Originally Posted by Arden
I truly have never done a forum of any kind, but I felt the need to report the results I've had with Don Sullivan's training system.
I own an 11 year old Maltese named Miss. When she was a pup, I attempted to "train" her with treats etc., but found that Miss had some wonderful manipulation strategies of her own, and I couldn't afford to hire a trainer or take classes over a number of weeks or even months.
In the last two years, Miss' behaviour had worsened. She had developed some serious behavioural problems. She's become more aggressive, barked incessantly, charged and barked at other dogs (bigger dogs), urinated in the house, licked her paws, and suffered from horrible separation anxiety. I found myself on the defensive trying to come up with ways to stop her from causing trauma to herself, and my house! Baby gates, taking her out to urinate 2 or 3 times a night, and giving treats as rewards when she was good. All band aids for a much bigger wound.
I didn't realize the root of my problem until I got Don Sullivan's training system. I was very skeptical about ordering something from an infomercial, but I figured a $70.00 loss was worth the risk if it meant putting to an end my dog's continued suffering and anxiety. I am happy to say that over her 11 year life span thus far, this is the best money I have ever spent on her.
In the last eight weeks since buying the system, my dog now walks off leash in busy downtown Toronto watching every move I make for direction. She no longer licks her paws, has not had an "accident" in the house in the last 5 weeks, she no longer cries and scratches when I leave the house, and if she does bark, she stops when I tell her to. She is socialized, knows how to greet other dogs, and is confident.
Don taught me the importance of gaining respect from my dog. He taught me how to become the pack leader in our relationship, and all of the anxiety that Miss suffered from due to her self appointed pack leader status, is now 90% gone.
Don's methods of correction never caused Miss pain and are not abusive, but the transition from pack leader to follower was a difficult one for both of us. Don's methods are not time consuming, but they do require commitment and dedication. You must be willing to see the bigger picture, and to stick with it. I learned to adjust the program to Miss' needs, (as Don suggests) and eventually downgraded her correction collar to a Martingale.
As a professional dog trainer and behaviourist, I feel the need to comment. There is no doubt that you love your dog, but unfortunately using a technique like this is not a solution for the dog, but only the human.
Behaviour problems that suddenly 'worsen' paired with Separation anxiety, aggression, licking the paws, urination in the house, etc are signs of a bigger problem, and confused pack leadership is not it. Sadly, dogs can develop anxiety disorders just as humans can and using punishment to suppress these behaviours doesn't change the underlying emotion that is deep inside, it only suppresses the dog from showing the behaviour, but he most certainly feels it.
When your dog is showing signs like this, you should never ever use punishment, prong or command collars etc. In fact, when your dog is showing signs of profound anxiety like that you need a Veterinarly behaviourist-not just a dog trainer.
See this article by world re-knowned Veterinary Behaviourist Dr. karen Overall:
Its important for the world to know that pack leadership isn't the root of the majority of dog behaviour problems. Fear/Anxiety is much more of a cause, and these dogs really need our compassionate help.