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Don't Eat the Sock

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centrop67
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Site Admin
Posts: 1692
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:42 pm
Tell us about yourself: Accidental DS rescuer. Human companion to Radar and Leela. Owner of the site, looking to make this the top site for information and discussion on Dutch Shepherds.
Location: Cutler Bay, FL, USA

Don't Eat the Sock

Post by centrop67 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:50 pm

I am coming up on 6 months of DS (mix?) ownership on Monday, so I thought I might share some lessons learned...

I will start with phrases that I never thought would come out of my mouth. "Don't eat the sock" is an old familiar one I learned with my Lab Tequila over a decade ago, but I still need it today with Radar.

Some new ones:
Don't eat the stick.
Don't eat the leaf.
Don't eat the palm tree.
Don't eat the paper towel.
Don't eat the dryer sheet.
Don't eat the toilet paper roll.
Don't eat the Kindle.
Don't eat the tablet computer.
Don't eat that! Drop it. DROP It, DROP IT!

Radar knows what "drop it" means, but is at about 5% of the time actually dropping it. I know I am not supposed to repeat the command, so we are working every day on fixing both me and Radar.

I am pretty sure that Radar thinks that "Don't eat the" is a cue to begin playing.

Radar was listed as a shepherd mix at the Miami-Dade shelter, and that's what I wanted after having Snickers - a GSD mix - who was the most obedient, loving, and care-free dog I have ever owned.

I had never even heard of a Dutch Shepherd before Radar. They should come with warning labels. :shock:

Something like this:
Warning: this dog is insanely gorgeous and will melt your heart with just a look or a turning of an ear, but there is mischief in his heart. If you are not ready to give your heart and soul to this dog's well-being be prepared for the worst.

Radar's very first act the night I brought him home from the shelter was to forcibly push me down to the couch and lick my face incessantly. I couldn't believe this dog was so grateful already. ;)

Little did I know that this was just a little preview of what I have heard others on the forum call "crazy hour."

Radar's crazy hour has been timed at over 3 and half hours some nights. It begins right after the evening walk and/or dinner (I feed him twice a day.). It starts with a whine. Then, the whine has hints of a growl. Then it is a growl, culminating with a rapid fire higher pitched growl and some nipping on the knee - yes, MY knee. Sometimes he starts with digging, turning over, and chewing the throw rug in the living room.

I am not proud of the things I attempted to prevent this behavior in the beginning: yelling, forcible downs, the spray bottle, a hissing spray canister, an e-collar. All of which increased the intensity of his behavior.

Things are a little better now. Crazy hour still starts up, but I have better and more effective ways to control it. It starts with understanding that this is attention-seeking behavior from a small child in a grown-ups body (with sharp teeth). Here's what works for Radar:

1) A rigorous game of tug right after he eats and at least one more sometime after.
2) Free-shaping relax*
3) Ignoring him or leaving the room.
4) Telling him he'll have to go in his kennel.

*Free-shaping relax is simply rewarding him for any sign of relaxation. I start by asking him to down, and then, I watch him. If he puts his head down, click-treat. If he readjusts, click-treat. If he sighs, click-treat. If he remains still for a minute or so, click-treat. If he gets up, moves to a different spot, then lays down, click-treat. The tug games are the most effective, but this routine has been better on my already damaged shoulders.

So, most of the advice I have seen is to give these dogs plenty of exercise and a job. The exercise has been a constant from day one - walks and runs twice a day. And, I am into 3 weeks now of long hikes on Saturday. The job is the hard part. I really thought that Radar's speed and agility would make him a good candidate for flyball, but he is not so good around other dogs and can get bored with playing ball quite quickly. I am thinking about agility now and getting ready to build some backyard obstacles to get started.

About Radar's reactivity. It's been a long road in trying counter conditioning with lots of positive moments and lots of regression. Working with the trainer for several weeks had great positive progression, and I have tools to continue the training. However, it's not easy to continue this training in controlled environments.

So, Radar gets his walks/runs in remote environments with smaller chances for encountering the things he reacts to - anything that moves, and some things that don't. I am hopeful that over time, continued training, and maturity this will improve.

I would like to thank everyone in this forum community for the great advice. There's no way I could survive this first six months without it. So now, I warn Radar every day that he is STUCK with me, whether he likes it or not.

BTW: I'd be interested to know how many of you have said, "Don't eat the sock?"
Michael
The pack -> Radar (DS), Leela (Mal?), and Karen (Human) - Cutler Bay, FL USA
RIP: Tequila and Snickers
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went. - Will Rogers

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feraloup
Training Dog
Posts: 351
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:45 pm
Tell us about yourself: Artist, Mother, Equestrienne, Educator, Homesteader wannabe, dog-lover. Not counting my current DS, I have had 2 GSDs and 3 rescued mixed-breeds. All of these dogs were rescues, except for my childhood GSD, who was a gift from my parents when I was 7, and my current DS who I bartered artwork for from the breeder. Maiyou, one of my current dogs, is a Pitbull/New Guinea Singing Dog of 13 years old. Still very active and "Young" in nature. I now also have a DS named Mokume, (pronounced "Moh-koo-meh") or "Moko" for short. Newest member of our pack is Freyja, a random mixed hound I rescued during a horseback trip in the middle of a state forest.
Location: VT

Re: Don't Eat the Sock

Post by feraloup » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:53 pm

Love this post!!! I love your radar stories and your glib, humorous descriptions of your interactions. I so very relate to all of it with my young Moko! :)
Autumn Dufresne

"If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them, and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys." ~Chief Dan George

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anniewang83
Puppy
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:03 am
Tell us about yourself: Annie & Nick, first time owners of a dutch shepherd, named Amber, rescue from North American Dutch Shepherd Rescue (NADSR), fostered and trained by Kim Futch. Amber's favorite things to do are eating, chasing balls, chasing frisbees and napping with us in bed.
Location: New York City

Re: Don't Eat the Sock

Post by anniewang83 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:25 pm

Radar's mom,

That was really a lovely post! It succinctly summarizes all the love that we feel, as well as all the frustration with training our DS. I feel very lucky to have adopted Amber when she was 1 years old. Yes, she did come with a lot of baggage and was terrified of people when we got her, but it's been a rewarding journey. I have a professional trainer too: that's Amber's foster mom from NADSR (her fairy godmother)!
Amber is always crated when we're away from the house or when we can't really supervise her. She's excellent about only playing with her toys. When we give her something, she knows that it's hers. Otherwise, she will not pick up anything else (which thankfully includes our shoes, socks, dropped food, clothes, cell phones etc.) Anything that we don't explicitly give her, she doesn't touch.
I love your idea of free-shaping relax. It's great because teaching a dog what you DO want is clearer for the dog than correcting for something you DON'T want. I once read somewhere that if you correct a dog, sometimes the dog doesn't understand why he's being corrected (he could have been doing any number of things at that time), whereas if you reward a dog for one behavior, you're explicitly saying, "yes, this behavior is good." For example, there's a dog at the dog park that likes to jump up on everyone and nip them if they have something he wants. The owner will come by and shout "down, Hugo!" and once the dog stops jumping, the owner just ignores the dog and goes back to having a conversation with someone else. To the dog, he's not being rewarded for being good (i.e. not jumping) and he only gets attention when he's jumping. I see so many dog owners at the dog park that only give negative attention when the dog does something bad and no attention when the dog is being good. To me, the dog doesn't understand how he SHOULD behave, he just knows how NOT to behave. So the free-shaping relax is an excellent idea because you're explicitly telling him how he should behave; that is to relax.
Have you tried other games where you have him on a leash, then throw the sock to a place that he cannot reach outside your leash radius, and then you reward him when he stops wanting to get the sock? You can replace sock with anything else that he wants. It might be a way to show him that he gets a reward when he does NOT go for the sock.
Nick & Annie (humans)
Amber (Dutchie)
currently living in New York City

User avatar
Marjolein
Working Dog
Posts: 2078
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 7:17 pm
Tell us about yourself: I'm a Dutchie myself ;-) but live in Germany with Johan and my two DS's Cobber-Dingo and Knivil (Dingo and Ivil to friends...)
Location: Warbeyen, Germany
Contact:

Re: Don't Eat the Sock

Post by Marjolein » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:38 pm

I found myself saying "Dont's eat the toad!" again...started with that 6 years ago when Ivil was a pup, her daughter likes to lick toads too...juc! :yernuts: :lol: :lol:
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Joxgirl
Working Dog
Posts: 1066
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:38 pm
Tell us about yourself: Loving every crazy day with my DS.
Location: Southern California

Re: Don't Eat the Sock

Post by Joxgirl » Wed May 02, 2018 1:00 am

centrop67 wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:50 pm
I am coming up on 6 months of DS (mix?) ownership on Monday, so I thought I might share some lessons learned...

I will start with phrases that I never thought would come out of my mouth. "Don't eat the sock" is an old familiar one I learned with my Lab Tequila over a decade ago, but I still need it today with Radar.

Some new ones:
Don't eat the stick.
Don't eat the leaf.
Don't eat the palm tree.
Don't eat the paper towel.
Don't eat the dryer sheet.
Don't eat the toilet paper roll.
Don't eat the Kindle.
Don't eat the tablet computer.
Don't eat that! Drop it. DROP It, DROP IT!

Radar knows what "drop it" means, but is at about 5% of the time actually dropping it. I know I am not supposed to repeat the command, so we are working every day on fixing both me and Radar.

I am pretty sure that Radar thinks that "Don't eat the" is a cue to begin playing.

Radar was listed as a shepherd mix at the Miami-Dade shelter, and that's what I wanted after having Snickers - a GSD mix - who was the most obedient, loving, and care-free dog I have ever owned.

I had never even heard of a Dutch Shepherd before Radar. They should come with warning labels. :shock:

Something like this:
Warning: this dog is insanely gorgeous and will melt your heart with just a look or a turning of an ear, but there is mischief in his heart. If you are not ready to give your heart and soul to this dog's well-being be prepared for the worst.

Radar's very first act the night I brought him home from the shelter was to forcibly push me down to the couch and lick my face incessantly. I couldn't believe this dog was so grateful already. ;)

Little did I know that this was just a little preview of what I have heard others on the forum call "crazy hour."

Radar's crazy hour has been timed at over 3 and half hours some nights. It begins right after the evening walk and/or dinner (I feed him twice a day.). It starts with a whine. Then, the whine has hints of a growl. Then it is a growl, culminating with a rapid fire higher pitched growl and some nipping on the knee - yes, MY knee. Sometimes he starts with digging, turning over, and chewing the throw rug in the living room.

I am not proud of the things I attempted to prevent this behavior in the beginning: yelling, forcible downs, the spray bottle, a hissing spray canister, an e-collar. All of which increased the intensity of his behavior.

Things are a little better now. Crazy hour still starts up, but I have better and more effective ways to control it. It starts with understanding that this is attention-seeking behavior from a small child in a grown-ups body (with sharp teeth). Here's what works for Radar:

1) A rigorous game of tug right after he eats and at least one more sometime after.
2) Free-shaping relax*
3) Ignoring him or leaving the room.
4) Telling him he'll have to go in his kennel.

*Free-shaping relax is simply rewarding him for any sign of relaxation. I start by asking him to down, and then, I watch him. If he puts his head down, click-treat. If he readjusts, click-treat. If he sighs, click-treat. If he remains still for a minute or so, click-treat. If he gets up, moves to a different spot, then lays down, click-treat. The tug games are the most effective, but this routine has been better on my already damaged shoulders.

So, most of the advice I have seen is to give these dogs plenty of exercise and a job. The exercise has been a constant from day one - walks and runs twice a day. And, I am into 3 weeks now of long hikes on Saturday. The job is the hard part. I really thought that Radar's speed and agility would make him a good candidate for flyball, but he is not so good around other dogs and can get bored with playing ball quite quickly. I am thinking about agility now and getting ready to build some backyard obstacles to get started.

About Radar's reactivity. It's been a long road in trying counter conditioning with lots of positive moments and lots of regression. Working with the trainer for several weeks had great positive progression, and I have tools to continue the training. However, it's not easy to continue this training in controlled environments.

So, Radar gets his walks/runs in remote environments with smaller chances for encountering the things he reacts to - anything that moves, and some things that don't. I am hopeful that over time, continued training, and maturity this will improve.

I would like to thank everyone in this forum community for the great advice. There's no way I could survive this first six months without it. So now, I warn Radar every day that he is STUCK with me, whether he likes it or not.

BTW: I'd be interested to know how many of you have said, "Don't eat the sock?"
I like bed reading this post. Can you repost it so others will enjoy it too?
Saralee
Rogue (Dutch Shepherd) 1 year old
Joachimstaler @ IG

oddbird
Puppy
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:18 pm
Tell us about yourself: I recently adopted a rescue that we have been told is a shepherd of some sort. He has totally disrupted our lives and I am loving every minute of it!

Re: Don't Eat the Sock

Post by oddbird » Wed May 02, 2018 4:30 am

I’m so glad this post popped up to the top and was resurrected!

Michael, how you ended up with Radar is exactly how I ended up with my boy, down to thinking and being told he was a GSD mix! I had no idea the ride I was in for lol. I wouldn’t trade him for the world though and already in 2.5 months, I don’t think I could ever part with him. I just hope he feels the same about me!
Bird & Henry (Long-hair DS): Figuring out this working dog life together

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