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Shamas' training log

Discussion in 'Your Training Logs' started by Shamas' mom, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. Shamas' mom

    Shamas' mom Registered Users

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    This is my log of Shamas training. I welcome suggestions, as I update and vent out frustrations.

    Shamas was brought home on October 27th and is 5 years old. I believe that hes not a city dog, as his phobias are all things athat are "normal" here in the core of the city. Trucks, buses, sirens, heavy traffic, main roads...etc

    After a few run-ins with badly behaved dogs in my area, he became dog-shy. We have worked with him over the winter at Petsmart, and he's getting better with that now. It's about 50/50 whether he will lunge towards, or turn and walk away from another dog on the streets of our area. I generally turn him away at the first sight of another dog, going around the block to get back home again.

    In the beginning, between the lunging and the pulling, we had a LOT of trouble handling him on the walk. we first tried the Easy walk harness. That caused blisters and sores. So we tried Gentle Leader. That cause balding on his nose. Next was a prong collar(my families trainers swear by it for difficult dogs and I had only used it under much hesitancy). We only used that for about a week before discovering the more humaine Martingale collar and discontinuing use. When winter came, I got a harness. I couldn't handle training him in the snow and ice, and felt more stable with him ahead of me. Now I use a harness unless I want him right at my side.

    Although 5 years old, Shamas doesn't seem to have had any training past the basic. Sit and Lay down. He understands getting in trouble, and Sit is his go-to response for everything. He shows at my side if I say "let's go" and walk off but has no recall. I suspect he was a friend...a companion dog, woh was never taught any commands.

    He LOVES to learn new things, and now knows Sit, Shake a paw, Lay down, Take it to your crate, Time for bed, Go Pee, Shamas Come, Walk by, Let's Go, Ah! Leave it! , Don't beg-GO Walk AWAY!(when he gets into it with the cats)and a few others. I'm working on teaching him to ring a bell to let me kno when he needs to go outside.

    I started Crate training, but he got so upset at being left in with the door shut that I held training at having him use it for now. I have bigger fish to fry than teaching him to have time iin his crate. He uses it regularly, he just doesn't like the door shut. And when i have to leave him home alone, I don't need to crate him- I put him in my room witht he door close, and there's a second crate in there where he spends the nights.

    We have some trouble with the cats. Matts, the eldest is fine with him. Midnight is not bad..he seems like he'd like to meet the dog but is afraid. Helen HATES him. as far as she's concerned, he's an invader who took her place on our bed. The plan had been that he'd sleep in my daughter's room...but Helen was so menacing that we ended up bringing him to our room for his own saftety, and he's slept there ever since. The problem is, Helen has always slept in our room. So she's moved into the girls room, and guards it viciously against the dog.

    Since we couldn't keep the dog out of the cat litters, we put 3 downstairs for whent they play in the basement, and one in the room that the cats frequent.
     
  2. selina27

    selina27 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi @Shamas' mom , it will be interesting to follow this thread, I look forward to hearing about your progress with Shamas, it sounds challenging but will in time, I'm sure, prove to be oh so worthwhile.

    I was wondering, with his fearfulness, whether you have tried the "Look At That" technique at all?
     
  3. Shamas' mom

    Shamas' mom Registered Users

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    Shamas doesn't seem too interested in other things..we tried getting him to look at squirrels once. But I found that a squeaky toy helps, as well as "Shamas! Shamas! Hi! Come here.... Sit :D!" Totally disarms him. I used that today with the neighbours chihuaha, whom he hates. The first morning here he mock attacked it, and the two have had it in for each other ever since. I guess he was defensive over his new home.

    the general rule is that when we see Tico wee turn and walk the other way. They will eventually have to get used to each other but for now they are just kept seperated. Neither's going anywhere.

    I'm also trying to increase his range. Right now he pretty much only walks around the block. Which for a Lab is a VERY short distance. This morning I was able to coax him one block over to the park, and from there another block over to an open field. Then we took a roundabout route home. It was a good morning for him today, he was feeling confident. Hopefully the more we can get him off of his "beaten path" the further we can get him to walk because right now the longest walks he gets are the strolls through Petsmart followed by chapters. He's basically a normal dog there.
     
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  4. Shamas' mom

    Shamas' mom Registered Users

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    I had a chane to get Shamas out to a trail today :)

    My dad popped by to go for a walk and he drove us to a nearby one. It's only a few blocks from home.but you have to cross a bridge, on a main road to get to it so I've not been able to get Shamas there before.

    When he saw the open soccer field Shamas leapt out of the van and took off...had me worried because he doesnt have recall yet( was never taught to him before we got him) so he ran in circles for a minute or two before I was able to get him to return to me. I didn't punish him upon return because I know that would be counter-productive. Instead, I sat him and gave him a treat...then we went for our walk.

    I've been working on recall in the back yard but it's still about 50/50 because we're just starting out. and I figure that this being the very first time Shamas saw freedom outside of a fenced area he did very well, returning after about a minute or two. He could have run me a merry chase through the woods given that we were at the edge of a woded trail, and near the river. I'm lucky he didn't go for a swim or chase off after the dogs that entered the park a couple of minutes ahead of us and were still in eyesight lol.

    I'm also impressed with Shams because the trail goes from one main road to another...and when we reached the end of the trail, we decided to see if he was confident enough today to cross the bridge towards home. He did, so we finished the trail, crossed the bridge, came back downt he side streets that he knows, and then crossed the bridge that I've never been able to get him near, and put him back in the van to drive home. no balking, backing or freezing. I love having him out with my dad's dogs, because he's able to feed off of their confidence, and go places that he wouldnt normally go. He gets nice long walks, fear-free. :)

    I honestly think that the more I can get him out with my dad's dogs, the faster he'll get over his phobias. He can see that they are not afraid, and he feels safe in the pack.
     
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  5. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    Great news :)

    Is it worth considering using a long line with him until you've managed to work on his recall out and about?
     
  6. Shamas' mom

    Shamas' mom Registered Users

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    Yes it is. I have a long line, but its only rated to 45lbs. I've used it many times out and about, when I go out to a field with my dad and it holds fine, since Shamas doesn't tend to pull. he's pretty good with a quick leash and verbal cue.

    I learned today that my son is the perfect one to hold him when I go into a store. A couple of dogs showed up when I was in grabbing coffee, and Shamas got mouthy. He just stepped in front of Shamas and did the Grizzly-bear stance, and Shamas went "oh, ok nevermind then" lol. I was really impressed with that instinctive response..I've not told him to do that and it completely disarmed both Shamas and the other two dogs. All of a sudden Shamas' attention was focused on him and he was looking for positive reinforcement :) I told him that he literally couldn't have handled it better if he tried!

    When we moved off I took Shamas a wide circle around the other dogs, on the traffic handle, and he pulled towards them. but i told him that they need their space like he needs his, and we walked away. He had some very negative interactions when we first got him, and the more neutral to friendly interactions he has like this, the more he'll learn to ignore other dogs on the walks...eventually he'll be able to see other strange dogs without the barking and straining.
     
  7. Shamas' mom

    Shamas' mom Registered Users

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    Shamas is getting more confident with every day that passes. we've found a bike trail that goes Under a main road, and into a new set of paths, letting us take an hour-long walk. Shamas doesn't much like the sound of cars above him but it doesn't bother him nearly as much as actually crossing a street, so it's a better route. We just take a 3 second sprint and it's over. Now we can actually start getting some good walks in.

    today he crossed one of his points of concern again without balking or backing away. This is the second time he's accomplished this crossing without fleeing, so I'm very pleased. If he keeps this up, I'll consider walking down towards the quiet dog park in a few weeks. I like that dog park because there's almost never anyone there, so it's a nice place ot let him off-leash mid-walk. We haven't been back since last November, when there was construction, and the CATS and other heavy machinery spooked him badly. He's not gone within 4 blocks of that street since then without freezing and turning to drag me home.

    When I take the leap and try him in that direction again I plan to use a different street, and a different crosswalk....see if he can handle just going in that direction one block at a time at each walk, with frequent turns back towards home. . baby steps are what got him where he is now, baby steps will get him further.
     
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  8. Shamas' mom

    Shamas' mom Registered Users

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    I'm considering a slip collar to toss in my pocket, just to have on hand for those times when Shamas gets distracted and is hard to turn in the right direction. I could slip it on, get him straightened out, and slip it off again. I love his harness, and prefer using it to the collar. Most of the time he walks really well, and is pretty easy to keep on track. But sometimes at roads he ends up facing everywhere except where I want him , and I could use something to help me get him turned in the right direction. I don't like the way a collar looks with the harness, because his skin bunches and he looks uncomfortable. I think it's aesthetic, more than anything. But it bothers me.
     
  9. Shamas' mom

    Shamas' mom Registered Users

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    Just to be clear, I don't plan on clipping a lead to the slip, just using it to turn him around. I'll probably tie a knot in it too so it can't choke him
     
  10. Shamas' mom

    Shamas' mom Registered Users

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    Ok, so we have a new challenge.

    with the onset of warm weather (yay) shamas is guarding his new territory against intruders. Problem is, we've been known safe territory for the local feral cat colony for years. Shamas chased one over the fence today, and it belongs to the neighbours. he then proceeded to pace the fence, looking to see if he could get it. I used Leave IT. to call him off, and took him in but I think he's going to have to be leashed when i'm not out there for a little while.

    As well, when the neighbours came into the yard during our next trip out, he sounded the alarm, same as he would if someone was at the door. He called off when told, but after the third alarm sounding, I ordered him inside.

    For years we lived with a territorial and scary husky next door. It was always tied out, and we were afraid it would harm the kids. I don't want my neighbours to have this same fear of Shamas. The husky only passed away a couple of years ago, and it's been nice not having to worry about barking, growling dogs interfering with our yardwork and theirs.

    Aside from the territorial issue..which is somewhat minor...theres the dog waste. What's the best way to dispose of it? My dad digs a hole and buries it, but my neighbours have an extensive vegetable garden, and I dont want runoff to contaminate their food. I wondered about burying a garbage can? Probably not good to burn it? The other thing I considered was buying Tidy Cats, and putting it out on the curb in the buckets that the cat litter comes in.
     
  11. Shamas' mom

    Shamas' mom Registered Users

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    Got a second harness for Shamas today. His regular harness is rubbing in behind his legs again- it's a problem we have with nearly every harness. I'd love to order him a custom-built one, but the one I want is goint to be about $80 once I add all of the extra features..and take 4-6 weeeks to get here. I don't want Shamas wearing the one he's got exclusively for that long.

    So I was wandering today, and looked at the options for seatbelt type harnesses, and found one that sits around the lower ribs, instead of behind his legs. I got him that. I nearly bought the Kurgo harness, but it was behind his legs too..so I went with a different brand that didn't have the front loop but sat further back. Now wee can alternat harnesses, and avoid the balding.
     
  12. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    You can get a composter for dog waste. It turns it into compost you can use on your garden. It's not recommended for vegetables but fine for not-edible plants.

    LAT is your friend for getting Shamas happy with neighbours in the yard. Here's a thread about it: https://thelabradorforum.com/threads/look-at-that.22184/
     
  13. Shamas' mom

    Shamas' mom Registered Users

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    Thanks for that link- going to read it now. I need to address cats in the yard too- Shamas broke his collar and nearly got the neighbours cat yesterday. It snapped at the buckle as he hit the end of his leash. It shouldn't have-I only bought the collar when I got him at the end of October, and it's a good thick collar...but I think by the time he hit the end of his outside tether he had a good bit of speed. He yelped, and the collar snapped. The 12 year old had let him out. From now on, he's only going out on a harness, and a 15 food tie-out unless I'm out with him. Hopefully the cats will soon figure out that this is a dog yard.


    The thing is, this has been a safe yard for years. We had no dog, and welcomed the cats around to visit, petting, talking and even offering treats. The dog suddenly appearing is bound to be a shock to the neighbourhood colony. Cats are smart, and I expect that as they come to realise that Shamas doesn't weelcome them, they'll stay out. But I worry about his chasing them in the meantime. He will take off after any cat that he sees roaming, and I haven't had enough time to work on him yet to establish a solid call-off.

    At the moment, I'm using Leave it! as a base command and taking him in if he continues to bother the cats (pacing the fence, working himself up)
     
  14. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    To be honest, if he's reacting to things in his environment, I wouldn't have him out there alone at all. All that will do is let him practice those behaviours, getting them more entrenched, and that's no good for anyone. Dogs really don't need to be outside unattended.
     
  15. Shamas' mom

    Shamas' mom Registered Users

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    He only ever goes out alone for a 1 minute pee and straight in. Usually right in the morning and just before bed. I'm usually at the back door waiting to let him in. The only reason he had this chance is that my child let him out and didn't see the cat behind a barrel down the yard. If it's to play, I go out too, and toss the ball around, or do yard work, giving him sticks for his collection.

    Today we were building a "flowerbed"

    I put that in quotations because it was my husband's idea, and is a quick throw-together using a trailer-load of free mulch that my brother brought over from his workplace. we're running a couple of feet of it the length of the fenceline, and in all ACTUAL flowerbeds....and will be teaching Shamas to stay out of the flowerbeds-as marked by the mulch.
     
  16. edzbird

    edzbird Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I pick up the waste, bag it & put it in the household refuse. It gets collected every fortnight.
     
  17. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    Most of my dogs’ waste gets disposed of this way but I’d like to find better options because of a) the plastic and b) apparently the poo never biodegrades in landfill.
    The composter won’t be an option in Spain because the worms will bake! :D
     
  18. Shamas' mom

    Shamas' mom Registered Users

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    I was considering a composter..my main concern was the possibility of run-off contaminating my neighbours crops. They grow vegetables and my yard is higher than theirs. But I think I have that figured out. I'm thinking that when the weather warms up I'll dig a pit 3-4 foot around...line it with a tarp, or painter's plastic...then put the composter in and bury the bottom half. Run-off would be contained, and we can still compost.
     
  19. edzbird

    edzbird Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Our goes to the Energy from Waste plant and gets incinerated to produce electricity.
     
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  20. Shamas' mom

    Shamas' mom Registered Users

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    Yesterday was a great day for Shamas :)

    It started with a walk at Chapters. Then, I wanted to show hubby where the dog park is. We weren't sure if Shamas was ready to go in yet, but we wanted to at least show him where it was for whent the time came and we had time. When wee got there, it was all fellow Labs, and an Italian Greyhound. An older yellow Lab walked over to Shamas, told him everything would be OK, and led him in to meet the other dogs. He greeted them, then ran around to all of the humans, looking for the accustomed praise, for being good on a greeting. When dad stepped out of the fenced area, he got a bit anxious. The others labelled 'seperation anxiety' but I called him over, and the group of us did a circuit around the big field. Shamas LOVED it! He ran around, tongue lolllling, and hung on the outskirts of the dog group. At time to go, I was a bit nervous about recall but I had some dog food in my pocket. Os I took a fistful, and held it up to show him. "Shamas come!" He ran straight over, and "sit!" I gave him the food as I leashed him, then let it drag as we walked over to the gate. VERY pleased about his first outing to a dog park!

    I did mention to hubby that all dogs are not that good, and we will want to scan the dogs at play before letting him in. the first time we used this park-with my dad- we used the small dog area, and there was a rotty in the main area. Shamas fence-foughts him. This was about November, and I've worked with him in Petsmart since then before venturing back to see how hed do. He's not the kind of dog who will look for a fight, but he won't back out of one either. That said, if there's a good distance, he'll choose to walk away rather than close the distance and engage.

    The other thing that happened yesterday happened at home, witht he cats.

    Shamas has gotten over his fear of the basement stairs. This is both good and bad. Good, because its one less thing hes afraid of. Bad, because we smoke down there(at least until the Champax prescription we just started kicks in and we can quit), and the cats litterboxes are down there and they play down there to have space away from him ...We're working on making it as boring as possible, he's only allowed to lay at our feet on a blanket, or go back upstairs. Usually he goes back upstairs lol. He just doesn't like us disappearing.

    So last night, Midnight was sitting on the basement stairs as I was on my way down....Shamas was coming down with me. Midnight didn't have a way to get up and around, so he started down. I put my hand on Shamas head, and told him "wait" while Midnight went down. He was breathing quickly, huffing a little, but he listened. When Midnight was out of the way, we went down..but I stopped him again at the bottom of the steps. Midnight had gone to the litterbox. So I had Shamas sit, about 15feet from the box, while Midnight used it. Shamas sat, paying attention mostly to me, but watching Midnight covertly, as I repeated "goood boy. what a goooood boooy" in my calmest voice, petting his ears and shoulders. As Midnight left the box, and wanted to go back to the stairs, it became apparent that shamas was in his way. So I moved Shamas to the other side of me, using hand touches..and had him sit on the blanket, telling him the whole time how good he was.

    It was clear he WANTED to chase the cat. But he and Midnight are at the delicate point right now. Midnight is trying to read him, decide if he's the terrifying moster that Helen says he is, or the big friend that Matt says he is. Midnight wanders the house more than Helen, and would LIKE to be able to come out without being chased...so he's trying to learn how to move around Shamas without setting him off. He's learning that if he moves slowly, Shamas doesn't chase. But if he's quick, Shamas pounces him. He doesn't like Shamas less than 4 feet from him. He's too scary and unpredictable right now. Midnight is feral-born, and there was a husky tied out all of the time in the neighbour's yard, who would attack anything that ranged into his reach. This is his understanding of dogs. He'll take some time to come around. Shamas is excitable, and lacks impulse control...but is learning it.

    Helen doesn't help, attacking him any time his ball rolls into her room. If it keeps up I might have to rehome her. I hate to consider it, but she comes out of a hoarding situation and I don't believe she was exposed to dogs before our house. She can be vicious. She has everything she needs in her room, and we leave the house open to her whenever we remove the dog from the house. We also close him in our bedroom when we leave without him, so that she can roam freely. It's only been 4 months. I'm not sure how long to give her to calm down before i consider her long-term wellbeing in this situation. I'm thinking of putting up a permanent gate in the door- we have a baby gate, but my daughter forgets to put it in. She growls less than she did even a month ago, which is encouraging. And when I put Shamas outside, she's started coming out to look at him outside. She's aso taken to sitting on the 6foot booksheves, so that she can watch him walk past the dining room
     

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