“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen” ~ Orhan Pamuk
We Need Your Help
More often than we wish, we encounter situations that call for our help but place an extraordinary strain on our limited rescue budget. At this moment, we have 3 dogs in rescue that are under the care of our vet and has exhausted our funds. We find ourselves having to ask for your much needed help. Please take a moment to read about these wonderful dogs and we hope that you can find it in your hearts to make a donation today.
Click here to see full details about the dogs needing help.
Foster Homes Needed
In order for us to help save more dogs we need people like you to open up your home and foster one of our dogs until their family comes. A foster home provides a safe and temporary home for dogs while we search for their permanent home. Please click on the Fostering Guidelines for more information about our foster program. Some of our dogs come to us with behavioral issues, so we have found that previous experience with German Shepherds is helpful. If you have the desire and the interest, but are not familiar with German Shepherds, we ask that you fill out the application. Regardless of your experience with this particular breed, our dogs need good foster homes. We hope to soon have a program available to educate future foster and adoptive parents about the breed and provide training tips.
We want to thank you for your interest in helping GSROR by opening up your homes, families, and hearts to help a dog in need. Rescues would not exist if not for the thoughtful time and generosity of foster parents.
German Shepherd Rescue of the Rockies (GSROR) serves the public as a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue of homeless and abandoned German Shepherd Dogs (GSD) in Denver, Colorado and surrounding areas. While providing loving and temporary care, the goal of German Shepherd Rescue of the Rockies is to find well-matched, carefully-screened, permanent homes and families for each dog. As a community resource, we provide nutrition information, referrals, education, and other services.
Brian’s Bite-sized Behavior Bits
The power of YES
Click here to see all of Brian’s Bite-sized Behavior Bits
Typically when people call me for training, it’s because their dog is practicing some undesirable behaviors they are looking to put a stop to. I completely understand where they are coming from. I also know that it is human nature to focus on the things that bother us. One way to train ourselves out of this – and our dogs out of their bad habits – is to use the power of YES. Before we begin telling a dog what not to do, she must understand what she should be doing instead. My challenge to you for the next several weeks is to focus exclusively on encouraging your dog when she is doing good things; you may just be surprised by how much better behaved she becomes.
Psychologically, animals function in the moment and must be given real-time information about their actions. It is usually impossible to reward a dog with food the moment she performs a desired behavior. So, if your dog complies with a “down” command but is 50 feet away and it takes you 10 seconds to walk over with her coveted piece of chicken, how can you possibly identify the specific action that earned it for her? By using a verbal “marker”, of course! Being supplied with auditory feedback (a “YES” the instant she lies down) allows her to pinpoint the behavior you like. You will achieve your training goals much faster this way because she is crystal clear about what you want from her.
The first order of business, then, is conditioning an association between the marker – the “YES” – and the food reward. There are different ways to do this but the simplest is to stand in front of your dog with a handful of yummy snacks, say “YES”, and then give her a bite-sized goodie. You’ll want to do this across two or three separate training sessions and do about 30-50 repetitions each time. Your goal is simply to establish a cause-and-effect relationship in your dog’s brain between the word “YES” and the food reward, so she doesn’t need to do anything to earn it at this stage. It is also important that you insert a momentary pause between the time you issue the marker and the time you deliver the food. In other words, start reaching your hand forward to give her a treat only after you’ve said “YES” and paused for a second.
Once this task is done, you can begin using your marker to capture and reward any behavior you desire. Every time she does something you like, tell her “YES” and then give her a treat. If she is acting naughty, withdraw your attention and pretend you aren’t aware of her existence. For example, if she starts demand-barking at you, saying in effect “Give me a treat!” you can break eye contact with her and yawn as you walk over and sit at your computer to work. When she stops pitching a fit and lies down quietly at your feet for several minutes, you can reward her once again.
A couple of things to keep in mind: make sure your marker is delivered on time (issued while your dog is practicing the wanted behavior) – the actual reward can be given several seconds later and the timing isn’t as important. Also, a “YES” is a promise for food. If you don’t have any with you, don’t say it – just tell her “good girl” and love on her a little.
The power of YES is a fundamental principle we will build on in our next installment of Brian’s Bite-sized Behavior Bits.
Content Copyrighted 2014. Brian Bergford. All Rights Reserved.