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Dru's temperament profile
Every dog has their own unique personality or temperament and this will affect how we expect him to behave, how he responds to different stimuli and how he interacts with you, people, and dogs. These are not judgments and each personality trait produce both positive and negative behaviors. I am focusing on the negative ones to help you understand where the unwanted behaviors are coming from. Also be aware that temperaments change as a dog ages and goes through new experiences.
Dominance: On the scale of dominant to submissive, Dru is on the dominant side. This means that he is very comfortable stepping into the pack leader position. This has led to unwanted behaviors such as excessive marking, play biting and stubbornness. In order to counteract these behaviors, you must step into a strong leadership role. This includes controlling his resources such as food, play and freedom until he accepts his place in your family pack.
Sociability: On the scale of friendly to shy, Dru is on the friendly side, which means he is comfortable initiating interactions with people and dogs. This has resulted in unwanted behaviors such as jumping and poor self-restraint. To overcome, these behaviors, he needs to be expected to greet people and dogs in an appropriate manner. When he is not acting appropriately, then he should not be allowed to interact with them until he calms down.
Reactivity: On the scale of reactive to indifference, he is on the reactive side. This means that he is likely to respond to certain stimuli. This has resulted in unwanted behaviors such as being easily distracted and poor self-restraint. In order to overcome this, we must focus on creating a strong bond between you so that he is better able to focus on you and building self-discipline through the introduction of difficult distractions followed by rewards when he succeeds in holding his command and focus.
Confidence: On the scale of confidence to fearfulness, he is on the confident side, which means that he is curious and likely to be excited in new situations. This has lead to unwanted behaviors such as pulling on the leash and poor focus. To overcome this, it is important to give him a variety of stimulation to keep him from getting bored and discipline so that he understands when it is appropriate to explore and when it isn’t.
These are some general concepts that apply to Dru's training whether tied to a specific command or not:
Consistency is critically important. Always follow through on every command given, use the same words, and don't change house rules without taking the time to teach them to him.
Use the same tone of voice, clear, calm and loud enough for him to hear you. Do not yell, it is not necessary, can lead to frustration on both your parts and minimizes the effect. Save yelling for emergency situations so that it will pack more of a punch.
Reward often. Following commands is not supposed to be a miserable thing. You can use treats, toys, pets or just tell him he is a good boy. This will keep him engaged and eager to work for you.
You will need to keep the e-collar on him anytime you are with him until he has proven to you that he will listen to you consistently, only then can you attempt to phase it out slowly. Phasing it out too soon or too quickly will cause a regression in his training. If you loose your instruction booklet, you can find it online here.
At the time of his go home his normal range on the e-collar is 4-7 under low distraction and 10-15 under high distraction. This is just a starting point. Exact numbers will change day to day and averages may alter as time goes on.
Do not keep giving multiple corrections at the same level. Start with verbal/vibrate correction. If he continues to be disobedient, give one correction with the black button, then one correction with the red if needed. Multiple corrections for the same issue at the same level will only desensitize him overtime.
You should go over every command daily. This does not necessarily mean that you get him out and go over every command at once. You will most likely find it easiest to build it into your routine. Examples: have him sit before you put his food bowl down, practice heel on every walk, place him during dinner, practice down while you are folding laundry, call him from one room to another, etc.
His marker words are good and no. These are used to communicate to him whether or not he has done the correct thing.
The word stay is implied. This means that you never need to tell him to stay, he should do it automatically. So whenever you give him a command, he needs to stay in that command until you tell him free.
If one person in the household gives a command and Dru chooses not to listen, they must be the one to enforce the command. If one of you is always stepping in for the other, Dru learns that he does not need to listen to that person. However, if one of you puts Dru on place for example, the other may free him.
If Dru does not comply when you give him a command, tell him no, and correct him using the scale listed above, then repeat the command. Do not simply repeat the command without the correction. Otherwise this can confuse him. If he breaks a command tell him no and use the correction scale.
There will be thee phases of Dru transitioning home.
Structured Phase: For the first couple weeks, you will need to strictly structure Dru's life. This is so he both understands who is in charge and what is expected of him. This means, crating when home alone,E-collar on whenever someone is with him, heeling the majority of the time on walks, placing when new people come over, only allowing interactive toys when he is playing with you, not allowing him to be off-leash outside of your home and only allowing a certain amount of time to eat his food.
Loosening Phase: This phase will last a couple of months to a year. This is slowly loosening the structure. Only move to this phase if he has stopped rebelling and is respecting you. Make small changes at a time, if you go too fast, he will regress. Some examples: leaving a extra toy on the ground, leaving the food bowl on the ground, having less structured walks, allowing him to drag his leash while you are at the park, slowly allowing some time out of the kennel when you aren't there, and leaving off his e-collar during short periods like right before bed. If at any point you notice he is being less obedient, take a step backwards.
Maintenance Phase: This is the last phase and will last the length of his life. This is the life that you want with him. But training never fully stops. During this phase, you will use commands in your daily life like mentioned above. There will be times throughout his life where he will go through rebellious phases and when this happens, simply re-impose structure for a week or so and once he stops rebelling, you can go back to your normal routines.
Sit-Stay: Use the word sit. This means butt on ground.
Down-Stay: Use the word down, this means belly on ground.
Place: Use the word place, this means go to your spot and stay there. He may have treats and chew toys on place. He can sit, stand or lay down. He can get up and move around, he just can't get off.
Recall: Use the word come, this means come to me. He does not have to sit when he gets to you, but he cannot move away immediately. He should be within arms reach.
Heel: Use the word heel, this means walk next to my left leg. His shoulders should not pass you. He should be within about a foot and a half of your leg and he should not trail you.
Release: Use the word free, this means he may stop doing the command and do whatever he wants with-in reason. If he is comfortable where he is, he may stay there, but he no longer has too.
Informal Recall: Use his name, this means come closer to me or this direction. He does not need to come all the way to you, but he needs to move in your direction. Use when he is wandering too far or you are going a different direction
Free-Walk: No word necessary. He is allowed to sniff, mark, and be anywhere around you while on leash. He may not pull. If he gets to the end of his leash, realizes he is and immediately backs off, that is OK.
Dealing with unwanted behaviors
Jumping: Never give him any attention when he jumps. Tell him no and correct according to the correction scale above. Ask any guests to not allow jumping. Go down to him when you pet him or pick him up. This is a long held habit and will take time for it to fully go away.
Potty-Training: Dru is clearly potty-trained with 2 exceptions. He will mark inside and he poops when he gets stressed. For the first, do not allow him to be unsupervised when in a new place. He will mark. As soon as he tries to mark, correct him at level 30. If he tries again, go up to 40. This should stop him in that place. Because he has not been neutered and he has a dominate personality, it will take him a while before he will stop trying to mark in every new place he goes to. Be especially vigilant in places with other dogs like friends' houses and pet stores. To avoid stress poops, make sure he goes to the bathroom before any anticipated stressful event and keep him in commands when he is stressed until he calms down.
Free-Roam: I have not observed any unwanted chewing behaviors while he has been with me, so free-roaming can be done. During the initial transition phase, he should still be kept crated. Once he accepts his place in the pack-order, slowly increase the space he is allowed in by starting off with one small room and slowly building up. Also slowly increase the time he is alone. Start with 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, etc.
Play-Nips: Play time always ends as soon as he starts nipping. Play with toys together instead of roughhousing.
Leash Pulling: If he pulls on the leash while in a free walk, tell him no, If he does so again, he looses his freedom and should be put in a heel.