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Calming cap?

Discussion in 'Training & Behavior' started by destinoscelgo, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. destinoscelgo

    destinoscelgo Good Dog

    My dog trainer suggested to try the calming cap for Willow. I think she believes it is all out anxiety since she shuts down at the sight of any unfamiliar dogs. She said that may help while we work on her issues to figure out what they really are.
    Here is a picture of what I'm talking about,
    Amazon.com: Premier Pet Gentle Leader Calming Cap- Large, Blue: Pet Supplies

    but honestly...I'm not too sure how I feel about it. I want my dog to be functional around other dogs so when we go out on walks she doesn't act like an asshole, but in the training classes...she is learning to work with other dogs around...but it is reallllllly hard ha ha. She knows all of her commands...sit, stay, down, off, roll overand heel at home...but in the training class she can do sit, down, down stay for 15 seconds sit stay for about 10 seconds (depending on her mood for both)


    Would you guys consider the calming cap to be just a quick fix? Or could I use it as a training tool in some way?
     
  2. _unoriginal

    _unoriginal Cow Dog

    Soo.. It's basically a gentle leader with a piece of fabric to cover the eyes? Is that what it is?
     
  3. destinoscelgo

    destinoscelgo Good Dog

    No it's by the people who made the gentle leader (Premier), and yeah...it's sort of like a cloth that distorts their vision...but they can still see? Idk, that's just what she said. I just don't want to use it as a crutch if I can use it as a training tool that might work...but I can't see how it would be..
     
  4. _unoriginal

    _unoriginal Cow Dog

    I wouldn't even try it.. Honestly. I mean have you ever tried to cover your dog's eyes? Doesn't work out well and they usually flip out and start flopping around the room.. I see the reaction being similar with this. I think you should just continue working on desensitizing training. I'm not one to ask on HOW you should do that but I don't see removing one of the dog's senses as a useful way of going about it. JMO.
     
  5. McRose

    McRose Big Dog

    Amy freaks out if she can hear or smell a dog and can't see it. At night if she can't spot the dog she will go into full panic mode.

    I don't think it's a good idea.

    Have you tried walking her with a thundershirt? Amy LOVES hers. I haven't needed it in a while but I used to use it and she gets all relaxed and happy with it on.
     
  6. catchrcall

    catchrcall Good Dog Staff Member Super Moderator

    I am very skeptical about things like this. I don't know why taking away one of the dog's senses would calm her down. She could hear and smell other dogs but not see them. I'd be more defensive and on edge than ever.
     
  7. destinoscelgo

    destinoscelgo Good Dog

    Apparently, the cloth just "darkens" the vision so the dog can still see...but everything is in a different focus so they can't see everything. I guess sort of like blinders on a horse? I remember she wasn't a big fan of the halti either so I can't imagine how she would feel with this.
    She's slowly but surely coming along. I discussed other training options with the trainer today, and she suggested a class they are offering called C.L.A.S.S Canine Learning About Social Skills or something like that...idk lol but it sounds like a class she should take ha ha.
     
  8. _unoriginal

    _unoriginal Cow Dog

    Yea, this is what I was trying to say.. I guess it didn't come out right.

    If you see even a small difference in her from these classes, I'd just keep on doing what you're doing. Maybe throw in the extra class or something but no big drastic changes needed.. Any positive change is good and maybe she's just a slow learner.
     
  9. molsie

    molsie Big Dog

    How is your trainer suggesting you use the cap? It can be a useful tool for certain situations to keep your dog from going over threshold while you work on gaining/maintaining focus and/or if you are trying to work on desensitizing to certain things and your dog goes over threshold very easily.

    I used one on my dog while she was recovering from knee surgery. From the backyard, the upstairs neighbor's window does not have curtains and their cat often perches on the windowsill. My dog has ridiculously high prey drive and she would go bonkers whenever she saw the cat in the window. I put the calming cap on her when taking her out to pee/poo so that she wouldn't see the cat and go nuts. Due to the constraints of knee surgery recovery, removing that stimulus was more important than spending the time having a training session so I did not use it as a training tool in that case but it served a valuable purpose for management.

    I have also heard of people using it for their dogs during car rides if the dog gets really stressed from the visual stimulus.
     
  10. K9 Love

    K9 Love Good Dog

    I personally wouldn't do it. I have never used one, so I can't say whether it works or not, but my brain just says; No. :p

    The above situation is different IMO. You have an injured dog who you don't want moving around too much, so limiting their vision to prevent reactions make sense.

    For training? It's not adding up to me.

    The trainer your working with, do you get a chance to meet other clients? Has she worked with reactive/aggressive dogs?

    Very generally as a trainer I'm not a fan of equipment. Ideally for me all dogs would be off leash reliable and all horses rode bit less. IMO if a dog can behave off leash, on lead is a breeze, same with the horse analogy.

    This seems like a completely unnecessary piece of equipment IMO, and I would not use it when working with a reactive dog.

    What type of methods does she have you using? Are you correcting her at all? If so, how?

    Is she taking food at all, or still too over threshold?

    If you don't mind, generally how does a class go?

    For example) a novice obedience class (not competition), always starts straight out with 10 minutes of warm up heeling to get hi-jinxes out, then on lead, end of leash recall stuff, fronts, swings. Position stuff (sit/stand/down) where dogs are pretty much stationary and you could play with distances with reactive dogs, individual heel patterns, recalls.

    Is there ever a time where Willow gets to move forward at a good pace and settle down? Or does she go straight to a corner at a "station" and perform her exercises, do her heel pattern individually etc?
     
  11. MsAcer

    MsAcer Good Dog

    I'm with K9 on this...

    But K9 I'm trying to figure out your horse statement.

    "
    Very generally as a trainer I'm not a fan of equipment. Ideally for me all dogs would be off leash reliable ​
    ------->and all horses rode bit less<------ IMO if a dog can behave off leash, on lead is a breeze, same with the horse analogy."​

    Not sure what your saying, but I might just be in a food coma... :)


     
  12. K9 Love

    K9 Love Good Dog

    "Bit Less", as in ridden with no bit in their mouth. :) A make shift halter side pull should be more than enough to control a well trained horse if you've taught them properly how to respond to pressure and respect it.

    I think a well trained dog on a prong is a good thing, but a dog with no equipment who can do the same things the dog with the prong can should be the goal (everyone might not make it there, and that's fine of course!).

    A well trained horse whose ridden in a gag bit, cool, but a horse who can do the same maneuvers bit less? Spectacular horsemanship and handling IMO. :)
     
  13. MsAcer

    MsAcer Good Dog

    Ha Ha! Food coma! I was reading it "rode a bit less", like more ground work :lol: less under saddle time

    That's what a Easter buffet will do to you!


    And I agree :)
     
  14. Jazzy

    Jazzy GRCH Dog

    Just wondering...is her idea in using the calming cap the same as the trainers who use screens to separate dogs in allot of reactive dog classes?

    If I'm not mistaken it's part of Leslie McDevitt's Control Unleashed training; and I think when we took the class one of the dogs was working behind a screen for part of the classes. The idea is that it does remove a level of stimulation and help the dog get under threshhold.

    I can say with Veronica, when I have taken her into Rally class and it has been packed with strange dogs...I have taken her around the corner into the back room and it helps her get it together. She still knows there's a roomful of dogs she's never seen before around the corner but removing them from sight removes some of the initial distraction so her brain can turn down enough to think.

    That said; I think I would prefer to try a screen vs. a calming cap in a classroom setting. Having your eyes covered does seem like it would be sort of freaky.
     
  15. destinoscelgo

    destinoscelgo Good Dog

    Thank you for all of the advice everyone! I opted against the calming cap and I do not regret it for a second =) Willow was starting to get me to lose hope by her last class but when I took her out she behaved like a champ! (I probably just jinxed it lol) it seems she is finally getting it together =)
     

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