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Exciting News for us here at Trail & Bone!

Postado por admin em 18/Jan/2022 - Sem Comentários

We recently added a new member to our team, Ashley Dunham!

Ashley is Knowledge Assessed Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) with over a decade of experience not only as a dog trainer with a specialty in aggression & reactivity, but also as a veterinary assistant and a researcher at an Animal Behavior Lab at Arizona State University.

And now, for the foreseeable future, Ashley will be leading all of our dog training efforts, creating the curriculum, and being there to help all our amazing customers bring out the best in their dogs.

We’re super lucky to have her! 

Read on to get to know Ashley:

Dear Fellow Dog Lover,

I couldn’t be more thrilled to join Trail & Bone, because it allows me the opportunity to work with you and your furry friend!

My passion in life is working with animals and learning about their behavior, and I would be honored to be the guide that helps you navigate some of the difficulties that come with dog ownership.  

I believe education is the key to solving problems people encounter with their beloved pets, and I spend a lot of my time educating myself on the most ethical and up to date training techniques. My goals are threefold: 1) to pass my knowledge onto you, 2) to allow you to create the relationship you always envisioned with your dog, and 3) to allow your dog to become the best version of themselves they can be!

Looking forward to embarking (pun intended) on this adventure with you!

-Ashley Dunham

TRUE OR FALSE: “99.99% of aggression is fear-based.”

Postado por admin em 10/Sep/2021 - Sem Comentários

TRUE OR FALSE: “99.99% of aggression is fear-based. The other 0.01% is medical based”

A while back I got this comment from somebody on FB and I stashed it away planning to write about it someday. Well, I finally got around to it and today is that day!

So let’s dive in:

Quick Note: I’m not concerned about the exact percentages, just the general point of the message

First let’s address the medical based aggression claim.

It is irrefutably true that some dogs lash out aggressively due to some underlying medical issue that is causing them pain, frustrating them, or just making them not feel like themselves, and those emotions manifest themselves as aggression.

This is most common in older dogs, who in some cases, have been complete sweethearts their whole lives then as they age and feel aches, pains, etc and then that causes them to become aggressive and unpredictable.

That exact scenario happened with a cousin of mine’s dog, who we’ll call Justice. Justice was a pitbull who lived to be 15 years old and he was awesome his entire life. Great with other dogs, great with kids, great with all the visitors (they host a lot of parties).

Then, when he got older, I’d say around 13-14, he became a grumpy old man who occasionally lashed out unpredictably and bit a couple people, though nothing too serious from what I understand.

And I never actually saw him be aggressive in any way, because whenever I was there he was medicated (I don’t know with what) so he was always the same old sweet Justice, just grayer and slower ha.

So this kind of aggression is somewhat common and hopefully can be fixed through treatment of what’s causing the discomfort/pain.

But overall, I would agree with our friend the FB commenter that this type of aggression is far and away the minority of aggression/reactivity cases.

So with that settled, let’s move on to the more interesting part of his claim: he thinks that besides for the occasional medically-induced aggression, every other case of aggression is fear-based.

And my take on this is that’s just absolutely false.

I guess if you played some mental gymnastics you could maybe trace all aggression or reactivity back to fear somehow, but I don’t think so.

Let me give you some examples:

Cash, my brother’s Belgian Malinois, I talk about him quite a bit. Him and Gibson fought many times in the past and Cash has bitten Gibson before.

Cash also used to go ballistic when he saw another dog on walks or through the front window in their house.

And let me assure you, that dog has no fear or anxiety issues. He’s unbelievably confident and always has been. It was his overconfidence and his mischievous personality that were causing fights with Gibson.

Because the way it always would go is Gibson and Cash would be playing together, and they’re both very high energy dogs about the same size, and they would play pretty hard.

But eventually, Gibson would have enough. He’s 3 years older than Cash and he’s not a Malinois! So he’d be the first to have enough of the playing.

But Cash wasn’t done. Even after Gibson would walk away, sometimes even hide under a table or chair to get away from Cash, it didn’t matter to Cash, he would just badger him and badger him to try and get him to play. And he knew it was ticking Gibson off, Gibson let him know many times, and of course we would stop him.

But eventually he would keep doing it and Gibson would have enough and then they’d fight.

Now some people, like our friend the FB commenter, might think that Cash’s behavior isn’t aggressive, so that’s a bad example. But I disagree. Cash knew that his behavior was leading toward a fight and he’d do it anyway. I call that aggressive behavior.

And certainly it wasn’t fear based.

Let’s move on to Cash’s reactivity. It’s a much simpler case.

Cash, at the time, was horrible on walks. One of the worst I’ve ever seen. (I used to be a dog walker and I walked 1 dog worse then Cash… another story for a different time)

He would pull crazy hard, he would sprint to the end of the leash, and if he saw another dog, he’d go crazy barking and lunging.

Cash was a prototypical case of leash aggression. Some dogs only behave aggressively on the leash, and like in Cash’s case, it’s often because of frustration.

Dogs like Cash, extremely confident, playful, social, and high-energy, when they’re not being properly led and trained, they hate that they’re constricted to the confines of a leash.

When Cash was going ballistic on the leash, if my brother would’ve just let him go, he would’ve sprinted to the other dog immediately and tried to play. It’s what he loves to do.

So when he wasn’t able to do that, because he was so confident, so independent, he got extremely frustrated and lashed out.

Besides frustration, overconfidence, and mischief, there are other reasons not rooted in fear that can cause aggression.

One is dominance. Some dogs who have the same overconfidence and independence that Cash has, they don’t also have his social personality.

So when you get an independent, overconfident dog who only listens to himself, that can easily manifest itself into that dog wanting to dominate other dogs or even people, which of course leads to severe aggression.

You could argue this is rooted in fear, but I think that’s mental gymnastics.

A dog like that, you wouldn’t fix it by boosting their confidence, teaching them their triggers aren’t dangerous, and all the other things you do to fix a fearful aggressive dog, that would do nothing.

So no, I think that’s a completely different issue than fear-based aggression.

Aggression and reactivity could also be the result of a very strong prey drive. That’s not based in fear either.

One other extremely rare cause, but it does happen, is some dogs are truly aggressive and truly malevolent. There’s no cause, it’s just their nature to be mean, mean, mean.

I’ve never met a dog like this, never known anyone to have one like this, but they’re out there.

So to wrap this up, while I 100% agree that the strong majority of aggression and reactivity is rooted in fear, my verdict on the comment:

“99.99% of aggression is fear-based. The other 0.01% is medical based”

is without a doubt FALSE.

Comment with your thoughts! True or False, what do you think?

Big Announcement! Greenwood Dog Training is now: Trail & Bone.

Postado por admin em 16/Aug/2021 - Sem Comentários

Name Change! We are changing our identity, brand, and name from Greenwood Dog Training to Trail & Bone.

When I first started Greenwood Dog Training, I didn’t put much thought into the name or what I wanted my company to represent. I just wanted to help dogs and their owners.

And while helping dogs still is, and will always be, my first priority, I want this company to be a symbol of the mission we’re on: to perfect our relationships with our dogs.

And I felt that Greenwood didn’t represent that goal as well as I would have liked.

So now, we are Trail & Bone.

I chose this name because it demonstrates my core beliefs about how we should be living with our dogs.

Trail: For us, Trail represents adventure. Trail represents exploration, pushing ourselves and our dogs to new heights and facing new and exciting challenges together.

This is something that is severely lacking in 95% of relationships between dogs and their people. Dogs aren’t meant to be confined to a house and backyard 24/7, they want to see, smell, hear new things, be in new places and have different and unique experiences.

Living an active and adventurous lifestyle with your dog brings them so much fulfillment and nothing brings a human and their dog closer.

Bone: Bone represents health and vitality. Bone represents what a huge difference diet makes in our dogs’ lives.

It’s something that the vast majority of dog owners don’t even think about. They just grab a bag of food that looks good from the grocery store and then fill up the dog bowl with it every day.

Our dogs deserve better. They deserve a natural and real diet that makes them more vibrant, more lively, more confident.

Those 2 words sum up what I believe we need to be doing with our dogs every day, that as a society, we’re lacking.

And I don’t blame the everyday dog owner for the state that we’re in with our dogs, because it’s not their fault.

It’s the dog industry as a whole that encourages us to ignore the things that bring dogs real and lasting fulfillment and health, in exchange for our own convenience.

So I believe that where big-box pet stores, name-brand food companies, and ignorant training franchises have failed us, there needs to be companies that promote a message of living active, healthy, and fulfilling lifestyles with our dogs.

And that’s what I want Trail & Bone to be.

So, Greenwood, you served me and many other dog owners very well, but it’s time for a new chapter.

Now I’m proud to say, we are Trail & Bone!

Prong Collars: Why I Don’t Use Them In Reactivity Training

Postado por admin em 08/Aug/2021 - Sem Comentários

Let me first start off by saying that I am not anti-prong collar by any means, and I have quite a bit of experience with them.

So in this blog I’m not going to be saying never use them… I’ll just be explaining why I believe they should not be used in aggression or reactivity training.

Before I knew anything about dog training, I used one with Gibson because the trainer I hired told me to. It helped a bit with stopping him from pulling, but it didn’t stop it by any means.

It also didn’t do anything to help his leash reactivity, which at the time was absolutely horrible. In fact, it made it worse.

But on the other hand, my brother’s Belgian Malinois, Cash, is a completely different dog with a prong collar.

Before my brother started using one with him, walks were a complete nightmare, no matter what we tried. He pulled as hard as any dog I’ve ever seen.

Food didn’t work, turnabouts didn’t work, all the other (several) techniques we tried didn’t even help the pulling a little.

So we tried a prong collar, and I swear to you, one mild pop and he instantly straightened up and walked right at my side like he’d been doing it his whole life.

And since he wasn’t reactive at that point (he was before, but it was easily fixed), structured walks with him became incredibly easy for my brother.

I tell that story just to demonstrate that there are times where the prong collar is really helpful and makes life better for both the owner and the dog.

But that is not the case with aggressive or reactive dogs.

If you go on YouTube and look up videos of people fixing leash reactivity and in 95% of them, the absolute FIRST thing they do is put a prong collar on the dog.

That’s addressing the symptom (reactivity), not the cause (fear, improper leadership, etc).

Sometimes that’s okay if the cause is just over excitement like in Cash’s case. But in the case of a fear-reactive dog, it’s not okay. It’ll make the problem worse.

This is the best way I can describe why using prong collars on a reactive dog won’t stop the reactivity, like people think it will.

Let’s assume 0 means the dog is neutral. They’re not happy, they’re not mad, they’re just neutral.

+10 means they’re really excited, -10 means they’re really fearful/angry/anxious/whatever.

If you’re on a walk with your human-reactive dog, and they see a person across the street, they go instantly from a 0 to a -10, right? They’re mad, they’re scared, they’re upset.

If you whack that dog, who’s at a -10, with a prong collar… do you think that’s going to bring them back to 0? No!

It’s going to send them to -20.

That’s why so many owners get bit by their own dogs in situations like that. The dog is already super frustrated and likely already an unstable dog to begin with… and then you’re inflicting pain on them while they’re in that amped-up state.

They have so much negative energy built up, they release it on the owner, bite them hard, and then the dog gets put down.

Obviously that’s a worst case scenario, but my point remains.

Prong collars don’t calm a dog down, and that’s what a reactive dog needs, they need to learn to be calm in those situations.

And there’s no training “tool” that will be able to do that for you.

There’s no hidden secret or training method that will fix it instantly, which is what people want (including me at the time), and that’s why the prong collar is so popular.

But for aggression and reactivity training, you don’t want to use them.

Because in those situations, they don’t calm, they frustrate, and that’s the opposite of what we want.

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