Q:how old is maulkin?
Maulkin’s two years, three months, two weeks, and two days old today.
I bought pupperoni for training treats for Tonks and Homer because why the fuck are treats so expensive? The ingredients aren’t as bad as they could be/as bad as I thought they were, though, so no regerts.
I buy dollar store treats because I’m a horrible person
I normally use Zuke’s but I don’t even care anymore, they had chicken gizzards and eggs for dinner they can deal with some soy grits in their training treats.
I won’t touch any of those things with a ten foot pole for a variety of reasons but if you’re looking to cut costs I would invest in a dehydrator and making your own treats.
I love mine!
When money’s tight, I end up baking my treats. A few heaping spoonfuls of peanut butter, about as much honey, a pinch of cinnamon, a couple of eggs, and a bit of flour (1/4 to 1/3 a cup, should be less than your PB. I usually use black bean or quinoa flour from the bulk food store.) or oatmeal just to keep the treats soft; mix it all together, spread it as a slab on a cookie sheet, and pop it in the oven for 10 minutes at 325F for soft, high-value treats. (Cut it while it’s still warm using a pizza cutter or sharp knife to prevent crumbling.) Or you can substitute meat or cheese for the peanut butter and honey if you prefer; it’s the eggs and bit of flour that create the proper texture, and anything else is flavour. Very versatile and cheap, and I’ve never had to leave the house to find ingredients.
Q:Hi! I got a treat toob after I saw you mention it a while back and I think it's pretty great but I don't actually have a lot of ideas for what to put in it. I've mostly been using peanut butter which is fine at home but it tends to make my dog thirsty on walks. Have any other foods worked well for you? Hope you're having a lovely weekend!
Petty much anything soft or pastey should work. I’ve used canned dog food/tripe, dehydrated dog food, spreadable cheese, yogurt, etc.. You can also use pretty much anything you can break down in a blender: Blended cans of tuna, chicken, fresh cheese with a bit of milk, etc.. I recently switched Maulkin over to a frozen raw food, so I’ve been stuffing his patties into treat toobs. For dense foods like that, I’ve found it helpful to pull out the rubber stopper so you have a larger dispensing hole. When you pull out the stopper, there’s a little plastic ring left that held it in place. You can pop that out with a butter knife when you’re ready to reinsert the stopper, so it’s easy to switch between dense and soft foods.
Anyone else have any recommendations?
It’s only been a week, but I’m starting to notice some questionable behavior in the new cattle dog puppy. I realize that Australian Cattle Dogs are stubborn, arrogant, strong willed, independent, and tend to be aggressive by nature since they have been bred to fight force with…
Thanks a TON doggydayjob!!! His play mate is pretty calm compared to him, so I think she will be great to practice the interrupts with. They played very well once his play mate became interested in play, but once the excitement escalated, that’s when things got a little too intense and I removed Bae from the situation until he calmed down. I will start giving him treats whenever I hold him. I’m actually afraid to hold a dog too much because of all those aggressive dogs that guard their owners (usually the little ones that are held all the time). You don’t think this will become an issue, right?
I’ll have to read your post a few times as we start putting your advice into action with Bae. I’m relieved that other puppies have been able to turn around and play well with dogs after some work. I wish we had training facilities like the one where you work. We have absolutely nothing remotely similar in my area. Just a few training clubs here and there, run by older voluntary trainers who use traditional methods and refuse to allow change in their facilities. As always, I appreciate the time and effort you put into your responses! We will start doing short play sessions, and stop on a good note before the play becomes too intense. Perhaps we’ll have several breaks in-between play where we give the puppies treats and let them rest for a little bit before allowing them to play again.
What exactly do you mean by “voluntary” leave it or off cue?
We’ll start playing the trading game as often as possible to help prevent resource guarding!
No, I don’t think holding a dog is directly related to, or causes, resource guarding of people.* I think many lapdogs are poorly socialized in general. I’ve also noticed that we tend to see very few small breed puppies in our puppy classes, but we get a lot of older small breed dogs with behaviour problems in our other classes. Many people don’t seem to prioritize training small breed dogs, or they downplay the severity of their issues, probably because the dogs are small and can’t cause too much damage. Because Bae seems to show a little resource guarding around toys, he might start guarding you just in general; but picking him up shouldn’t influence whether that behaviour manifests.**
Having little treat (or training!) breaks between play is a fantastic idea! That’s essentially how we organize play in our puppy classes (where we train for about 30 minutes, take a potty break, get the puppies focused and release them to a play for 5-8 minutes as a functional reward, and then train again for treats until the end of class) and daycare. I think it makes an especially big difference in our daycare where the puppies are together for several hours, because it keeps them from overwhelming each other or themselves.
Voluntary leave-it is where you teach the dog to get what they want by moving away from whatever it is they want and looking at you to give it to them.*** I made a little tutorial a million years ago that’s linked on my sidebar if you’re interested in looking for it, but Training Positive has a great little video tutorial you can see here. Training of the leave-it behaviour starts around 1:52. It’s a bit different from the traditional, stern-voice type leave-it behaviour because the dog actually learns to move away from what they want and seek engagement with you. Once your dog knows it well, you can teach them to do it automatically whenever they find something on the ground they want. It’s extremely convenient, much safer than traditional leave-it that requires you to see the object and cue your dog before they can get it, and great for teaching impulse control and focus (which is why it’s great for Bae).
If you come across any problems in your training exercises (like Bae bumping your hand before moving away even after he’s learned to move away and look at you), please let me know and we’ll do some troubleshooting.
*But for dogs who are insecure and like being picked up, I think it can reinforce guarding behaviour that already exists.
**Resource guarding of people is also generally pretty easy to cure. Just feed or play with another dog and then feed or play with the guarding dog. That teaches the guarding dog that you interacting with another dog predicts them getting something good (classic counter-conditioning).
***I feel like this is the standard method among +R trainers, so you might have used it with your other dogs. But it is a slightly different behaviour from the traditional leave-it, so I just like to make that distinction for clarity’s sake.
It’s only been a week, but I’m starting to notice some questionable behavior in the new cattle dog puppy. I realize that Australian Cattle Dogs are stubborn, arrogant, strong willed, independent, and tend to be aggressive by nature since they have been bred to fight force with force. However, isn’t 9 weeks a little early for a cattle dog to be showing signs of potential aggression?
He doesn’t seem to be afraid of anything. He’s very outgoing, alert, and aware of his surroundings. He can be very vocal sometimes which I initially thought was just normal puppy play growling the way Helo used to growl when he was a puppy, but I’ve noticed this behavior on a few occasions and I don’t think it’s normal puppy play growling that Bae is doing.
- Bae started growling while running through the house and chasing Helo the other night. Helo didn’t like this behavior and retreated to a safe place.
- He started growling when I was playing with him with a squeaky toy. I kept taking the toy away from him, and he would growl both during the play and when I took the toy away from him.
- He was playing with another puppy around the same age who wasn’t interested in playing at first. He kept harassing the puppy to play with him until the puppy snapped at him to leave her alone, and that’s when the puppies got into a fight. I stopped the puppies, they went away from each other, and then they started playing again, which eventually went from normal rough play to another puppy fight. We separated the puppies again, but there were a total of 3 puppy fights within 20 minutes. We’re not talking about normal puppy play fights. It appeared to be actual fighting, although they are both small and quite harmless right now.
Isn’t 9 weeks a little too young for a puppy to be starting fights? I don’t even know how I should respond to this behavior. The whole point in getting a cattle dog at this age was to raise him around other dogs and socialize the hell out of him so that he would turn into a friendly, well behaved adult cattle dog. If he’s behaving this way now, what steps can I take to correct and/or redirect his behavior into a more positive behavior? I would like to refrain from any negative training methods because I feel like any punishment methods could potentially amplify any aggressive behavior he might be displaying. Hell, I grabbed him by the scruff (because my camera was in the other hand) to get him off of the other puppy and he redirected his growling and biting towards me, which is absolutely unacceptable!
He threw a huge fit when I grabbed him; alipynckel can attest to that!
I would love to hear what you have to say doggydayjob. Surely you see puppies of all ages. What would you make of Baelfire’s behavior towards the other puppy? I was going to refrain from letting him play with anymore puppies for awhile, but how can I socialize him and raise him around other dogs if I don’t let him interact with other dogs? I’m also going to ask my herding instructor for advice tomorrow when I go to the farm. She used to do a lot of dog training before she started focusing on herding trials, but her methods are more traditional. Her advice will differ greatly from yours, which is why I seek your council in the matter!
He’s only 9 weeks old. Surely there is something I can do to turn this behavior around. Maybe I am just being paranoid given the typical nature of the cattle dog, but I want to do whatever I can to ensure that Bae is properly trained and socialized to prevent aggressive behavior down the line. He might be too small to do any damage now, but he’ll grow to be 50-55lbs and I want to stop this now while he’s young so that he can interact safely with other dogs once he reaches adulthood.
So far he is extremely friendly and welcoming to strangers.
You’re right to be concerned, but I think you’d be surprised to know how often we see puppies showing inappropriately aggressive behaviour in our puppy classes. (If I had to guess, I’d say about 1 in 10 puppies we see displays some form of aggression (generally resource guarding) before 4 months old.) There’s one puppy in our puppy classes right now who sounds almost exactly like Bae. She’s a little boxer puppy, and when she first started classes, she couldn’t play with other puppies for more than about 15 seconds before becoming too aroused and attacking them. After I think 3 weeks of classes and 2 supervised “puppy socials” with us, she can play for up to about 10 minutes before becoming too aroused unless she’s already tired. She’s not completely better yet, but she’s making fantastic progress; and I’ve seen other puppies turn completely around and become some of the most appropriate and safe players in the school. I have met one puppy that, at 10 weeks, anyone could tell they’d never be appropriate around other dogs. That puppy just had enormous prey drive and would try to stalk and kill all of the smaller puppies and would pick fights with the larger puppies. Instead of teaching that dog how to play with other dogs, we tried to teach them how to focus on, and interact with, their handler while ignoring the other puppies (how to be polite instead of how to be social). But anyway, it sounds like Bae just has a lot of play drive and is easily frustrated, so you should be able to fix that with some structure and training.
I’m going to outline how the trainers at my school deal with that sort of behaviour in classes, socials, and daycare. How long training will take will depend on you and Bae; but if you keep a record of his outbursts and their frequency, I think you’ll see a pretty dramatic difference in just a few weeks. If you haven’t already, I recommend you teach Bae a voluntary leave-it/off/doggy zen. It’s not a cue you’ll be using to deter behaviour just yet, but it teaches dogs how to think when they’re frustrated or excited. It’s one the first behaviours all the puppies learn in puppy classes, and I think it makes a huge difference. If you’re not already, also try to play the trading game (where you take a toy or bone from Bae, give him a treat, and return the toy or bone) as much as possible. It sounds like he might be starting some resource guarding, so you want to nip that in the bud and show him it’s rewarding to give you things.
Based on what you’ve said, I’m making the assumption that Bae primarily growls when he’s excited or frustrated and that he plays quietly when he’s calm. (If he might be play growling sometimes but not others and you can’t tell the difference, just assume he’s always growling because he’s overwhelmed. The worst that will happen is he’ll stop play growling.) If that’s the case, you can take growling as an indicator that Bae is becoming too excited to play; so you should calmly pick him up, move him away from the other dogs, and feed him a few treats (while still holding him) until he’s calmed down a bit before letting him down to play again. It’s very important to remember to feed him when you’re holding him, because you want him to associate being picked up as a rewarding experience instead of something frustrating, especially because he’s already redirected on you when he’s frustrated. (If you need examples of safe handling techniques to prevent being bitten when you pick Bae up, let me know and I’ll try to get some photos for you.) You’ll probably notice that Bae becomes more aggressive the longer he’s been playing (as he gets tired, he approaches his threshold and becomes aggressive), so try to keep play sessions short. If he’s had a very good interaction with another puppy and you feel things couldn’t possibly go any better, end the play session there before Bae becomes too tired. You want to stop before he has a bad experience, and that will help raise his tolerance around other dogs. If Bae throws a tantrum when you separate him, give him a little time out in his crate with a bone until he calms down, and then work some self-control exercises before letting him play again. Throwing a tantrum usually indicates the puppy is too tired to keep playing, so it’s usually best to end it there even if it’s not exactly a good note. You can always try again later with a shorter play session.
When you’re choosing a playmate for Bae, aim for puppies who seem fairly calm and confident (huge-breed or slightly older puppies tend to be best to start out). If a puppy seems unsure of Bae, don’t let Bae harass the puppy into playing, because that will lead to bullying behaviour (bullying other puppies into playing is VERY reinforcing, so it’s best to prevent it in the first place). If Bae starts harassing another puppy or you feel the play is becoming too intense; pick him up, feed him, and try letting them play again when both puppies are calmer. It’s better to interrupt too much than not enough, so don’t be afraid to interrupt if you’re feeling unsure about the situation. If you feel either puppy might be feeling overwhelmed, pick up the more aggressive puppy (even if it’s not Bae; you can always hand them to their handler and remove Bae if there’s a problem) and see how the other puppy responds. If the other puppy was having fun, they’ll chase after you to get their friend back. If they were feeling overwhelmed, they’ll move away and look for something else to do.
That’s pretty much it as far as a universal technique. Interrupting Bae when he’s excited should teach him three concepts: 1. Aggression isn’t fun and stops the game, 2. How to know when he’s feeling overwhelmed, and 3. To take breaks when he needs them to calm himself down (so he’s not dependent on you to control him). If you’re interrupting him when he’s being pushy or rude to other puppies, he should even learn to read doggy body language and respond politely. And of course, interrupting other puppies when Bae is overwhelmed or frightened will teach him to trust you’re going to protect him, so he doesn’t have to learn to be aggressive.
Some additional tips that work for some dogs but not others: Teaching the dog to hold a toy by giving them a toy when they play and interrupting them when they drop it (Most puppies learn to hold a toy pretty readily and it can have a calming effect, but some puppies become too stimulated by toys and it exacerbates the issue.), pairing them with a puppy who loves to either tug or chase (some dogs become incensed by tug or by chase but may find one or the other less intense than wrestling), and using a loosely-fitted Gentle Leader (without a leash) or calming band during play. We tend to use Gentle Leaders on a lot of more intense puppies only during play, because the gentle pressure on their muzzle can have a calming effect. If you’re going to try it, be sure to introduce the GL or calming band when your puppy is alone and pair it with food to see how they react. Some dogs are so sensitive to pressure, they’ll shut down from even that bit of inert pressure on their muzzles, and they should never wear a halter of any kind. Extremely rarely, some dogs that might accept a halter under normal circumstances may respond with increased aggression or frustration around other dogs. So far, Maulkin is the only dog I’ve ever seen respond that way, but my mentor said she’s seen it a few times in her career. (It probably only affects like 1 in 1000 dogs, but it’s something to be aware of just in case.)
I think that addresses everything, but please let me know if not. Just try to be calm and consistent in your interrupts, and I’m sure Bae will be playing politely in no time.
foxinu said: I’d be interested in all of those things if it’s not too much trouble! Like a dog blog masterpost?
It wouldn’t be a very thorough masterpost! I feel like I follow hardly any dog blogs compared to the rest of the training community. If you’re looking for a real masterpost, candidcanines has an enormous list here: Dog Blogs. I know there are a few other masterlists on other blogs, too, but I’m not sure which ones.
Do any of you know how to properly train a dog? My mom wants to get rid of Paco very badly because he is absolute hell. He’s extremely hyper and refuses to ever calm down, he barks at us when we say “no,” he needs attention literally every single second of the day and he gets mad at us when we don’t want to give it to him.
Luckily, he doesn’t pee or poop inside the house, but his behavior is starting to make both my mom and I aggressive. I don’t want to get rid of him, but I don’t know what to do anymore. Please help. I’m getting desperate.
What’s his age, how much exercise does he get each day and of what quality (so do you take him for walks, does he fetch in the yard, or do you just let him out to run on his own, etc.), how much training do you do each day/week and what methods do you use (please describe them if you’re unsure the technical terms), and what brand(s) of food does he eat? Do you crate train, and does Paco have full run of the house? Is he unsupervised for much of the day, and is he confined at all when you’re away?
There are many reasons a dog may be hyperactive, but the most common are not enough exercise and poor diet (or food intolerance). Too much exercise or being prone to anxiety can also manifest as hyperactivity, too, so any information you could think to add might be useful.
In 4H we have to do a short (10 minutes max) presentation and I’m doing mine on shaping. So far I’ll include:
A demonstration (teaching licky to push a toy car)
Uses in obedience and behavior problem work
Why it’s such a good exercise and how it benefits the dogs
How it benefits the handler
Anything I’m missing? I’ll probably put my more specific outline up here when I type it.
Maybe tips for trying it at home? Especially splitting versus lumping, since most people lump a lot which causes stress in the animal. (Every example of shaping failure I’ve ever seen has been due to too little splitting or terrible timing.)
This sounds like a great project. Are you going to be able to record it and share it on Tumblr?
Prowl needs new skid boots for the season, so I went to the z-control page.
And made the mistake of looking at the tugs.
I want all the tugs.
I bought a tug with my skid boots but really don’t like it. The handle is too long, and the fabric is sharp so I can’t hold it lower or use a two-handed grip. The moose skin was sewn on very sloppy, and the whole tug looks a mess. I’m going to be sending it off to have the skin incorporated into a fleece tug so I can actually get some use from it. I will admit that every dog I tried it with loved the skin, but the tug itself is not very user-friendly.
Q:do you have a list of good dog tumblrs you follow?
I probably follow about two or three dozen dog- and training-related blogs. Is there something in particular you’re looking for; like mainly photo, slice of life, how-to, or learning theory blogs?