it's effective. The last thing he was told was pfui... he fixed himself.. good pfui. My use of tone makes a difference between correction/warning & praise. My Poodle got 'pfui it' the other day & rolled over on his back, covered his eyes with his paw, peeped out at me. (He thinks he's so cute). I said nothing, laughing inside, outside I am stoic. He rolled up into a proper down position & was praised. He sat there looking rather regal & important. So if I have to get to the leash & collar correction I have a different correction word/phrase & it's been so long since my 9 year old has heard it that I think I startled her the other day when she heard it. She boiled out of the bathroom (she is guarding our world from monsters in the pipes in there) to see who she needed to pinch. I relieved her of that duty & she harumphed & went back to her duties.

So you see it's not only the techniques, it's also equipment properly applied & used, it's techniques properly applied & used, etc... so many things to become a good trainer. If you seek the knowledge of the Dogman, it'll take most of your life to get there. I have a ways to go yet but I'm learning, always. Self proclaimed 'experts' are scary people to me. I've not met any who know it all, far too many seen & done it all types. I met one a couple of weeks ago. In all her discussions I learned she's been training 3 whole years, has a master trainer's certificate. So cute, but so dangerous. I have met many who are still seeking, still excited to learn the ways of the dog. Those people... great hope for their future.

If there are specific techniques you'd like to discuss we can pick them apart together.
 

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It was so hard writing this, I have a constant ad popping up. Anyway, I think the training technique I seem to like most (but that receives the most criticism from what I know) is what’s referred to as the pack technique. I already have two dogs and I can admit that there are certain things that I can most likely work on with my dog and A LOT that can be worked on with my bf’s dog (this dog is a chihuahua and follows absolutely no rules whatsoever, it takes a long time to incorporate something into his life and even vets discourage certain ideas/training ideas. It’s mostly due to an illness he had as a puppy). I also want to just add that although I hint at both dogs having different owners, responsibilities are shared and whatever we do with one dog, we do it with the other.

I’m very interested in the “pack training” technique because from what I’ve heard, (and please correct me it’s not true!) although it does create a dog hierarchy with the right owner and trainer, it can prevent serious fights from breaking out amongst multiple dogs within a household. I don’t want an abundance of dogs. I just know that in two years, I want a poodle and whenever my boyfriend and I get married then settle into a house, my next dog will be a guard type breed. That’ll be four dogs total and I want there to be a chance that I can manage them. Matter a fact, I want there to be a chance that I can get another dog without considering one might be too aggressive or one might attack the dog, etc. I do not have that problem at all now, nor have I ever, but still it crosses my mind. I’ve also read that the pack technique helps a dog catch on to what is expected of an owner. For example, I’ve watched a YouTuber who likes to walk their pack off leash at a secluded area. Whenever this person called their pack, if a dog was goofing off and not listening the owner trusted the alpha of the pack to correct that certain dog with a bark or soft nip at the lower legs. The same thing went for jumping on family members. It wasn’t tolerated by the pack and in their own way, the dogs taught younger pups that this was not right.

Whether it’s wrong or right, I really found it fascinating. It’s kind of like the trainer/owner set the rules and everyone followed. Of course, a major issue I found with this is the fact that packs could never go to dog parks or have friendly dog visitors such as a family member bringing their own dog over to say hello. The dogs just didn’t take kindly to it. It was very much similar to a wolf pack v lone wolf standoff. Maybe that’s why people don’t like the idea of it?


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Discussion Starter #67 (Edited)
The problem with the pack stuff is leader sets rules but others enforce them. I couldn't do that. I have 1 strong guardian who is senior dog, 83 pound Giant. Next in age, 6 yr old Chihuahua 6 pounds, Collie 5 yr old 65 pounds. Chihuahua 3 yrs 5 pounds, & our baby 18 m months, 75 pounds. Could you imagine one of the bruisers giving ANY correction to the 2 tiny dogs? Could be deadly. On occassion I will loose a dog to correct another due to a young dog being very rude to another. Not a cue to fight. In 9 years, it's happened once. My fiesty Collie thought she was boss hoss... for about a month I'd correct the Collie until one day the Giant realized I didn't expect her to take this but rather than fight, she didnt gentle her play but gave about 3/4 of her strength to it. End of Collie dominance attempts. I thought it might come to this with the Spoo but he's cooled off a bit.

My Spoo tried to correct one of the Chis about his food. I gave a strong verbal correction & he sorta said, wow, okay...that was a no no. I don't let the little dogs pester for food. Now he let's me deal with it.

For me, I'm the leader. I need them to look to me for direction. I'm not saying the other way is bad, just no good for me. I covered 81 acres with 6-15 dogs. The only one on leash was a youngster or a naughty teen. Just remember when dogs choose their own hierarchy, there will be dominance battles

Edited to add: yes, they dont accept outsiders easily.


eventually


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Do you think it’s possible for the owner to set the hierarchy? Would you say this is an `okay’ way to train multiple dogs if done correctly?


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How do you give a leash correction the right way? I’ve found that most people do them much too hard to be effective, and wind up causing the dog to be fearful.
 

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Discussion Starter #70
Do you think it’s possible for the owner to set the hierarchy? Would you say this is an `okay’ way to train multiple dogs if done correctly?


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It's the handlers job to set the rules about how all this is handled. I cant make the others respect my Collie but I can dictate what's done about it so consistently that they begin to use some of my ways. The tiny Chihuahuas are the queen & princess. When a pup arrives I will use strong vocals & call the shots with all dogs in the family. Do NOT step on, put teeth on, run over, etc... in time my protection of these wee ones catch on. If the chi corrects the pup I back her up. Chi is allowed the illusion of power & the wise dog of big intelligence, the mini mice dogs are high priority important. Then we just shape the behavior from there. Yes, my Giant is aware that the chi cant beat her but it is her handler's desire that we go along so they do. NOT to say the Chi are allowed to bully & terrorize. Easy with some breeds... hard with others
 

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Discussion Starter #71
Luluspoo,

Adding to the above post I said it's easy with some breeds, hard with others. My Malinois, Dobermans (see note), Giant (see note), Collies, Spoo, some German Shepherds this is easy. Those breeds want to please the handler. Dobermans on the whole have issues with tunnel vision (see cat... cat needs driven off property as it's after the chickens... & Dobie goes flying across the yard, not seeing the picnic table... thunk... Dobie makes a noise as it stumbles, gets up & goes on to chase cat away. Tunnel vision is dangerous with tiny dogs because they are seldom on the big dog's radar). Giants are not so tunnel vision & are capable of keeping all their 'chicks' on radar while they fight but the problem can occur when they leap, lots of power & what they land on so you have to find an individual who is a little special for your needs.

When you get in to the big molosser breeds, this becomes harder. Why? First off the molossers are to the dog breeds what draft horses are to the equine world. Bless them for it because there is a time & place for these big fellas however if you have small animals/children etc... now you have another issue because what's fragile to a Doberman is far smaller than what's fragile to a Cane Corso. Exceptions to this rule can be the Livestock guardians who are bred for generations to work with farm animals & who come from dogs successfully guardian the more fragile things like fowl, lambs/sheep, super highly bred high strung horses, rabbits, etc... (Yeah, I helped someone train 5 livestock guardians for their rabbitry and another for a place who breeds guinea pigs. The guinea pigs needed a pair of Collies.) With this big lovable oafs they might attempt to play with a Chihuahua & literally crush it without ill intent.

So I want to be clear on the difficulty here. If you just have one or two big dogs... not as much of an issue. I have a tribe. Currently 5 dogs, a flock of chickens, two aquariums of fish. Before we moved I also had 2 horses. So much depends on what the dogs will be working around. I've a friend who raises these big beautiful peacocks. Those birds require a dog who can read birds as they will flog a nice dog. If you raise pigs, well lets just say you better get a dog who knows better than to hang out in the hog pen.

How do you give a leash correction the right way? I’ve found that most people do them much too hard to be effective, and wind up causing the dog to be fearful.
Okay, depends on what kind of collar you are using.
--slip/choke collar (first should never ever be used to choke). A correction with this collar should occur parallel to the ground, level with the dog's neck. So you better get creative if you're using this on a short terrier. The neck/spine injures on small dogs with these collars are huge & it's not about power (that's another subject) BUT because most people correct at a wrong angle & causes an upward jerk. My rule of thumb with this style of collar is that if I have to correct twice & the dog is not obeying or showing respect to the collar/correction (which ALWAYS comes from me with a correction appropriate vocal)... then I will go to the prong.

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(NOTE: fine link chain which when activated through correction slides easily without catching & makes a bit of a zzzz sound as it does. Most dogs will hear the first link or two & correct themselves & you never actually make a full correction. The leash is hooked to that little loop sticking out there, the chain follows up over the neck & goes around. So when you correct & release, the collar instantly loosens.)


The PRONG:
-- Lord knows this collar has a lot of controversy about it. The collar was created to mimic mother dog's neck pinch that occurs when the puppy is corrected in the nest for biting her teats too hard or chewing on her or other mother knows best corrections. The collar was also tested in a life long study on dogs & was found to have less neck/spine injuries than other types of collars which existed at that time. There has been many arguments over the years on how to hook up the prong collar correctly. Many want to hook up to one ring which gives the collar a harsher 'shut down' on the neck. This is incorrect & anyone who wants to argue is going to have to show me proof. When I hook up to the biggest dog with these & they feel the bite of the prong when used correctly however your hands moderate the harshness & where you hold the leash. If you hear a yip from a dog when I correct it's because the dog is surprised not because he is injured or hurt/harmed. If you hurt a dog at any point during training, everything, all the hours you poured into that dog is down the toilet & the dog can't trust you. I'm not talking about the accidental step on the toe or tail. Dogs do read our intent. So the prong has never been intended from the time of its creation to be used to hurt a dog. Yes, there are morons who sharpen the prongs to make them brutal. Those people should appear before a firing squad & we know how that ends. I have no tolerance for such people. But the prong when you hook it to both rings, hold your leash properly (slack between you & the dog) so that when you give a pop (correction) the dog feels the energy & may be startled & it's not pleasant but it's not hurtful/threatening or blood worthy. The one ring hook up is harsher. Totally not nice to hook a dog up that way. So now that we've gone through that...
I'm gonna draw you a word picture for now & I'll try to find you a picture. I can't find my darned pictures or this would be easier. The prongs go across the back of the neck, NEVER on the soft throat area. Hook to both rings. When you hold the leash, you hold at the furthest point away from the dog that you can & still affect a correction (each handler has to find that point). Hold leash in right hand, keep left hand off leash & wa-la. An effective way to correct the dog without hurting them. Strength of correction... depends on the dog. My Giant has worn the prong many times but she's had 2-3 corrections on it in two different sessions. One was as an older teen when she decided she would try to dominate me during grooming. One can not allow this with a Giant Schnauzer. Two short, sharp corrections coupled with vocals that sounded as if the tone of my voice could end her & she decided this was NOT the way to go. Again, not about fear, not about pain. Sort of like a kid who does something really stupid & mom & dad are both after the kid & he says to himself, "okay lets not ever do that again". The kid knows his parents are going to REALLY kill him. It's not like he's getting beaten or wounded yet the whole experience is enough he doesn't want to repeat it. It's meant to be unpleasant, not a killer.
Mr. Layne wore his first prong at 7 months of age to protect him from harming his throat witha choke or flat collar. He could NOT be trusted to walk nicely & not suddenly try to bolt off & hurt himself. He had zero respect for collars until the prong. He is unsafe in a slip/choker collar.

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This is the only prong collar photo I can show you right now. Can not find my pictures. This is my Malinois doing the wheelbarrow training I talked about. You can use a plastic or metal barrel for this as well. She is sporting a prong collar. Dogs like her & most of my guardians wear a training collar & a wide flat collar. In emergency, I can hook my leash to the flat collar for protection work or to track someone. Then we go back to the prong for training or most other things on a walk. (Prong collars ALWAYS come off when you're not working.



Flat collar: this can be leather, nylon, etc... & if you have a dog that is very mild & has no desire to upset you, you can probably train off that flat buckle collar, no problem.

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Pardon our "pigpen" impression. This was as a young dog & we'd had flooding rains, had huge lake like puddles in our front yard & she loved to run & jump in them but landing in a down position. That buckle collar is an inch or so wide. She would never work effectively off this collar until she's an older dog. The slip/choker collar is her preferred equipment. She hears that zzz & it's all done. (also above you'll see Mr. Layne in a neoprin wide flat collar which provides cushion (it's purple)
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This is a 2 inch wide nylon collar & it would be perfect for the naughty Mr. Layne who will sometimes lunge against the collar at unexpected times & makes him cough because of the pressure on his throat. The wider collar is helpful but the buckle is insanely large on this one & one of our chihuahuas nearly got a leg in it. But this is the nylon version of a wide collar I would use during bite work, it protects the throat. Not the best collar to use during training.

For a super gentle dog like my Collie you could put a loop of yarn around her neck & work her with it.

Remember how I said dogs have to be on the balance point. Well so do we as handlers. So we have to be ready to praise, be ready to correct but not one more than the other. If you expect the dog will fail... he will. You don't give him any other choice. So when training we have to look at self... look at dog... are we on the balance point? Are we present in that moment with the dog or are we thinking about what we're going to fix for dinner? Dog can't be a rock star during training if you're distracted. Why? Because dogs are fluent in human, & they have a doctorate degree in their humans. On the flip side we humans are a mess. We don't understand our own species much less the dog (at least not to the depth that the dog understand & reads us).

Having said that always remember if you tell the dog 'sit' & the dog sits, you reward "GOOD sit" so the command & good behavior are reinforced.
If you tell the dog 'sit' & he doesn't, you 'pfui' (or whatever your word is) if the dog complies then you praise 'good pfui' (again dog understands he did what you wanted in connection to that warning. If dog doesn't sit still, you give your correction word + physical correction (lead/collar correction) that matches the training level of the dog. If it's a little tiny puppy that might just be a lift of the finger on the lead or if it's a seasoned pro dog that knows its job it would be a sharper correction with a strong vocal.
This is the pattern from dog to handler in ALL training with me. So if I tell the dog to 'hup' on the groom table, the dog is to hup himself up there, if he does not, warning... if not... correction & then he will be up on the table. Likewise whatever point the dog hups up there he will be praised according to that pattern.

Sorry, can't talk about one without the other.

The amount of power exerted in a correction depends on the dog. If you are doing obedience & the dog is making mistakes you slow down, exaggerate to teach. So if you correct you do it in an exaggerated form & relatively slowly (remember my dogs get a warning 'leave it' or 'pfui' before a physical correction). So by the time we get to a physical correction, the dog is choosing to block the handler out & we can't allow that. Now to be fair you have to look at our communication. Once it's on the dog but if the dog isn't getting it, keeping going back up the line of training until you find the part the dog really gets. For most dogs it's 'sit'. They may mess up everything else but 'sit' they understand, they do that for everything & they know it. So if you have to go back that far... go back. Right now Mr. Layne is struggling with the stay command. It's not that he doesn't get it, he's just feisty & wants to move, move, move. This requires patience, repetition. Some dogs have a very good attention span & you engage them in training, especially the stuff they love to do... oh man, you have them. How long can we do this hooman? Can we go longer? Do we have to stop? I find this often in tracking & bitework. & swimming, retrieving, etc... Not so much for obedience if you're just doing it as flatwork. If you're incorporating obedience work into obstacle work like I described in the wheelbarrow work. The point in corrections is to get to the point you rarely have to verbally correct. If you do this properly by the time the dog's 3-4 years old you may strain your brain to remember... when did I last correct him? I know I do... but when? If you learn to work obedience into an obstacle/working agility work, you'd be stunned to learn just how interesting you become & the dog is all about working with you.

Since I mentioned interesting I need point out that the whole trick to this is if you become interesting to your dog... no I mean you get the dog thinking, "what is she gonna do next?" or maybe you have a dog who has a problem going through narrow spaces. He just doesn't think he'll fit but you get on knees & hands like him & you go through & have him follow behind you... the dog says, "wow, okay I can be brave because my handler is here" & soon he'll be brave enough to go through that on his own. Next thing you know you gotta be careful he's not squeezing through places you don't want him to go. But you got that by becoming interesting. Rather than force the issues & risk forcing the dog... you change the conversation. The pup comes to that narrow space & says, "no, no, I won't fit... no I hate it" but rather than trying to coax him & you drop down & say, you're going so come on pup, follow" now the pup goes, "what the heck" & follows you or tries to. Now you'll have to be attentive to what the pup is doing in an awkward position & help him where he falters. When you train in this way it's not longer just about praise & correction. Now it's about something bigger. Your dog has a human that doesn't make him struggle alone. You go from being handler to becoming your dog's John Wayne! Oh my, he'll follow you anywhere.

Yes, sometimes the dog is going to require you to be strict & no nonsense, give those corrections, give that praise. Help him to find that foundation. A dog should never be afraid of his handler, though if you were in my house & someone makes me mad you'll see my dogs sort of drop their heads & peer around. If it's not my husband who is in the dog house you'll see them come together & they're looking for who they need to drive out. They don't see me mad very often (i mean it is rare) but once in awhile I get really irked & they don't like that. They are not afraid of me but they want to stay out of my way while I'm grouching around & they'll come up & put their heads on my lap or a paw on my arm & look at me. This is the dog being drawn to the handler in times of emotion. This is why when we work dogs, especially if you're doing something like tracking a human... you must have control of your emotions or the dog can't focus to work because he needs to be with you to comfort you. So likewise if you get emotional & upset during training, the dog just gets so low. Never compare him to another dog. When he succeeds be proud of him, he'll feel it. When he fails just know that you are going to bring him through it & have patience, smile & offer him a pat or a scratch & have the attitude that you'll get it next time.

If you train this way, you'll have a dog that would walk through fire with you. And I hope I've managed to explain this in a way that is easily understood. Any questions, fire them off. I will find a way to help.
 

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It's the handlers job to set the rules about how all this is handled. I cant make the others respect my Collie but I can dictate what's done about it so consistently that they begin to use some of my ways. The tiny Chihuahuas are the queen & princess. When a pup arrives I will use strong vocals & call the shots with all dogs in the family. Do NOT step on, put teeth on, run over, etc... in time my protection of these wee ones catch on. If the chi corrects the pup I back her up. Chi is allowed the illusion of power & the wise dog of big intelligence, the mini mice dogs are high priority important. Then we just shape the behavior from there. Yes, my Giant is aware that the chi cant beat her but it is her handler's desire that we go along so they do. NOT to say the Chi are allowed to bully & terrorize. Easy with some breeds... hard with others
My biggest concern is my tiny chi if I ever decide to get a larger dog in the future (spoo or guard type breed). I’ll be honest, I’ve let people get to me with stories of larger dogs stepping on the smaller one’s back and breaking it, injuring the smaller dogs by playing too rough and I want to prevent it as much as possible. I’m not terrible at training, but I do look into other training methods often. Do you have examples of your chihuahuas maybe overstepping their boundaries compared to the big dogs?


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It does happen. Our Giant leapt over our very tiny Chi & we will never know if the Chi moved or the Giant goofed but the Chi was killed instantly. In my lifetime this has happened once. My husband went inside to check the biscuits in the oven. It was devestating.. little Red Beans is pictured with the Giant.

After my husband cried all night in his sleep I made him find a puppy. You never replace a dog...ever. He needed that little pup to fuss over. That would be the gold Chi, Boo Boo. She is all fun & sunshine & set our world upright though even after many years we both still grieve her loss.

The truth in all of this is the dog acted as she should. Had that been a rattle snake instead of a bad guy, she would have taken the bite to protect the little one. Had the guy tried to get the little dog (that's my suspicion), the guardian prevents it. Sometimes things go wrong even when the course of action is correct. It's why you must be so disciplined when you have large & small together. But there are no guarantees.


The 2nd picture is Boo Boo. She's the little ray of sunshine that came to fill a gigantic hole. It took a year for the Giant to move her feet with baby Boo around. Boo didn't care if we thought the Giant shouldn't be loose with her. She loves her big dog.

This is why a lot of the bull/Mastiff side of the Molossers are really worrisome because the can mess up a tiny dog due to size & power.

Stay tuned I'll tell you about Chihuahua to Giant corrections next.


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I should have started with how to pick a breed. But I started with breeder. So we'll back up for just a second.

Breed is largely a matter of preference but it's also a matter of what you can find available that are suitable. I usually have a few breeds in mind. But sometimes it comes down to finding a breed you can enjoy that has the tools for the job you want them for. I spent over 10 years to find my Doberman, & more than that to find the right SPOO. To be clear though I was striking out because many thought I had a crack in my head or that I was a maniac to want a SPOO for work as a bodyguard except I had trained with & handled two. I also found a kennel (more recently) in Russian who are breeding & handling SPOOs trained in bite sport but I didn't want to travel to Russia.

At the time when I was searching for a dog & picked my Giant Schnauzer, I had visited some working Bouvier kennels. I got to train with a couple & did not care for the some strong breed traits. They also weren't as agile as I wanted. I liked the sense of humor of the Briard but not the stubborn streak. The Giant Schnauzer offered a good looking dog that provided me the overall picture of what I wanted, a good looking dog who did not invite a lot of people to try her (she is 83 pounds of muscle, extremely powerful dog, she has a growl like a grizzly bear, & has a natural instinct to protect. We were moving to desert country & I've been told the Giant doesn't like heat but honestly heat & snow doesn't bother my dog within reason. She'll lay on snow & ice & when it was in the 90's with high humidity last week she'd go sun herself in full sunshine.

Likewise when she was old enough & I knew it was time to get a youngster I had been loosely looking for a SPOO, I had a near miss with the Russian breeder. Met someone breeding crossbreds that thought they would fool me. But then I found Mr. Layne's breeder. When I learned she had a breeding pair who had actively put an intruder out of the house... I had to hit her up. We talked for a long time & liked each other immediately. She prepared me & released the beasts. Her male & female charged like two battle warriors. The female stopped out of reach when the owner called her name & told her it's okay but the male rushed right up my nose practically but he went up on hind legs & came eye to eye with me. I heard both owners catch their breath. I looked at the dog & said, "Well hello there, aren't you a peach" & he turned on his hind legs, sat beside me, & leaned up against me. Instant friends. And no do not every let anyone release their dogs on you if you don't have enough experience to know what you're getting into. I do & had this gone bad I was prepared to take the hit. This pair was purely raw talent without proper training.

Stay tuned for more of traits to look for.
We have a Spoo now because of where we live, his friendly personality is a real asset. However, I agree with your love of Schnauzers . we had Standard Schnauzers for 25 years because we had young children, a big yard and a neighbourhood that seemed to attract a lot of break and enters. The Schnauzers were totally reliable with all of the neighborhood kids, but implacable guardians of children and property. They ferociously prevented several attempted break and entries.

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Discussion Starter #75 (Edited)
We have a Spoo now because of where we live, his friendly personality is a real asset. However, I agree with your love of Schnauzers . we had Standard Schnauzers for 25 years because we had young children, a big yard and a neighbourhood that seemed to attract a lot of break and enters. The Schnauzers were totally reliable with all of the neighborhood kids, but implacable guardians of children and property. They ferociously prevented several attempted break and entries.

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The Standard is one I've always wanted but was told they wouldn't do so well with my Chihuahuas but I've always wondered because typically, farm dogs adapt to whatever the master wants to keep. I know of a pair who acted as sentry guards for a rabbit breeder. I've seen them go stop the rabbit pens to dispatch & the female mothered many baby rabbits. Some day

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It does happen. Our Giant leapt over our very tiny Chi & we will never know if the Chi moved or the Giant goofed but the Chi was killed instantly. In my lifetime this has happened once. My husband went inside to check the biscuits in the oven. It was devestating.. little Red Beans is pictured with the Giant.

After my husband cried all night in his sleep I made him find a puppy. You never replace a dog...ever. He needed that little pup to fuss over. That would be the gold Chi, Boo Boo. She is all fun & sunshine & set our world upright though even after many years we both still grieve her loss.

The truth in all of this is the dog acted as she should. Had that been a rattle snake instead of a bad guy, she would have taken the bite to protect the little one. Had the guy tried to get the little dog (that's my suspicion), the guardian prevents it. Sometimes things go wrong even when the course of action is correct. It's why you must be so disciplined when you have large & small together. But there are no guarantees.


The 2nd picture is Boo Boo. She's the little ray of sunshine that came to fill a gigantic hole. It took a year for the Giant to move her feet with baby Boo around. Boo didn't care if we thought the Giant shouldn't be loose with her. She loves her big dog.

This is why a lot of the bull/Mastiff side of the Molossers are really worrisome because the can mess up a tiny dog due to size & power.

Stay tuned I'll tell you about Chihuahua to Giant corrections next.


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So what precautions do you think are truly necessary to prevent the incident? I might be getting a mini poo instead of a spoo, but I was thinking with a larger dog, you probably couldn’t leave them out together when you’re not home (that’s pretty obvious with any dogs though). However, you should have enough trust that you can walk away and not come back to an accidental death. Do you have to put emphasis on the difference in dog sizes? I really like the illusion of the chi as the big boss! I’m so sorry to hear about the death of the first chi and I’m glad to hear that you guys found another. The second one almost looks like my Luna

This conversation couldn’t have come at a good time too lol. My boyfriend and I have been together for awhile now and he’s talking about getting a Great Dane in the far future. I guess I can toss the idea of getting a cc out LOL.


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Luluspoo,

Oh boy well my personal experience with Great Danes was b-a-d. I've owned one. The one I had was a throw back to the old boar hunting dogs. My vet at the time was the son of Great Dane breeders & they knew exactly what I was facing. I should have rehomed her on the spot for the sake of the dog. She was a 1 person dog & resented anyone interfering with her time with her human. I have trained with a few Danes & it's enough for me to know I am not a Dane person. I did eventually find a person just for my Dane. By then the vet's parents were retiring from forty years in Danes. But the guy I found for her lived alone & he lived out in the country. But he learned about 5 months into life with Pickles the Dane that he was not to bring lady friend home. When he did, he was punished. Aside from her being a grump toward the lady, Pickles would do things like; eat a Dane sized hole in front door, kill all his chickens & pile the bodies on the front door, rip all the crotches out of anything he owned that were pants, shorts, sweats, underwear... all now crotch-less. He had to sew together patches to put on his pants so he could go to town & buy pants. She also yanked his pants down exposing him to a long line of traffic... a funeral procession. Pickles was a menace. I've always thought the Marmaduke character was crafted after an experience such as ours except funnier. Each time I would check with him over the years & offer to take her back if she had become too much, he refused. He loved that dog & she him. You'll want a very good quality breeder. Pickles lived to be an old Dane but I'm told many don't have long lives due to health issues. :(

Now, about big dog little dog. Aside from being very careful in breed selection & then individual selection, you have to start the day Big puppy arrives. Mine are not allowed to eat out of the tiny dog's food bowl. At all. No excuses. Now a new puppy doesn't understand so right off the bat I redirect. All my large breed dogs are fed in their crate. If I give Mr. Layne (my SPOO) a treat, it's in his crate. Why? If I drop a piece of food on the floor & 5 dogs launch for it, I'm likely to have an injured or dead Chi. So I do this as a manner of training, of course not on the first day with a puppy. I begin by putting the Chi dish up, out of reach. When I do put it down, puppy is not allowed to go to it. But by then puppy knows what 'leave it' means. So every food interaction is controlled & monitored without fail. My Giant & Collie are old hands at this. I can pitch a piece of pepperoni on the floor from across the room & say, "here Tink" & the big dogs don't budge. If she walks away from it, turning her tiny nose up at it, then I can direct one of the big dogs for clean up but ONLY on command. None of my large breed dogs get to do this until they are at least 3 years old. Why? Because it's so ingrained in them by then not to lurch toward nummys that by then when I do allow it on a rare occassion... they go get it & it's as if they've gotten away with something. If at any time after that they get pushy... it's back to never for months, maybe a year.

Feeding time has rules. Big dogs are fed in crates behind locked doors. This gives the pup-adult peace while they eat. There is no built up tension or frustrations or fear that someone's going to steal my food. So in the crate, meal time. They get 30 minutes to an hour after meal time before they are then ushered outside. Any food left over is removed (I have to laugh... nobody in this crowd ever leaves behind food but... if they did). The dog goes outside in the yard for free time to relieve themselves but also if there's another dog they might romp around & that's not good for a freshly filled gut. My little dogs are the only dogs I own who have kibble & it sits out all the time. The large dogs are not allowed to eat it except... Tinkerbell does love to feed her friends the pieces she does not like to eat. So about once every 6 months I will catch her sneaking treats to the crowd. (Chihuahuas are naughty). If they find a stray piece I don't scold for them eating it but we're raw feeders so they're not really excited about a kibble. All of ours are trained to sit & wait for permission to go to their bowls to eat. Why? More control. If I sit something down & one of the littles go rogue & try to get in there to get the big dog's food, the pup-adult knows I will handle it. They will not lose anything by standing down. Sit, stay... if Chi is naughty you will hear me say, "wait" & the big dog holds position until I deal with naughty chi. They have to trust me to pay attention & to direct the traffic. In turn I trust them not to break & try to correct a chi, which I will NOT tolerate.

During interactions with the little dogs when my large breeds are puppies there are rules: no slapping with paws, no putting paws on chis or holding them down, keep your teeth to yourself until you learn how to do it, etc... So for some puppies they're just not allowed to socialize like that. For Mr. Layne, it took him about a month to learn, no paws, no teeth. He is now 18 months old & will very very gently mouth Tinkerbell but she's pinched him so many times to correct him if he gets too rough that he fears the Tink. I literally sat on the bed with her on the bed, him on the floor, being the play conductor. It's harder to explain than do but you have to read both dogs so fast. Oh yes, no large dogs on furniture. One 70 dog getting up on the couch with a Chi under the covers equal dead chi. So don't do it. Big dogs are on the floor & I don't own a large dog that has an issue with it. They see the others stay on the floor. Chi needs to be able to get away from the big dogs, out from their feet.

I'll let you digest this & come back with more later. This is just a sample. You have to begin with a pup just as you want him to be through his life. Begin with the end in mind. So if I wanted to love on & hold my pup, I simply sat in the floor & snuggled.
 

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More Chi to big dog training.

I set the little dogs up much the same as I would if I had a rabbit or a chicken. My big breed dogs are expected to protect & serve. If it's important to me, it becomes important to them. So with a young pup, my chihuahuas know puppies are nuts so they get up on the couch. Puppy can come up & if puppy is nice the Chis will come up & snuffle, play nice. If at any point the puppy tries to pinch, the Chi will correct & I will put my hand on the puppy's chest & physically give a small amount of pressure as I say, "ah-ah, leave it". You'd be surprised how quickly puppies learn 'leave it' because you use it about a ba-jillion times per day. But I will take hold of the muzzle & prevent lunging. Working bred pups have a tendency to see that little dog nip & want to tackle it. This must be learned right off the bat. Because it's how puppy learns what is okay & what is not okay in your Humansville you set out teach & you must understand puppies learn 24/7, if they are conscious, they are learning - good or bad. I will protect the little dogs at all times. So let's say the pup has been with me a few days & is showing indication of knowing what 'ah ah' & 'leave it' are (not perfect but an understanding). I will set the kibble bowl down. Now this dish is off limits to puppy. If one of the little dogs gets down to go get a bite of kibble, I will be perched on the edge of the couch or if it's a fast pup or one that tends to block out what she doesn't want to hear, I'll sit in a chair next to the kibble bowl. The pup will be rebuffed when she focuses on the kibble bowl; a verbal 'ah ah' as she approaches the kibble bowl, a strong, sharp 'leave it' if she attempts to approach to steal. It's important puppy doesn't self reward at the bowl. ((FYI: puppy should also be taught to sit & stay, wait for their own bowl to be sat down, then a release command given for the pup to go to the meal. For all my dogs but especially guardian pups, I will tell them 'crate' or 'load up' & as soon as the puppy is in the crate they can eat but I will ALWAYS every single time reach down & stroke puppy's head & say "good (repeat the last command word)". My Collie was very food aggressive with other dogs as a puppy (very odd for a Collie) so she had to undergo about 6 months worth of conditioning so she understood it would never be okay to lash out at someone over the food bowl. Once she had this ingrained... never another bit of trouble until she was dognapped. Took about 30 days for her to come back to herself after that.)) If everyone did a release to food bowl command there would be far fewer owner/children/dog conflicts that started with food but the humans didn't know it.

I want to point something out. In Humansville, there are humans who say, "But... but... it's not fair for one to have something the other doesn't" if that is your mindset, it's most likely you'll have problems & I really can't help you. I don't look at this any differently than proofing training. Just because food is present does not mean it involves you (said to Giant Schnauzer, Collie, & SPOO). My dogs are never teased with food but they know shortly after arrival that the presence of food doesn't mean they're getting it. If you do it right, here's something that's very possible. I opened a bag of shredded cheese once & it ripped wrong... cheese everywhere. While I was busy trying to get the disaster kept to a minimum, the little dogs scurry in to party-pa-looza. They sniff, lick, pick up one piece and slowly savor it, go to the next piece. The large dogs must've figured I had my hands full & went to my husband. This is my 9 year old Giant & my 5 year old Collie. They got him off the couch & he thought they needed to go outside. He sees the mess I'm in & asked, "you want a bigger clean up crew" at this point you could tell they were very hopeful but not launching forward to hoover up the cheese. I walked over to a spot away from the little dogs & tapped with my foot & gave the okay. Giant & Collie snarfed up cheese mess, side by side, heads not a foot from each other. No fight. No pushing. No rushing to grab it all before the other. Very calm clean up. End of clean up I put them outside & the Chihuahuas went back to their couch. Hubby & I had our tacos & life went on. After the meal I properly cleaned the floor. But you can't do this with most puppies or young adults, not if you want food to be a non-issue on the training field or in your home or between large & tiny dogs. My first Collie was ready for this at 5 months old yet I didn't do this until she was over a year old. My Giant couldn't handle such things until she was around 4. I use the toe-tap on the floor near the food & direct which dog or I'll say, "here ya go" & that means they can approach (Mom has a big mess). They are not allowed to eat off our plates or out of our dishes. If I have something of that size/nature it goes in the dog food bowls

Food can be the base of a lot of problems. So it gets a big chapter. Disciplined & strict behavior early on means you can loosen a little as they are mature adults & show you they can handle it. My Giant can only handle the rare instance. My Collie will behave very aloof about food but she's hopeful. My SPOO is not old enough & he's not getting tested until he's over 2. At 18 months when he thinks there is any treat going to be made available he runs to his crate, turns, & waits. This is very promising & I have a feeling as he gets older I will be able to entrust him with very important things.

Other things, my big pups are never allowed to go out first in front of the tiny dogs. They go out then I have puppy on leash & we go out together. They learn not to do a fly by on the little dogs (this is another area where little ones can get rolled). So when I go out with my tribe to check our chickens, it's 2 little dogs, then the big dogs one at a time (minus Mr. Layne, I can't yet trust him to hold his brain in tact as he has a chicken problem & totally looses his grits if he sees a squirrel. Worst squirrel hunter on the planet but he thinks he's accomplishing something). At the point the big dogs clear the last step you will hear us say, "CAREFUL" or "go easy" depending on if their blood is up or they're calm. They go do their business. I gather eggs, check birds, give them their daily bird treats, & then start back toward the house. Each of my dogs have their own whistle unique to them. So I do roll call & by the time I'm at the sidewalk we are proceeding back to the house. At all times I am on the lookout for speed demon antics that need to be toned down. The Collie loin nips my Giant trying to herd her. So I'll likely fuss at her & she'll respond. She wants to please. We get to the door. Everything stops. My Giant will always be pressing her nose to the door as if she can pry it open. I will ALWAYS have to give her the 'back' command, the little dogs are allowed in & I make certain their out of the path & then I enter, then the big dogs. Every time.

You structure every interaction for a long while with a pup through young adulthood with the little dogs. After they're a year old the pup tells you how much responsibility you can trust him with. My SPOO, VERY good in the house, outside where there are squirrels & chickens... ain't no freakin' way. He's a screwball. Will he always be? I don't think so. My Giant was far worse. So long as you allow the little ones to set boundaries yet don't allow them to be bullies & your pup sees you treat the little ones with great care, they pick up on this if they have a good working dog's mind. If they don't, you're in trouble.

I had a good friend who rolled her eyes at me & bemoaned that I was too cautious, to paranoid. She had a 90 pound pit bull who wouldn't hurt a fly, he played with her little Yorkie & her Chihuahua all the time. And he did. The day that he crushed the Chihuahua in his jaws, he was not aggressive & was not trying to hurt the little dog. He was distracted by someone in the driveway & shut his jaws more than he would have if paying attention as he always did. The little dog died quickly. Another friend of hers was taping the two playing as it was always quite cute. The instant the big dog heard that sound outside & he turned his head, intently listening, he shut his jaws down maybe 2-3 inches too far. Just as my Giant did not intend harm on Little Red Beans, the Pit wasn't trying to dominate or destroy his little pal. But in watching the 10 minute video prior to the little dog's death... I would never have allowed that sort of play behavior between anything but two tiny Chihuahuas. No big dog, little dog play like this. Yes, just like my friend's incident, I know tons of people who turn their big bruisers out with their tiny dogs & would never hurt a fly. Had one of those this week where a Giant slapped with its paw & the little dog lost its eye. Yes, many get away with it. For me, I take my responsibility in large guardian dogs extremely seriously. Equally serious is my commitment to the safety of those little lives for which I am responsible. So...

Big teeth on little dog = play over
Big paw on little dog = play over
Big paw slapping at little dog = play over
Taking big nose/muzzle & air lifting tiny dogs = play over
Sniffing butts is generally okay unless the little dog ends up being wheel barreled (butt in air, big dog nose under said tushie = play over

If big pup or dog can't keep track of his/her feet, they are on leash until they learn to mind their feet (& yes, dogs can learn this). The worst time I had was with my current Collie, she'd get so focused on humans she'd just thump the little ones as her feet went over them... so I used a broom. (NEVER use a broom, mop, or shepherd's hook to strike unless you are protecting your dog for an attack.) The broom is used to take the bristles & tap the footsies. Bristles to footsie communication. So we go out into the front yard in the grassy park like area & I have the broom (I'm sure my neighbors think me insane). I keep the broom about 8 inches from the ground so there is not a swinging motion. That's not the purpose or what we wish to teach. We walk along & when the dog starts to jet off & little dog is too close I will say in a dark warning, "watch it" & I will begin by bumping the ground near the paws. As soon as the dog eyes the broom & moves away from it, thus moving away from the little dog, I say "GOOD watch it" in a praise tone. Honestly I have had sessions with a good many dogs where I never touch the paws with the broom. just bumping it on the ground near their feet is enough to make them look down & wa-la, they see the tiny dog. Which is the purpose. This causes the dog to adjust & you praise instantly. You have to train for awhile so that it becomes a habit but for my Collie I began to scrape the ground with my foot as I broom bumped & she flick her attention down, I praise & she goes, "OOOOH now I get it" and of broom training. My SPOO thinks broom training is for running off with my broom... the boy is a mess, LOL I started using the broom after I trained livestock guardians. When you bring in new livestock they try to drive off the invaders. I would use the broom to just get in their way while using a correction word & after 10 minutes i had their mind out of "DRIVE IT OUT" mode & then we could resume our regularly scheduled programming. The precaution with the broom is you must be careful that it doesn't become a game of attack the broom or pounce on broom with front paws. You don't want them to get paw intensive where they are slapping everything with the front paws... that's how the Giant above hurt it's little friend (BTW: that wasn't my Giant Schnauzer who hurt the little dog's eye).
 

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Oof, I haven't researched the breed just yet (I know nothing about them), but my S/O said he had two as a child and they were fine. I'm hoping he didn't just get lucky.

Interesting methods though. I’ve never heard of a dog that watches where they step! I didn’t even know you could teach them something like that. I’m really just taking this all in lol. Do you allow your chis and larger dogs to be outside around the same time? How do you monitor their play? Especially the collie.


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Discussion Starter #80
Oof, I haven't researched the breed just yet (I know nothing about them), but my S/O said he had two as a child and they were fine. I'm hoping he didn't just get lucky.

Interesting methods though. I’ve never heard of a dog that watches where they step! I didn’t even know you could teach them something like that. I’m really just taking this all in lol. Do you allow your chis and larger dogs to be outside around the same time? How do you monitor their play? Especially the collie.


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It's more likely I had a unique Dane. Where I was raised it was hard also to find a well bred Dane & harder to find a decent Lab. There is a pawn shop owner here that has the sweetest Dane. He has to give me kisses when I go in to check out their DVDs for sale (I go in to see the dog). He is precious. If you could find one like that... oh man. The base of his tail is bigger around than my Chis' necks.

My eldest 2 working dogs go out with the Chis. The Collie guards & herds them... the Giant guards all of us. The Collie has thwarted eagle attacks. She's keen on birds of prey. And those 2 can ruin a snake.

It's just a case of drawing their attention to their feet. If I'm barefoot I'll use my bare toe to touch theirs but with a broom or mop you can block a little dog from being mowed down while they learn. I worked with my own livestock & learned to use a shepherd's staff in training as a communication tool. So I always have to stress to people I'm not mafia whacking puppies as many dont get that. No pain, no fear, no..no...no. You're just drawing focus down to the paws. You'll see the big dog often startle as they didn't see the little ones. They get their focus up on me & the tiny dogs aren't on the radar.

It is a lot of work but it becomes just a way of life until you dont even notice. Mr. Layne has learned if he gets too rowdy... to go get in his crate. I then know he needs to get out & run. The dogs talk to us, most of the time we just dont realize it.

Tonight Boo Boo encountered a chipmunk.
Boo would try to play & it would NOT understand. The Collie spotted it first, swept in from Boo's left, between boo & the munk. That gave the Giant time to barrel in from the right & once the animal was away from her baby... they pursued it until they couldn't find it. (Poor little chipmunk). It is an example of their teamwork. It's the same if it were a snake or a bear.

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