Hello Don. I’m on Day #2 of the down command. Day #1 was horrible. My dog was biting (he’s just a little ol’ thing, but it hurt!). I never got a compliant down command from him that day. I followed the advice on your DVDs regarding aggressive dogs and on Day #2 I muzzled him. I worked with him for the recommended 45 minutes and I got two compliant down commands from him, but I never got the three in a row that you said to aim for. I wanted to continue, but I also didn’t want to exceed the recommended training session time, so I stopped at the two.
My question is this: How much is too much training? Do I need to wait until tomorrow to try again, or can we train in 45-minute increments more than once a day on this command?
Thank you in advance for your help. – Sarah
Hi Sarah. If you worked for 45 minutes and only achieved two downs in a row then I’d leave it until the next day before doing another down command session with your dog. Often, sleeping on it can help the dog’s compliance. Sometimes too much training on the same day can undermine the results, especially if you have a particularly stubborn and/or aggressive dog. Although my Perfect Dog system has been consistently proven to achieve rapid results, it still does take some amount of time for the dog’s brain to “reprogram” away from resistance. Little successes are like new notches that have been etched into the dog’s thinking system. The old notches might still be there for a while, but the new ones eventually override them.
It’s good to read that you were attentive to my advice on aggressive dogs, however it would have been better to muzzle the dog immediately that first day – immediately after the very first sign of aggression. I encourage people to look for the signs even before the dog actually bites. Most of the time the aggressive indications are noticeable even before the dog escalates things to the point of biting, however sometimes it all happens quite suddenly, so perhaps this is what happened in your situation. Nevertheless, had you muzzled the dog straight away after the first bite, you would have avoided that significant stretch of time where your dog still felt empowered against you. You would have humbled him straight away. This would have made things a lot easier (and less painful for you!), bringing about the positive results more quickly.
This is why I encourage everyone to thoroughly read the Quick Start Guide that comes with all complete Perfect Dog systems before beginning any training at all. It’s also extremely valuable to watch both DVDs in their entirety at least twice. It’s worth the investment of time, so you can properly digest all of the information (there’s lots there, I know!) and start off with a solid, confident plan – including contingencies should your dog react in certain ways during various lessons.
So, now you’re familiar with working with the muzzle, continue like this each 45-minute session (or hopefully less time if you reach the “three in a row” goal quicker than this) until you’re consistently getting the three downs in a row. At this point (when you’re seeing regular compliance), you can add more downs at a later time on the same day. This will be doable because it won’t be taking you 45 minutes to achieve the three downs each time.
Don’t remove the muzzle until you’re completely content with your dog’s consistent responsiveness. When you’ve been getting three downs in a row every day for at least a few days, you can start to try them without the muzzle. But, be sure to return to using the muzzle should any sign of aggression (any sign at all as I discuss on my DVDs – not just outright biting) reappear. Ideally, if you’ve done the work properly, the aggression shouldn’t return. Your dog should have mentally submitted to your authority enough to know that he can’t get away with fighting against you.
I hope all of this helps. – Don Sullivan, “The DogFather”
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