Posts by Barbara Erdman

    He's a bandog.

    No, I'm saying this particular aggression I'm talking about is in reference to firing guns or fireworks (and when he sees a decoy for bitework), but it's not limited to that. He also attacks lawn mowers, weed wackers, chain saws, etc. Those were corrected strongly for because my husband wasn't amused by it and he really tries to rip the tires off both ride on and push mowers while they're on and it's dangerous to him :nono: My female bandog was similar with the lawn equipment, just not as extreme or strong in dismembering it. She's a much smaller dog. Gun fire though never made her act that way, or fireworks.

    Actually, now that you mention it, I do have a gun shy dog. My pointy eared mix. He has weak nerves. I don't know why I always forget about him :) I'm not interested in fixing him though. It's not worth the effort. I can't/won't work with weak nerves.

    I've heard of other people trying to neutralize the gun shy issues for trial and it didn't work well.

    I'll take your word on the efficacy of Koehlers test. My trainer went into a very long discussion on the ways to introduce gunfire and the ways introducing it could go wrong. For my female, I didn't introduce gun fire during work until the trial itself and she acted appropriately.

    Do you think your rottweiler was introduced to gun fire during bitework and he sees it as a cue he's going to get to work?

    It makes sense to me that the Leerburg video in question is Tactical training for PSD. I'll look over it to see if I can find the segment. Other than that I have only one other reference. In Koehler's red book he outlines the test for a potential PSD or PD. It involves taking the green dog to a new area and surprising it with the decoy jumping out letting out a yell and firing off a couple of shots at the same time. The three reactions that can be worked with are: 1. The dog stacks and looks at the decoy. 2. The dog lunges forward in play. 3. The dog lunges forward with aggression. The 3rd reaction being the best one. Of course this is gunfire with the addition of a recognizable threat so that should be taken into consideration.

    I'm just wondering if it's possible for a dog to have an aggressive reaction to gunfire without previous exposure to agitation and gunfire or some kind of situation where there was threat and gunfire together. The reason I'm wondering is because my dog does this when he hears gunfire sounding fireworks or another similar sound. There is no nerviness in him, when he hears something like that he's looking for action. This could mean that he's been worked before which would explain a lot of things but I can't be sure. He had absolutely zero obedience when I got him. It's hard for me to imagine someone doing bitework to the level he demonstrates with no obedience. Plus I've seen rottweilers bite like that from the first session before.

    Koehler's way sounds like a sure way to create gunfire issues :) lol

    I have a similar issue with a male I acquired at age 8. Gunfire and fireworks seems to be a cue to him that some decoy action is coming because he goes absolutely ballistic and tries to attack either the gun or the fireworks. He can't be around them period. He has no nerve issue whatsoever and is a very confident dog. I'm thinking he was introduced to gunfire improperly maybe. When I first had him evaluated by my then trainer I was told he appeared to have some yahoo training or something to that effect. I've never seen his reaction to it out in public when we weren't controlling the gunfire or fireworks, thankfully, and I don't want to because he becomes almost impossible to get control of without locking up or serious physical corrections. I should probably set those situations up for corrections to eradicate the issue, but I've heard you can make it worse so I've left it alone and just left him locked up when target shooting or shooting off fireworks.

    I've heard of other dogs who had issues to gunfire that were from improperly introducing it, but also it appeared to be a nerve problem because instead of aggressing against the gunfire, it sent them running off the field away from it.

    I don't know what a gun shy dog is. All of my dogs are raised from a young age with gunfire being normal and have never had an issue aside from this dog that I acquired as an adult aggressing against it. His reaction to it is similar to his reaction when he knows he's going to get to do bitework :crazy:

    It strikes me as the kind of hype of why you can't test a breeders dogs. Because they're just so great :) What they really are is dogs who aren't suited for work or trainers who aren't accustomed to that kind of aggression. I have to see it to believe it. I have a female with the aggression of a fila. It doesn't get much higher than that. The training we did with her was minimal control in the beginning. I didn't see anything that made her any worse than she was. As a matter of fact, she couldn't have gotten much worse. But in case, I hired a trainer who I knew wouldn't turn her into more of a liability than she already was. The result? A dog who learned when it was appropriate to unleash that aggression. What I learned of dogs of that mentality is they have strong feelings of natural protection that they aren't experienced enough to understand. Training makes the dogs of this temperament understand when it's appropriate to bite and when it's not. And I also learned some people are full of s*** about these dogs, especially the ones who have a million reasons why it's too dangerous to work them. So don't buy into the hype. They've never gotten into their dogs psyche, so they can't say what they have either way.

    That was the goal with using the e-collar. Teaching the dog the safe place. She doesn't have the problem anymore. We don't really use the e-collar. That was the solution :) Despite that, I still think the e-collar is an excellent tool.

    We trained the heel for PSA.

    The reason it's too dangerous is because those dogs don't switch on and off like the herders. Once the dog has been turned on it will continue being in an agitated state for quite a while. Their aggression is not as controllable and once its awakened the dog is may no longer be trustworthy in public. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the level of aggression I'm talking about. Like I said they'd make good compound dogs.

    This is hype. With bad training the dogs reliability could be in question with good training, the dog will be better off after than before. I have a female who's behavior before training was more of a sentry compound dog, after good training she's much more trustworthy than before.


    For the crowding if you ever felt like fixing it; try a left turn into the dog leading with either knee making strong contact with its neck every time you feel the dog touching you.

    I've done that and even more Koehler geared methods, to no avail. The e-collar is what created that issue.


    I've never had a problem getting my dogs to jump on elevated surfaces though either.
    It sounds to me like you fundamentally train this with food?

    No. I can't really say I "train" it either. It's more of a recreation thing. I just tell them to do it and they do. My youngest dog is 5 so I can't really remember all that well, but I think the first two times I may have climbed up on whatever it was, and called them from there. Lucho, the red dog I got last year, and he's about 8. I just told him to jump up and he just does. I assume he knew. I think I'm just on the same wavelength as these dogs so they listen to me :crazy: I've had hunting lines labs and could never do a thing with them, but these dogs are easier for me to train.


    Crowding is not correct heel position. A good heel position is one where the dog doesn't impede the handler's movements. It's hard to make headway with a crowding dog so I correct for crowding. Another thing that I do that goes against the sport mentality is that I want my dog while at heel to have his ears back. The moment his ears go up and forward I know he's focused on something and trouble is a brewing. I need to bring him back down to a normal emotional state.

    My trainer liked it. He said it made the dog look more attentive. I can't say I enjoyed it as much as he did, because when I say I'm constantly fighting to stay on my feet, I'm not exaggerating :) lol I like your idea of the heel. I tried correcting for the heeling, and it made it worse! I used a bunch of different methods to get rid of it to no avail. The only thing that helped was ditching the e-collar. Now she doesn't crowd. But I don't do much focused healing work with her anymore either.

    No, Norman did the Sch. obedience with Gordo because that's what they train for.

    As for the "it's too dangerous to do agitation with this kind of dog" I don't buy it. It's dangerous to do civil work with any civil dog period, no matter what the breed. I'd be more scared of a speedy shepherd in civil work than a bigger dog that's easier to control his or her movements.


    As far as focus and obedience in the real world. If you were to heel your dog for an hour in public moving from one environment to another with varying distraction it would become obvious that the dog can't maintain the kind of focus you see on the field training. That kind of focus is very draining on the dog and it's not capable of sustaining it. Real world obedience needs to be done in a much more relaxed state for the dog. It is looking for a happy medium where the dog can be relaxed/spend the least amount of energy necessary yet be aware of your movements and intentions.

    Okay, I understand what you're saying. I don't do that, so I can't really say, but what you say about it being draining makes sense. The only time I would do that in public if I wasn't training specifically would be when someone is walking near us that looks like a psycho and I know she'll fire up at if she looks at him, or when other dogs are around. Then the focused heel comes in real handy. It's the answer to everything I know will set her off. The minute you let eye contact happen with any trigger, it's pointless. The focused heel definitely helps. It may as well make the dog look good too while it's being done :) I've never had to maintain it for an hour though. I know I have to be more aware of my surroundings than her so I can counteract anything before it happens.

    I can't give you good details on Baden distractions. I only know my dogs probably would have problems with them and it's a little out of my league lol :) One that comes to mind is having a bunch of dogs laying on top of each other.


    However if you were to do the training in the context that I described earlier, where the dog has some sort of reasonable objective, you would see that this problem is much less pronounced.

    Yes, they're good with reasonable objectives, but IMO that doesn't really require much from the dog in terms of trainability. I think if molosser breeders were requiring more from their breeding stock, the resultant puppies would be much easier to work with in all phases of obedience, not just regular life stuff.


    leash break, there was never a moment of bracing or resisting the pull pf the leash. I just put the leash on at 8 weeks and we walked as if we've always done it. Yet when I tried to do something regimented, teaching her to jump up on an elevated surface, I went through that resistance and submission phase.

    I've never dealt with leash breaking. Is this common in the more traditional breeds? I've never had a problem getting my dogs to jump on elevated surfaces though either. They like that kind of thing.

    I wouldn't judge all boerboels on the one you bought, not that I think there's a lot of great ones of any pure bred mastiff breed out there... I don't think the breeder you went to does protection work so they're not really breeding boerboels for real protection. You can't really blame them for that. Their site clearly says they breed weight pull and therapy dogs. When I hear therapy dogs in the same sentence as protection dog, I automatically assume there's some kind of discrepancy there ;) IMO, and I could be wrong, a therapy dog that can double as a protection dog is going to be a mediocre at best protection dog.

    That's so disrespectful to say about Norman! He's over 55 and he's really a nice guy. I'm not going to judge how he walks while he's training. He's kind enough to put himself out there for people to learn. If I'm going to ridicule someone it'll be myself. I don't really watch my training videos though :) I can only imagine what I look like heeling with my dog because she's crowding me so badly I'm fighting to stay on my feet and walk :) lol

    Norman's a sport trainer, I'll give you that. I didn't mention him as a breeder because he's not a breeder, just as someone who can give you some insight that's HONEST in his experience and isn't going to try to make a buck off you or hype the breed. He's worked Gordo, so he knows far more about the dog and the breed than the breeders spitting out litters and not even protection training/working their breeding stock which are supposed to be protective dogs. As for the quality of Gordo as a true protection dog, I have no idea. His training has taken him away from that type of dog, and what he could have been with a non sport training regimen is unknown to me. I don't really care though because I'm not at all interested in boerboels to own for myself.

    I don't think Norman was trying to prove a point, at least not a malicious one. I think he was doing the breeder a favor in trying to prove one of his dogs, and chronicling it to 1. motivate molosser breeders/owners to train and better the breed, and 2. showing that it's possible. His venue just happens to be schutzhund. I know you're anti sport and I respect that. The problem is, mastiffs need some kind of breeding standard to be adhered to. Testing a dog in a kennel isn't going to tell you anything. We need some kind of standard with an impartial judge of sorts to help better the breeds. Unfortunately anything like that breeds corruption, politics and egos, so I don't have the answer. The standards that pure bred mastiffs have now are not in evidence, and the quality of the dogs is not that good. As far as I see it, doing something and showing it is better than doing nothing and hyping it and as you know, hype rules these dogs. People lay out all kinds of money to get something good and they get something disappointing.


    To me finished obedience is taking the dog for an hour walk through varying environments and strong distractions with the dog appearing half asleep but still maintaining the heel position.

    Can you give examples of what the strong distractions are that you speak of? My personal preference is not seeing a dog half asleep but seeing an attentive on point dog. IMO, it looks way better on the street and on the field if that's a persons choice.


    Taking every strong distraction as a reason to pay more attention to me.

    This kind of sport training obedience does carry over into real life distractions, eg. drug addicts acting disorderly, dogs running loose, crowds, etc. Now if you're talking Baden style distractions, I couldn't tell you if it does :)


    Granted I'm not seeing how the boerboel in the vid would perform in such circumstances but it's been my experience that people who train like that spend most of their time perfecting those two inches of positioning rather than go out and do some real work with the dog.

    I think the term "real work" is subjective. Everyone is into something different. I'd be more interested in a mastiff from someone who is going out and actuallly attempting to prove a dog, vs. the breeders who are doing nothing, but will promise their dogs are naturally protective, competition trainable, blah, blah, blah, but they've never taken the dogs off their property to even see if this is true, never attempted to train them for high levels. With the people I've posted, they've tried to test their dogs as many places as they could, and they are painfully honest, unlike the people who do the least, but hype their dogs the most. Norman will tell you Gordo was a PITA to train, and he has some really funny stories, and Tashi will tell you the Boerboel is nothing more than a really crappy bandog. You go to the people who haven't done half of what they've done with their dogs, and they'll tell you how great their dogs are and how they'll kill any intruder, yet they've never attempted to test their own hype stories they just KNOW, but these stories sell pups. Then you buy the $2000 animal and it's a total POS. IMO, it's safer to purchase a dog like this from someone who's taken the time to train their dogs, because that's how you truly know what you have. I've found these people to be the most honest because they wanted to know what they had which is why they took the training path they did, vs. the people who don't do anything they can show, or they don't do anything at all but try to BS the stuff they do. It's not a perfect way, but it's better than nothing. There's too much hype with these dogs and you're really taking a gamble when you purchase one.


    They don't see a point in it and start to resist.

    I used to believe this, and now thru experience I don't. They start to resist IMO because they don't have the genetics to do it without experienced training bringing them thru it. The dogs were not bred to be highly trainable because the people owning and breeding them for the most part were not/are not skilled in that area and trainability was not an area of importance. Handler sensitivity was an area of importance and bred for so that the unskilled can tell the dogs to go lay down, and with minimal training the dogs will cower and do as it's told giving a fralse image of a trainable dog :)

    Thanks Dan :)

    What breeds are you referring to when you bring this up? Boerboels or Rottweilers? Or is it an individual dog thing?

    I think people see the most resistance from the molosser breeds. Molosser owners are more forgiving of this whereas if it was a gsd or mal that was resistant, the dog would be labeled a piece of crap, and people with those high expectations are also quick to label all the molosser breeds the same.

    In this video below, Norman has trained his boerboel to some pretty high levels in obedience. He didn't have an easy time of it comparing it to training gsd's he's had in the past. This guy is pretty cool (and so is the dog!). He's normally a gsd guy specializing in sch. but he took this boerboel and trained him very nicely IMO! :) He put a lot of work into proving this dog.

    Gordo is out of Harris boerboels, a working cattle ranch. I was in Texas last week and had the pleasure of meeting two other dogs there from Harris Boerboels, a male and a female. They were very impressive dogs. I remember in your boerboel post you mentioned the dog you placed liked people too much. The dogs I met, a male and a female, were very aloof. They allowed you to pet them, but they paid absolutely no attention to me at all. If you're ever in the market for a boerboel, you should contact Norman, or even a lady that goes by the internet handle Tashi and her boyfriend Bill Hollinger. If I were in the market for a boerboel those are the only people I'd even contemplate contacting.
    She has some nice obedience on her dogs and I don't imagine it was easy. If I had to guess she too ran into those moments that you mention :)

    I have a dog that was VERY resistant to training. I trained her using all motivation from an early age. She had no problem doing sit, down, paw, and maybe one or two other simple commands. Anything further would have her shutting down refusing to work for me and she began refusing the food I offered for motivation. This worked and I think she realized it. I wouldn't work with her anymore and barely asked her to do much. Then I hired a trainer, and had my husband handle the dog. The same dog who wouldn't work for food started working for food, and when she realized that pulling the lay down act was going to get her dragged back up, she started complying. Then came the e-collar and the dog does obedience like a champ :thumbsup2: I've always known she was very smart, now I realize how smart :nono: I don't even bother with the e-collar anymore and her obedience is still very up beat and snappy. I've never had a dog like this. Out of all of my dogs, she is the dog that is quickest in split second decision making, so your opinion is definitely accurate in her case :)

    I think people often believe intelligent dogs are the ones that are easily trained, and the ones that are harder to train they think are stupid. Intelligence seems to be a matter of opinion depending on who you talk to. I used to do intelligence tests from one of Stanley Coren's books, and my dumbest dogs rated the highest in the intelligence department :crazy:

    Thanks Aaron, Johan and Barbara :)

    Dan, an ABM is an American Bull Molosser and they are bred by Gale Raponi of TNU kennel and I think Dave Saunders originated them. They're bandogs.

    Barbara, I'd love to see pictures if you have any :)

    I noticed there was emphasis on having a dog defend himself and that a special importance was placed on that. I didn't understand why if a dog would defend it's owner that was important, but what you said made perfect sense. You'll have to excuse my ignorance :) I appreciate you taking the time to answer what probably seems like a trivial question.

    Thank you Dan :)

    Sorry for the confusing wording. Let me try again. Is judging what a dog is capable of based on what they can handle when they're already on the bite misleading? Can you see a different picture when you attempt to back a dog down with physical and psychological pressure that prevents a dog from getting a bite?

    I'm sorry again David. My post was not to upset everyone. I think my uncle may have been a little before you. He was my grandfather's brother. Unfortunately he passed away long before I was interested in dogs so I was never able to question him. I do recall some of his very impressively trained gsd's. How he got the control on them and everything else is not for me to judge. As for yank and crank trainers; I don't hold old methods under too much scrutiny because this seems how things were done way back when. I personally have used kohler methods when all else has failed and safety and appropriate conduct was imperative. I'm not really big on judging training methods because there's something to be gleaned from all of them IMO, outdated or new age. I said the word "sick" but didn't mean it from a condemning stand point. While I think those methods are not preferable or ideal by today's standards, I'm not qualified to judge who did what when or why. It was just an adjective carelessly tossed out. I'm not going to judge things that I didn't live.

    Well, maybe I shouldn't have put it quite like that :eek: Sorry! It's just that the stories go that "training" the way he did it was to suit up in whatever makeshift stuff they used and proceed to beat the dogs senseless. Training has come a long way since then and that was a number of years ago. Way before my time. I was projecting present 2009 mind set to pre Koehler days. I have the utmost respect for military past and present and most of the men in my family have served. My apologies if that sounded offensive. It was a poor choice of words. I think I will go back to lurking

    Do you think it's reasonable to expect that a good dog suited for the work can't be backed down even with psychological pressure before training? Can what a dog is capable of on the bite be misleading because it doesn't show the combination of physical and psychological pressure that can back the same dog down before it gets on the bite?

    I've heard many trainers say they could run any dog. I had an uncle who was a military dog trainer back in the days when it was sick to be one of those. When he got out of the service it was said he could make any dog run by simply facing off with them. By the time I heard that he had already passed away so I never was able to pick his brain on dogs.