hounddog...is one of the techniques I use to help rehabilitate dogs with noise, dog, people or other phobias. This method allows me to directly interact with a dog in a language they understand, without the dog thinking...

hounddogIs a technique I’ve develop to help rehabilitate dogs with many different kinds of issues, submissivness, fear, aggression, phobias, to name a few. It’s effective in giving dogs confidence in situations where there was none. When a dog becomes submissive, nervous or fearful of something, we often humanize their thoughts (most of the time we’re wrong) and comfort them if we “think” they’re feeling hurtful emotions, but we’re doing more harm than good. Why? Dogs don’t hold each other or pat each other like we do, or talk to them telling them everything will be okay. If dogs have fear of thunder, fireworks, people or dogs, a big part of the blame is the comforting or just “bad timing reinforcement” done by their owners.  Yes, initially they may have reacted negatively to those unfamiliar things, but it’s how the owner reacts to their reactions is the where the problem begins. Applying this technique works best if have a strong relationship with your dog and your dog responds to several obedience commands.
Rather than me explaining how the technique is done, let me show you (video below)  First, I need to set up the video clip you’ll be watching.  The first dog you’ll see is Duncan, a 4-month old German Shepherd, he gets terribly car sick. The car doesn’t have to move for him to start drooling excessively. NOTE: These clips are not a “How to” cure your dog of car sickness or any problems you’ll see, it’s an example of how to use re-direction tease play when, a) You see your dog react negatively to strange noises or situations, or  b) Using it as part of the rehabilitation process for lots of behavioural issues.
The second dog you’ll see is Chulo, a 6-month old white German Shepherd.  He’s socialized with other familiar dogs in semi-large groups, but not around strange dogs or at this particular dog park.  I noticed straight away he would snap at dogs if they came up behind him, especially the older more assertive (friendly) dogs.  This technique will help him be more tolerant when dogs suddenly come up to him.
The Third dog is Freda, she has a very sweet face, but has a few aggressive problems, she’s a 4-month old Kelpi mix who goes ballistic, screaming, biting, scratching and urinating if you suddenly try to restrict her movement either by holding her collar or just holding her.  She will need a lot of re-direction tease play in many different scenarios.  Since I’m living in Freda’s house, while her owners are on holiday (a training program I offer), I can focus a lot on using “tease play” to help cure her of – what I call  “restrictive phobia”.
Since I’ve been working on this blog, filming and working on Freda’s restrictive phobia problem, we had a break through,  I’ve added a clip of Freda letting me grind her nails.
Note: You’ll notice I never say anything or pet (praise) the dogs I’m rehabilitating (Think “Dog whispering”).  “Patting” is interpreted more as praise or approval of thoughts and feelings (emotions), vs. if using food which reinforcement more what they just did.



19 thoughts on “Redirection Tease Play…

  1. Hi. Robert. Always did like your methods of training. You always place yourself in the dogs mind and solve the problems from there. My dog Mitzi Jo wrote a children’s book that good for adults too. She explains doggy daycare and the dogs in it. I have an agent who is currently looking for a publisher. I think I could do about 5 books in the series. Our Blog about the book is http://www.campjeans.com/blog/ The welcome blog is from the book the other blogs are written in the style of the book text but are her current observasions. You can comment to Mitzi Jo if you want on her observations. You won’t hurt her feelings. In fact she does have one thing she can’t figure out. How come our Sheltie Foxy. only wiggles on her back on the carpet after her meal. It is every day and only at that time. We think it’s just a happy feel good thing. Kind of like a dessert to a human or a cup of coffee after dinner. are we right?

  2. Thank you! is there any other way, other than looking at it through their eyes?

    I was just talking to a client the other day telling him how I gave my Schnauzer “Schultz” away at a garage sale I had. My client asked how could I do something like that? and I said easy, it was the best thing for him, he was 10 years old and no longer enjoying being around the 4-6 month old puppies I was bringing home for training, and if he’s not happy, something has to change. I wanted the last few years of his life to be spent on someones lap, so they can spoil the heck out of him. Not that I didn’t spoil him when I had the chance, but for him, because of his age, it was no longer a great thing being the dog of a dog trainer. I just wanted to reward him for helping me with my success, and helping me train all the dogs that went through my program. He was a real trooper and gave more than I ever expected, it was time for payback. A Gentleman who was interested in buying a generator I had, he just looked at Schultz and said, “oh, what a cute dog”. without hesitation I asked, “would you like to adopt him? he’s housebroken (chuckling), I’m serious”. to make a long conversation short, we introduced Schultz to his wife. The love was instant and I felt very lucky to find a retired couple (close to my house) that did exactly what he deserved. spoiled him rotten until he passed 3 1/2 years later. I’ve never expressed any emotion regarding my dog Schultz, maybe this can be a blog? putting your dogs emotional happiness ahead of your own. Thats the sign a a true dog person.

    Regarding Mitzi Jo, I think the scratching is just a ritualistic expression of contentment. Dog’s look forward to meal time and after they eat they can relax and clean themselves or scratch that area that needs scratching. You’re right, it’s a “Happy feel good thing”. Good luck with the book. All the best

  3. Hi Alex,
    You can use quick praise when your dog responds correctly to training, or use just a toy or treat as reward. Once he is acclimated to the car and there are no signs of nervousness , then there are just the normal training guidelines to follow and tease play doesn’t apply. You can hug and pet normally. Hope I’ve answered your question.

  4. Hi Robert,

    My 1.5 y.o. lakeland terrier doesn’t have much opportunity to socialize with kids, since we don’t have any of them in the family. As much as I can, I take him to children’s playgrounds to just expose him to the sounds and energy of kids. He’s generally good with kids, except when it comes to a few situations. 1) When an unsure / nervous / hesitant child approaches him; 2) when a kid suddenly freaks out and starts screaming and running away from him; and 3) when kids get super-excited and run around or wrestle in front of him.

    I’m sure his young age and terrier breed makes him predisposed to be highly reactive to excited situations which in turn makes him go out of control. But, I believe that his lack of exposure to little kids also makes him act out of insecurity and perceive the kids as threat to his safety.

    I hope this training can help increase him confidence or make him feel more safe around kids. Any other advise on how to socialize him to kids will be much appreciated!

  5. Hello,

    Sounds like you need a kid wrangler . There are of course things to do, but you might be better off calling a local trainer to help you through the whole process.

    Kind Regards

  6. Greetings Robert,
    We have a collie who hasn’t stopped grabbing hands, sleeves, pants, feet, etc. It seems to go along with the herding instinct and although it usually isn’t a hard grab, I’m having a tough time ending it. We’ve tried “time outs” in the crate, yelping and the big, angry “NO”.
    We live on acreage where he can run, and he enjoys running after my son (esp. when son is on a bike). Great exercise, but I’m wondering if it isn’t what has made the issue so tough to undo.
    Thanks for your thoughts on this.

  7. Hi Nina,

    Sound like your collie has lot’s of room to run. It’s always good to start a relationship with a local “Dog Friendly” trainer, that way, the advice given will be custom to your situation. With that said, if the things he is allowed to grab are in his mouth, then he can’r grab the things mentioned above. Take care

  8. My 4 year old Labradoodle has become fearful of other dogs when they get really close, and “air snaps” at them. He never used to do this, but I think he was bitten by a neighbours dog and that changed things.

    He wants to play until they get really close to his face, then he gets scared. How can I help him be more confident and happy around other dogs again? He’s fine with dogs he knows well.

  9. Hi Robert,

    My 60 lb. 4 year old mixed breed dog was the happiest boy until about a year and a half ago when he was attacked several times by different dogs. Some of the attacks were when he was on leash and some when he was off leash playing at the park. He then became both fear aggressive and frightened of noises he had never been fearful of before. His aggressive behavior is unpredictable. I do not let him off leash around other dogs and try (not always successfully) to keep dogs he doesn’t know from running up to him. I have been working on behavior modification and make him sit and give him treats when he sees other dogs that agitate him. I know it is a long process and have been told by a trainer that he may never “recover”. It’s very sad because he used to love to play with other dogs. I keep looking for any suggestions that might help my dog and would be interested in learning about your “redirection tease play”. Thank you.

  10. Although the tease play will help, might I suggest organising play days with dogs he knows or they are playful and he can see them 2-3 times per week, getting to know them in a familiar and safe area It doesnt sound like being out in public is working for you, more fights will just set any training back. start with small non-aggressive dogs if you can, then add, larger dogs. He has to regain his confidence around friendly dogs and being open to the public’s crazy dogs is not going to help in the long run. Hire a trainer to help you or to bring dogs for your dog to get to know. hopefully the trainer will know the proper way to introduce the dogs he has to your dog.

    I’ll send the tease play instructions and video soon. can you please email me Robert@malibudogtraining.com

  11. Hi Amanda,

    If you can email me Robert@malibudogtraining.com I will send you a link to the video and a description of how redirection tease play works.

    I just got through answering a person with a dog with a more severe aggression case. pic what applies to you, and please email me.
    Although the tease play will help, might I suggest organising play days with dogs he knows or they are playful and he can see them 2-3 times per week, getting to know them in a familiar and safe area It doesnt sound like being out in public is working for you, more fights will just set any training back. start with small non-aggressive dogs if you can, then add, larger dogs. He has to regain his confidence around friendly dogs and being open to the public’s crazy dogs is not going to help in the long run. Hire a trainer to help you or to bring dogs for your dog to get to know. hopefully the trainer will know the proper way to introduce the dogs he has to your dog.

  12. Hi Robert,
    I have a rescue border collie who I walk with my dog walk packs. He is a wonderful dog and most of the ‘unwanted’ behaviors he exhibited when I got him have stopped. Except for his compulsion to chase moving things. That can be horses, people on bicycles and recently even runners. The closer they are the more attracted he is to the behavior. I’m sure it’s just a misdirected herding instinct as he is not really aggressive with it, but he does do the collie growl/nip if he gets the chance. I have been training him and learnt to redirect him when these things occur (if I see the horse/person in time), but it doesn’t always work if he’s too far away from me so I’d really like to see your video to see if there is some other technique I’m missing.

    Fabulous website by the way and awesome videos! I’m currently in South Africa, but returning to Oz next year to an area near where you live, so maybe I can take advantage of your training services if necessary. But in the meantime the video would be great.

    Thanks so much!

  13. Hello Robert
    I am loving all the tips on your site and have watched several of your youtube videos already. I wish now I lived in Australia so I could hire you as my doggie trainer. All the dogs in your videos look like they are having so much fun. My dogs name is Skyla and I adopted her from a rescue center a few months ago. She is now almost 6 months old and is doing really well with the basic obedience training. Fetch came natural to her and already fetched anything we threw for her from day one. Drop is still not a command she will listen to as prefers to play tug although recently she has started to drop without us even commanding her as i think she realized she gets more fun as I will throw again for her. Although I do want to get her to master the drop command as this may save her life one day if she picks up something she should not.
    In addition we have been very successful with ‘sit’ and ‘paw’ (she sits without being asked now at food time and automatically gives paw) ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ till called (while I walk away to other side of apartment) She is very good with ‘wait’ and will not take a treat, biscuit or bone until we say ‘take it’ or sometimes ‘take it like a lady’
    Although we do well with this indoors at home she is not as responsive and still very distracted when we are outdoors and often scared in some cases.
    She is mixed breed and we think she has a bit of Jack Russel Terrier in her. She feels very safe indoors and I think this has something to do with her history as she was found with her sister in a bad condition abandoned on the streets.
    A few items around the house scare her like the broom, mop and ironing board. In addition when I take her out of the apartment we live in she starts to get very scared and shakes. She is comfortable in the car and hops in on her own and often just falls asleep in the back, but getting her to the car in the first place is a challenge. On weekends I go to a holiday home near the beach and she is much more relaxed there and we do walks and she loves swimming and running on the beach after her ball. However regardless of which situation we are in she is always scared of strangers and other dogs. We have started building her confidence with this and she now has a few doggie friends who we hang out with and she is getting used to and better with dogs and has started playing and running round with them. She still uses me as a shield sometimes and especially likes it when we are near the water as most of her friends don’t like to swim so it is also her safe zone if she gets a bit too scared.
    However she is still very scared of strangers and this is even very apparent when we have friends she has not met or seen for a while come over to visit. We are currently trying a technique with her where we take her downstairs to meet our friends outside the building then we bring them up to the apartment all together. We thought this might make her less likely to feel threatened when a stranger we invite in enters the apartment. This is making some progress but you can imagine if we have more than a few visitors this is not a great solution as she gets very scared going in and out of the apartment all the time (back to the scared shaking) We are trying to make sure she now gets regular visits from our friends(in single doses or smaller groups) to try build her trust of strangers but a few times she still still runs and hides behind me while barking at them.
    I really want to help her feel confident, comfortable and not so scared of so many things and really would love a few tips on how I can do this.
    I do play with her for about an hour or 2 every day (with a bit of training exercises mixed in between) and on the weekend she really gets to run for hours at a time get exercise. However I would love to take her for more walks during the week without her feeling scared as I don’t feel even with all the play she is getting enough exercise.
    I look forward to your comments and Thank you

  14. Hi there, quick answer.
    1. Have friends ignore skyla when they first come in (5-7 minutes). letting Skyla come to them is best.
    2. Before they come over, have Skyla on a leash so she can’t run and hide.
    3. practice training at other times to get the leash control and distract her with treats and toys when excitement is around.
    4. After appropriate time, have friends give her good treats from their hand without them talking to her.
    5. the more she becomes comfortable with taking treats from people, the more they can talk to her.

  15. Hi there, Not exactly what I’d recommend to help with the chasing behaviour. For that, you need a good recall, sit stay and “leave-it” then start with the moving object farther away and you move closer only when your dog shows progress (baby steps closer) I’d also incorporate both a positive and negative interrupter sound. the positive is: make a distinct double “kiss” sound, then give your dog a treat. repeat 4-6 x 1-3 a day in different locations.

    I can’t explain (here) how to incorporate a negative interrupter (it take a whole lesson)

    the teas play method only woks if you add it to the other things you’re doing. please email me directly Robert@malibudogtraining.com if you still would like the video.



  16. Hi Robert i have an 8 year old rescue english staffie who is dog reactive/aggressive. He does not like it when dogs come up to him. I would like to see the redirection tease play blog and video to see if i can try this. I get nervous so may work on me too!

  17. Hello Robert, We have a 14yr old doberman who get nervous when she can hear thunder or other really loud noises (e.g. rock breaking down the road). Would to read and see more about tease play method. We never speak to her or touch her while this going on. She likes to come and lay nearby us whichever room we are in when thunder is around. I haven’t noticed her fearful anything else.

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