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  1. #11
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by sidigirl View Post
    If camels can do dressage and tempi changes, a pyr can be a service dog.
    I have confidence that she will be at bare minimum a very nice pet, who looks after me, at best she will be able to do what I would like her to do or more.
    I never suggested pyrs can't be service dogs. What is causing the type of responses you've been getting is that you've come across kinda sorta... like a dictator control freak tiger mom to Pau.

    My 9 month old Ren is the first puppy that we are raising without the help of an adult dog. Raising an "only child" has been way much more work than our prior ones when we were a two dog household. But I've been able to notice and observe so much more details of his development than the prior ones because he has only us humans to interact with. It has been a joy watching him experience things for the first time and how he reacts to each new thing and learn from it. Ren is just a few months older than Pau. Having just been through the age that Pau is now, it's made me cringe when I read your posts talking about nothing but training training training and controlling and demanding behaviors that is contrary to a puppy's natural instincts at Pau's age. It just sounded like you have an agenda and you are going to to make / force it happen, and Pau's age and development are irrelevant.

    Ren is the most laid back of the all the pyrs we've had. He's our 4th. But even with a low energy dog like him, his energy level picked up a noticeable notch at 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and the most recent surge at 8 months. The teenage antics have finally kicked in at 9 months (late compared to average). At 4 months we had to take him to daycare in order to manage his energy. Starting at 6 months, he got a 3 mile walk everyday. Now at 9 months, in order to keep him manageable he goes to daycare once a week and then he's walked 4-5 miles each day and the walks are mixed in with short sprints now and then. So at each stage, I've had to make provisions and adjustments to meet with his increased physical energy as well as mental development needs.

    I've trained my pyrs to do things that are rarely done with pyrs. So I fully appreciate the commitment it takes and am not talking in baseless theory. When I talk about asking them to do things that are against their breeding, I am not saying it can't be done. The point is that one has to recognize the potential obstacles and understand it will take more work, more patience, and more adaptations / think outside the box on training methods in order to achieve results without making life miserable for the dog.

    Ren will be put in training to do something. His temperament thus far suggest he might be a therapy dog potential. He'll likely be trained to compete in obedience at least, though I am not ruling out a try at agility. But thus far in his life, I've just let him be a puppy and learn about the world he lives in in a positive manner. I am glad to finally hear that you are not depriving Pau of a enjoyable early life experience.

  2. #12
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    Forgive me for not watching the camel dressage video. For one, it has absolutely no bearing on the topic at hand. Dressage is wholly dissimilar to what you are expecting of Pau, and lest I checked, Pyrs are still not camels. Also, I am not skilled at camel body language, and have no way to know for sure whether or not the camels are happy to perform. My gut tells me that they aren't.

    A few years ago, my nephews really really wanted to go to the circus, so my sister bought tickets for the whole family, including me. It was hard to watch the exotic animals perform, especially the elephants, because of the sheer abject misery they projected. You didn't have to know much about animals to know that these poor souls did not have much of a life at all - just traveling from town to town being forced to perform against their will. It's a life they didn't sign up for, and a life for which they are unable to consent. I won't lie. I had quite a bit of schadenfreude when I heard that the circus was closing down. I can sit here and provide other examples until my fingers fall off. I hope you'll get the point so that I don't have to.

    So, yeah. People CAN train animals to do things that go completely against their nature. It doesn't necessarily mean that they SHOULD. If the animal's welfare is secondary to the tasks that it is to perform, than the tasks are best left to inanimate objects. If I can be brutally honest, there are moments in your posts that leave me wondering just how much a concern of yours Pau's welfare truly is.

    Jewel is not the only one who has had the term "tiger mom" pop into her head in reference to this thread. I, too, have noticed that you tend to go on ad nauseum about the work work work work work you're doing with her, and don't mention much at all about what you do with her for fun. You talk about rules rules rules rules rules, but not about normal puppy stuff - favorite toys, teething, milestones, any of it. You seem so focused on who you expect her to be three years from now that you fail to see her for who she is right now - an emotionally vulnerable, sentient, tiny baby puppy who has an instinctual need to experience puppyhood as the developmental stage that nature intended it to be. Those "annoying" behaviors that you are currently overworking her to try to train out of her actually serve important developmental purposes. She needs to have a bit of a short attention span and spastic control of her impulses right now, so that she can continue to learn about this great big world that she's only been a part of for a few months. As she matures, her attention span will improve as will her impulse control. Right now, you're expecting too much of her, especially when you demand her attention around cats and chickens (code red difficulty for a good many dogs), and demand sits for petting around screaming kids and fangirling friends. In those cases, energy breeds energy, and if it were me, I would keep humans at a distance until they could control themselves, and THEN allow them to approach my puppy only when they were calm.

    Since you brought it up, yes, it does sound like learning to relinquish some control is something you would benefit from working on. I can say from experience that the control freak bug will only serve to get in your way and hinder the relationship-building process between you and Pau. I know that it did for Sebastian and me. My attempts to "be the boss" and "take control" and be "Drill Sargeant Mommy" all backfired heartily. I would get frustrated, then he would get frustrated, then he would act out and our idiot trainers would tell me that I needed to control him, and the whole vicious cycle would deepen. Our one saving grace was the single non-idiot trainer who finally understood him and understood what was going on, and knew that a big part of reigning him in was going to be counterintuitive. She was absolutely right. The less I tried to force good behavior, the more cooperative and better behaved he became. We also eased up on the practice sessions, to keep him from getting bored. It worked.

    Please know that no one is trying to tell you that you can't do this, and no one is trying to tell you that you shouldn't. What we are trying to tell you is that you definitely have your work cut out for you, and that it's not always going to be a straightforward path. We are also trying to prepare you for the harsh reality that you can do everything right, and still not have the desired outcome. We've seen it time and time again on this forum, and some of us have even seen it in our own dogs.

    We're also trying to stress the importance of keeping your goals and expectations in check, especially when it comes to Pau's mental and emotional well-being. Again, we've seen what happens to dogs whose needs aren't well considered.

    I do wish you success, but I hope that you will slow down, take a deep breath, and make a commitment both to yourself and to Pau that you will do everything in your power to create a safe, fun, and rewarding learning environment for her that puts her needs before your own. After all, you have other options, here. She doesn't really.
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  3. #13
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    Tomorrow's Tour de France race will end in Pau! I hope Cindy will be watching the Tour with Pau so Pau can see how beautiful her namesake city is!!

  4. #14
    Road Dawg sidigirl's Avatar

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    Pau and I will be watching both the stage tomorrow and the next day. It looks like another stage for the sprinters. I'm hoping Marcel Kitten will stay in green and get yet another stage win.

    I switched trainers because it was pretty clear that Pau and I didn't fit in the big box and the way loose leash walking was being taught didn't work for either of us. Pau wants to explore and be a puppy, I want to keep us safe. I made it clear to the new trainer that was the primary goal is safety for all. He is optimistic that our goals will be achieved and that she will have a good recall, a good loose leash walk and be able to do what she needs to do to help me. He said the key is to keep training through adolescents.

    The new trainer has worked with Newfs, Pyrs and protection dogs, so gets the issues we're dealing with, on all levels. He doesn't think anything I'm asking of Pau is beyond her ability nor that she will be unhappy having a job.

    In the neighborhood, we will be using the long line to walk so Pau can explore more and get her puppy out. In more formal situations, she will have to be under more control, like you would with any kid learning manners, I'm still not 100% what we will be doing over the next few weeks or months to deal with the distraction issues that puppies go through. Right now I call her back to me and get her to follow me. The idea is to build focus and strengthen the recall by calling her back and making it fun. The sit/stay and down/stay exercises are to build focus, encouraging Pau to pay attention to what is going on with me.

    When my kids were little, I used any opportunity that popped up to teach them about the world around them. Dog training, teaching, puppy walking isn't that different, sometimes it's harder to keep the learner safe as they are learning self control.

    I'm beginning to think Pau is a bit to smart at times. I was asked to have her do a recall and sit after at our last class. I took her out to play with her. I called her back to me and she sat when she got to me.
    Cindy
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  5. #15
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by sidigirl View Post
    Pau and I will be watching both the stage tomorrow and the next day. It looks like another stage for the sprinters. I'm hoping Marcel Kitten will stay in green and get yet another stage win.
    Ah, yes, Marcel is my hero. I am so glad he came back to top form after illness and having been forced to split from his prior team...

    I have no doubt that some pyrs are perfectly suited for the job you are hoping Pau will be able to take on. Last weekend I had a pyr staying with us who would be the perfect candidate to fit your needs. Jo the pyr spent the weekend with us while his family was out of town. Jo is built like a tank and utterly unflappable. He was adopted by my friends as an adult and they had no clue what his life was like before they adopted him. All Jo wants is to go places with his humans and he's pretty much entirely non-reactive to other dogs, to kids running around him, to other critters. He's like that without my friends having trained him to do anything at all. Jo's stayed with us a number of times and when we take him out for a walk, I can literally hold his leash with my pinkie and be fine.

    I am glad that your new trainer is willing to work through Pau's puppy stage instead of trying to suppress it, or force train it out altogether. Pau deserves to have a happy puppyhood!

    Whether Pau is that perfect candidate to perform the service you need is something I hope you will assess honestly as Pau grows. Please don't take this wrong, but your trainer has the vested interest to keep you as a client and therefore he will tell you what you want to hear. Thus, as Pau's mom, I hope you will have both of your best interest in mind. She might be the best service dog one can ever ask for, or she may not. I have met pyrs who are forced to behave under utter and absolute control of their human regardless of the dog's own feelings / preferences. I will just say I wouldn't my dogs to look like that.

    Back when I got Bijou, I was hoping to do therapy work with her. Bijou was very sweet by all accounts. Nevertheless, she wasn't the ideal candidate to be a therapy dog because she lacked the depth of empathy that dogs that excel with therapy work have. Instead, I went a different direction with Bijou, a direction that I never expected to take. It wasn't always a smooth ride, but overall, and in hindsight, I had a blast and some of the best times in my life with Bijou.

    Treasure Pau as the beautiful living being she is and mold your training around that love. She will flourish under love and trust, more than any training will achieve.

  6. #16
    Road Dawg sidigirl's Avatar

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    Thanks for the encouragement. I have never had such a difficult time finding a trainer to work on just the basics with. I was going to work with a company that trains your dog to be a service dog, but like big box training, they felt far too cookie cutter and not open to options other than what is dictated as company policy. I've been a nurse too long and worked with animals for too long to say one method and only one method will work for teaching an animal new tricks, behaviors, commands, or what ever you want to call it.

    I really feel it is my job as her human to keep her interested and having fun while learning, encouraging her to reach for what she can achieve. If she doesn't work out as a service dog for some reason, she still needs to be a nice house pet and we will look for other ways for her to reach for her potential.

    I really think getting her out of the gentle leader was the first positive step. She trusts me and loves me now and we need to continue to build on that.
    Cindy
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  7. #17
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    Cindy, I'd like to encourage you to read a book that Jewel recommended to me, and I found to be absolutely life changing.

    It's called The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell. We talk a lot about Patricia McConnell here, because not on;y has she worked with Pyrs, she has lived with them, as well. Also, she's not just a trainer, she's a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, with a PhD in Zoology.

    The book is about strengthening the human-animal bond by learning better methods of communication. It's chock full of science and interesting anecdotes. I keep it and several of her other books on both my phone and my iPad to reread periodically.

    She also has a great website that I would encourage you to explore. http://www.patriciamcconnell.com
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  8. #18
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) CaseysMom's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by SebastiansMom View Post
    Cindy, I'd like to encourage you to read a book that Jewel recommended to me, and I found to be absolutely life changing.

    It's called The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell. We talk a lot about Patricia McConnell here, because not on;y has she worked with Pyrs, she has lived with them, as well. Also, she's not just a trainer, she's a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, with a PhD in Zoology.

    The book is about strengthening the human-animal bond by learning better methods of communication. It's chock full of science and interesting anecdotes. I keep it and several of her other books on both my phone and my iPad to reread periodically.

    She also has a great website that I would encourage you to explore. http://www.patriciamcconnell.com
    I bought her book after you recommended it to me, SM. LOTS to learn in that book; I periodically reread it, and it has improved my relationship with both my dogs.

  9. #19
    Road Dawg sidigirl's Avatar

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    I've read that book, she'a a great author and understands what it is to work with animals rather than make them work for us. No one, dog, human or other species will work for another unless they are working for common goals.

    My original question is what options are there besides harnesses that are difficult with bigger dogs, especially if there are balance and strength issues that the human has, halters that I've only see cause stress, prong collars or choke chains. I won't put a piece of training equipment on my dog that is going to cause her more stress. I won't be drug down the street, allow my dog to pull the leash out of my hand in a fit of excitement, or allow her to put herself in harm's way. It is my responsibility to keep my animal safe above and beyond everything else, the next step is to keep the trust. It's like parenting a child, sometimes tough choices need to be made for the betterment of the team. When made correctly, they are temporary, have no lasting ill effects, prevent bigger problems or injury, and will ultimately build the relationship.

    Today I had a bad day and was off kilter all day. I wasn't able to take Pau for any of her morning or lunch walks. I was able to get her out on the long line before the big block got too busy with distractions. If I had to go anywhere with Pau, I would to have to make sure there were no issues with potential pulling due to curiosity. I have balance issues due to a brain injury, multiple orthopedic injuries and just being a klutz. A 45 lb puppy pulling on the end of a leash is something than could easily pull me off balance and onto the ground.
    Cindy
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  10. #20
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    Okay, so you're looking for a training tool. We know that Pau isn't quite ready for a flat collar, yet, but that's the eventual goal. Head collars are out, because she hated those. Martingales? You haven't mentioned those. You refuse to consider harnesses, even though they are a very diverse category that a whole lot of very, dare I say, knowledgeable people have found to be quite helpful. That leaves choke chains and prong collars. So, it seems that this whole thread was about you fishing for permission to slap a prong collar on a tiny baby puppy under the false pretense of "safety". Cool.

    Here's the thing. You don't need our permission. Pau is your dog to train in any way you wish. You are the one who will have to live with her - and with yourself if you decide to cut corners and things go wrong. Maybe it's worth the risk to you. Your dog, your call.

    Once you bring in the aversive tools, though, the pretense that you're even trying to make training a fun, rewarding experience for Pau ends.

    A question that you may want to ask yourself is that if you are having trouble controlling a 45 pound puppy, how do you expect to control her when she is a full-fledged adult? I understand that she is going through training, but even a well-trained dog is still a dog, and has its moments. I hope that you are preparing yourself for those. If not, you haven't learned as much from Dr. McConnell as I'd hoped.

    For what it's worth, I've had a great deal of success with both the Freedom Harness and the Easy Walk Harness. You could always buy one from a company with a return policy and then return it if you didn't like it...
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