Archive for the ‘Kevin Behan’ Category

If you work with, or just walk a large, black, German Shepherd around in public places, you will eventually be asked, “Does your dog bite?”  I guess that’s to be expected.  Owners of Pit Bulls, Malinois, and several other breeds suffer just the same line of questioning.  Time was, I would assure the questioner that my dog was definitely not a Biter, and yes, they could pet him.  Well, hindsight is 20/20, and I may have done my dogs a disservice.  Education has lead me to another path, and my answer to that question is far different today.  Not because Hans nailed some poor unfortunate, thank goodness, but because I’m more tuned into the true nature of the dog.  And you may not like what I’m about to expound on here, but facts are facts, and it will serve us all if we take responsibility for the predator on the “other end of the leash”.

The next time I speak to a group about dogs, or dog bites, or whatever, the response will go exactly this way, especially if it’s a group of children:

“Mr. Vaughan, does your dog bite?”

“Thank you for that excellent question!  Let me answer it this way.  How many of you have a dog at home?”  The audiences always have  more dogs than not.  “My answer is this:  Yes… undeniably, unequivocally, absolutely, and honestly, my dog bites.  And whats more, so does the dog you have at home that licks your face when you get home, and sleeps on your bed.  All dogs can and will bite!”

There will be gasps from the front row, and from school administrators worried about liability of such a beast loose in their school.  First, because Hans will probably be sitting nearby, off-leash, with that German Shepherd look on his face.  Secondly, because very few people believe that their Cocker Spaniel has any notion of biting anyone or anything.

The response I’ll give has a two-fold purpose.  First, I don’t want any child, or any adult to suffer a dog bite.  They are singularly unpleasant, and tend toward scarring and infection.  Please be careful when you approach any strange dog that you don’t know.

Secondarily, but far more interesting and perhaps more controversial, Your Dog Bites Because It’s a Predatory animal, and it enjoys Biting.  It’s the end result of his Predatory Drive.  Chase a ball, bite it.  Chase a rabbit, bite it.  Find a bowl full of kibble, bite it.  Wave little hands in front of a puppies face?  Probably gonna bite it.  And therein lies the problem.

The question before you as your dogs leader is this? ” How do I allow my dog the natural outlet of biting, without the biting being inappropriate at best, and tragic at worst?”

We struggled with this when we first had our German Shepherd, Hans.  He is a working dog and has the instinct to chase and bite.  The interesting thing was this:  Hans never bit me.  Not once.  However, my poor wife carried some bruises and bite marks that would horrify a coroner.  The bites were never delivered in aggression, but always happened when she would attempt her version of play.  Run away from him with the ball,  throw the ball and chase him when he wouldn’t give up the ball.  When he did bite, she would grab the dogs snout and say, “NO!” gently but firmly.  Hans saw that as a challenge.  Our 6 month old German Shepherd got a reputation with my wife.  “Why doesn’t he bite you???” she would cry.

Well, we figured it out eventually and Carol has since become a very fine trainer, but she learned the hard way.  It had to do with how I played with, and responded to his instinctual behavior.  Our play involved allowing him to fulfill the ultimate release of his instinctive behavior to hunt, that is to bite something.  When he was under a year of age, I used a five foot long, flexible fiberglas rod with a string attached to it.  The business end has a chamois cloth tied to it.  We would flip that chamois around around like it was crazed, and Hans’ job was to catch it.  The game finished when Hans was told to release the prize.  When he did, the game could resume, drop the chamois produced another round of catch it.  He picked up the game and the “Out” command very quickly.  This game also built his prey drive into something that could be readily utilized into his training.  As he grew older, I used a 24-inch , two-handed ,leather tug toy.  The idea was to grab the tug, bite it hard, and take it away from me.  I always allowed Hans to win this game after a bit of wrestling, and he became confident, and he knew when and what he was allowed to bite.  As an aside, this game also taught me how not to get bitten during this exercise.  I learned his approach, the look in his eyes, and his timing.  We developed his “out” command during this play consistently.  He will drop anything he has in his teeth upon command, and I do mean anything.  We practice this “out” even with raw turkey drumsticks.  Did the play create an aggressive dog?  Absolutely not.  And we’ve found a way to do what comes naturally to a predatory canine.  Teaching not to bite by teaching when and what to bite.

 

After his first year of life, we moved into bite sleeves and decoy work.  He loves these exercises, and he has tremendous recall off an attack, because we allow him to do what comes naturally in the first place.

Many will give the advice, “When a puppy bites, grab his snout and prevent him.  In my observation, you are retarding his instinct by doing this, and he’ll become frustrated quickly, leading to continuing problems.  You are better off to do what his litter-mates did when they bit each other to hard, give out a blood-curdling “Yip!!” that says, :That’s too hard!! Stop!!!”  The dog will often step back from you, shocked.  This is how you speak dog…Dogs teach each other the limits of biting, very early.

The key to outliving your puppies “biting/nipping” habit, is to teach him that biting is only for certain toys, and certain times.  The way to control it is natural…Find an activity that allows him to use his teeth for the purpose that God gave them to him.  As always, the secret to most dog training, is too spend the time necessary to work with, and understand your dog.  Find help when you have questions.  It will allow your dog to be his best!

 

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If you haven’t read Kevin Behan’s reply to my recent post on “Awareness”, I’m going to reprint it here verbatim.  It deserves to be dissected, pared down into easily understood components, and discussed.  Like most of Kevin’s writing, it requires “physically” seeing demonstrated what he is conceptualizing.  I’m breaking this down by applying the title “Behans Law” to it…Hopefully Kevin will forgive the hubris of that accolade, but what he writes seems to be the very core of a much larger whole.  Let’s discuss this after you read it, and think it over.  It’s profoundly simple really, and puts a new lean on canine behavioral theory.  Here’s the reply in whole:

 

Robert, I appreciate the time and thoughtful effort you’re taking to investigate my theory. When I wrestle with the notion of awareness I have come to begin with the body as opposed to the brain. Sensory inputs take shape in the animal mind by crystallizing around the body’s physical center-of-gravity because configuring the body around this point is the essence of locomotion, and being able to move is the essence of animal emotion. Emotional processes piggyback on the systems dedicated to remaining upright and keeping in motion, and thus the animal mind configures around this point as well. So the body serves as an animals’ frame of reference for experience and its awareness of the world. The body formats perception into specific frames of reference well before the brain begins to process an experience. In other words the body is how the brain makes sense of things. The mechanics of this, and I would argue it’s a universal feature of sentient life, is that an animal “projects” its physical center-of-gravity onto relevant objects and thereby feels just as if it is physically connected to it. This actuates a compulsory drive to connect since the individual is trying to reconnect with what it has projected outside its body and which it feels as a part of its self. The external object involuntarily elicits internal emotional effects and these destabilizing influences must be stabilized for the animal to return to “peace of mind.” This is why I believe all behavior is a function of attraction and whether two individuals are able to sustain an interaction so that it can elaborate into a relationship is a function of “emotional capacity.” (In my view human beings and domestic dogs have the highest emotional capacity in the animal kingdom.) I feel that what most commends this model is that a definition of self as a function of the surroundings not only provides for individual integrity, but simultaneously is the vehicle for integration into the whole as well. Also, its very universality so that any two animals can potentially communicate and connect, at the same time factors out to be the source of individual uniqueness as well. In a sustained relationship individuals end up mirroring each other and developing a specialized set of personality traits (they become equal and yet opposites in all things). They don’t differentiate at random, but as complementary feelings to each other. Additionally I think this emotional dynamic serves as a gateway to the other modalities of awareness you’ve mentioned, extraordinary feats of navigation, anticipation of earthquakes, seizures in owners, criminal intent in strangers, etc., etc.. (Hope this isn’t too long or dense.)

 

Simple, Huh?  I’ll let you digest this for yourself  before I make any more attempts to write about it.  As preamble, I’ll say this:  What Kevin is suggesting is not mystical, mysterious, or psycho-babble.  It’s actually the “science” of all Living Things, interconnected, linear, and indivisible.  Back soon…Dogs need a walk.  You do the same!

 

 

I’ve read a lot lately regarding the “Intelligence” of dogs.  Some of it paints our friend the dog as an unabashed genius, a veritable four-legged Einstein.  Other authors and “experts” see the dog as answering to base instinct alone, and a multitude of  so called “Drives.  Others describe the dog as “A mirror of ourselves”, being affected by our energy and emotions.  (A theory that I’m leaning toward…)  As always, I examine all of this with as much objectivity as I can muster, and I formulate tough questions for each of them.  Somewhere in this murky swamp of opinion, half-truth, conjecture, and intelligent research, squats the Toad of Truth.  I am determined to find him, and make him my own.

The piece below was actually written 3 years ago.  It never entirely came together with a cohesive theme, so I bumped it off again and again.  Now that experience and a lot of help has come my way, I feel comfortable in asking the questions contained therein with some foundation.  I’m also comfortable in the responses that I’m expecting to get from all of you.  Again, these are not conclusions that I’ve reached, but rather, ruminations on what might be possible.  Questions are like the rungs of a ladder…Keep taking them one at a time, and you’ll eventually reach the top. 

branding-awareness

The dogs name was Dusty.  He was a fairly nondescript, mixed breed of about 65 pounds.  His family loved him dearly, and they cared for him with great generosity.  Dusty traveled with his family regularly, never being left behind.  One such trip involved a week long sojourn to the southern shore of Lake Superior from the family home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a trip of over 400 overland miles ending in Munising, Michigan.  The family spent a pleasant week, hiking, fishing, and swimming, staying in a private cabin they had rented.  Dusty was with them every step of every activity…

Two days before the family returned home, something happened that the family still can’t explain.  Dusty disappeared.

He had been let out in the early morning hours to do his business, and he just didn’t return.  The family was distraught and searched for their friend for nearly 48 hours before leaving the beachside resort.  Local law enforcement was left with photo’s of Dusty, with contact information.  Nothing was ever reported, and the family mourned the loss for the next two weeks until something extraordinary happened.  Dusty showed up at the family’s front door 15 days after disappearing.  He was somewhat thinner, a bit disheveled, but enthusiastic and glad to be home…

How did Dusty accomplish this trip?  And how have other dogs managed to do the same, sometimes over greater distances? 

Was it a matter of “Scent”?  Not likely.  Does the dog have a “pigeon-like” radar in his head?  There is no physical evidence for that either.  Is the dog intelligent enough to “know” the latitude/longitude and extrapolate his travel?  According to many sources, no such reasoning ability exists in the dog, let alone in most human beings.  Conjecture aside, Dusty Did It…Apparently on his own, and with intent to get home.  A quote from a recent conference with Natural Dog Trainer Kevin Behan who was in attendance listening to Animal Scientist Temple Grandin of Colorado State University (Fascinating stuff! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_Grandin)  Here is what Behan had to say on Grandins conclusions.

“For sure the highlight of the conference was the keynote speech by Temple Grandin and for me the takeaway point was her statement that animals form a sensory impression of their world through sight, sound, smell and touch rather than through a rational linear construct of reality. In other words, their mind derives from a visceral interface with their surroundings, rather than according to the intellectual abstract constructions that derive from the human intellect.”- Kevin Behan NDT Author.

 

From this quote, I am comfortable with calling this…ability? God-Given sense? Or however you want to quantify it, as an  “Awareness”.   Not specifically an awareness of “Self”, as an individual, but rather an awareness of something much larger.  Pigeons are “aware” of apparent magnetic polarity of the earth, and use it to navigate…Isn’t it just possible that the far more “sentient” canine, also has a similar sense of the “larger picture”?  Because of heightened senses of Hearing, and Smell, we have all observed a dog suddenly sit bolt upright at seemingly nothing, only to be absolutely correct just moments later to some activity.  It seems miraculous at times.

We’ve also observed how our dogs react to strong emotion in our homes…They may hide from an argument, seemingly leap for joy with us, or  react to sadness from their human family…So they are “Aware” of emotion and the energy that surrounds them.

Is it so far-fetched that our dogs are “Aware” of much more?  They have proven to be “aware” within groups of dogs, of what the social collective is currently keying on.  Hunting together, packs of wolves are “Aware” of the individual strengths and weaknesses of each other, and fill their unique role individually.  A further quote from Kevin Behan, attracts me to this idea of “Awareness” even more:

Behan NDT Conferencehttp://naturaldogtraining.com/blog/reflections-on-university-of-tennessee-conference/

I believe the only logical conclusion that can be drawn from Dr. Grandin’s remarks is that an animal does not see itself as a self, separate and distinct from its surroundings. Taking her statement completely to heart, the only logical interpretation is that emotion configures an animals’ mind around the principles of energy, the same principles around which the very bodies of the animals have evolved around. Its surroundings become integrated into its sense of a self. This means that all behavior is a function of attraction, of becoming incomplete when stimulated, and then wanting to return to emotional neutrality, to feel whole again. In my view we’re only half way there. Just as it was hard to get science to accept emotion as relevant, it will next be necessary to let energy into the paradigm. Science immediately dismisses this as mysticism or vitalism, but never forget it also dismissed emotion as anthropomorphism. Emotion is animal energy so that when an animal is emotional, it must move. (Stress is when an animal is energized and can’t move freely.) Thus we can say that animals are endowed with an innate momentum and this momentum invokes the laws of energy around which the animal mind configures. The current emphasis on cognition misses this point entirely. Self-organizing behavioral patterns are not cognition, but they are not mindless either. They result from emotion elaborating into feelings according to a principle of conductivity. Understanding emotion as the basis of a networked intelligence, a flow system, will prove to be the next frontier.”

 

As Behan states: “…In my view, we’re only half way there…”.

Just getting the Scientific and Academic communities to consider the insertion of “Emotion” into the canine mind and motivation has been an uphill struggle for years already.  With the conjecture of a different level of “Awareness” is probably going to be seen as “Voodoo” or something even more than fanciful by the lettered.  But I think this is worth  pondering, and I believe that “Awareness” is the proper word to label it with.  My questions will adjust themselves from the common to the sublime.  Rather than, “What can I train my dog to do?” will become, “What does my dog already “know”, and how can we use it for our benefit?”  “Why does my dog have this behavioral problem” will morph into, “What energy is causing my dog to do this, and how am I missing the causative?”

Oh yes, I’m a llooonnnnggggg way from understanding this “Awareness” that I’m suggesting.  It’s probably not provable by “scientific method”, but examine what man has already copied from the product of creation already…For mellenia, man had no idea how to fly.  Examining, studying, understanding and imitating a common sparrow, finally lead man to the SR-71 Blackbird aircraft.  Man wanted to know what was in the huge environment of the worlds oceans but how to do so?  Denizens of the deep demonstrated how to best accomplish underwater propulsion, surviving the immense pressures, and efficiency of design.  Many items of common use today came about because humans observed things in the natural world.  Velcro for instance, along with many others.  My goal is to observe what my dog may, or may not, be “aware” of in his world.  Find out what my “superior” intellect is missing completely, unawares, while he uses his “awareness”  naturally.

Times a’wasting…Watch your dog today…

"If people only knew..."

“If people only knew…”

 

 

What I’m about to publish is not a conclusion I’ve drawn.  There’s no need for rebuttal, argument, or mudslinging.  There’s also no need for praise or accolades.  It is merely a Question I’ve been formulating for some time.  It started before I began to learn about Natural Dog Training, and it actually has it’s roots in the earliest days of working with my dogs.  It’s something I should have done much earlier, but hadn’t yet the insight to, ‘ take the road less traveled.’

For the large part of dog training history, “Drive(s)” have been a central tenet.  Which “Drive” controls or manages a particular behavior?  How can I build more ” Drive” in my dog?  How can I diminish a certain “drive” in my dog?  Look at the long list of “Drives” that certain “”experts” have identified, qualified, indemnified, and quantified.  Ball drive, Play Drive, Prey drive, Hunt drive, food drive, sex drive, pack drive, fight drive, tracking drive, ad infinitum.  Some insist that all of these drives are involved to varying degrees when training a dog.  Others postulate that only a single Drive actually exists, and it is labeled Prey Drive.  At the moment, I’m not pressing either opinion as most accurate, although I’ve trained in both theories, and the middle ground between them.  Maybe all  of this talk of “Drives” is meant for the human on the “educated” end of the leash…Something that helps us identify what’s happening in our dogs head.  Maybe it’s a handy way to project blame for our failure as trainers onto a dog with a “lack of whatever drive the dog should possess.”  Is it possible that our dogs don’t self-govern by the use of irresistible urges, or inborn, “Drives” at all??  Is there something less quantifiable at work?

I do know this:  Your dog doesn’t care which theory, or theories, that you subscribe too.  The dog cares only that he works off energy, feels safe, and has balanced emotion.   Your emotional state affects what your dog feels all of the time, like a ephemeral mirror of emotion.   And frankly, he can’t even tell you that this is what he needs in words.  Your dog has the wonderful ability to just “Be”.  It seems to me that if we, as humans, learn this skill equally, we’d all be better off, a little less tightly wound-up…

I’ve written several times on the subject of “building drive”, or “Training in Drive”, so this supposition that I’m postulating has been a personal struggle.  But something that I’ve learned has beckoned to me from behind a dark curtain…Dogs “organize” themselves in a group and accomplish what they need in the mindset of which individual “wants” something the most.  They rest will fall in line to support that “need”.  The individual  “alpha principle” within a group of dogs changes and flows with that energy.  There is no single alpha dog, but rather, a different member with the most energy at a given moment becomes the leader.  It’s an emotional response to whatever is of current interest.  Batteries have positive and negative charges that need to work together to produce a release of energy.  That’s what we may be mistakenly describing as “Drive.” 

Doesn’t “Drive” describes something that is answered to without hesitation or forethought?  When a dog has pent-up “energy”, and is looking for the opposite polarity to release that energy, he’s ” thinking” about the end result.  Not reacting mindlessly to external stimulus.  Too further the analogy, I will be attempting to discover a way to define this mental exercise going on within the dogs mind…Rather than a “Drive”, which confines the dogs abilities to mere evolutionary instinct and reaction, I’m theorizing something else.  In short and simple terms,  Your dog has an “intelligence”, uses it, and is not a helpless pawn to a “Drive.”  It knows what it wants, needs, and requires, and builds it’s “energy” to acquire it.  Often, thru the completion of the circuit emotionally, we help release the supplied energy.

The most difficult part of this “theory” is suspending our lofty, human approach to working with a dog.  That’s why this post is probably  going to draw the ire of so many.  Because humans are superior in intellect, we relegate our dog to the position of the lesser.  This causes us to believe the dog needs to respond to our wants, and ignore the dogs.  Maybe the best way to train is too become our dogs “completed circuit.”  When we work together, and take the lead, the dog will support the strongest “want” in the group willingly and naturally.  Again, this is “our” responsibility as trainers and handlers.  The dog will follow and reflect us without hesitation.

  I know this sounds very Unscientific to many.   But remember, Science Insists, It dismisses the unquantifiable, It denies the existence of the anything that can’t be charted or graphed. 

 

I have been a fairly tenacious advocate of training early, training often, and training with intent.  My dogs began training the day they came home at about 8 weeks of age.  We began with the basics, Sit, Go Potty, No Bites…you get the drift.  Shortly thereafter, I began Scent work training.  Within 6 months, we also mastered most of the CGC tests, even though the test couldn’t be taken at that age.  Everywhere we went was a test of behavior, obedience, or socialization.  Many of the books that I read strongly encouraged that “Time for training must start early, you have very little time, hurry, hurry, hurry!!!”   One of the most desperate sounding was Ian Dunbar, who seems to believe that dogs stop learning at 9 months old.  Fortunately I have learned that the mind-set and methods of Dunbar and his followers is  incomplete, and based on questionable conclusions.  Dogs can learn everyday of their life, and they do.  There’s a better way, and “Science” backs this conclusion.

I wish now that I had focused more time and attention on interactive “Play” between us during the first year.   I was fortunate in this:  My style of training was (and is) more centered on “fun” than most others.  I love watching the dogs just being dogs, chasing toys, chasing each other, playing tug-of-war with various items, digging for hidden rewards, and wrestling with me on the ground.  There is one central reason that PLAY is so important to the development of your puppy.  This ingredient will affect your relationship as a team for the life of your dog.  What is this ingredient?

           You Must Be The Most Interesting Thing In Your Dogs Life.  

Are you naturally drawn to an employer that piles work on you every minute of everyday?  Your dog, especially puppies up to about a year old, are hard-wired to Play.  It’s a combination of Exercise (or Stress Relief, a topic upcoming here) Discipline (Time to “release”  the toy) and Affection(rolling around on the floor letting the dog search you for a toy, or playing Tug are Rewards!!)  Your dog will celebrate every time you walk into the room because YOU=Playtime!!!!   This developing focus on you will create a dog/human team that are completely in tune with each other.  There will never be a problem with a distracted dog, because YOU, (Not food treats, and certainly not Clicking) will be the center of his world.

I’ve written about what follows in “German Shepherd Adventures” a couple of years ago, and it raised eyebrows in some.  That’s okay by me, because I’ve seen the results of my practice.  I’ll repeat what I wrote then for the benefit of those who may have missed it. The most important game you can develop properly with your dog is a good old-fashioned game of “Tugging”.  I know, I know…Many of you are of the belief that this creates an aggressive dog, .  You believe that you are developing a dog that is capable of dangerous reactions. You may believe you are creating a “reactionary” dog… You are, in fact, doing just the opposite.  Notice this quote from  Jean Donaldson, a positive training maven, writes that tug games “are not about dominance and they do not increase aggression. These are myths.”  (Quote from this source-(http://www.leecharleskelley.com/top10myths/dontplaytugofwar.html

You are in fact, creating an “Outlet” for your dogs “prey” instinct, while using the natural, inborn inclinations of your dogs “Hunting” instincts to relieve , (Here it comes…) stress. To quote Kevin Behan in “Natural Dog Training”, –Many parents may be nervous about this whole notion of prey instinct. We are not creating the prey instinct: it is already there. We are channeling it into an appropriate activity. This way it is not as likely to go where it does not belong, such as after a child’s hand. Otherwise, you are leaving it up to the dog to decide what he wants to do with his prey instinct.

Okay, I’m springing something new on you.  The idea that your dog has stress, and is better off with an effective way to release it.  That’s going to be the subject of another post.  Energy and Stress, and your dogs “Natural” state of being a “Predator”, are going to be major subjects in the near future here.

As part of the Communicative Approach, Tugging games build a bond between Handler and Canine.  During these games, your dog’s focus is %115 on YOU!  Remember, a tug toy, rag, or sleeve is a lifeless object UNTIL you pick it up!  Then you become the life of the party!!!  The practice will soon eliminate distractions, and improve recalls, and obedience.  I have always played serious tugging games with my protection dog “Hans”.  Without really knowing “Why”, or “How”, I’ve raised an obedient, focused dog.  Looking back, I realize that we bonded over this type of play.

Now, for my heretofore failure, and its recent resolution:  Our young female GSD, “Holly”, now 18 months old, was slated specifically for Therapy work, and as an experimental “Cancer Detection Canine”, (A newly developing study.) from 8 weeks of age.  My wife would train her, and I’d promise to not teach the pup to tug, chase me, or anything else resembling “aggression”.  Holly did fine for about the first year, earning CGC status, passing TDI training, and doing well.  But she never quite earned our trust in “Off-Leash” activities, such as fetch.  She suffered a lack of “Focus” being easily distracted at times.  Outside, her “recall” was questionable, but inside was fine.  She seemed “bored” while working my wife opined…CarolAnn actually became very distressed over this lack of enthusiasm, and Holly’s lackadaisical response to obedience while unleashed.  She actually “borrowed” a friends Vizla, to make her Care Facility rounds for two weeks while we investigated this occurrence.  Well, of course, Holly became despondent and a little destructive at home.  Some how we were not fulfilling her needs, while we were protecting her status as a Therapy Dog.  All bad things.  Hans had never been thru anything like this in his training, and we were searching frantically for answers.  Thinking that “Physical Activity” was the missing ingredient, we enrolled CarolAnn and Holly in Agility training.  In good portion, it helped.  Holly does well, has no fear, and loves to burn off steam.  But her “focus” on her handler was still an issue.  It was during this period that picked up on “Natural Dog Training” by Kevin Behan, and the work of both Lee Charles Kelley and Neil Sattin (found here: http://www.naturaldogblog.com/

What I read and digested was very similar to the way I had raised and trained Hans.  Different terms were being used to describe what I was developing on my own somewhat lacking method, but the same spirit was there.  We decided that I would recreate with Holly, what I had done with Hans.  “Pushing”, a training technique that “Natural Dog Training” emphasizes is one such example.  I called it “Keep Away” with a high-value item.  (There’s a lot more to explain “Pushing”.  Check the link above, Please)

I also introduced Holly and CarolAnn to Tugging Games.  My wife at first resisted mightily, being wisely aware that Holly had grown some impressive dentition.  I began to play tug with Holly everyday for a week, which is more time than needed.  Within that time, her behavior turned 180 degrees about!!  Her recall reminded me of a Sparrow missile inbound…I pushed her training to things she had been taught NOT to do, such as giving Dad a Big stand up hug as she saw Hans do everyday with me.  Holly was shortly going after an Arm-sleeve with a gusto that belied her hitherto somewhat (Bored! Unfulfilled!) gentle nature.  But the fuzzy little phoenix was rising from her own frustrated ashes…Everything changed about her behavior.  I chalk it up to fulfilling her natural instincts.  Period.

So go out and play with your dog.  Learn to play Tug safely, and properly.  Again I will provide some links below for this purpose.  The result will be Focus Focus and more Focus from your dog, and the end of many behavioral problems!!!!

http://www.naturaldogblog.com/blog/2007/07/how-to-play-tug-of-war-with-your-dog-and-have-the-happiest-dog-on-the-block/

My beautiful, Natural Trainee, Holly...

My beautiful, Natural Trainee, Holly…

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