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Behavioural problems, training techniques plus the diary of Winston

Noisy dogs are again the most popular problem and I wonder if this is because people are trying to sleep in this heat together with dogs barking that is driving many of you up the wall.

If you are using or intend to use the Aboistop, please keep it topped up with the spray and use Magic Tape to switch it on and off so your dog does not become collar conscious. Do not use the collar as a threat otherwise when you take the collar off the dog barks though this could now be an advantage in certain cases.

If you are one of those owners, who wants the dog to be quiet sometimes and bark at other times then this error of using the collar could help you. If you are trying to stop dogs barking in the car but not in the garden when people come near the house then this could help. If you only place, the collar on the dog just before periods when you do not wish the dog to bark then take it off when you do you may be successful. One dog still barks at people passing the fence but does not retaliate at other dogs behind theirs. You could try this.

I have just received an urgent request to send a collar immediately by courier for a dog barking in the car. We did go through all the reasons as to why he could be doing this. Was it excitement of going to somewhere for his walks or ultrasonic sounds from the car and even the Doppler sounds from passing cars and the SOS boxes by the side of the road. This dog barks only if it is behind the dog guard. It does not bark if sat on the back seat and yet it still watches the cars and SOS signs go by without any barking.

I recognised in the owners writing together with his humour as a kindred spirit and sure enough, he is a Working Trials enthusiast. He too is intrigued as to what the dog gains from this action. As soon as the owner has closed the cars tailgate and sits in the driver's chair of the car on comes the incessant barking that is driving the owners to desperation. Even with the back seats down and the dog guard situated behind the drivers, seat again the same barking.

If the dog was wishing to get somewhere it likes like walking at the beach which would be the reward it seeks then this is easy to cure by simply not driving until the dog is quiet or driving right past where the dog normally gets out of the car. This is no good in this situation as the dog barks even when the car is stationery.

If the dog wore a safety harness fastened to a belt point to sit the dog safely on the rear seat this would seem to solve the problem. This unfortunately is not always possible if you have friends in the car or the dog is soaking wet from swimming.

Dogs often bark from behind a fence yet do not when the fence is down so by trial and error maybe we can figure this one out. At times, just like Winston, the owner's dog uses the car as a kennel to sit in the back provided the tailgate is open and is happy with this but close it only brings on the barking.

I have read many articles regarding dogs barking in cars and there are many ways of curing this but trying to understand this dogs reason other than it just hates dog guards is the only one I am left with at the moment.

This morning I had an email to say the collar had arrived and the owner was impressed but gave little detail. He says he going to go through all the tests we discussed in order to try to establish what it is that is making him bark behind the guard but not when he is sat in the back seat. If we find the reason why maybe, it will help others in a similar situation.

For the owner and me this is intriguing but it is far more important the dog stops barking so using the Aboistop may succeed so we may never know why. Peace is bliss.

I have had a request from a family who have moved to Spain and are intending to have a puppy in their family and could I suggest some good training books that cover the gentle way of training. I have sent them my articles one to thirteen to get them started and suggested some books and authors I have previously recommended here in the CBN.

They also ask are there any dog classes in their area. I do receive many requests for similar details of any classes and still have very little information where they are. If you would like to send me your details, I can pass this on to those interested owners.

I was teaching a one-to-one the other week on the first assessment lesson and it reminded me of the York Canine Road Safety Training schools use of a Svengali technique used quite commonly in many types of training. It is not to actually teach only to show to students who doubt their ability their true potential.

All students for the next beginner's class had to wait outside and exercise their dogs on the field next to the hall. They then had to wait ten minutes outside the door to the hall so bringing all the dogs into closer proximity with one another. One of the Police instructors would be watching and taking notes of how the dogs were interacting and how the owners were arranging themselves to keep away from aggressive dogs etc. Eventually they entered into the hall where one of the instructors would deliver masses amounts of verbal information whilst the other two instructors gave out instructions of where people should go to get chairs and make a large circle in the centre of the hall with a space between the chairs for the owner's dogs.

There is so much information being relayed with questions to owners who are trying to give answers and telling the instructors they cannot do this as for whatever reason their dog with fight with that dog and so on.

At first glance, it looks like mayhem but because of all the verbal information, this takes up most of the owner's brain capability. The thought required to actually follow the Police dog instructors instructing them how to move round the room with their dogs and collecting the chairs, this mental activity is moved into autopilot. When this happens the two instructors are actually controlling all the owners and their dogs. Eventually all owners are sat with dogs at their sides and the three instructors are sat in the middle then they suddenly they stop talking. Then there is complete silence but for the panting of dogs. Previously most owners would never have thought this possible.

I have a tax client who is a driving school instructor and a professional swimming instructor who also uses the same technique to students who doubt their ability.

With the driving school instructor he controls the student with the duel controls to teach the correct feel for the clutch for using the gears whilst filling the students mind with lots of information. This forces the mental actions of driving onto autopilot. Again after a while when the students says they are not very good with the clutch he says, " Well you have been driving very well for the last five minuets without my touching the pedals".

The swimming instructor does the same by filling the doubting student with so much information until the students brain has to move the swimming actions to autopilot following the instructions of how to move their body in order to swim. After a while he can say "well you are swimming ok now with out any help from me".

When I play ten-pin bowling, I can always make an early number of strikes but then in order to make more strikes I analyse myself and then my game takes a nosedive. As with the new dog handlers the driving and swimming students as soon as we drop back out of autopilot then it all falls apart. Dogs start barking, gear changing is crunchy, the swimmer sinks and I lose my game. Is this not similar to George du Maurier's story of Trilby and Svengali?

I use the same technique in the assessment lesson. On the Arenal, the owner said they would never walk here because of the embarrassment of the dog pulling. After fifteen minuets, I was able to say "But your dog is not pulling you now".

Many people believe they cannot do something whether it is from never having done it before or what they have done in the past has never worked. If more instructors could use this same technique, they may find that more people will then remain in the class and will ultimately succeed.

Diary of an adopted shelter dog

I have now received a kindly observation from the kennel that Winston mouths peoples hands too much so now is the time to stop it. How I did this was when he tried to have my hands inside his mouth I would stop still and show him both of may palms towards him and say "Ah Ah". To find a replacement action I rubbed the base of his ears. He likes this and now instead of mouthing he will use his muzzle to push into my hand to make me rub his ears again. It is important if you stop one bad habit, a good one replaces it.

You may recall some time ago I wrote about when PC Alan Smith visited a kinder garden and a small girl came up and hugged his dog Shane. Such face-to-face, eye-to-eye contact with open arms is to a dog an aggressive posture. This is one of the worst actions children can do and is one of the major reasons of dog attacks. Children are brought up with big cuddly toys that they can pull the ears, hug, bite the nose etc so is it any wonder children see a dog as just a live toy. Alan said he needed to change his underwear and I can now fully understand his feeling.

I took Winston to see the Javea Fiesta, before they burnt the Effigies, for some socialisation work. He always makes loads of fans and in particular with young children. This dog has a permanent smile that no one can resist and one Spanish family was enjoying feeding him all sorts of foods. Finally, as we walked away they even came up with a bottle of water and cup they had purchased just for Winston. A little later, a small girl just ran up to him arms open wide eye-to-eye contact and hugged him round the neck. My insides dropped and the mother screamed but Winston just looked round to me with the same look shown by Shane of "Help me Dad". At that point, I took Winston home so I could return later to watch the fireworks and burning. Winston has come a long way in a very short space of time.

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