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Thread: Dog training support for rescues?

  1. #1
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    Default Dog training support for rescues?

    There aren't many things in life that I can feel passionate about, but one idea that I feel really enthusiastic about is if I would be able to offer support to rescue orgs by helping them with training. Either with dogs that are in foster care or when they go to their new homes.

    Now I clearly don't have much experience with training dogs. Yet. I think I have a good grasp on the theory and I feel quite confident about translating this into training exercises and strategies. But I would need more than that to be useful and I don't want to give the rescues the idea that I'm just experimenting on their dogs!
    So what could I do to make this possible?

  2. #2
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    Love the sentiment Beloz. Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Do you want to get a certificate or some qualification on paper?
    A lot of foster carers DO need help, in particular the first timers.
    Even assessing dogs in pounds before they are collected by rescue groups
    would be helpful.
    Maybe you could write some training programs based on your own experiences.
    I hope you are successful with this idea!

  4. #4
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    more rescues should be doing it, I always thought it was the point of rescue to make the dog able to cope with society and give them a second change by not only taking them from the risk of euthanasia but fixing behavioral problems. If you are not sure what you are doing go do a course like the NDTF course so you have a sound theoretical basis and you can help more dogs in the long term.
    Remember rescue dogs are not just basic problems like lack of training you need to know what you are looking at fully before you help out. I went to temperament test a dog once, it turned out to be a druggies dog that had been protection trained with no way of shutting off. We put a heavy leather harness on it, attached it to a steel cable as well as a collar and lead, and it went to town on a bite sleeve. It put some police dogs to shame with its bite force and guarding abilities. This was a dog that had been placed in a foster carers home already.

    Saying that I put my heart and soul into helping rescue. One I was on 24 hour call for free, did anything they needed and all I got was a kick in the teeth from them. Helping is a great notion but just be careful what advice you give and what level of help you will take on.

  5. #5
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    I think this is a marvelous idea Beloz. And im sure you can help.
    Just dont help yourself to the whole kennel n take em home!

  6. #6
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    Hi Beloz

    What Nekhbet said. I agree.

    I suspect rescue can attract some really emotional people who are easily upset or want to save all dogs no matter what. So I think you'd want to find a rescue group run by people who make sense to you and are consistent - as you are. Or it would be a bit hard - ie one day everything you do would be wonderful and the next day - completely unacceptable.

    I think if you write out some training plans, lists of training drills aka games and a manual of what games and how they are played, and keep a notebook for each dog you work with eg this session we do this drill - this is what happened, got this many correct responses, and this many unrewarded/incorrect responses, and this is the plan for next session... that way you can make progress.

    No two dogs are alike - you have to figure out what motivates them each time and that affects what games work best.

    If you did the NDTF course - part of your homework would be practicing training as many different dogs as possible because that's how you learn to adapt and apply your skills for each different dog.

    Ie it's easy to train my friends' dogs, but my dog - yikes. It's the reason I've become a bit obsessed with learning lots about the best training methods and also how I get them not quite right (ie I need to be brave and only reward the best responses, not the half hearted ones).

  7. #7
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    I'll look into the NDTF course. It's the aggression cases that I would feel totally out of my depth with. Moderate dog-dog aggression I'd be fine with but anything more I would need guidance on.

    I've been thinking about this for a while. I know foster carers who know absolutely nothing about dog training and its such a missed opportunity. I'm not talking about teaching these dogs tap dancing. But to be able to teach them the basic manners that will also make the carers lives easier for the time they have these dogs. It's just in everyone's best interest. And today the org I foster cats for reported that one of their dogs was coming back from his trial because he pulled and lunged on the lead. It's not just sad for the dog. People who cannot deal with such relatively minor issues shouldn't be allowed to adopt a dog unless they can prove that they are willing to learn! Most dogs that end up in rescue do so primarily because they received no training or clear boundaries in their first homes. They deserve a real second chance.

    I take your point about lots depending on the individuals who run the org and how it's run. Will have to do some thinking about that side of things too.

  8. #8

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    We do that with our rescue group, they give us the ones who are difficult to rehome and we work on them until they're socialized and well behaved. I expect any rescue organization would be happy to have you on board provided you'd actually foster the dogs as well as training them.

  9. #9
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    Rescues need to educate, not just warehouse animals. If their foster carers cannot provide the animal with training then dont give them a difficult or untrained dog. There is more to it then just keeping an animal alive.

    I'll look into the NDTF course. It's the aggression cases that I would feel totally out of my depth with. Moderate dog-dog aggression I'd be fine with but anything more I would need guidance on.
    If you have no experience or education then NO potential aggression case is within your grasp. It is not about being able to 'handle' it you want a long term fix, and the behavior comes from the same root be a lip lift and snap, staring hard or dragging the owner across the footpath with intent. Professionals should be called to assess dogs properly then move them onto volunteers with a plan, not be called when the shite hits the fan. You dont know a dog until you test it properly and you would be surprised what I can get from a dog. Aggression, severe anxiety/mutilation/destruction cases should not be rehomed anyway.

  10. #10
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    Ok. So I do want to do the NDTF course. But the one that starts end of Feb only has places for prac in Melbourne left, which is too far for me. And I will have to find the money for it first too as I'm in the process of having a house built and am already worrying that I'm not going to be able to put food on the table if the friggin builder doesn't get his arse in gear!

    But it is good to have a goal to work towards. I'll put some thought into gaining more practical experience in the meantime too.

    I intend to start fostering dogs once our house is ready too. But the house and yard are pretty small so can only take on one and can't be too big or too energetic.

    ETA: I agree Nekhbet. I had a friend with 2 dogs of her own and a small baby who fostered a dog that ended up viciously attacking her elderly dog without warning. Her dog very nearly died, the wounds were that severe. The rescue org did send a behaviourist and the dog was PTS, but it was a huge liability that this wasn't picked up before the dog was sent to this foster.

    I just found out that I cannot do prac in Sydney - for Sydney residents only. That's an issue because 2 8 day stints in Melbourne or the Sunshine Coast would cost me a lot of money.

    My dream really is about educating people about the need to train their dogs and what that means. Not just those that enroll in training courses because they clearly already have some commitment. I would love one day to be involved in a broader (but obviously more superficial) effort to try make a difference to the thousands of dogs that are rotting away in backyards or are at constant risk of being dumped at the pound. Just a dream, but we all need one...
    Last edited by Beloz; 12-10-2012 at 07:23 AM.

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