On one type of aggression and consultants

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gerry
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On one type of aggression and consultants

Postby gerry » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:09 pm

Previously, it was stated in this forum under behavior consultants:

Once you contact a veterinary behaviorist there is a questionnaire to fill up, in which questions are carefully planned to get an overall idea of what is going on with the animal, including a medical history. The veterinary behaviorist looks it over and prepares other questions if he/she believes they are needed. After that there is the consultation in person, usually about 1 hour and half, and the dog is observed. The problem behavior is never elicited.

...and also...
.
It serves no purpose to elicit problem behaviors when the dog is brought in (they might not even being displayed due to a different environment) Especially when it is behavior that is potentially dangerous and does not need to be practiced or reinforced, not even once.

...and...
I
f you are well versed in functional assessment and analysis on a dog, making use of observable and quantifiable behavior, maybe you can start a thread about a case or dog (need owner permission if applicable) that we could discuss. That would be lovely to have, for once.


Well, I very much disagreed with that approach, as did others I know who work with problem dogs. It's almost like taking your sick dog to your vet and having him treat the dog based only on your description. Just think of how many times your vet saw things that you never noticed. In behavior forums many people in that field have posted on how unreliable and incomplete the dog owner's description is.

On aggression, there are several types, and this should be quantified as to the evoking stimulus, the type and intensity of aggressive behavior, and the recovery characteristics. You simply cannot find these out unless you invoke the aggressive behavior. But, without knowing them you may not be able to safely work with the dog, much less make any changes.

A few weeks ago I got a call from NM DDB about a young husky who had bitten the rescuer while being given treats. You could not approach his food bowl while he was eating. He would defend toys and bite on any approach. I brought him home for my dog and I to work on.

Most such cases of resource guarding take a bit of time, as the dog often lacks confidence and fear aggression is part of the equation. With this guy that might have been the case some time ago, but he had gone pass that, and the behavior appeared solely habitual. A little over a week later all the aggressive behavior was nearly gone.

As I described above, I started with measuring the evoking stimulus. With a treat/toy in front of him, he'd snap at it. But, from four feet away he'd respond to a "stop hand" and wait. The wait command was taught further in non-guarding situations, then transferred to all guarding situations. Half his food was then hand fed, with him waiting for each handful and not snapping. While being hand fed, his food bowl was slowly moved around with the other hand. Not an issue as he was eating from my hand at the time, but that got him used to my hand around his food bowl and the bowl coming and leaving. Of course, this was all started in a safe manner. Initially a small bowl attached to a stick, and another stick to move his food bowl. By the 2nd day the sticks were no longer needed.

He would have to wait for a toy or treat, eventually with the object nearly touching him. After taking a toy, he would have to release it on command to receive a treat, which took several days to accomplish, as he was used to running away with it. As each command resulting in treats was learned, the treats were then delayed in both time and frequency (see Lindsay below: extinction resistance).

He had no idea how to play fetch, but wanted the ball for himself. Throwing the ball, my dog caught it, and the husky then tried to take it away from him. That happened only twice, as my dog is a much faster teacher than am I. I stood on the side holding a water hose, but his corrections worked just fine. The third time my dog threw him one of the balls and the two shared all toys fine after that.

A lot more bits and pieces went into this, but nothing more technical or complicated that what I've given here. Changing any behavior is often a two-step process. One of eliciting that behavior together with a negation or control, and the other of evoking a conflicting replacement behavior, which is often first learned away from this context. I could put all this in more technical terminology, but it wouldn't say any more than this. All of this can be found in the "Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training, Vol. 2: Etiology and Assessment of Behavior Problems" by Steven Lindsay.

But, from the rescuer's description many of the pieces were missing. If I had never elicited the problem behavior, it would have been been much harder and longer to change it, and I could have never really known that it was actually changed.

Other types of aggression and confidence issues need somewhat different approaches and often take much longer than this case. Even on assessment, I have had some other dogs require as much as three 20 minute sessions before things became clear, as their behavior changed from their testing and trying different responses to my actions.

Sorry this one wasn't a pit, but it still applies and I take them as they come in...

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Re: On one type of aggression and consultants

Postby 2fatcatsandapitbull » Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:00 am

gerry wrote:Previously, it was stated in this forum under behavior consultants:

Once you contact a veterinary behaviorist there is a questionnaire to fill up, in which questions are carefully planned to get an overall idea of what is going on with the animal, including a medical history. The veterinary behaviorist looks it over and prepares other questions if he/she believes they are needed. After that there is the consultation in person, usually about 1 hour and half, and the dog is observed. The problem behavior is never elicited.

...and also...
.
It serves no purpose to elicit problem behaviors when the dog is brought in (they might not even being displayed due to a different environment) Especially when it is behavior that is potentially dangerous and does not need to be practiced or reinforced, not even once.



This was exactly my experience using a veterinary behaviorist. I emailed and called several contacts off of the CAAB contact list and did not receive the courtesy of a response from any. The only one I did not contact within a few hours driving distance had been involved in a lawsuit where a client's dog bit a passerby, just didn't feel comfortable using that one. So anyway, I ended up taking the veterinary route, which has helped tremendously. Never once was the problem behavior purposely elicited in office. I am not saying you are wrong, just sharing my experience which was pretty spot on with the description above.

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Re: On one type of aggression and consultants

Postby 2fatcatsandapitbull » Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:29 am

Not to confuse anyone who may read my post... when I mentioned veterinary behaviorist in my post, I am referring to a DACVB which is a board-certified veterinary behaviorist. The veterinary behaviorist I ended up going to is a DACVB but is not a CAAB.

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Re: On one type of aggression and consultants

Postby Shearaha1 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:13 am

When we visited out Veterinary Behaviorist the above held true, except Wills issue is human fear aggression. So simply being in a room with a stranger or seeing them at a distance is enough to elicit the behavior. The day we had our evaluation was the worst response he'd ever had, and is still the worst he's been. But before he'd only been exposed to 1-2 strangers in a wide area, or in his crate and there had only been either just me or my husband and I. When we went for our eval there were 3 strangers, the vet her tech and their intern, and my husband, my MIL (we live with her) my mentor (she worked with him in rescue) and me. So not only were there 3 strangers but he had 3 (at the time MIL was not on his list, she was tolerated but that's about it. She's since joined the "love" list) of the people he loved most there as well, and he's got a very deep protective streak.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that with my dog just getting an eval was enough to elicit the behavior. For some dogs that won't be the case, but for mine there was no way to avoid it unless the vet didn't see him at all.

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Re: On one type of aggression and consultants

Postby Kingsgurl » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:48 pm

Sorry, I missed your credentials? I'm not really quite clear either on what you are arguing? Most behaviorists I have spoken with or worked with try to keep the dog below threshold. If you have a complete questionnaire and you are adept enough at reading dogs, you can see the stimulus. There are situations where the dog is pushed past because the eval itself is so stressful, or because the reaction is very situational, but it certainly is better if you can keep the dog just below that level

He had no idea how to play fetch, but wanted the ball for himself. Throwing the ball, my dog caught it, and the husky then tried to take it away from him. That happened only twice, as my dog is a much faster teacher than am I. I stood on the side holding a water hose, but his corrections worked just fine. The third time my dog threw him one of the balls and the two shared all toys fine after that.


This seems extremely risky to me. I've got a dog with NO resource guarding issues, but if your dog 'corrected' in her that manner, he would be seriously f'ed up, the hose would mean nothing. You have NO idea what that dogs response to a correction by another dog might be, and you are lucky it wasn't anything. It very well could have been.

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Re: On one type of aggression and consultants

Postby gerry » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:47 am

2fatcatsandapitbull, of course that will sometimes work, depending on both the issue and the clarity of the person's description. On that note, most dog issues tend to be fairly common and not too difficult to resolve.

Kingsgurl said: This seems extremely risky to me. I've got a dog with NO resource guarding issues, but if your dog 'corrected' in her that manner, he would be seriously f'ed up, the hose would mean nothing. You have NO idea what that dogs response to a correction by another dog might be, and you are lucky it wasn't anything. It very well could have been.


Kingsgurl, I must have also missed your credentials here. As for my "risky" example, you insist that I had NO idea what the dog's response would be. Yet, I had previously established good control over the dog and was aware of his responses. The two dogs had spent several days together, from wrestling in the living room to chasing and jumping on each other out in the run. They had gotten past a few slight altercations and had previously worked out the signals and responses between them. They were living together and getting treats while next to each other. The sole difference in this case was this was the first time they competed for a toy. Yes, a few of these details were not mentioned, or my post would have been much longer than it was. The water hose was a safety item if needed only for an interruption. If you still insist on this one, I have no idea what to say to you.

Kingsgurl said: ... the hose would mean nothing.

In this case, I had already tested that with the dog. I knew a small squirt bottle would have been enough, but the hose just had a much longer reach. In playgroups we use squirt bottles, shake cans, air horns and a water hose. Sometimes many or all of those do fail to stop a fight. but that is both rare and we don't get to test the dogs first.

Further on corrections, some time ago there was a thread in this forum on Aimee Sadler's playgroups. She emphasized allowing normal corrections as it's part of the learning process, and her approach has gained considerable popularity and success. About that time several people asked me to attend one of her workshops to form an opinion on her methods, and I found her approach nearly identical to my own, including the limited use of aversives. For months now I have also been helping to run playgroups at a large municipal shelter and the hardest issue with corrections was not the dogs but the new people getting used to them. Yes, a few fights. But very few, considering hundreds of dogs involved, and most times we interrupt in time if the other dog does not respond.

Kingsgurl said: ...he would be seriously f'ed up

While corrections are common, most dogs are not so quick to fight. I don't see that you have any basis at all to predict a dog's general reaction to a correction from another dog.

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Re: On one type of aggression and consultants

Postby PitbullLover* » Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:48 am

You sound like someone (2fatcatsandapitbull) like someone who just want to go ahead and make some trouble on the forum

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Re: On one type of aggression and consultants

Postby 2fatcatsandapitbull » Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:00 pm

PitbullLover* wrote:You sound like someone (2fatcatsandapitbull) like someone who just want to go ahead and make some trouble on the forum



Wow, really? Thanks so much for your insight into my life.

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Re: On one type of aggression and consultants

Postby rgyoung777 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:45 pm

PitbullLover* wrote:You sound like someone (2fatcatsandapitbull) like someone who just want to go ahead and make some trouble on the forum

Why would you say this?

2fatcats' post seemed completely reasonable to me. All he/she was doing was sharing her own experiences with using a veterinary behaviorist and verifying that their procedures matched what was described by Red in another thread. How is that making trouble?

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Re: On one type of aggression and consultants

Postby Amie » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:39 am

PitbullLover* wrote:You sound like someone (2fatcatsandapitbull) like someone who just want to go ahead and make some trouble on the forum


:huh?:

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Re: On one type of aggression and consultants

Postby BabyReba » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:01 am

Not sure who else in this thread (besides 2fatcats) has actually used a veterinary behaviorist, but I have, and in my experience they're ridiculously thorough in their assessments due to this:


Just think of how many times your vet saw things that you never noticed. In behavior forums many people in that field have posted on how unreliable and incomplete the dog owner's description is.


But they still didn't have to resort to evoking aggressive behaviors in my dog in order to get the info she needed.

The behavior history is very detailed and in many cases the questions are designed (much like psychology evals) to ask you to describe things without actually asking you to describe behavior. So there was a lot of "How do you feed your dog?" and "How many people does your dog interact with daily?" and "Where is your dog's favorite spot to sleep?" and "Who is your dog's favorite person? Why do you think your dog likes that person so much?" kind of questions -- stuff that doesn't ask you to necessarily describe what your dog's behavior problem is but in combination with the behavioral descriptions, stuff that'll give a better picture of both the dog's lifestyle and the owner's mindset and handling of the dog, as well as the dog's everyday reactions to "normal" things that the owner may not even realize the dogs has problems with ...

Maybe my dog is an extremely transparent animal, but he projects his issues and she was skilled enough to interact with him and evaluate a lot of his behavior without having to do much ... and she spent 2.5 hours with us for the eval. And leading up to the appointment, part of her process was to ask us to videotape many of the interactions we had that with him, good and bad. So we got some of his normal interactions around our other dogs as well as some of the extreme behaviors that we wanted to address.

This is a dog I was ready to put to sleep, literally, before I went to see the vet behaviorist ... it's been more than a year now, and he's better than he's ever been. In my estimation, she saved his life without having to put him into any kind of adversarial situation or evoke any aggression from him in person ... I've seen it handled the other way, since I do know a lot of dog trainers and have been along on a lot of evals and training sessions, and I know how his issues could have been handled in a more traditional sense by a trainer who might have wanted to "see" what he would do if we did such and such and create a behavior-mod plan based on that. I intentionally chose not to go that route with this dog, and my experience was that it was exactly what I wanted/needed.

I have no credentials and no vested interest in this argument. Just a longtime dog owner with a firsthand experience to share, for what it's worth.

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Re: On one type of aggression and consultants

Postby gerry » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:51 pm

Baby Reba said: I have no credentials and no vested interest in this argument. Just a longtime dog owner with a firsthand experience to share, for what it's worth.

BabyReba, no argument from me, as your story sounds reasonable and balanced. I'll start with that statement as I've seen a number of other posts that were rather testy. I said earlier that most issues are fairly common ones, and I agree that approach you describe can work, especially if the videotapes are included. In many cases, watching the dog's normal interactions will give enough information. In some cases however, I have found more is needed. Nor can I relate what I've discussed to experiences you've had with a dog trainer, as I've rarely met a trainer with this approach, even though you may believe that you have.

And I'll stress that none of my statements are intended to be black-and-white. For instance, at the last foster I visited the dog had injured their other dog. I saw no need to provoke any aggression there, as the dog's general interaction with his foster parents and toys was easily enough to show the issue. But, I was also able to see their actions and responses with the dog, and how well they were able to carry out some of my suggestions. Of course, some of this could have been contained in the videotapes you mentioned, but important points could also have been missed. As I recall, a dog trainer had been involved, with no success.

You also said that she spent some time interacting with your dog. I agree that, in most cases, simple structured interactions can give very strong indications of the nature of an issue without ever provoking the specific issue, and that's where I start. It's only when that fails to give enough information that I take it further for those issues showing very aggressive behavior.

Other factors also enters into this. You said she spent 2.5 hours for the eval, plus you spent time writing down the detailed history and making the videotapes. While we would like to think otherwise, I have met many people who simply would not go to that level (or expense), for a variety of reasons. And, especially at shelters, the available history on the dog is very limited, the same being true with new foster homes. Finally, the time factor enters where in many situations I simply have to produce results very quickly, as the foster is about to give up the dog, or the shelter may put him down.

Also, I am now retired. I no longer work for people, but only for the dogs.

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Re: On one type of aggression and consultants

Postby BabyReba » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:34 pm

While we would like to think otherwise, I have met many people who simply would not go to that level (or expense), for a variety of reasons.


I don't think otherwise at all. I've spent a lot of time working with rescues and shelters on a volunteer basis, and I now what many people wouldn't bother doing, even if it's just the choice between $300-400 to figure out whether you have a dog with issues that can be resolved or $175 to simply put the dog to sleep because it's too hard and too expensive to get professional help. I'd generally rather see people go to a trainer than kill a dog for solvable behavior issues, even if it means that they choose a trainer who uses methods I might not want used on my own dogs. But that doesn't stop me from recommending to people who ask me what I have found to be most successful.

And for people like me – and we are out there, even if most dog professionals have grown cynical enough over time to think that we barely exist – I have done my research, I want what I want and I'm careful about who I'd go to see to help me with my dog. I sought out the experience I wanted, and I got what I was looking for, and for people like me, an experienced veterinary behaviorist for a dog with serious problems was the right choice. Not the right choice for a lot of people, and totally overkill for basic behavior issues, but I personally want the approach I sought out ... and I'm extremely grateful that there are some people out there who are willing to give it, even though it always seems to be roundly dismissed by a lot of people.

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Re: On one type of aggression and consultants

Postby gerry » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:23 pm

On the subject of veterinary behaviorists and their methods, there's an excellent article by Karen Overall on dog learning and methods of behavior modification used by veterinary behaviorists. Around pages 136-137 is a description of the proper use of aversives and it is quite consistent with the approach I described at the beginning of this post. This is one of the best overall summaries of behavior mod methods that I've seen.

http://www.ivis.org/proceedings/wsava/2006/lecture3/overall2.pdf

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Re: On one type of aggression and consultants

Postby UnconventionalLove » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:57 am

gerry wrote:On the subject of veterinary behaviorists and their methods, there's an excellent article by Karen Overall on dog learning and methods of behavior modification used by veterinary behaviorists. Around pages 136-137 is a description of the proper use of aversives and it is quite consistent with the approach I described at the beginning of this post. This is one of the best overall summaries of behavior mod methods that I've seen.

http://www.ivis.org/proceedings/wsava/2006/lecture3/overall2.pdf


Why would you choose aversion when it's been proven you never need to use them to reach the intended goal?


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