CAMP R.E.W.A.R.D. - July 2002
(Realizing Excellence With Attention Redirection
5 Day Camp
Well, the first annual Camp R.E.W.A.R.D with me (Pam Dennison) and
Ted Turner is now over. It was fantastic!
a pretty even mix of dog-aggressive and human-aggressive
dogs, some that were aggressive towards both and one that
was just fearful of the world. There were Pitbull Terriers,
a few "All American" mixes, Australian Cattledogs,
Border Collies, English Mastiffs, a Belgian Malinois,
and a German Shepherd. One of the dogs, Coco, is a shelter
dog and Leslie Wiesner, one of the board members for Sussex
County Friends of Animals, brought him to the camp.
a mix of people as well - some were very knowledgeable
about positive methods and working with aggression and
some were novice handlers. They all had one thing in common
though - they wanted to know how to better countercondition
and desensitize their dogs to their provoking stimuli
(scary bad things) without the use of punishment.
, I talked about causes of aggression, safety issues,
proper reactions if "it" happens, importance of
DRA and DRI (differential reinforcement of alternate and incompatible
behaviors.) I also discussed how important it is to set our
dogs up to succeed, what happens to a dogs' body during stress
and how our reactions often trigger aggressive responses.
the end of the day Ted gave out training challenges
and the "Trainer of the Day Award" went
to Rondi Radtke. Some of us went out to dinner
to get to know each other better. Ted was completely
fascinated by some of us "east coast" people
- Deb and Stacy kept him enthralled all evening!
day two, Ted spoke about foundation behaviors
and I showed before and after videos of Shadow,
my recovering human aggressive Border Collie. "Before" was
Shadow aggressing in his crate at Ted in October
2000 and the "after" with Shadow at
his first agility trial and first Rally trial.
Ted and I switched groups and continued to work
the dogs in small, successful sessions, with provoking
stimuli far enough away so as not to elicit a
the afternoon, I proceeded to get half the group
lost, (So sue me, I made a mistake! I did drive
all around town looking for them, so that should
count for something!) on our way to Silver Lake.
We all made it however and I was incredibly impressed
that the 5 cars that were lost actually found their
way to the lake.
at the lake. . .
split the group again and worked on getting closer
to dogs/humans in short, successful sessions. We
worked on Premacking swimming - "ignore that
dog and you get to go in the lake." At one
point at the end of the day, Ted wanted all of the
dogs in the water at the same time. I felt that
would be pushing it, but Ted wanted to do it. The
dogs were all carefully moved into the water, one
at a time, to minimize any aggressive reactions.
Safety above all! So, there they were, 12 dogs in
the water at the same time, NOT aggressing!
you can't stand, and have to swim to stay afloat,
you can't be aggressing at your neighbor. It was
INCREDIBLE to see these dogs, swimming around in
the water with their owners, looking for all the
world, like "normal" dogs.
winner of the "Trainer of the Day" award
went to Ann Gavett.
with Ringo and Ted, working on
Rommel is asking permission (by giving eye contact)
to go swimming in the river.
and Needy in the river with the other
dogs and people.
and Michael in the river -
Michael is staring at Deb!!!!
three, I talked about Rally-O and what a great
dog sport it is for aggressive dogs. If the provoking
stimuli is humans - there is no stand for exam
and the judge doesn't follow you around. If the
dog is dog aggressive - there are no stays in
Rally. Other dog sports "made" for aggressive
dogs - tracking, sheep herding, agility.
spoke about Foundation level 2 behaviors and then
we all packed up and went to Footbridge Park. (This
time, I lost NO ONE in the 18 car caravan and had
Ellen riding "shotgun" with a walkie-talkie
and her most frequent communication? "Are we
there yet?") I set up a Rally course and almost
everyone took a turn and did a damn fine job! We
also had some jumps, hoola hoops and a Buja board
to play on, plus the beautiful park and river to
romp in. Ted and I roamed around helping everyone
with their particular issues. At one point there
were about 5 dogs in the river all at the same time.
the end of the day, we all needed a mental break
and went out for ice cream. Winner of the "Trainer
of the Day" award went to ?
right to left: Mica, Ann and Ted.
with Chance working on her behavior
for the Challenge.
with Lucky working on the Buja board.
with Snap and Pam,
working on desensitization issues.
Deb, Ellen and Virginia hangin' out.
and Michael doing Rally-O.
and Sam taking their turn on the Buja board.
and Chance LOOSE LEASH WALKING!
WITHOUT A GENTLE LEADER! 8 month UPDATE!
Cissy and Sam. Ted is actually petting Sam!!!
and Kuchen, Ann and Mica.
with Kuchen, trying their hands at Rally-O
and Sam walking on a loose leash!
and Chance doing Rally-O after she said,
"He'll never be able to do it!" 8 month
and Coco (Click here for
It took Leslie 5 full days to stop smiling!
right to left - Deb & Michael, Ann & Mica,
Dominique & Ringo, Ellen & Kuchen
and Dixie working on their Behavior Challenge.
and Michael. Michael has a Ttouch body
wrap on him and is letting Deb massage his paw!
to left, Maureen, Deb, Michael, Patty
and Chiachi staring at each other adoringly.
working on her Behavior Challenge.
working on her Behavior Challenge.
is too tired to do his homework.
four, Ted talked about latency. Dr. Karen
Dashfield came and taught us canine CPR and gave
us some information on different methods of teaching
tracking (also a great sport for aggressive dogs).
She then gave us a demo with 2 of her dogs - one
was an air scent dog and the other a variable
surface-tracking dog. I was the person they were
looking for and thank god they both were able
to find me!
Karen Dashfield, DVM talking about SAR and tracking.
tried to go to Swayze Mill Park, but unbeknownst
to me, Hope Township was having a fair, so back
to Footbridge Park we went. (I still didn't lose
anyone on this trip! Good Girl Pam! "Are we
there yet?" "Ellen and Deb, in case you
didn't know, those big black and white animals are
continued to work on Rally-O and all kinds of alternate
behaviors. Some of the crew went walking on the
Paulinskill trail and did quite well. The winner
of the "Trainer of the Day" award went
to Kathy Ammon.
the evening we had a "Night Out With Ted" and
he told us some scary and funny stories and then
we all just got silly. Poor Ted - he was the only
man at the camp, surrounded by mostly East Coast
women! Oy vey!
five, we stayed at the building and continued
to work in small groups, honing our dog's skills
at ignoring their provoking stimuli. Ted and I
continued to roam, helping where needed. The attendees
were then able to show off their Behavior Challenges
if they chose to. I gave a Ttouch demonstration
using Ellen's dog Kuchen as my demo dog. Leslie
Wiesner won the Trainer of the Day Award.
At the end of the day, Ted gave out his special "Turner" awards
for excellence in training:
Positive Reinforcement Application" to Deb
"Expert Application of Behavioral Techniques" to Dominique
"Superior Expertise in Aggression Management" to Denise
was very impressed with the attendees - even at
the end of the week, spirits and energy levels were
up and we all vacillated between "I am so tired
and I don't want this to end!"
and Kuchen working on their Behavior Challenge.
Showing off her Behavior Challenge of "dig for gold."
hands out his infamous "Turner Awards."
Recipient of this one is Dominique Blom.
Stacy is handing over her prong collar!
work with aggressive dogs and their humans on almost
a daily basis and this group was fantastic! Normally,
it would have taken a few months to attain the level
of calmness these people and dogs achieved in only
5 days. Were there some problems in the beginning?
Sure there were, but once everyone realized that
THEIR reactions affect the dog's reactions, and
that they needed to be very cognizant of their environment,
it was almost smooth sailing after that.
had people using Premack principles to further strengthen
relationships - "Look at me and you can go
swimming, " or "walk on a loose leash
and we can play on the Buja board." The basis
of our desensitization process (mine and Ted's)
is to keep the dog busy with novel behaviors, as
well as foundation behaviors.
that had been on head halters or prong collars were
now walking calmly past people and dogs on flat
buckle collars on loose leashes. I was completely
blown away by the progress made in only 5 days.
Many of the campers came from a punishment background
and were able, in just a few days, understand and
apply positive methods. The results were astounding.
LaRoche "retired" Lucky's prong
collar and he was doing great at checking in with
her, giving her more and more attention. Rondi
Radtke was able - in just 5 days before the
camp started - wean her dog Chance off of the
head halter that he had been on since he was 15
weeks old. I asked her if she noticed a difference
in his behavior and she said he was happier and
more responsive to her on a buckle collar. Dominique
Blom's dog Ringo was able to handle people
coming up to the car. Cissy Stamm was able
to concentrate on the environment a little closer,
setting Sam up to be successful. Denise Dugan's dogs
(5 of them!) were fantastic! Snap was able to
handle having me come up to her and pet her. Kathy
Ammon's dog Rommel was giving her great attention
and loose leash walking. Virginia Wind's two
dogs, Needle and Chiachi were astounding. Needle
came out of the van within seconds and was actually
in the water with a group of people (she is afraid
of the world) and Chiachi (who really isn't Virginia's
dog - he is a friend's dog) was walking on a loose
leash with a flat buckle collar and responding
to cues given and stopped pulling Virginia off
her feet. Deb Manheim's dog Michael was
giving her great attention even with squirrels
around! Ellen Rassiger's dog Kuchen, was
also learning to walk with attention in distracting
areas. Leslie Wiesner's shelter dog Coco,
was incredible, especially because she didn't
have a relationship with him beforehand. Coco
was walking on a loose leash, learning his name
meant something good, focusing enough on Leslie
to be able to work with his provoking stimuli
(men) and I don't think Leslie has stopped smiling
yet! Jan Guz's dog Dixie went for a walk
on the trail!!!!!! Holy Smokes!
Rhondi & Chance
- 8 month Update —
Hi, I just wanted to let you know how Chance is doing since the
aggressive dog seminar that you held last September. I haven't
used the gentle leader since the class. Which of course has made
Chance very happy. I'm also happy not to hear the remarks that
people make when they assume it's a muzzzle. The turning point
for Chance came the end of March. I had to leave Chance and my
other dog at a kennel for 5 days. I was extremely upset about
doing this, but took him to see the facility and actually went
into the run with him for a few minutes. I had my husband drop
them off along with their beds, toys etc. We called that night
and Chance had settled in to his bed, no barking or any commotion
from him, just from our lab. My sister checked up on him a couple
times by phone and they said he was doing just fine. I couldn't
believe it - no growling, barking, or aggressive behavior. When
we came home, I wasn't sure we got the right dog back! He actually
is friends with several dogs in the neighborhood now. He doesn't
growl, he looks interested, his fur does go up but he justs sniffs
or lets them sniff him and he goes on his way. The one golden
up the street tries to mount him and he very clearly tells the
dog to stop, but he doesn't do any more than that and then we
go on with our walk. One of the best things that I learned in
your class was to bend my knees when he starts to pull me to chase
the deer. It realy helps me alot, I also learned to be more observant
of my suroundings. I realized that I couln't possibly change all
my behaviors with Chance, I had to take what you and Ted taught
me and find what worked best for the two of us. Chance also has
been great with children, we took him to the ocean a couple of
weeks ago and he found himself surrounded by about 15 second graders
who had just finished their lunch. He was very patient and let
everyone pet him and then he licked their faces clean. He has
been very good overall, and I'm glad that I stuck it out with
him. We both made out the day I adopted him from the pound. Thank
you for the class.
Rondi Radtke (May 21, 2003)
Hi, I thought you might be interested in
where my husband took Chance and our other dog
Sox yesterday. I got home from work and both
dogs were exhausted. Steve told me that they
just gotten home from the dog park! I said, "oh
my God, you didn't let him loose did you?" He
said "yes," and I thought I was going
to pass out. When they first got there there
were only two small dogs, but as time went by
more than a dozen showed up. Steve said Chance
was great - he didn't show any of his previous
aggressive behaviors. He just ran around with
the other dogs with a huge smile on his face.
To top it off, whenever Steve called or whistled
he came right over to him and then went off
to play again. They were there for almost two
hours. Today Steve took just Chance back for
a shorter period of time because of the rain.
Again things went well, the only problem Chance
had was with a eight month old lab that kept
trying to mount him and Chance kept knocking
him down to let him know he didn't want him
to do that anymore. Steve decided this wasn't
good for Chance to keep repeating this behavior
and they left. But other than that things went
very well. This is the same dog who would absoulutely
freak out and growl and bark if another dog
just looked at him. I guess maybe being in the
kennel for 5 days with other dogs with no one
hurting him or threatening him, calmed him down.
I don't know how else to explain the complete
turn around in his behavior. He's a totally
different dog and much happier. I'm glad that
I took your class and I will continue to be
on guard with him all the time, because I love
him too much to see him get hurt or God forbid
that he would hurt someone else's dog. Thanks
again for everything.
Rondi and Chance (June
R.E.W.A.R.D. Attendee Comments
attended Camp R.E.W.A.R.D. with a dog which
has been in an animal shelter for the past 18
months. He has a history of random aggression
toward men and other animals. As a volunteer
dog handler at an animal shelter and a student
of "positive motivation" training,
I wanted to learn more about the management
of aggressive behavior through positive techniques.
Unlike many of the other attendees, I did not
have a working relationship with the dog when
I arrived. The Camp provided an ideal setting
in which to establish that relationship and
apply that foundation toward achieving specific
desired results (not aggressing). The fundamentals
of learning and behavior were presented in a
fascinating light and left me longing for more
knowledge. The Camp inspired self-confidence
and group participation and is a must for animal
you for such a wonderful camp. It was AWESOME
! ! I can't thank you enough for all that you
and Ted did for all of us. Please let me know
if you will offer this camp again or a similar
one. I know I will need a refresher course.
It is an easy trip to NJ from Ohio. I realize
I will always have to work with Rommel and his
issues, and my nerves.
learned so much at camp, and I want to apply
it all, but I have to remember to take "Baby
Steps." I am going to keep a journal, too.
I can see the importance of one. I will probably
order Ted's tapes also. I think they might help.
soon as I get my pictures developed, I will
send prints or negatives. I hope others will
send you pictures, so that we can share.
keep in touch, and I will keep you informed
of my progress with Rommel. Thanks again for
such a wonderful camp!
for putting on the seminar. It was odd not having
a dog for a dog seminar - but I enjoyed meeting
the people and watching the behaviors modify.
to let you know that camp was great! Of course
Ted is always fantastic.
Dr. Karen (talk on canine CPR and SAR) really
added something to the camp. It gave me a
break in my focus, which helped me
to focus on Ted more and both of them
were wonderful, interesting and useful.
so much for including us in the Aggression Management
Camp. I was able to gather the additional info
that I needed to more forward with my classes
and it gave me some time that I needed to spend
working with my dogs.