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Thread: Overwhelmed dog

  1. #1
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    Default Overwhelmed dog

    I believe I have a perfect example of a dog that is overwhelmed in her current program.

    Brief background of the dog, 19 month old female labrador, Junior hunter title with one leg of senior. Running senior level land and water blinds with confidence, can run master blinds but confidence fades quick. Good marking dog, will step on her birds at 200+ yards in variable terrain.

    The drop in confidence really became apparent in the last two months. It also appears that her lack of confidence is associated with a training group environment. Now we're starting to see no go's. but on the same day we see no go's with the group my son and I can take the dog to another area, away from group and she'll perform beautifully.

    At this point we're backing off on her marks and her blinds, moving away from the technical marks, going back to walking singles, using more flyers and or clip wings. The name of the game at this point is to regain her confidence and make it fun again.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Ken Bora's Avatar
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    is it the same group every time?
    the same people?
    could one of the group be gruff or/and loud?
    "So what is big is not always the Trout nor the Deer but the chance, the being there. And what is full is not necessarily the creel nor the freezer, but the memory." ~ Aldo Leopold

    "The Greatest Obstacle to Discovery is not Ignorance -- It is the Illusion of Knowledge" ~ Daniel Boorstin

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    Senior Member cpmm665's Avatar
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    My female was very sensitive at that age. I was regularly training with a few folks who were notably heavy handed with the collar, the response she heard from dogs being overly corrected did affect her confidence. We opted out of training with certain folks and I did see a difference.
    Cindy Von Sutphen

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  4. #4
    Senior Member MooseGooser's Avatar
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    I have always been the same with each dog I have had with how i treated them at training days and around groups of people and dogs..

    I very seldom let them out of their crates and romp and run around with other dogs at the end or the beggining of training sessions. Seldom do I let them off leash, and visit other people... They travel in their crates,, wait patiently for their turn to run,, get their marks and a blind or two,, I throw a happy bumper or so for them,, then ,, back in the crate till we get home..

    This past weekend.. I had a wonderful day with the pro I get the priviledge to work with.. Most of her group was at FT,s and It was,, for the most part,, just her and I spending the day with the dogs... At the end of the session She had set up to run Blinds for the big dogs,, Cherlylon asked me, Lets pick up the Blind piles and stakes,, and road the puppies..... Get Flinch (my dog) and let her run along... I was HORRIFIED!!!!!! Flinch had never done anything like that before, so I told Cherylon I was a bit apprehensive about leting her be out uncontrolled ,,around so many other dogs,, chasing a 4 wheeler...

    She said to me: I know you are,, and it shows with your puppy,,, You need to let go a bit,, and start to make this training stuff just a bit of fun for those dogs a yours... She needs to be a DOG most of all,, Not just a subject of your teaching.. Ya need to let her have some fun too.. You will notice that it will help her with her relaxation at training days... It will help her be more confident,, and make her feel at home in the environment...


    Flinch Ran and Ran aand ran,,, Got wet ,, muddy,, smelly,, learned about a 4 wheeler,, and how much fun other dogs are....


    I am learning so much for this Loveland lady,,,

    BOTH my dog and especially ME are really starting to relax at training sessions....

    To the Originator of this post.... Do you take the time to make a training day Fun for the dog at times??? Is their "meat on the Bone" for the dog,, or is it just work,, work,,, work and concentration that the dogs has to do all the time it is there???

    How is YOUR persona at trainig days??? Are you a different person with your dog then compared to when you and your son are alone training with the dog???

    I know I am...... Its a HUGE mistake>>>>


    Gooser
    Last edited by MooseGooser; 08-06-2012 at 08:53 AM.
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    Senior Member bjoiner's Avatar
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    Sounds like you are doing the correct things.

    Is she coming in season? Some females go crazy for a little while. Males stay in heat all the time, so you never notice the difference.
    Bubba Joiner

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  6. #6
    Senior Member JS's Avatar
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    Here's another perspective.

    You say she CAN do the work? It is not the setup that is intimidating her, it is the group environment?

    Maybe she just doesn't like the group environment, for whatever reason, and is figuring out a way to get you and your son to "take her away to a more fun, less stressful place". How is this different from any other uncomfortable situation that arises and we have to work them through it?

    If you think she's properly prepared to do the work but just doesn't like your choice of venues, how do you react to her no-goes, bugging, etc.? Taking them away from a situation they "just don't like" is not really solving anything. Training a dog to do something they want to do in the first place, is not really the point of training.

    I believe confidence is best improved, not by indulging their behavior, but by SHOWING them that they CAN do the job in question and so sometimes you need to "nudge" them in the right direction so you can reinforce their good work. That's how they gain confidence.

    My 2 sense.

    JS
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Ken Bora's Avatar
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    good point by Cindy and Mike.
    JS, that is why I asked if it is the same group.
    sometimes 1 person in a group will rub dog or handler just the wrong way.
    makes it so no fun or learning can be had by ether.
    A dog does need to be able to handle the big field.
    But some folk aint no fun to hang with. Just suck the "want to" out of a person.
    You know?
    "So what is big is not always the Trout nor the Deer but the chance, the being there. And what is full is not necessarily the creel nor the freezer, but the memory." ~ Aldo Leopold

    "The Greatest Obstacle to Discovery is not Ignorance -- It is the Illusion of Knowledge" ~ Daniel Boorstin

  8. #8
    Senior Member JS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bora View Post
    good point by Cindy and Mike.
    JS, that is why I asked if it is the same group.
    sometimes 1 person in a group will rub dog or handler just the wrong way.
    makes it so no fun or learning can be had by ether.
    A dog does need to be able to handle the big field.
    But some folk aint no fun to hang with. Just suck the "want to" out of a person.
    You know?
    Yes, I do know. And that is something to recognize and acknowledge. But eventually, she needs to understand that, even though it ain’t no fun, we just gotta suck it up and get it over with.

    Too often, I believe the knee jerk solution is to AVOID a situation that is disturbing to the dog. In fact, in advice given to newbies on this site, I think too often they are told to “back up”, “start over”. (in fact, that is what this OP has decided to do.) This MAY be good advice IF the prior lessons were not solid. BUT, if the dog HAS been properly prepared, we risk inadvertently “teaching” her that she can weenie out of things by (my umbrella term) “pouting”. That leads not to confidence, but to a sour attitude.

    Not long ago, someone here asked for help with a dog that was so intimidated walking out into the “courtyard” that it cowered and peed whenever they encountered a loud stranger. We all know how to handle that. We may use different tactics but the general approach is to not coddle or empathize with the dog as that would confirm the perceived threat and encourage the behavior. Good “modeling” by the handler ... demonstrating this situation is “no big deal” ... will assure the dog it’s OK and repeated exposure to the situation will eventually desensitize the dog. With some dogs, we may have to just be a stronger leader and force them to confront the situation the first few times.

    One has to know this particular dog and to be working with her to read her for sure, but it’s worth considering that this may be the same type of situation. This is the “art” part of dog training.

    One thing I DO know is that when a dog does overcome a situation that has intimidated them, they radiate with pride! They exude confidence! They KNOW when they have done well. Achievement and accomplishment instills confidence and pride ... both in people and in dogs.

    JMO

    JS
    Last edited by JS; 08-06-2012 at 08:24 PM.
    “Don’t wave your phony patriotism in MY face! If you really love America, open your wallet and hire an American kid to build what you buy. Think of all our problems that might solve.” Doug Fraser (paraphrased) 1980

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  9. #9
    Senior Member BentleysMom's Avatar
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    Moose well said! Ken yes, I know! To the originator. In our group we had a guy with a really nice dog, she did nice work and was real friendly. She would be okay if some of us handle her but the trainer who is basically in charge of the group runs her she has less confidence. We couldn't figure it out at first but finally realized that he would yell at his dogs and she would get nervous thinking she was in trouble. Now he makes an effort to not yell at his dogs when she is around! The yelling could be for anything like "here" , "no, leave it" "stop licking me" etc... She was just a little sensitive. We stuck it out and he did handle her a few more times just pushing her a little without pressure. After a week or 2 much better!!

    Might want to take a look at the group, is someone loud? Really loud? Just sayin. Good luck with your dog.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Kelly Greenwood's Avatar
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    So then would it be a good idea to run the sensitive dog first, before all the other dogs get into trouble? Also might it be a good idea to desensitize the dog to the yelling and dogs screaming by doing simple basic obedience while it is going and really simple stuff to build confidence? Also just a thought but has the OP checked the thyroid levels? don't some Thyroid problems cause some issues?
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