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CAMP R.E.W.A.R.D.

Past Camps:

June 25-27, 2004

Richard's AHA Moment

July, 2003

October, 2003

July, 2002

2008 Information

 

CAMP R.E.W.A.R.D. - July 2002
(Realizing Excellence With Attention Redirection and Desensitization)
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!

We had 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.

We had 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.

On day one, 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.

At 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!

On 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 negative response.

In 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.

Swimming at the lake. . .

We 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!

If 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.

The winner of the "Trainer of the Day" award went to Ann Gavett.

Dominique with Ringo and Ted, working on
foundation behaviors.
Kathy and Rommel
Rommel is asking permission (by giving eye contact)
to go swimming in the river.

Virginia and Needy in the river with the other
dogs and people.
Deb and Michael in the river -
Michael is staring at Deb!!!!

Day 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.

Ted 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.

At 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 ?

From right to left: Mica, Ann and Ted. Rondi with Chance working on her behavior
for the Challenge.
Stacy with Lucky working on the Buja board. Denise with Snap and Pam,
working on desensitization issues.

Michael, Deb, Ellen and Virginia hangin' out. Deb and Michael doing Rally-O.

Cissy and Sam taking their turn on the Buja board. Rondi and Chance LOOSE LEASH WALKING!
WITHOUT A GENTLE LEADER! 8 month UPDATE!

Ted, Cissy and Sam. Ted is actually petting Sam!!! Ellen and Kuchen, Ann and Mica.

Ellen with Kuchen, trying their hands at Rally-O Cissy and Sam walking on a loose leash!

Rondi and Chance doing Rally-O after she said,
"He'll never be able to do it!" 8 month UPDATE!
Leslie and Coco (Click here for Leslie's comments)
It took Leslie 5 full days to stop smiling!

From right to left - Deb & Michael, Ann & Mica,
Dominique & Ringo, Ellen & Kuchen
Jan and Dixie working on their Behavior Challenge.

Deb and Michael. Michael has a Ttouch body
wrap on him and is letting Deb massage his paw!
Right to left, Maureen, Deb, Michael, Patty

Virginia and Chiachi staring at each other adoringly. Virginia working on her Behavior Challenge.

Virginia working on her Behavior Challenge. Lucky is too tired to do his homework.

Day 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!

Dr. Karen Dashfield, DVM talking about SAR and tracking.

We 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 cows.")

We 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.

In 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!

Day 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:

"Superior Positive Reinforcement Application" to Deb Manheim
"Expert Application of Behavioral Techniques" to Dominique Blom
"Superior Expertise in Aggression Management" to Denise Dugan

I 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!"

Ellen and Kuchen working on their Behavior Challenge. Deb and Michael
Showing off her Behavior Challenge of "dig for gold."
Ted hands out his infamous "Turner Awards."
Recipient of this one is Dominique Blom.
Pam and Stacy
Stacy is handing over her prong collar!

I 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.

We 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.

Dogs 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.

Stacy 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!

Stacy and Lucky Rondi and Chance
Ann and Mica Virginia

Rhondi & Chance - 8 month Update —

Dear Pam,
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.

Sincerely,
Rondi Radtke
(May 21, 2003)


Dear Pam,
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.

Sincerely,
Rondi and Chance
(June 3, 2003)


Camp R.E.W.A.R.D. Attendee Comments —

I 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 training enthusiasts.

Leslie


Thank 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.

I 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.

As 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.

Please keep in touch, and I will keep you informed of my progress with Rommel. Thanks again for such a wonderful camp!

Warmest Regards,

Kathy and Rommel


Thanks 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.

Maureen Tauber


Wanted 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.

Virginia Wind


Thanks 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.

Denise Dugan