I've been borrowing a lot of materials from the library to research different dog training techniques.
One of the books I borrowed and really like, and do recommend to others is The Dog Trainer's Complete Guide to a Happy, Well-Behaved Pet.
I also picked up Cesar Millan's Be the Pack Leader: Use Cesar's Way to Transform Your Dog . . . and Your Life. I do not recommend this one!!
Although I did not agree with Cesar Millan's ideas, a few of them were helpful. I do agree with his idea of energy. Not necessarily the "I'm the boss" type of energy, but a calm energy when around your dogs. I've always heard it said that dogs can sense fear. I'm sure they can sense stress, anger, and chaotic energy also.. at least Turbo seems to. During the day when the kids are at school, Turbo is the calmest dog on the planet. He'll sleep all day on the sofa and literally needs to be dragged outside for potty breaks!
As soon as the kids are home he's a completely different dog! Bouncing off the walls and rather unstable at times. Even if he looks calm you can't go near him because he might bite, nip, jump on you..
He's feeding off everyone else's energy.
I also liked Cesar's idea about a pack walk. Not because it teaches the dog who is in charge.. but it does get the dog good exercise! I decided to try it over the weekend.
Turbo can sometimes be hard to handle on his leash, even with the Gentle Leader on. He still likes to pull away because he wants to go sniff something or chase something. Wearing the Gentle Leader, as soon as he pulls against it and feels that tension around his snout, he'll start to fight it and shake his head and try to rub it off.
If we put him in the grass where he's got things to sniff, he's a little easier to handle.. but he still tries to pull, and will stop when he wants to really investigate a smell.
Yes this is typical dog behavior.. but you don't really get anywhere when taking him for a walk.. so he's not getting the proper exercise he needs while walking.
Cesar made some very valid points about a dog needing to "migrate" or just walk in one direction at a decent pace for a long time.. like at least half an hour.
So Sunday I put the Gentle Leader on Turbo and went to walk down our road.. about a mile down is a dead end, and that's where we were heading.
I took on an all business attitude. "I'm walking, you're coming with me!" I held his leash tight so that he couldn't sniff around.. his head was just stuck at my side.
It took a minute for him to get the idea. He fought a little at first, wanting to sniff because we normally let him.
But soon it was amazing! He didn't fight it.. he just walked there next to me. He seemed to love it! We both relaxed and just walked briskly.
Oh sure, once or twice he'd smell something he wanted to investigate and he'd fight a bit against the GL.. but I'd just keep walking, and pull (not tug!) on the leash until he fell back into step, which he did! Once we got to the end I gave him a few minutes to sniff, and then we headed back. It took a total of 30 minutes and it was a great walk!
So we did the same thing yesterday.
Turbo still gets some shorter walks during the day where he can sniff and do what he wants.. but at least once a day he's going to just go on a power walk and get some exercise!
The rest of what Cesar preaches.. well, that's totally different!
After the walk I started thinking "Maybe there's something to what Cesar is saying" since the walk worked out so well.
So we watched some of his Dog Whisperer shows on Netflix and saw him in action.
Then when Turbo got all rowdy, we tried some of them. No, they did not work. The dog got scared, which of course made him fight back. I can't exactly blame him!
That night hubby and I decided we would no longer try Cesar's way. It does not work on our dog. We'll go back to my rewards based system which seemed to be working just fine! But I will add in the walks.. all trainers agree exercise is the first step towards fixing behavior problems in a dog!