|Barked: Sat Jun 7, '08 5:58pm PST |
|I got my NAID from Shirley Allen at Night Eyes. I am extremely fond of her. I spent literally two or three years deciding what kind of dog I wanted for my first dog.
I am physically and psychologically disabled, so I couldn't just get a mutt. (And I don't care what anyone says, NAIDs are not mutts. They have a breed standard and consistent traits. Therefore, they are a "real breed". The only thing different about AKC breeds is that they're older.) I can't predict the needs of a mutt, and having cats I had to get a puppy in order to be sure they'd be compatible with each other. I wanted to be absolutely certain I could provide the dog with what it needs, keep up with it physically and mentally. The NAID challenges me, but it also helps support me. Manitou is learning to help me with a lot of things, and I'm thinking of training her as a full-time service dog.
I've heard a lot of crap about NAIDs being dog-coyote-wolf hybrids. Let me say that this is my very first dog, ever. I didn't have one growing up, even. Wolf and coyote hybrids can only be successfully kept by very experienced people. I am ... not one. Yet I've had ZERO major problems with this dog. The *worst* thing she's ever done is steal a plate of bacon off the counter or chew up a shoe. She doesn't have an aggressive bone in her body.
Now, I can believe that, a long time ago, when her ancestors lived on reservations, there may have been some interbreeding with wild canids. She does have a sort of wild look to her eyes and features. But that's all it is -- a look. Her physiology and behavior is 100% domestic dog.
She started out very, very shy with new people. However, with patient socialization, she's beginning to blossom into a very sweet, friendly dog. She no longer hides from new people, and will actively approach any person who smells like dog or cat (she thinks cats are small dogs -- no kidding. She acts exactly the same towards cats as she does towards similarly-sized dogs.)
NAIDs are extremely intelligent and emotionally sensitive. You need to strike a balance between being a firm alpha-leader and a loving, forgiving teacher. The word "no" should be reserved for serious infractions, like shoe-chewing and the like, or it'll stop being meaningful. For everyday things like discouraging nipping, I use throaty sounds like "Ah!" or "Ep-ep"; if you get the tone right, a NAID will literally stop in its tracks.
Shirley recommended the book "Puppies for Dummies" to me, and now I recommend it to you. Pretty much all the advice in there worked very well for Manitou, especially the scolding trick, which I'll pass along now.
Essentially, if you don't want the dog to play with or pay attention to an object, scold that object. For example, if you see the dog chewing on a shoe, say "NO" in your firmest alpha tone (but don't shout!) then take away the shoe. However, instead of punishing the dog, you shout at and punish the shoe. "Bad shoe! Very bad shoe, tempting (dog's name) like that! Do you need TIME-OUT!?" If you really want to make the point clear, hit, kick, or throw the object. Make your disdain and disgust absolutely clear, but direct it all at the offending object, not at the dog. You might even put the object on "time-out".
For example, every time I caught Manitou nosing at the trash can, I scolded the can thoroughly and put it into my closet with the door shut. It only took two or three repetitions of this before she got very wary of the trash can.
This works best when they're younger and more credulous, but with repetition even older, more skeptical dogs will respond to it. When Manitou was 10 weeks old, only one scolding would make her utterly ignore any object. It was like the object stopped existing to her.
More interesting/tempting objects will require more scoldings, but it does work so long as you make sure the dog knows what's going on.
I started teaching Manitou concepts like "good" and "bad" literally the first day I got her, so when I tell her "good dog, bad (object)" she understands that good things do not associate with bad things.
Be *very* sparing with the phrase "bad dog". If you only use it for the worst infractions, it will stop the dog in its tracks. Overuse it, and they'll just ignore you, because you've stripped it of its meaning.
TIME-OUT is another tactic that works very well. Choose one small room in your household (I use our second bathroom.) When the dog is being out of line, say, "Do you need time-out?" At first, of course, that will be meaningless, so the dog will likely keep misbehaving/being defiant. When that happens, say in your sternest tone, "That's it, TIME-OUT now!" Then lead or carry the dog to the chosen room, tell it "Bad dog, no (insert misbehaviour here), time-out!" Then shut the door (with light on) and leave the dog there alone.
Now, don't get me wrong. This isn't a human child. Time-out for a dog doesn't have to be any longer than thirty seconds to a minute, tops. Don't leave it in there too long or all disciplinary value is lost and it just becomes torture.
Once thirty seconds to a minute has gone by (essentially, as soon as the dog is calm and quiet) open the door again, and ask, "Are you ready to be good yet?" When Manitou is calm and ready to stop being defiant, she sits and looks at me. If she's still feeling defiant, she ignores me or remains standing. If she does the latter, I tell her she's still on time-out and give it another thirty seconds. If she sits, I give her praise and let her out. This almost never fails, and in fact, it's gotten to the point where I can say the phrase "time-out" and get obedience without having to actually do it.
Don't overuse TIME-OUT, though. It's only for when all else fails.
Counting is another technique I use for training. If I give her a command she knows and she ignores it (for example, "sit") I say her name in a warning tone and begin to count down slowly from 5. That is, "Five... four... three... two... one." If she doesn't obey by the time I hit one, consequences ensue. The exact consequence depends on how bad she's being and what I'm trying to do -- it can be anything from not getting a treat she would otherwise have gotten to being put in time-out for the worst misbehavior. However, counting works very well... she almost always obeys by 3.
I offer this advice not becase NAIDs need a lot of discipline; it's just more effective for them than "standard" methods might be, and I want to help you have a good relationship with your new dog. Their intellect is formidable and needs to be taken into account at all times, both for training and for play and exercise. A smart dog is an easily bored dog. You will need to provide a lot of mental as well as physical exercise for a NAID.
If you have any specific questions I'm glad to answer them, but this post is long enough as it is! Good luck!
Edited by author Sat Jun 7, '08 6:01pm PST
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