Kyro | Cane Corso | Camarillo, CA | In Training
Kyro is a 1 year old Cane Corso from Camarillo California. He has enrolled in OffLeash SoCal's Two-Week Board and Train Program to address his reactivity to other dogs as well as his general obedience and manners. He was nervous and fearful when I first met him so I want to take the time to build our relationship so he will accept my leadership and guidance during his training. His reactivity is mostly a lot of hot air but considering his size and strength it is important to gain control of his behavior before he does learn to misbehave in a more inappropriate manner. We will show him the best place to be without any stress is always obeying his commands and avoiding conflict. Stay tuned for his Two-Week transformation!
Today is all about diagnosing Kyro's unique challenges and planning our training with them in mind. Kyro is reactive to dogs as well as people walking or riding bikes. He doesn't understand leash pressure yet and will need relationship building before he will accept reinforcing commands without unnecessary frustration and stress. He is largely motivated by his social anxiety and in order to better serve him in an immediate sense for the duration of his training but also in the long term for the rest of his life we must expose him to stress and reward him for relaxing. His reactivity if left unchecked can become dangerous considering his size and strength and I think with the benefit of better communication he can learn to control himself in new places with new people and even dogs present. It will be important to remain consistent when he does come home so keep in mind the goal is his personal accountability and not "forcing" him to behave one way or another. We are asking him to remain polite and our insistence ends the moment he discontinues any bad behaviors. We are looking to reinforce and not punish, so the routine of training needs to remain consistent so the answers to the questions we ask him remain the same and he knows how to use his behavior to control a given situation so that he is most happy and comfortable....which will be doing what we ask! It is a self enforcing cycle but only if we are consistent with the rules. Kyro just needs structure and the right rewards/reinforcement in order to make good choices for himself.
Today I took Kyro to work on his reactivity around other dogs and trainers. He managed to ignore the dogs almost entirely because he was preoccupied with reacting to the leash and the gentle pressure I was using to guide him into position. Kyro in general is only being reactive because he is a big puppy and still figuring out how the world works. Dogs normally make a show and protest having to comply with rules and obedience when they have been able to get away with ignoring them in the past. His large size and strength have made him difficult to hold accountable but that is the beauty of dog training: it isn't about being stronger but rather knowing when and how to exert your strength. Teaching the dog first to yield to and then follow leash pressure is a necessary step in communicating the later concepts of the e collar. First I create a picture of obedience using the leash and a sensation that also comes with a direction applied to it and gradually I will subtract the help of the leash. The idea is to first make Kyro capable and then hold him accountable to the bar he sets for himself. I think he did quite well! Remember he is still a baby and babies sometimes have tantrums. It is our job as owners and handlers to endure the annoyance so we can ignore the attempts to be indulged and also interrupt and reinforce a command of obedience to redirect the dog away from the misbehavior. It seems complicated on the surface but it is merely a procedure to practice until it becomes automatic. We make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard!
Today I began layering the e collar stimulation over leash pressure to help Kyro understand how to comply without a massive struggle. He has been very reactive to the leash and protests. He is a big baby and going through a phase of tantrums but this is normal when adding obedience especially for large breed dogs like Kyro. We simply have to be patient and consistent despite his arguing. Today initially he was very passionate in resisting even basic leash pressure asking him to find my side while walking. With careful practice and rewarding every little bit of forward progress but also discouraging his protests with e collar stimulation I was able to get him working with me and feeling less frustrated. Sometimes when a dog is able to argue and carry on they dont realize that relaxing and compying is an option. Because of his large size and strength it is easy to let him get away with bad behavior but the number one rule in dog training is to make the dog work harder than the trainer. Whenever he tries to get ahead of me or pull on the leash I apply stimulation and change directions. After a decent walk with many direction changes Kyro was tired and wanting to quit. In that mind state where he just wants to relax and stop working I worked on down and place with duration and distance. I am taking advantage of the natural energy he brings to the work instead of working against it. The more we can channel his forward energy to be engaged with the handler and also show him the best places to relax are the ones we choose, the easier Kyro will find balance and peace out in the world.
Today Kyro and I worked on marrying the physical sensation of a leash with the stimulation of the e collar. This point of training generally does come with some frustration for the dog so I go slow and steady to make sure he understands me clearly. Today Kyro was reactive on the leash not wanting to follow through with his behaviors. When big dogs like Kyro have temper tantrums they can learn to get their way because it is intimidating and difficult to handle them. I like to let them work through their frustration while gently encouraging them with my voice and providing enough guidance from the leash that the right answer is never too far away. Kyro will resort to these tactics here in the beginning of training but over time as you can see in the video he will settle down and remember where the right place to be is. So long as we reward his best efforts and never let him feel like he "won" by having a tantrum he will decide to find the positions when we ask because he prefers to be there than anywhere else. Remember to praise the dog for finding the right answer even if he was making mistakes prior! We are rewarding the final picture and every hiccup along the way is forgiven when we get to where we want to be.
Today Kyro and I worked on house manners and impulse control around the door as well as the continued development of his general obedience. Kyro has been frustrated by the e collar and protesting when he has to comply with a command in the form of shaking his head and scratching at the area. We have noticed he is experiencing a mild allergic reaction to the e collar contact points and are switching to hypo allergenic contact points going forward. Kyro is a large and opinionated young dog who is struggling with not being able to set the rules whenever he wants to but despite his tantrums and arguing he is still learning. The idea right now is to be consistent because he has to see that no matter what unhealthy form of protest he manifests the only solution is cooperation with us and working as a team. Despite his sweet and loving personality he still comes from a breed of dog with notable strength and powerful jaws and even a bite out of frustration and not true aggression could be devastating. It is up to us as his handlers or owners to control his shifting moods and make him understand that he is always to be held accountable for any potentially harmful behavior whether that behavior is harmful to others (biting, jumping on, tackling) or harmful to himself (scratching, shaking his head compulsively). While we want to always honor and respect the dog as an individual and a unique soul we must also respect the reality that given enough conflict a large dog with large jaws could even accidentally seriously injure someone and while even a small toy breed could cause harm the perception alone of being more dangerous is already working against Kyro when he is carrying himself in the world. While we can know him and understand he is really sweet at heart we have to be willing to show him the rules of the world so he can be appreciated in a healthy and mutually respectful manner.
Irritation before cleaning:
Irritation after cleaning And neosporin applied:
Today Kyro and I met up with Mike the owner of OffLeash SoCal in order to better address Kyro's reactivity and get a second opinion on his head shaking. Mike and I agreed the head shaking looked like some kind of trouble with his ears and upon further investigation did notice some irritation in his right ear. We made a vet appointment for monday at 4:30 pm. Kyro's reactivity to leash pressure as well as passing dogs and many times strange people has made him rather stressed out and with the cause of his head shaking still unknown I haven't wanted to put too much pressure on the dog. That being said he is learning the concepts of obedience and how to work to access rewards. His reactivity toward strange people was really put to the test today because I walked him around a mall foodcourt and had him do a few obedience commands with many people walking in all kinds of directions. The interesting thing was he didnt react much to the people in the food court but when we are working alone his reactivity has been over the top. Many dogs experience frustration during training but I do need to be sure there isn't a physical cause before addressing the head shaping more specifically. That being said his on leash obedience is coming along nicely and his leash manners have much improved.