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Khita, our 5 year old female Alaskan Malamute/German Shepard got ahold of my daughters guinea pig and crushed and bloodied it to the point we had to put it down. Now she’s more desperate to get into that room where the other pig is and she is a little more aggressive in general. She’s a rescue that was returned to the shelter twice because she’s energetic and anxious. We’ve had her two years. I need advise on what to do. Do I get her training? Is she still trainable at age 5? Will aggression be helped with training. She was a difficult dog to begin with but we love her and have been happy to provide her with a good, stable home.
 

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So that is a natural behavior, an instinct, not anything you always can change. There’s a possibility to train the dog to be okay around smaller animals but there’s no guarantees and the process could be really stressful and risky for your guinea pigs.

Can’t you keep them separated and make sure that the dog is no way near the room with the guinea pigs?

How is she more aggressive in general?
 

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I'm sorry to say but the fact is that dogs and small furry things generally don't mix.
there is prey drive in every dog and that's true weather we are talking German shepherd or Lhasa apso they all have prey drive it just varies in how high it is.


Sad to say but what your dog did was perfectly normal you need to find out if there was some kind of trigger, was the door left open, was the guinea pig squeaking more than normal and had your dog had some kind of other experience which lead her to having a heightend prey drive .

once you know what caused this incident you can work towards avoiding it happening again.
Always know there is a risk.
 

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Yes, training will definitely help! All people should be training their dogs. I just don't understand why people don't. You have a dog with high prey drive. Yes a 5 year old dog can be trained. Many older dogs with behavior issues have come out of the shelter and have been helped immensely through proper training. So definitely look into training for her. There are also online training programs (Leerburg - lots of videos, Team Dog - great program and reasonable cost). I do some obedience exercises every day with my two Dutch Shepherd x Malinois. I mix it in with their exercise/play time. One of mine is a lot older than your dog, but I can still train new things with her. Training is an ongoing thing, not just a few weeks and you're done. Also there are no quick fixes; stay away from trainers that try to tell you that there are.
 

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Leerburg uses outdated pack theory - certainly not to be recommended.

This was natural predatory behaviour towards a prey animal. It can be managed - by keeping the guinea pigs and the dog apart, but I wouldn't trust them in the same room, especially not without close adult supervision.

Can old dogs learn? You bet they can. But getting an animal with predatory instincts to ignore those instincts will be an uphill battle and not one you can ever really trust.
 

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The methods used by Michael Ellis and other trainers on Leerburg are actually not outdated. I've taken several of the courses on Leerburg including foundations for bite work and contact heeling. Michael Ellis is not a Cesar Milan type trainer (and Milan is one I wouldn't recommend). Ellis is extremely well known in the Malinois/Dutch Shepherd/GSD world. Pretty similar methods used by Michael Ellis, Mike Ritland and even Robert Cabral. Their methods aren't extreme compulsion type training, quite the opposite. They all stress building a good relationship with your dog first. Obedience training involves the use of rewards and markers (either verbal or a clicker) to mark and reinforce the behavior you want from the dog. Also stressed in this training is being fair to the dog and never overcorrecting a dog. In fact, their methods are also the same methods used by every trainer I've worked with over many, many years, from protection, to agility, to obedience, to dock diving, etc. I have never gone to a trainer that uses compulsion type training (ridiculous things like bonkers or alpha rolls, etc.) Nor would I ever go to a trainer like that. Those methods are the outdated ones.
I agree the the dog should be kept out of the room that the guinea pig is in and never said otherwise.
The dog also needs training. I'd highly recommend that the owner of the dog consult a certified professional dog trainer about the aggression issues.
 

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I just checked Michael Ellis's website. The first course listed is for the use of e-collars.

Before this thread tries to get into a pros and cons debate, I'm just going to remind everyone that on this forum, recommending or suggesting the use of aversive tools and methods is not permitted.

 

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The methods used by Michael Ellis and other trainers on Leerburg are actually not outdated. I've taken several of the courses on Leerburg including foundations for bite work and contact heeling. Michael Ellis is not a Cesar Milan type trainer (and Milan is one I wouldn't recommend). Ellis is extremely well known in the Malinois/Dutch Shepherd/GSD world. Pretty similar methods used by Michael Ellis, Mike Ritland and even Robert Cabral. Their methods aren't extreme compulsion type training, quite the opposite. They all stress building a good relationship with your dog first. Obedience training involves the use of rewards and markers (either verbal or a clicker) to mark and reinforce the behavior you want from the dog. Also stressed in this training is being fair to the dog and never overcorrecting a dog. In fact, their methods are also the same methods used by every trainer I've worked with over many, many years, from protection, to agility, to obedience, to dock diving, etc. I have never gone to a trainer that uses compulsion type training (ridiculous things like bonkers or alpha rolls, etc.) Nor would I ever go to a trainer like that. Those methods are the outdated ones.
I agree the the dog should be kept out of the room that the guinea pig is in and never said otherwise.
The dog also needs training. I'd highly recommend that the owner of the dog consult a certified professional dog trainer about the aggression issues.
Any trainer who mentions pack theory, or dominance is outdated. It was based on the observations of a group of wolves that were forced together in a zoo or enclosure, as opposed to wild wolf packs that form organically with two adult wolves (male and female) and then their offspring. Even the person who came up with the theory has now denounced it.

It's interesting because I was watching a programme only yesterday about animal communication, and one of the species looked at was captive wolves. The put a bowl of food down on the ground and released the alpha male and a lower ranking wolf to see what they did. Those wolves shared the food equally, eating both at the same time. They also found out that while all wolves in the pack howl when a member is removed (to encourage him/her to come back), different wolves howled louder and longer depending on the member removed.

Like @JoanneF points out, the use of aversives is not permitted, and Leerburg have both the prong and e-collars for sale in their shop.

Definitely not a trainer to be recommended.
 

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I don't think it's fair to try to steer someone away from valuable resources that could potentially be very helpful to that person and their dog. I've mentioned the types of training used, not just on Leerburg, but also by a couple other trainers. They are using mainly positive reinforcement, they stress never overcorrecting a dog and stress being fair to a dog. Corrections are a natural part of the dog world. But overcorrecting or using unnecessary punishment will end up backfiring and having bad consequences. That being said, it is ultimately up to the person training the dog whether they want to try a starmark collar, prong collar, etc. or just stick with a martingale or flat collar. The training should be tailored to the dog though and ultimately it is very important to keep both handler and dog safe. So if you have, for example, a large 75 pound Malinois (like mine) who has extremely high prey drive and while out walking and still training leash manners would lunge at rabbits, that is a situation that can put both owner and dog in danger. The dog can pull the owner over, the dog can get away and run into the street, the dog can drag the person into the street, etc. I know people who have been injured by their large dogs. One person who was knocked down by their Malinois and knocked unconscious, another knocked down by their Doberman and broke their ankle. My point is, the owner will have to decide whether to just use a flat collar or to try something else. But I would highly encourage the input of a certified professional dog trainer in that instance, especially one who has worked with large, strong dogs and different issues including reactivity and aggression. Training a pomeranian is not the same as training a high drive Malinois or Dutch Shepherd or even German Shepherd for that matter. I am for mainly positive reinforcement training and have used that mainly with my dogs. But I don't think training options should be limited to only positive reinforcement, especially when dealing with a really difficult large, strong, driven dog. The owner will have to decide based on their own situation, their dog and input from the professional dog trainer (after an assessment of the dog). If they DON'T want to ever use a prong collar, then that's fine. I would say start with positive reinforcement and see how that works out if that's what you want to do. I wouldn't write off great trainers and online resources because of what one person believes about pack theory. There are some horrible trainers online, I've seen some that condone stupid things like hitting dogs with bonkers and alpha rolls. That's ridiculous. The trainers I have mentioned don't use those methods and would never condone them. If you have never taken any of the mentioned courses, then you are not able to objectively pass judgement. If you've never trained a strong, high drive, difficult dog, then it's easy to pass judgement on other people who choose to use a prong collar for training proper leash manners. If positive only ends up not working for a very difficult dog and the person decides to use a prong collar with appropriate corrections, that can mean the difference between overcoming certain behavior issues and being able to successfully live with that dog vs. that person becoming completely overwhelmed, not knowing what else to do and returning the dog to the shelter which only passes the problem off to someone else, or worse, results in that dog being euthanized. So if someone ultimately decides yes, they want to try a prong collar and that ends up making the difference and saves that dog, then that's great. People shouldn't be guilted into not trying something. One of my dogs came from a rescue that pulled him off of the euthanasia list at a shelter. The rescue is run out of a training facility and they don't use positive only. They have successfully pulled many dogs off of the euthanasia list and have done behavior modification, saving those dogs' lives and then placing them in appropriate homes. If it wasn't for them, my dog wouldn't be alive today. I will never knock them or speak against their training methods because those dogs need more than positive only training. They are not using excessive force, bonkers, overcorrecting, etc. Here is an opinion on that from a very experienced trainer (Robert Cabral) who has worked with shelter dogs (with behavior and aggression issues) for years, works with and has his own high drive dogs (he has a Malinois himself).

Video edited out pending approval


Michael Ellis who has many courses on Leerburg has been a trainer for years, runs an academy for dog trainers, has trained many high drive dogs including his own and gives lectures all over the country. Mike Ritland is a former Navy SEAL, trains military working dogs and other dogs (all breeds), started the Warrior Dog Foundation that has taken retired military working dogs, trained them and placed them in appropriate homes. All of these trainers have worked with all kinds of dogs, from fairly easy ones to extreme high drive dogs as well as dogs with behavior and aggression problems. I won't dissuade someone from trying out options other than positive only training if it means the difference for them working through the issues with the dog, and especially If I don't have the experience of having worked with many difficult, reactive, aggressive, driven, etc. dogs and am not the one that has to deal with their dog every single day.
 

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a situation that can put both owner and dog in danger. The dog can pull the owner over
I have a small dog, but he does have high prey drive. He won't pull me over but I could still trip over him. The point I am making is that risk isn't limited to just large dogs.

wouldn't write off great trainers and online resources because of what one person believes about pack theory
But it isn't just one person.

If you've never trained a strong, high drive, difficult dog, then it's easy to pass judgement on other people who choose to use a prong collar
Denise Fenzi seems to do.pretty well.

Oops, hit reply too soon - to be continued ...
 

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I won't dissuade someone from trying out options other than positive only training
And neither do we.

Negative reinforcement and negative punishment are regularly recommended.

But, d'you know what? At the end of the day, it doesn't matter whether you agree or not. On this forum, recommending use of aversives is against the rules. So we actually don't need to argue about what should and shouldn't be used.

I am going to edit out your video for now, because I don't have the time to watch it right now. I will look at it tomorrow and put it back if I'm happy it doesn't breach the rules.
 

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I do have dogs that have high prey drive they are both bred to hunt and I don't use a prong collar, or an e collar I don't thump them, I don't use alpha rolls I don't use dominance, I try to work with their behavior to reach a point that is acceptable for both of us.

It's achieved with kindness and respect not fear intimidation or dominance.
 

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@sk81 , would you be happy to wear a prong collar or even worse, a starmark collar (wish I had never Googled that now. :( ) yourself? And hand someone else the handle?

If these are the types of torture devices that Leerburg are happy to endorse and even sell on heir website, they are not good trainers.
 
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Wow - I thought starmark was going to just be a brand.

Just why?
Yeah, that's what I hoped, although I did ask myself if so even wanted to Google it. Looks positively lethal. :(.
 
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Don Sullivan is another one of these ex-military macho 'men' who advocates the use of the starmark collar another 'trainer'who seriously needs a taste of his own medicine.


ps.. Iv put the word man and trainer in inverted commers because if I use the word I want to it will get me banned.Monsters like this are neither man or trainer.
 

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I have watched part of the video, what I heard was the presenter suggesting that positive trainers ”make people feel guilty” for using corrections like prong collars; and trying to justify that such things are necessary when you have a dog that won't comply with normal social expectations - like for example lunging at other dogs or people.

And he goes straight to these sort of tools - no suggestion about using voice warnings or anything else first to solve it small. In fact, to correct a behaviour, you have to have allowed the dog to make a mistake in the first place - what about prevention rather than setting the dog up to fail? If the dog has lunged at other dogs before, it is a predictable behaviour, and a predictable behaviour is a preventable behaviour.

So, first, a leash is an incredibly useful tool for keeping your dog away from other dogs so he doesn't have to react in the first place. Solve it small, no need to let things escalate to a prong collar.

Second, if something that someone says makes you feel guilty, maybe that's because you have something to feel guilty about.

If you think about big, strong animals like large dogs or even better, horses; they are going to be a heck of a lot stronger than we are. So gaining cooperation by agreement, rather than force, will always be more reliable. After all, if they really decided they weren't going to do something, there's not much we could do. So much better to have an animal that wants to do as we ask than one that is afraid of the consequences of failing to. Because one day, he just might realise that he can power through the pain and we can all work out what happens then.
 
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