"confidence" or submission? (warning-long) - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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"confidence" or submission? (warning-long)

Hi all,
Our Spencer Tracy is 7 months old and is delightful on all counts (except for what seems to be a slight potty training regression/"terrible-two" issue....but that's another post )

I am puzzled and slightly worried about a comment his groomer made yesterday. She said "he needs some confidence boosting - has he had any classes yet?" I told her yes, one puppy beginning obedience.

Spencer is so confident, not at all scared of other people or dogs, runs up to all strangers at the parks, seeks everyone out on walks, at stores, etc, 2 and 4 legged....I was so surprised by her comment.

I asked, "why do you say that?" and she said "he wouldn't let me take him out of his crate (she crates them when done with the job) - he stuck to the back."

Well, he's only been there twice for nail trimming. And I think there's a difference between confidence and knowing that someone is coming for him (not in a friendly way) - like at the vet. Spencer is super smart.

Then, later on, at Petsmart, I asked a groomer there about grooming and puppy coat changing and she reached out to pull him toward him and he pulled back (again, more smart to me, not scared - but maybe I'm biased?) and she asked the SAME QUESTION - "has he been for classes? he may need help with socialization."

Sorry for my long rambling intro - I don't know how to ask any other way (I've never had a dog and we LOVE our Spencer - he is just fabulous) - what I'm wondering is:

how does one train a dog to enjoy being handled by anyone? Is that a training for submission? Is that really so valuable, as long as he loves meeting and being with new people and new dogs, and obeys commands from his family? And, how would I train him for that? Obedience classes will help him be obedient to me and our family, not professionals like vets and groomers...

am I just over-worrying? Or in denial? Or maybe missing some important info somewhere.

I do want to train him to obey us immediately, learn tricks, and maybe show in agility.

I don't want to neglect any aspect of his training, and never having a dog, I am not sure what I need to do here.

When he is trained for "come!" for example, is that a command that he will/should follow for anyone? Even scary moments when he may get shots or prodded or shaved?

thanks so much in advance for any help and comments.

(pics at 5 months - need to upload new ones from new camera)

Kate
Attached Images
File Type: jpg spencer playing.jpg (47.1 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg spencer sleeping.jpg (59.0 KB, 10 views)
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 01:47 PM
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I would say , you're the better judge as to whether he is shy or not. He was obviously a little afraid of the groomer. The problem with some groomers is that they don't have the time to condition the dog to handling etc. And some don't really make much of an effort to work on this. This is generally an aversive event for dogs and it's not unusual at all for them to balk at being handled. A good groomer is worth it. It is something that you can work on too. It's always our responsibility as owners to teach our dogs how to be handled, not only by us but by strangers. The more your dog experiences handling that is gentle , the less he will react fearfully. Give it a whirl. Get a helper to do nails. I'll be back with a video.

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Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
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Last edited by davetgabby; 03-12-2011 at 05:49 PM.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 01:57 PM
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you said "Then, later on, at Petsmart, I asked a groomer there about grooming and puppy coat changing and she reached out to pull him toward him " This is a no no . Strange people should never reach for a dog. Let the dog come to you. If you want to email me privately at [email protected] I have a great article on Handling and Gentling excercises, (too lengthy to post here ). Nothing wrong with your dog if he generally enjoys people. As far as your question re training for submission. Dr. Karen Overall of the University of Pennsylvania writes, “The ‘alpha’ concept is
an outdated one with almost no data to support it. There are no truly ‘submissive’ or
‘dominant/alpha’ dogs, and by using these labels we blind ourselves to all of the
interesting information that dogs are communicating with their postures.” (DVM
2002)
Dogs will offer a submissive behavior in certain contexts, but that does not mean they are submissive by nature.

you said..."When he is trained for "come!" for example, is that a command that he will/should follow for anyone? Even scary moments when he may get shots or prodded or shaved?" This is not a case of training him a command so much as it is a case of conditioning him to be handled by strangers. It is important for him to be able to accept this handling. It can be especially teriffying for your dog and the vet./groomer if he does not handle this reasonably well. A good vet won't ask a dog to "come". They will let the dog come. Rule no. 1 ,with training "come" is that it shouldn't be followed with anything aversive.
I think your dog is fine, just needs some work with gentling and practice this with strangers. Email me , this article I have is good for this .

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild

Last edited by davetgabby; 03-12-2011 at 03:34 PM.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 07:32 PM
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Dave you always have really wonderful answers. It is really important that your dog can be handled by strangers it can save their life. My dogs are never scared at the Vets or if I need to use a groomer for something, this is because I worked at getting them use to being handled by myself at first then by others.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Laughing Magpie View Post
Dave you always have really wonderful answers. It is really important that your dog can be handled by strangers it can save their life. My dogs are never scared at the Vets or if I need to use a groomer for something, this is because I worked at getting them use to being handled by myself at first then by others.
yeah Robbie , this stuff is very important. The whole problem arises when, with very little time to socialize our puppies, we take them to the vets. This first experience can be fairly uneventful or it can be very scary for our pups. After all they are in a strange place ,lots of smells , getting handled in places that are sensitive. etc. etc. And in the end ,they get a needle in the butt. So this first experience quite often can set them up for a fearful next time at the vets. Same with the groomers. I think we really shouldn't take a pup to the groomers unless we have preconditioned them to the things that are going to happen there. And even then the groomer can ruin all this by not being gentle. GEEEZE we really ask a lot of our little guys. We occasionally take Molly to the groomers, but she is a trainer as well and really takes her time with Molly. It costs more but it's worth it.

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild

Last edited by davetgabby; 03-12-2011 at 08:02 PM.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 08:18 PM
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I often wonder how vets handle dogs that are totally stressed or injured. I once had to assist three other co hunters in removing a mouthful of porcupine quills out of the mouth of our hunting dog. Man was that horrible. I think it hurt us as much as it did our dog.

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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^^^wow, that must have been just terrible!

Dave, thank you So Much for your wonderful thoughtful answers to my post - I'll email you, thanks.

We'll probably keep Spencer's coat shorter (not buzzed, but trimmed to around where it is now) - so, unless there is a razor that you can set to ~3 inches (is there? that would be the answer, I could do it myself), we'll need to see a groomer.

I could learn to trim his nails, I think I'm more afraid than he is!

He doesn't mind going to the vet, or the two times to this groomer. After reading your post, Dave, I think she may have overreacted a bit.

But I do understand a need for training to be handled by strangers, and thank you for the offer of info - will email you shortly.

Thanks again, to you Dave, and this wonderful forum!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 01:58 PM
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I took Nellie to the groomers to meet the groomer a few times before she actually needed grooming,and the groomer gave her treats and brushed her gently for a few minutes, then we upped it to nail clipping.We are very fortunate our groomer is great she also breeds Cocker Spaniels, and is brilliant with dematting cats,she has a natural way with animals,she never needs to tether them whilst grooming.Dizzie still doesn't like going, but he has never liked being brushed, even his breeder said, the whole litter were ultra sensitive to the brush!

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