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Discussion Starter #1
I have successfully trained a reactive dog (a 200 lb one no less) on my own. I found the trainers I consulted and their techniques to be pretty much useless, they could not even control my dog as well as I could and all they could offer was management tools that did not address the issue or even work that well.

What worked for my dog was working on internal flow and resistance and absolutely nothing to do with counter conditioning.

I used primarily the pushing exercise from Natural Dog Training, but the system has five core techniques which also include tug/bite and carry, collecting, speaking on command and rub a dub (massage).

The Five Core Exercises of Natural Dog Training

I would also add that I doubt neutering will calm him down, in fact, I think it is likely to be the opposite, an intact dog is able to mature naturally, sexuality is how we mature, it is an emotional transformer from instinct (prey/predator modality), to sexuality (male-female modality) to the complexity of personality and social and drive energy. You want to be working with this social/drive energy with your dog.
 

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@Gnostic Dog, I appreciate you having a different take on learning theory. :)
However, I always find the info you give lacking info, at least for me. How exactly does one apply these exercises to resolve behavior problems?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
@Gnostic Dog, I appreciate you having a different take on learning theory. :)
However, I always find the info you give lacking info, at least for me. How exactly does one apply these exercises to resolve behavior problems?
Natural Dog Training works according to the laws of physics, on the principals of flow and thermodynamics.

Here is a link to an article on Kevin Behan's website that explains NDT in a nutshell, if you are truly interested, I suggest you start delving into his blog,
perhaps this would be a good article to start with:

Impulse Control and Body Language which delves into the theory of NDT.
 

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@Gnostic Dog, I appreciate you having a different take on learning theory. :)
However, I always find the info you give lacking info, at least for me. How exactly does one apply these exercises to resolve behavior problems?
I would love to more too. I've followed those links, and from what I can gather, these exercises are a formal route to engagement. Teaching the owner how to engage their dog so that the dog will, in general, be more inclined to look to owner for both comfort and play, making the owner available to the dog for it's emotional and physical needs.
I'm doing the pushing exercise for Sonic as he's wary of proximity especially in training, and careful in his executions probably due to a mixed past in terms of human interaction. I'm trying to build confidence in Sonic, something I've never had to do with my previous dog.
 

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I would love to more too. I've followed those links, and from what I can gather, these exercises are a formal route to engagement. Teaching the owner how to engage their dog so that the dog will, in general, be more inclined to look to owner for both comfort and play, making the owner available to the dog for it's emotional and physical needs.
I'm doing the pushing exercise for Sonic as he's wary of proximity especially in training, and careful in his executions probably due to a mixed past in terms of human interaction. I'm trying to build confidence in Sonic, something I've never had to do with my previous dog.
I agree. Builds drive/''want'' of what the owner has and likely engagement (owner is fun).

@kmes, here is another article that contrasts NDT with mainstream methodology, in particular, Patrica McConnell, on dealing with two dogs fighting.

https://naturaldogtraining.com/blog/there-is-only-one-energy/
I've read this and the other links you gave before...
Doesn't tell me how to actually apply any of these core exercises in training sessions for reducing/resolving a behavior problem ....

Also, lots of talk of emotions and emotional batteries...
Not something that is normally part of physics I believe...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I've read that before...
Doesn't tell me how to actually apply any of these core exercises in training sessions for reducing/resolving a behavior problem ....
I am not sure what you are asking here? You apply it by doing it, and understanding why is what Kevin Behan's extensive blog is all about.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
@kmes I am also going to quote from the article you have read:

To cut to the chase, resolving a “problem behavior” ultimately boils down to the owner being able to attract the same intense expressions of energy from their dog rather than correcting or even distracting it from said energy. Everything else is superfluous and playing with toys is not enough, the dog must “make-prey” with the owner on the toy. You have to become “the charge” a.k.a. the moose.
Seems clear to me.
 

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It's not clear what to do...
That explains the why. Not the how.

I am not sure what you are asking here? You apply it by doing it, and understanding why is what Kevin Behan's extensive blog is all about.
What does a training session with trigger present look like? What does the handler do?

Are you just pushing or doing the other core exercises in the presence of the trigger?
Are you relying on the engagement/drive built to just have the dog ignore the trigger?

And in general, just how does one apply these exercises when training specific behaviors? I know how I do or would but I have yet to see you give an explanation or example...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
What does a training session with trigger present look like? What does the handler do?

Are you just pushing in the presence of the trigger?
Are you relying on the engagement built to just have the dog ignore the trigger?

In general, how does one apply these exercises when training behaviors?
You don't need a trigger to be present, the specific trigger has nothing to do with it. By pushing, you are enabling the dog to overcome resistance, resistance to anything. You are not doing it to engage (distract?) the dog or get him to ignore the trigger. This is where I think we have a disconnect, it isn't about specific behaviors, you cannot compartmentalize this into a ToM in the way mainstream behavioralism attempts to do.

Again from the same article:

THERE IS ONLY ONE ENERGY. It doesn’t matter what kind of behavior a dog performs, it is an expression of but one energy. In other words, the entire spectrum of a dog’s behavior is a continuous expression of energy along a spectrum. It may look like the dog is exhibiting a range of seemingly different behaviors, each with its own separate and distinct class of motives, but these are all refractions of an underlying energy moving through the dog’s temperament (due to the physical affects of physical memory) and in response to resistance. All behavior is but a variation on a central theme, a continuous, contiguous outlet of ONE FUNDAMENTAL ENERGY (this is not immediately apparent to an intellectual mental system of analysis-a personality theory-because the forms of these behaviors look to be so different and so therefore seem to be motivated by different intentions) crystallized around the MOST INTENSE EXPRESSION of said energy.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
When training (and I am still in training myself) you can take the dog to a quiet spot and work with them alone.

ETA: I feed them via pushing and start tug/bite and carry games with them. For dogs that can't relax, I do the collecting exercise.
 

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Again that quote explains why NDT works, not the how to apply these core exercises to training/resolving behavior problems.

So if one just does enough pushing, tug, collecting, etc. at home then bam! behavior and aggression problems resolved completely? At some point to resolve reactivity you do need to work/train in the presence of the trigger regardless of the methodology ...

Also for fwiw, I also do not distract my dogs to prevent a reaction and fully agree that simply distracting is not going to resolve anything. Need to be aware of the trigger for progress to be made. ;) Ignoring isn't necessarily distracted. Suppose I should have said ''be attentive/focused on handler rather than the trigger'' instead?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Again that quote explains why the NDT works, not the how to apply these core exercises to training/resolving behavior problems.

So if one just does enough pushing, tug, collecting, etc. at home then bam! behavior and aggression problems resolved completely? At some point to resolve reactivity you do need to work/train in the presence of the trigger regardless of the methodology ...
Basically, yes, once the dog is able to ground stress and move into flow via the exercises you are going to see a huge difference in the dog, and how they behave.

I did not work with specific triggers, and there were plenty, joggers, cyclists, other dogs, skateboarders, strollers etc, just through pushing at home we were able to remove the behaviors. We can now easily walk past a frantically barking dog behind a chainlink fence without him so much as looking at the dog, or happily have a skateboarder zoom past us with no reaction at all, and before all 200 lbs of him was rearing up and barking frantically at them.
 

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You don't push, tug, etc. at all outside your home?

My guess would be that in some way you are using these exercises as a reinforcer for attention/lack of reaction in the presence of the trigger. Ie. the dog gives handler attention so out comes tug or a couple cookies and push...

Otherwise If it's really just push, tug, etc. enough, and you don't have to in someway apply the exercises in futher training, I cannot see this system working...
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Discussion Starter #15
You don't push, tug, etc. at all outside your home?

My guess would be that in some way you are using these exercises as a reinforcer for attention/lack of reaction in the presence of the trigger. Ie. the dog gives handler attention so out comes tug or a couple cookies and push...

Otherwise If it's really just push, tug, etc. enough, and you don't have to in someway apply the exercises in futher training, I cannot see this system working...
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Yes, I push and play tug outside the home, basically anywhere. You are wrong about the reason these exercises work and it is nothing to do with reinforcing and obtaining attention; they work on an energetic level. This isn't woo, our entire world/solar system/universe works this way: electricity, gravity, emotion, they are all singular energy sources.

You might not see it working intellectually because I don't think you understand the theory, but I can assure you it does. Try it, try pushing (and do it the way it is shown in the videos) and see. It took a while for my dog to even understand the concept of pushing for food, he used to just sit and put his paw out to me. Now he pushes like a champ.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Also for fwiw, I also do not distract my dogs to prevent a reaction and fully agree that simply distracting is not going to resolve anything. Need to be aware of the trigger for progress to be made. ;) Ignoring isn't necessarily distracted. Suppose I should have said ''be attentive/focused on handler rather than the trigger'' instead?
Just saw this addition.

Pushing, tug (bite 'n carry) are designed to get the dog attracted to the handler, and what we do in NDT might look similar to some things mainstream OC +P trainers and behaviorists do, or even pack theory trainers, but it is quite different because we work on stress release and getting the dog to the pleasurable state of flow, so we know why we do what we do.
 

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I can see some it working in terms of trigger stacking.
ie. a dog can handle the stress of one trigger by itself (barking dog) but add in fast car, + imperfect relationship with handler, then bamm, over threshold lunging barking dog.

As the dog gains trust in the handler, feels safe, engaged, one source (possibly even major source) of stress is dropped off the list and the dog can then 'handle' the remaining stress's in it's life.

Also just plain old energy release. I'm a complete bear if I don't get a minimum 1 hour brisk walk per day. You don't want to hang out with me if I can't exercise. Some 'reactive' dogs, are just energetic dogs that need a place to expend that energy.

Play releases stress, trust removes stress. Whatever exercises get you there will help 'de-stack' those triggers.
 

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I can appreciate and implement exercises and methods without completely agreeing the explanation another trainer gives as to why it works.

And fwiw, I do incorporate some of the core exercises into my training. Concepts like stress release is not unique to NDT either. Explained differently from one trainer to another for sure, but common in other circle as well. ;)

My main issue is that trainers have to be able to teach people what to do. Telling people here to just go and tug, push, collect, etc. more to eventually fix a whole host of behavior problems isn't clear and frankly isn't likely going to help them.

You are in some way applying the exercises to or in situations that used to or could potentially result in a reaction from your dog, correct? What people need is for you to explain how you do that.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Anything that utilizes stress release will work. This is why dominance training and even +R training works despite them being at either end of the training spectrum. But unfortunately, behavior modification with +R training doesn't work for very long, unless the pattern of reinforcement is constantly being changed and requires using very complicated reinforcement schedules and contingencies, which if mismanaged can backfire. How many times do we read on this forum that an owner needs to up the value of the treat? NDT does not use food as a reward or as a reinforcer, but it does use it in training to reach the balance circuitry via the hunger circuitry.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
You are in some way applying the exercises to or in situations that used to or could potentially result in a reaction from your dog, correct? What people need is for you to explain how you do that.:)
Pushing more than anything addresses so many issues that I could be posting that suggestion to every single poster that has a problem with their dog. So it doesn't matter what the issue is, as the article you read clearly states. It is all about attraction and resistance, regardless of the specific issue. The specific problem is just one notch on a continuum, the continuum is the same.

Learning how to push is easy, and I have posted the links several times. This is not rocket science.
 
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