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Are collar correction depressing for the dog? #208354
01/26/12 05:46 AM
01/26/12 05:46 AM
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Southern WA
cassadee7 Offline OP
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Started advanced novice OB last week with a teacher I really like and have had before. It's a class to prepare for competition so a bit stricter and more is expected from the dogs than the last classes. The question I have is about collar corrections (using a flat buckle collar, although some of the other dogs had chokes on). Is it depressing to a dog to get collar corrections? I hope this is not a terribly silly question but remember I have never trained a dog before and I have done almost all "positive training" with a clicker, treats, praise. The corrections I have given are mild verbal or just adjusting her position with my hands. Or if she gets something wrong I just don't reward, and try again and then reward when it is correct.

In class tonight we did figure 8's and some heeling. Her heeling is improving but she sniffs the floor too much. We were told to give a collar correction for things like sniffing the floor, lagging in figure 8's, forging, lack of focus etc. So I did, I gave collar corrections and they worked but Saber did not seem very happy. I really like her to be happy and wanting to work with me. By the end of the hour she seemed depressed.

Thoughts? Am I reading too much into it?


Shawn
Mom to five kids and
"Saber" NN Jette vom Wildhaus CD BN RA CAX CGC JJ-N HIC
Kira vom Snoozhaus ZZZ CGC!!!

Saber's Blog: http://stuffsaberdoes.blogspot.com/
Re: Are collar correction depressing for the dog? [Re: cassadee7] #208381
01/26/12 11:57 AM
01/26/12 11:57 AM
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Go back to your positive methods, find what is most motivating for her (steak?) and build your focus with that. That's what I'd want to do anyway. You have what? a week or so? to work on building,or rebuilding, focus.

Re: Are collar correction depressing for the dog? [Re: middleofnowhere] #208385
01/26/12 12:39 PM
01/26/12 12:39 PM
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Liesje Offline
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I think they are "depressing" if the dog doesn't understand what it's for and how to respond, and if the handler is giving off "depressing" vibes. They aren't depressing for my dogs and I can assure you when they get a correction it's nothing like a little pop on a flat collar, but they know how to respond to that, and I'm always setting them up for success even when corrections might be used. Also I have no emotion with a correction. I'm not angry or feeling like the dog is "bad", it's just a correction, a split second in time where I communicate a message to the dog and we move on.

Rather than not rewarding things that are wrong, I'd break things down into steps so that she has less opportunities to do something wrong. This way you don't even have to stress about whether or not to use a correction or ignore the wrong behavior, it just won't happen. I generally train this way until the dog is mature enough and has had some lighter experiences with pressure before I start using corrections and at that time the dog has an understanding of how to turn my pressure on/off and how to respond to a correction. I would also work on avoiding adjusting her with your hands otherwise she might become dependent on these cues. That could cause stress in the competition ring, if she's used to a lot of cues and feedback from you and then suddenly there is none.

Re: Are collar correction depressing for the dog? [Re: Liesje] #208396
01/26/12 01:36 PM
01/26/12 01:36 PM
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You need to act like an ass. wink

New class, new environment, more "pressure" to perform, possible she's tossing out some calming signals OR doing what comes naturally to her with the nose. I would go early, tell her to sniff all over the room, and then tell her that's it when class starts.

Agree with breaking things down into steps.

But back to the ass thing, my sweet Bella would shut down in classes, which is not what your girl is doing, but the idea is the same, using high and happy voice, lots of animation and then weaning her off that once she gets it.

I always wonder about corrections for not looking, etc. I don't know if it's me, or my dogs, but that kicks in my opposition reflex so bad! I personally have balked and gotten an attitude when told to correct for something like that. Like, I want to come up the leash at the trainer kind of thing. smile My Chow mixes, if I gave a correction for something like that, it's over. I would get the paw. Bella would try to continue to please, but when you have a dog that does want to please, you can find other ways to channel that. And have to say, all of my dogs, even though we haven't gone to a class in a long time, if we are doing a formal heel for fun, still look up at me.

Re: Are collar correction depressing for the dog? [Re: Liesje] #208397
01/26/12 01:44 PM
01/26/12 01:44 PM
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Michigan
Ruthie Offline
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Corrections can shut a dog down, but if I remember you dog correctly, that is probably not the case here. When giving corrections, you have to be just as engaging as working with food. What I have seen is that the handler, myself included, shuts down when giving corrections. When emotions come into play like, "my poor baby!" The dog wonders why mom is acting funny and will do things like leak drive or disengage.

It really helps me to think about how dogs correct each other. It is quick and firm, so there is no mistaking and the next seconds happy normal play. My friend saw me correct Grizz for getting on the desk once. She stared and said "Schizophrenic much?"

Last edited by Ruthie; 01/26/12 01:45 PM.

Amy
Bison (Indo Vom Triton) CGC
Grizzly vom Buchonia
RIP- Moose, Gator, Bear

My Dog/God blog
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Re: Are collar correction depressing for the dog? [Re: Ruthie] #208403
01/26/12 02:09 PM
01/26/12 02:09 PM
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Syracuse, NY
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I agree with Lies. Though I don't use corrections in my training, when a dog is confused, they may look 'depressed.' If you confuse them too much, they may shut down completely because they are simply unsure of what you want. Also, as was mentioned, sniffing is a displacement behavior that dogs often do if they're stressed. So, if they're sniffing and you correct it or otherwise get upset/frustrated, the sniffing may actually increase because your dog is more stressed now. It can become a vicious cycle.

I find it's far more useful to make sure I'm clear on what I want from my dog and adjust situations so that I can get the results I want rather than resorting to corrections. It is not easy to work around distractions in class and, especially on the first night, everything is new. With a young dog and a green trainer, sometimes you really have to lower your expectations and look for the tiny steps towards what you want. (And that means you also need to not focus on where everyone else is in regards to training--which can be hard! wink )

With hyper-vigilant dogs, I think they need to look around and check things out. Whenever I'm working with Risa, I give her time to investigate the area. When I first arrive at class after setting up, we just stand around and I wait for check ins. She can look around at stuff at her leisure but, if she makes eye contact with me, I click/treat. (I still do manage her to an extent but she is dog reactive so I have to be cautious she doesn't look too long and cause reactive moments.) I can't fight her desire to look around so I let her but show her it doesn't pay off nearly as much as looking at me does. I also constantly work on focus at home and in other locations so that, when I take her somewhere new, I can get better focus on me and not the distractions.

I've also started playing more games during training sessions to make a stronger bond between the two of us and making training a lot more fun. It also increases her drive to pay attention to me amid some pretty tough distractions. You might find the following blog entry useful: A Party for Two. The author, Denise Fenzi, is a high-level obedience person and trainer using motivational methods only.


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Re: Are collar correction depressing for the dog? [Re: DancingCavy] #208405
01/26/12 02:31 PM
01/26/12 02:31 PM
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Southwest, MI
Jane Jean Offline
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Many obedience trainers use corrections way more than they should. The suitcase pull to get focus or the tapping on the forehead. The dog clearly isn't going to be engaged when these techniques are used.
My trainer(who is a competitive obedience trainer/competitor) was using these with her dogs and one just was so flat she decided to change her ways. Other dogs can handle that type training with no problem.
She now uses tug,and other techniques(games) to train and it is really showing in her dogs attitude.
I think Saber will be bored if she is trained in the way you are describing. I'd whip out a ball or tug to keep her excitement level up. Obedience is very boring for most dogs and we need to keep them engaged.


Onyx
Karlo
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SweetClover3.17.94~11.24.08 Kacie 7.21.2005-5.01.2015
Re: Are collar correction depressing for the dog? [Re: DancingCavy] #208407
01/26/12 02:34 PM
01/26/12 02:34 PM
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NE PA
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Originally Posted By: DancingCavy
I find it's far more useful to make sure I'm clear on what I want from my dog
I absolutely agree with this. You canít correct if the dog doesnít know what itís doing wrong, or even if it doesnít know what itís doing right. Once the dog knows exactly what you want, then blowing you off is, indeed, reason to correct.

Originally Posted By: DancingCavy
Öadjust situations so that I can get the results I want rather than resorting to corrections.
I donít agree with this. Thatís like quieting a 2-year-old with a cookie because she was screaming for ice cream and you really didnít want her to have the ice cream but you didnít want her screaming either. Itís ignoring the bad behavior until you can wrangle a way to turn it into good behavior - and you can't always adjust situations. The dog Ė and the child - has you trained. You donít have to beat the dog or choke the dog, but after it knows exactly what you want, then corrections are definitely necessary when the dogís wants become more important than yours. Just a quick pop-reminder about who is in charge. JMO.


Jan - Mom to:

Beau & Chance - German/Anatolian Shepherds
Bailey - Labrador Granddog
Re: Are collar correction depressing for the dog? [Re: Jane Jean] #208408
01/26/12 02:50 PM
01/26/12 02:50 PM
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JeanKBBMMMAAN Offline
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Originally Posted By: Jane Jean
Obedience is very boring for most dogs and we need to keep them engaged.


Isn't it though! Ooops, I mean for the dogs. Zzzzzzzz... I finally learned to play games off to the side (quiet ones not to distract other people - like touch, paw, etc) to keep us awake. It took a long time for me to get up the nerve to do that.

Re: Are collar correction depressing for the dog? [Re: JeanKBBMMMAAN] #208435
01/26/12 04:03 PM
01/26/12 04:03 PM
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Michigan
Ruthie Offline
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I really don't think it is unreasonable to correct if you are proofing for competition. If Saber really knows the heeling and what is expected then it is fair to correct if she isn't heeling with you.

Two things to consider...
1. Is she getting enough of a correction to make it clear? I experienced this problem with Bison. I was using a prong with a nylon buckle and it didn't give a very stong correction. When I switched to a traditional prong it was like night and day. He corrected immediately and when we were finished with the session, I was shocked and amazed at how much happier he was. The corrections were clear.
2. As I mentioned before, a lot of the issue can be the attitude of the handler. One of my club members shared a little trick with me that works wonders. I was working on basic position and Grizz wasn't really engaged. He told me to try tensing my body and it was an instant change. Now all the sudden Grizz saw that something was about to happen and was back to his lazer focus. The same thing works with heeling. Watch the good handlers, their bodies are like springs they exude energy and excitement even with a straigh face. It is all about the body language. If the handler is just plodding along, why would the dog want to walk with them? They don't see any potential for something exciting and fun to happen.

I know others have mentioned using tools to make you more engaging and that is ok to a certain extent, but I feel strongly that it has to start with the HANDLER. If YOU aren't engaging, then it doesn't matter if you have food, ball, tug... You aren't going to have all those tools when you compete, so why not focus on the tool you can always have with you...YOU!

Last edited by Ruthie; 01/26/12 04:05 PM.

Amy
Bison (Indo Vom Triton) CGC
Grizzly vom Buchonia
RIP- Moose, Gator, Bear

My Dog/God blog
Reflections on my Dog
Re: Are collar correction depressing for the dog? [Re: Ruthie] #208442
01/26/12 04:30 PM
01/26/12 04:30 PM
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Posts: 1,699
Southern WA
cassadee7 Offline OP
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Saber is a funny one. She seems to be very confident in some situations and then quite stressed in others. She generally likes the ring and is confident there. The instructor said the sniffing was probably from stress; I wonder myself if it is just because we are the last class of the night and the mat is covered in microscopic bits of treats. She doesn't usually seem stressed in the ring to ME but I could be wrong. Does it make a difference how/if to correct depending on her reason for sniffing? Because if it is a stress sniff I'd see how correcting that could make her more stressed but if it is a "yum yum there is food on the ground!" sniff I feel like that needs to be corrected more firmly/strictly. What do you think?

Lots of good thoughts from you all. We are not allowed to have treats in the ring in this class so I keep a bag outside the ring and about 3x during class, after she has done well I take her out and jackpot her. I wonder if bringing a tug into the ring would be good, like Jane mentioned. I know Saber would be more excited. She did seem bored last night. Or as Amy said maybe not. I have tried the "being more exciting" thing, jumping around being happy with a high voice, being more animated, and she mostly tilts her head and looks at me like I lost my mind.

I will definitely work on this all week with positive methods and see how we progess.


Shawn
Mom to five kids and
"Saber" NN Jette vom Wildhaus CD BN RA CAX CGC JJ-N HIC
Kira vom Snoozhaus ZZZ CGC!!!

Saber's Blog: http://stuffsaberdoes.blogspot.com/
Re: Are collar correction depressing for the dog? [Re: Ruthie] #208443
01/26/12 04:34 PM
01/26/12 04:34 PM
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Your #2 is my making a jerk of myself. That getting the dog into it is perhaps the reason I have never had to use a correction to get a dog to look at me while we are really working on heeling? Plus I reserve corrections for things that matter to me, in terms of safety and behavior, so for me, it's not an option and therefore, I better find another way to get the job done without the correction. I think it is interesting to set that up before a training session in my mind. In this session, I am going to teach ______________ and I am going to do it with/without _____________.*

But acting like an interesting idiot, that is something I will use - and have fun. The dogs love the high-happy voice, silly, having fun person, and don't like the plodding, boring, dull one. Someone somewhere has a quote in their signature, to train a dog you have to be more interesting than dirt, and that is so true!

Of course all of that has to be faded out - from idiocy to corrections - but for teaching it, I have a lot more fun being stupid then being serious.

*ETA - I know sometimes people think that it is not clear to the dog and that you have to be black/white with them. I am not talking being purely positive, I am giving feedback with my voice, body language and eyes that is both positive and negative, but very quickly - a lot less time to stop, or give an ugh noise, or make a face at them than the time it takes to pop a leash. That is feedback too and the dogs know - and you ARE shaping it, but when you use more of the positives, you get into a positive feedback loop so quickly I have found, that the negative feedback isn't needed so much.

Last edited by JeanKBBMMMAAN; 01/26/12 04:41 PM.
Re: Are collar correction depressing for the dog? [Re: Ruthie] #208451
01/26/12 04:53 PM
01/26/12 04:53 PM
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Albuquerque, NM
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Good topic!!!!

Amy makes some good points on the energy level. Need energy but not stress to keep the dog engaged with you.

When you think of obedience as dancing with a wonderful partner it is not so boring. I love heeling with Havoc. I love heeling as it is a dance and I get to go dancing with a great partner. If you look on it as boring it will be boring for you and the dog and then you get plodding. And then you get the ass as in opposition reflex that Jean mentioned. Opposition reflex can also be emotional.

But this is a collar correction thread. I think you have to teach your dog what a collar correction is and how to work through it so it is not depressing. Bobbie Anderson teaches her puppies that a collar pop is a great fun game! So they get a pop and it increases drive. When it comes time to use the pop as a 'hey you, we are heeling not fooling around' the young dog does not become depressed but works harder to drive with the handler. If you have not read her Building Blocks book you should take a peak at it or least the section on teaching the collar pop.

I think Saber may have been surprised so acted depressed? I do not usually start using a collar correction for heeling errors until I am certain the dog REALLY understands heel. Havoc got his first heeling corrections well after he was 2 1/2. I actually tied the leash around my waist to keep my hands off of it for a long time.

I might consider using a toy or other tool to help her understand before correcting her and teach her to work through a correction befor expecting her to bounce back. Show and tell. Show her what heel is with food, toys, praise. Help her be right before correcting her for being wrong. When you know she understands what you want add the correction and as soon as she is right again shower her with wonderful things. Keep your emotion in check, you cannot be angry when giving her a correction or it will shut her down. Stay upbeat and mentally engaged with her and as soon as she responds the right way the correction is done, she gets great things and you move on.

Remember when we talked about sniffing in the grass? Same thing here, let her get it out of her system and check out her environment. If she is okay with her environment she will be okay with you and I think less unfocused. She is still very young and I fully believe it takes 2 years to build a reliable heeling dog.

As an aside - again I think I know your trainer, she does use collar corrections, I think, too soon. She did not like that I used more toys with Havoc in her classes. I would step out to the side so as to not disrupt class when I used a toy. So if you opt to use a toy be courteous.

Circle heeling in a group is hard for any dog so be aware that she may not heel well there for a long time. Correcting her for lack of focus would not be very fair there.


Kathy

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Re: Are collar correction depressing for the dog? [Re: Ruthie] #208457
01/26/12 05:04 PM
01/26/12 05:04 PM
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Liesje Offline
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Originally Posted By: Ruthie


I know others have mentioned using tools to make you more engaging and that is ok to a certain extent, but I feel strongly that it has to start with the HANDLER. If YOU aren't engaging, then it doesn't matter if you have food, ball, tug... You aren't going to have all those tools when you compete, so why not focus on the tool you can always have with you...YOU!


I agree. Keep in mind you have a German Shepherd, a bigger dog with a rectangular shape. I used to do a lot of formal AKC and rally type classes and my number one struggle was having a dog that likes to move fast when focused and intense and a ring that is made for a sheltie. Sometimes when it's my turn in the ring, props and ring gates get knocked around, but if I don't want my dog to act inhibited, I'm certainly not going to have a blast training at home and then come to the class ring and act stoic and reserved. I'm not saying this is what's happening since I can't see, but this was definitely a struggle for me when I dabbled in training in "AKC" venues.

I'll disagree with a few points made above. I don't believe that obedience is boring for dogs. Why do my dogs HOWL at me, tossing their toys and their training gear in my lap or "herding" me towards the cabinet that contains the training gear? I don't think that indicates obedience is boring. They LOVE it! In fact, sometimes I'm working to *not* overload them in drive. But even with some harsh corrections and sometimes a bit of pressure/escape training their overall experience with obedience training is fun, drive, and more fun.

Also I don't always agree that a dog needs a change to sniff around and acclimate. The dog should have a clear understanding of work mode and "free" mode. This is why for me training my release word is just as important as any command. My dog *must* know when we are working (and my commands are non-negotiable) and when they are free to move around, sniff, look around. Ideally I can take my dog out of my van directly into the ring for their turn and have no problems. This is mostly a personal preference though, but I wouldn't want the dog's lack of focus to be excused as a need to acclimate before being able to work. It sounds more like the "depressing" behaviors were stress and avoidance, not a true need to sniff around in the ring to get acclimated.

Last edited by Liesje; 01/26/12 05:05 PM.
Re: Are collar correction depressing for the dog? [Re: Kayos] #208458
01/26/12 05:05 PM
01/26/12 05:05 PM
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Southern WA
cassadee7 Offline OP
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Thanks Kathy. After I saw Bobbie Anderson trial and talked to ehr a bit, I went out and got her book but haven't read much of it yet. I will look for that chapter.

I have been doing the McDevitt thing (I think it was her?) of releasing to sniff on cue in class, before and even in the middle of class once or twice when we are getting bits of lecture and the dogs are just waiting. Not sure if that is a bad idea...


Shawn
Mom to five kids and
"Saber" NN Jette vom Wildhaus CD BN RA CAX CGC JJ-N HIC
Kira vom Snoozhaus ZZZ CGC!!!

Saber's Blog: http://stuffsaberdoes.blogspot.com/
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