A recent reader had some questions related to the Natural Dog Training DVDs, so I thought that I'd post them (and the answers) here for your benefit.
Natural Dog Training DVD Q&A begins...now!
How intense should the push from the dog be before starting the obedience exercises or does it matter? My dog is up on her hind legs coming towards me; however, I definitely think it could be more intense as her drive and intensity is very high around new dogs and people (in a friendly way).
Once you’re getting a decent push (and it sounds like you are) you can start on the obedience exercises. All of the exercises feed into each other. And as you develop the ability to switch effortlessly between pushing and the obedience it will represent yet another shift in the dynamic between you and your dog.
When pushing, should I feed slowly as she is coming towards me or let the dog push some (to their threshold) and then feed all at once? I tried the 2nd approach and the dog seems to fall off to the side before getting the food. Of course I may just need to feed faster.
Generally you want to do the 2nd approach. It sounds like you might need to feed sooner into the push (i.e. too much pushing is happening before you give the food). Give the food more quickly. Your job is to tune in to that dynamic with your dog, to try and zing with the food just before the point where she disengages.
Am I adding value if I create a game of chase with the dog after she has won a tug game? For example, she runs in a circle or back and forth in front of me (I have a small back yard and can't always go to the park all the time to play fetchtug). This game can really get her going sometimes.
If you can get your dog to chase YOU, then certainly you’re adding value. If she gets close enough then you can try to grab the toy (not grab it away, just to resume tug).
Would you caution against creating fear scenarios to work with the dog? Maybe they should occur away from the house at first?
I’m not entirely sure what you mean here, but if you mean that you know certain things trigger your dog and you’re wondering if you should set her up to deal with those things (through redirection) – sure! However, as in all other things – be gradual in your approach. Start off with less intense versions. And be really focused on your dog – you want to start off by doing pushing/redirection as you notice signs of tension in your dog – NOT waiting until she’s in full blown overload mode before you start. I often do a lot of practice with redirection as I walk around with a dog (through neighborhoods, the city, etc.) so that the pattern of redirection is well-established with less intense things BEFORE I move on to the things that trigger more of a reaction. But eventually you do want to get to those things – since you want your dog to develop a new way to deal with the energy she experiences in those situations. Take your time getting there, though – there’s no rush, and your results will generally be better if you take it slow.