Relationship Building?
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    I was just reading a threat on heeling when someone mentioned relationship building… is this just referring to spending time with your puppy or is it some specific activity/method?

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  • To me relationship building is more than just spending time with your puppy. It is doing things like hand feeding and training to develop a foundation of communication and trust. Relationship building helps your dog develop the skills to make good choices, like coming back to you for a cheese party rather than taking off down the street when they get out the front door or even better, not going out the front door without permission.

    One of the easiest things you can do to start relationship building is stop just putting down a bowl of food at meal times and instead use the daily meals as opportunities to hand feed or provide mental stimulation. You can either simply hand feed the meals or better yet use them to work on impulse control (think It's Yer Choice) or on handling by feeding while touching feet, ears, tails, and other body parts that dogs can be sensitive about having touched. If you don't have time to hand feed a meal then provide your puppy with its meal in a Kong, Busy Buddy, Squirrel Dude, Kong Wobbler, etc so your puppy has to work to get its food from the toy so it is getting mental stimulation as well as getting its meal.

    Also, get to work on some good foundation skills by working on things like name response and attention.

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  • @lvoss:

    If you don't have time to hand feed a meal then provide your puppy with its meal in a Kong, Busy Buddy, Squirrel Dude, Kong Wobbler, etc so your puppy has to work to get its food from the toy so it is getting mental stimulation as well as getting its meal.

    The Kibble Nibble, a food dispenser/exerciser/toy is sold at www.sitstay.com, and Kipawa loves it. He doesn't get it for every meal, so when he does, it's a real treat.

    As far as relationship building, trust and respect are really important in our home with Kipawa. He has to understand that we make good choices for him. The more this is done, the more we can see him progressing in character.

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    Thanks guys! I usually give him at least one meal using his treat dispensing toy which he loves. Sometimes I use half of his kibble to do training with at least one meal too. I've also scattered the kibble in the grass which he goes crazy for :) Today he sat when I said sit without me having to draw the kibble back over his nose! So I guess he's learning the word sit and relates it to the action :D He got so much praise! Right now we're working just on the sit and I also incorporate it with his kennel where i hold the kibble at the back of her kennel and I say "kennel" when he goes to the kibble and then i said "sit" and if he sits he gets another kibble. Is this what you guys mean? Is there anything I should trying as well?

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    Is he social with other dogs?

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    @sharronhurlbut:

    Is he social with other dogs?

    Well he chases and bites at my 13 year old lab mutt that lives with us. I posted a video on the vet concerned about growling thread. He also plays with my sister's golden retriever when we visit there who's 3 or 4 and they enjoy each other more.

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    In my area, we had a trainer who does dog socialization. Its something you should see if
    you can get one in your area. It helps dogs learn to relate to each other better, it also helps the owners to learn to "watch" their dogs and see what signals the dogs are sending out. I have Wheat in this class. Not because she isn't wonderful, she is, but her first reaction to a new dog is to freeze. I want her to have more confidence. So, she is learning..as am I.

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  • Relationship building for me is having fun together, but also giving bounderies. Long walks together, discovering things together, playing games together, eating together, hanging out on the couch together.. all fun.. then training and.. training.. Tillo and I did a lot of obedience and we are now active in agility and it really helped to learn to communicate with eachother and to respect eachothers bounderies.

    Method: find a positive obedience training and enroll ;)

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  • I agree with Janneke, just let him be as much a part of your life as you can. Take him everywhere with you where you can take him. Do as much different stuff as you can think of. But allways keep it fun for him. He will soon know then that you are fun, that being with you is fun, that it's safe to be with you. You will get to know each other en learn to 'read' each other along the way.
    And make a game of training. I don't like those obedience classes. I find them boring. So instead I play with him and teach him stuff while playing. Not that hard once you know how to do it. And I also go often for a walk with some friends who have dogs that I know. Dogs that I know will be friendly to other dogs. Same with children, other people.
    Just let hem see as much as you can, let him do as much as you can, and all will work out just fine. Just try to make everything fun, and to turn things that aren't fun, into something fun so he won't get negative experiences from it.

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  • Anyone can hang out with their dog. To me relationship building is much more. Even more than playing with and caring for.

    A relationship is a 2-way street. Learning to communicate both ways with your dog builds communications. I guess a control freak who simply makes a dog do what they want, when they want, still has a relationship. But when I see people who work their dog–- be it obedience, agility, herding, whatever-- usually those who succeed have built a relationship of communicating and trust.

    (Putting on flame retardant material.) It is my one dislike of a clicker. And before you start the flame throwing, I have a dozen, one on my desk. I like to use them to teach tricks because they are, really, precise. But I try to replace the click with vocal or team them because I don't think the clicker helps. Yes, it lets the dog know precisely what is right in their behavior, but to me it also removes the human part of that.

    However, training to me is relationship building more than play because it requires attention of both parties. Don't laugh-- but I think the training from dog to human is equally important. When you dog gives you signs of needed to go out, it is a training situation. Your response to that need is important communication that you know what the dog wants and you respond. When Cara comes and lays her big head on my knee, I GET that she wants me off the computer or at least petting her while on it. If she were demanding often, it would be a different issue. But she does it a couple of times a day and often when I have been too absorbed. She NEEDS some attention. I readily give it even if it is one hand stroking her while I continue doing whatever on the computer. It helps her understand the relationship is 2 ways-- she listens to me, I listen to her.

    I couldn't find the Kibble Nibble on SitStay. I tried Kibble Nibble, just kibble and just nibble. I gave up and went to amazon. I wish I had stock in amazon.

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  • I agree about listening for sure. When someone is used to working with animals, you become adept at understanding what they need without words. This happened to me to the extent that I needed human speech therapists to tell me "wait 'till they ASK for something WITH WORDS before you get it for them" with all three of my kids ;)

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  • I love clickers for shaping behaviors…nothing does it better. And it cues my dogs that they are going to be learning something new, so pay attention ;) But I teach my students to use a bridge word, along with a clicker, because in real life, most people don't want to shape a whole lot of behaviors, they just want the dog to listen to them :)

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  • @DebraDownSouth:

    A relationship is a 2-way street. Learning to communicate both ways with your dog builds communications. I guess a control freak who simply makes a dog do what they want, when they want, still has a relationship. But when I see people who work their dog–- be it obedience, agility, herding, whatever-- usually those who succeed have built a relationship of communicating and trust.

    Very wise words! And also, what a lot of people lose sight of is that you are always teaching your dog, even outside of your formal training times. You are teaching him, and he is teaching you. The best "educator" of dogs I have ever seen was Chuck Eisenmann. He communicated constantly with his dogs, and his first rule was simple, "Learn to observe your dog as he observes you, never overlook a single glance or movement". I can't imagine ever achieving the level of expertise that Chuck achieved…...I don't think it has ever been matched by anyone.....but I have learned a great deal by reading his books. :)

    For those who don't know Chuck:

    http://www.naturally4pets.com/smart-dog.html

    http://tomhawthorn.blogspot.com/2010/12/chuck-eisenmann-trainer-of-littlest.html

    I was privileged to see one of his demonstrations…..absolutely amazing! :)

    Now, this was a man who had a "relationship" with his dogs!

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