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Timing is everything

Ravenbird

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Timing for markers (clicker, yes, no, and corrections) are vitally important in training. Especially when you are trying to stop a behavior. I came across this today from Sean O'Shea on FB. He said it so well, I thought I'd put it here for anyone struggling or needing a reminder about how important timing and prevention of the behavior is so important. If you find him on FB there's a video to go along with this, but just let the words sink in for a start. It reminded me how most of the mistakes I made with Asha were when I was standing around, relaxed talking with a friend in a public place and I wasn't watching her. She was on leash, and we tend to look at the people we are talking with, and it feels rude to keep staring at your dog while talking. So she'd go from totally chill to a lunge & explosive barking in about 2 seconds. Over & over I made the mistake of not watching. And also #'s 1 & 2 that he lists after that. Prevention is 99% of the cure. And hindsight is 20/20.


This is the simplest, most succinct analysis and advice if you want to understand how to successfully address and conquer reactivity issues.
Once your dog sees a trigger an incredibly quick doomsday countdown begins. That countdown beginning is the start of the arousal or escalation sequence/arc. Every second that passes enables more arousal to build and ensures more of the chemicals that envelop the mind and body which not only create the explosive reactivity, but also tune out any attempts to correct/derail it…to take hold.
Regardless of the tools you’re using to address this (I’m advising my client about e-collar levels here), the same principles hold true: the best chance you have to successfully stop/derail this doomsday clock of arousal is to address the teeniest, tiniest, earliest sign of the clock beginning to tick (locked on eye contact, ears up/rigid, tail flagging, hackles up, change in breathing, head/body orientation towards the trigger, body becoming stiff etc.), as early as possible with the firmness/intensity necessary to break/cap the escalation and enable deescalation.
Most owners who are already using good tools struggle with this for two reasons: 1/ they play the waiting game—either hoping this might be the one time the dog doesn’t explode, or feeling it’s unfair to correct something so seemingly mild/benign…so they wait too long. Or 2/, their skills are lacking—their read on their dog’s signals are poor, or their mechanics with the tools themselves are insufficient…so they get their too late.
Get this simple concept, use the right tools—and learn to use them properly, educate yourself on your dog’s cues, and start seeing the tiny moments of the sequence starting as the ONLY moments you have to successfully intervene, and you’re on your way to defeating reactivity.
www.thegooddogtrainingneworleans.com
 
I'm going to add to this, I just finished O'Sheas first book and I highly recommend it for anyone struggling with a dog that is over-powering you, just not learning, doing all those things that "we never had a dog that did this" thing. This is about your relationship with your dog and how to get to an understanding with him/her so you begin to live an normal life again. This is not "how to raise a puppy". This is how to deal with a dog that has you pulling your hair out and you can't figure out where you've gone wrong. This isn't step by step things to do, this is looking at yourself, your dog and the big picture of what's going on and yes he does say what has to change. It's extremely easy to read and I'm looking forward to reading the two books that follow this one. As I said, this is not a "how to raise a puppy" or "steps in teaching obedience". This is when you realize you have a dog that is no longer a pleasure and is dominating your life. I have no affiliations with Sean O'Shea or his business, I just see so many people coming here who are dealing with a puppy or grown dog who might benefit from this book and his insight is powerful and kind and all about making life better for owners and dogs both.


 
Regardless of the tools you’re using to address this (I’m advising my client about e-collar levels here), the same principles hold true: the best chance you have to successfully stop/derail this doomsday clock of arousal is to address the teeniest, tiniest, earliest sign of the clock beginning to tick (locked on eye contact, ears up/rigid, tail flagging, hackles up, change in breathing, head/body orientation towards the trigger, body becoming stiff etc.), as early as possible with the firmness/intensity necessary to break/cap the escalation and enable deescalation.
This is well put. Watching your dog's reaction to what it's perceptions are is even more important than trying to see what they see before they do, if I am reading this right. This guy even notes picking up a change in your dog's breathing! Makes me think the human shouldn't be looking for the squirrel the dog might see, but knowing your dog may have seen a squirrel based on it's respirations. Know your dog and watch it, even if you don't see what they see.?
I highly recommend it for anyone struggling with a dog that is over-powering you, just not learning, doing all those things that "we never had a dog that did this" thing. This is about your relationship with your dog and how to get to an understanding with him/her so you begin to live an normal life again. This is not "how to raise a puppy".
I haven't had this over-running dog yet, but I might buy this book sooner rather than later, just in case one might soon want to try that. Knowledge is power, and it sounds like a good read. Thank you! I'll be buying a book tomorrow.
 
Watching your dog's reaction to what it's perceptions are is even more important than trying to see what they see before they do, if I am reading this right.
That's exactly it. As I said in my first post, if I'd been watching my dog instead of my friend while standing around, I could have prevented 75% more outbursts than I ended up having to correct. And Asha's outbursts were self-rewarding, so that made her more likely to do it again.

Also, Dobermans are soooo easy to read. They wear their thoughts like a neon sign. One sharp glance in a direction and a steady stare for 2 seconds meant I needed to get her attention off of it. Asha is quick to raise hackles and I can now glance at her withers and if I see the hair starting to separate (before it stands up!), I get her attention. I've learned to see the difference between her observing something with interest and watching something with intent. Once I learned to watch her and interrupt her thoughts, it all became easier.
 
Asha is quick to raise hackles and I can now glance at her withers and if I see the hair starting to separate (before it stands up!), I get her attention. I've learned to see the difference between her observing something with interest and watching something with intent.
These are the kinds of nuances that make dogs and our relationships with them so amazing! In that each dog is different too. I want to be learning Katyusha like this, and I think in some ways I already have, even if I can't name the things I am seeing and reacting to. Definitely will be watching with intent to learn and name these tells on new puppy too.
 
I think in some ways I already have, even if I can't name the things I am seeing and reacting to.
Yes you are, probably more than you even know! It's like riding a bicycle or driving a car. You concentrate so hard when learning and before you know it you are doing it without thinking. You are well on your way.
 

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