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Old 25-01-2016, 09:11   #16
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Re: severely anxious dog on board

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Originally Posted by Sea Dreaming View Post
I wont defend. But where is your opinion coming from?
I had to enlist help from a dog behaviorist for some (non-sailing related) dog problems, and my certified dog behaviorist also feels that Milan is completely wrong about dogs. Yes, you can break their spirit and get them to behave, be subordinate, but she showed me how to use behavior modification principles that have been known to the field of psychology for many decades. A good certified behavioral therapist can make a world of difference - can teach you what to do to help the dog adapt, if that is in the cards. A behaviorist can also tell you the likelihood of your dreams of the dog sailing comfortably are realistic. My dog's issue was dog and squirrel and cat aggression - and I wanted to adopt a second dog. The trainer evaluated my dog and told me we could get to the stage where she could ignore another well behaved dog even a couple feet away (which she now can do), but that it wasn't realistic to think she'll be a social butterfly - ever. (I have given up on the idea of a second dog.) Ask your vet for a recommendation.
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Old 25-01-2016, 09:18   #17
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Re: severely anxious dog on board

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I wont defend. But where is your opinion coming from?
There is a lot of science out there on how to understand dog behavior, and Milan regularly makes statements that just deny fundamental facts. He says stuff that is verifiably false. He has been bitten many times.

You can read many sources, from scientific journals to the popularized versions such as Karen Pryor, Ian Dunbar, and Victoria Stilwell. They all say the same thing.

My wife is a certified trainer, and has read much of this information and attended numerous seminars. I've read the mainstream versions.

You can also compare Milan's methods to the training methods used by people who train exotic animals. The people who do exotic animal training think Milan is a joke; he would be dead in the first week using his nonsense methods. Dogs are only different by degree, not by method.
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Old 25-01-2016, 09:38   #18
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

How about the anxiety vests out there often used for lightning panic attacks? (I've heard success stories but have no firsthand experience).

My siberian laika hunting dog came aboard from a farm at 18 months. it was a big adjustment and he was pretty apprehensive at first, but eventually adapted well to his new home. Agree with the posters who said a slow, gradual and positive exposure with plenty of positive reinforcement.
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Old 25-01-2016, 09:49   #19
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

Welcome to CF, Shanda!

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He is reduced to a panting , trembling mess even with a few "calmex" in him. We so want him to be included in our day outings
When does he become this "trembling mess"? As soon as he sees the boat, as soon as the engine starts ...? How do you guys respond to (t)his behavior? And are you guys nervous about taking him to the boat?

Depending on the exact situation, you can either work with a dog behavior expert* to see if he can enjoy being on a boat. Being a dog, staying close to his group is important to him, but since you only take day outings, leaving him at home also seems an option. Hire a trustworthy walker and he'll have a good day too

*: Cesar Millan is great at showing you how NOT to train / deal with unwanted behavior in your dog
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Old 25-01-2016, 10:01   #20
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

Welcome Shanda,

We have a 2 year old kelpie who was also very anxious at first. We stopped taking her out for a few months, then gradually re-introduced her to the boat while at the marina. Just short visits, with treats, followed by a run and ball games on the beach (which she loves).
After a while we started taking her on a short cruises, 1-2 hours, which included a dinghy ride to the beach and more special treats. She started associating the boat with good things.

Also, introduce your dog to a PFD at home, with special treatment while they are wearing it. Again, it's the association thing. They also seem to feel a bit more secure wrapped up in the PFD, as long as it is a quality comfortable one.

Our dog now loves when we go to the boat, knowing that good times are coming. She still isn't overly fond of really rough water, but she handles it better than most of my crew.
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Old 25-01-2016, 10:05   #21
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Re: severely anxious dog on board

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Absolutely, positively, do NOT do this. Cesar Millan is a danger and a hazard. He has been bitten many times because his methods are unsound, unscientific, and downright dangerous. The only reason he can continue to survive in the dog training business is because hundreds of generations have bred most of the aggression out of most dogs.

Instead, look into people like Karen Pryor and Ian Dunbar. They use actual science and behavior modification and are extremely effective.
+1

Cesar Millan should not be allowed within 100 yards of any dog. His "methods" are arcane and have been disproven many times. The more modern techniques are far more effective.
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Old 25-01-2016, 10:09   #22
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

We had a large dog years ago that had terrible lightning (thunder) panic attacks. We put up with it for years when living in Vancouver as thunder was relatively rare. However moving to the prairies was another story, where thunder & lightning are a very common occurrence. She would panic to the point of tearing trim and siding off the house, regardless whether she was inside or out at the time. The people who sold us the house told us about administering melatonin to help calm dogs down in this situation. They had had great success with it on their dogs. We purchased some from a health food store, gave her a small dose twice prior to thunder storms approaching and her anxiety literally disappeared. We never had to give her another dose. Not sure why or how this worked but was absolutely magic with Sasha. If you try this suggest about 1/2 hour before boarding. Good thing with this is that melatonin is a naturally occurring substance in living beings and does not make them dopey. Good luck...
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Old 25-01-2016, 10:24   #23
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

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My suggestion would be to forget about sailing, instead focus on getting him relaxed and at home on the boat, at the dock. Once the boat has become a familiar place, associated with good things happening, then you can try introducing the new weird sensation of sailing.

My dog regularly visits on the boat with me, stays overnight, and loves it. She knows all the neighbours and their dogs. It's a happy place for her.
.
That would be my suggestion as well. We took our dog to the boat when she was about ten weeks old and spent the night at the dock. We did this several times before we started the engine and left the dock.

All we have to do is gather things for a weekend on the boat and she (now grown) is running and jumping to "go to the boat".

Sometimes it's for the weekend, sometimes it's for a couple months. She doesn't care and loves being on the boat.
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Old 25-01-2016, 10:32   #24
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

I love the melatonin idea -

Our previous dog (RIP) hated our previous boat. All of the behaviors described above. Until one year we took her on a three week sail because we couldn't leave her home for that length of time, made sure she had footing, a bed on the leeward side of the cockpit and lots of attention. By the end of three weeks, realizing that if she accepted the boat she got to be in the presence of her two favorite people 24X7 she became a boat dog like I've never seen before or since, jumping on others boats and then turning around and waiting for us to join her, tail wagging, etc.

Point is, this adaptation is probably going to be on her schedule, not yours. It will take as long as it takes, and with that patience on your part and lots of treats and praise it will (insert prayers here) happen.

We have a new dog, a rescue, and another boat. This one has no problems on the boat, just huge separation issues. I think I like the last set of problems better. Good luck and welcome!
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Old 25-01-2016, 10:50   #25
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

I'm sure you love your dog but just leave him home .
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Old 25-01-2016, 10:53   #26
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

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Hi There,
I'm new to the forum so my apologies if my question has been answered in previous posts. I see there are many posts about dogs on board and it seems like most of the dogs are OK with actually being on board. Our one year old ridgeback is fearless in all aspects of life except for when he gets on the boat. He is reduced to a panting , trembling mess even with a few " calmex" in him. We so want him to be included in our day outings but feel maybe we are just torturing him by hoping he is going get " used" to it. Any advice would be awesome and again my apologies if this has been addressed previously. Thanks! ( we have a 10 metre Hartley motor sailer)
JMHO, If it is day outings leave the dog home.
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Old 25-01-2016, 11:04   #27
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

I am the mother of 4 dogs - a giant standard poodle, a Tibetan Terrier and 2 bird dogs. Sailing, fireworks, new people in the house are all cured INSTANTLY with a Thunder Coat (available on line).

Best device on the planet. And yes, in my happy dreams Caesar Milan is being mauled by 100 pit bulls...

PS. I grew up with a 90lb Ridgeback. Unflappable except on a boat.
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Old 25-01-2016, 11:06   #28
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

Cesar is an idiot! My ex is a vet, she would love to beat him to a pulp!
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Old 25-01-2016, 11:25   #29
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

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That would be my suggestion as well. We took our dog to the boat when she was about ten weeks old and spent the night at the dock. We did this several times before we started the engine and left the dock.

All we have to do is gather things for a weekend on the boat and she (now grown) is running and jumping to "go to the boat".

Sometimes it's for the weekend, sometimes it's for a couple months. She doesn't care and loves being on the boat.
Ours actually knows the phrase "go to the boat".
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Old 25-01-2016, 12:04   #30
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Re: Severely anxious dog on board

Here is another definite NO to Cesar Milan! I have been associated with dogs for almost 40 years, having one as constant companion 24/7 for 99.9% of that time.
His methods are all based on domination and the ridiculous "pack leader" theory.

Do yourself a favor and get the book "Decoding Your Dog" by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. Great source for the fundamentals of understand dog behavior and how dogs see us. This book will help you make rational, common sense decisions regarding your relationship with your dog.

Dogs are infinitely adaptable to virtually any situation...you just have to make it fun. A dog will do virtually ANYTHING if it is fun! You just need to decide how much effort you are willing to put into it.

Best of luck.
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