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Help with Assistance Dog

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Reese Havoc

982075
 
 
Barked: Sun Apr 19, '09 7:07pm PST 
I was looking into getting an assistance dog for myself when I ended up rescuing Havoc from a bad situation. I noticed in him a natural "caretaking" attitude so I looked into training him as my assistance dog. Most people laughed and told me I couldn't train a husky, but I know he has it in him. I also tried to find someone to help me with the training as my health problems can sometimes, well, be debilitating but all the different places wanted to keep him for several months and I know Havoc and I could not stand to be seperate for that long. So I'm hoping some of you more experienced Husky owners could help me with a few issues.

1. He sometimes pulls when he is suppose to heel. He at the very least always wants to walk in front of me instead of by my side. We've tried gentle leaders but he doesn't like anything on his face. I don't blame him I don't like it either. Right now we use a martingale collar.

2. When he gets loose outside he plays "you can't catch me mom" games rather than come inside..ESPECIALLY if he finds something of interest (i.e. dead animals, squirrels). This is particularly bad now that its warmer and he plays this game. I will be outside for an hour or more chasing him and I can't be in the sun so I end up sick and exhausted. I don't want him to have to be tied or kenneled all the time outside, he stays in the yard. He just doesn't let you catch him.

3. I don't know what to use as a reward because he has stomach issues so he never wants treats. I try to reward him with positive praise but this means nothing to him when he's getting away with being naughty. For example. He has to be calm in public, which he is, but in a new, busy situation it takes time before he settles into it. Particularly if we are outside (I've already mentioned his fondness for squirrels) but I can't get him to pay attention to me when nothing works as a "reward" for good behavior.

4. Any tips on short term seperation anxiety? I crate him when I leave and he doesn't go with me, but if I step out of the room or when I'm at work an have to run across the street he flips out and howls and destroys stuff. He runs around to the different doors and windows trying to find me and if it takes me longer than a few minutes he still doesn't settle down until I get back.
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Ginger- M.I.A.

my first and- finest
 
 
Barked: Sat May 30, '09 8:23pm PST 
most of this sounds like classic husky stuff...
they love to play chase, and love to run. it's why they're good at their job, pulling a sled. same goes for pulling on the lead, it's just natural. especially for a dog that has already learned to pull.
and besides, "heel" can be the hardest command to teach to a lot of different dogs, not just huskies. it's not something dogs want to do.
I think that you can probably overcome these, but it depends on how "perfect" he needs to be to become an assistance dog. Depends on the kind of assistance... Even dogs of breeds that are well-suited to assistance work flunk out all the time.
Maybe try a different training method, or take him to dog school for some practice in the basics?
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