Human Disagreements About Training Style

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by greatpryeneesmum, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. greatpryeneesmum New Member

    Hello everyone!!

    Has anyone one here had to deal with differences of opinion (between new puppy parents) about what style of training should be used with their new puppy?

    We have recently put a deposit down on our Great Pryenees pup (pick up in November) and I have spent countless hours reading about different training styles. I really wish to go with positive reinforcement but my hubby is a believer in Cesar Milan and the like.

    How did you prove the benefits of positive vs dominance?

    Thanks in advance!!!!

  2. Jean Cote Administrator

    It comes down to personal preferences. If you learn how both operate, and practice both methods, you will be able to make a better judgment as to which one you believe to be more appropriate with your dog.

    The funny thing about dog training, is that every dog training will tell you his way is the best way. It's true! Otherwise they would change their ways. :)
  3. ruffmuttk9z New Member

    Positive and Dominance are not two different styles of training. Positive Reinforcement is a form of training while Dominance is simply a term to describe 'letting your dog know who is boss' basically. Both can be used successfully together or alone, depending on the dog. The important thing to remember is that not. every. dog. learns. the. same. I have dogs that I can't even raise my voice at and others that I could beat with a baseball bat before they'd listen to me. I'm NOT saying I beat him, just giving an example for the sake of explanation. Each and every dog will respond differently to different training styles. For everyday 'for your own safety' stuff, I require my dogs to comply because I said so, basically. There are no rewards, only punishments (typically a raised voice works for my dogs). These behaviors include NOT running out front doors, NOT chasing cars, NOT lunging at strangers, etc, etc. The stuff that is for my dogs' own safety. Everything else is training positively using a clicker and treats. I own 10 dogs of my own and have 14 fosters. I have no choice but to 'gain dominance' over them or all heck would break loose. They know I am boss because I am the only way they get what they want. They only go in and out when I say. They only eat when I say, etc, etc. You don't have to flip dogs on their backs and jerk them around on prong collars to get them to understand who is the boss. It's all a matter of making all of the important resources be accessible ONLY through YOU.
  4. greatpryeneesmum New Member


    First and foremost, thank you for not flaming me on my first post. So many times I have posted in forums and the readers loose it because, well, I don't know why they loose it. Maybe they don't except new people joining their group that have, in their opinions, only stupid questions to ask. Not here!! And again, I thank you.

    On with my post.......We sat down last night and agreed to use the pups personality to determine what training style is needed. The breed we've chosen is not necessarily known to be treat motivated or even toy motivated but I've seen at least 2 pry that were. Therefore, before I put the cart before the horse, we'll let the pup decide and grow along with him (and grow and grow and GROW....).

    Thank you for the replies and those links. You have helped beyond measure.

    I expect that the next 10+ years are going to be very busy, exciting, scary, happy, discouraging, enlightening, humbling...... and I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I plan to subscribe to the Classroom portion of this site and introduce our pup as soon as he arrives Nov. 8th. Until then, thank you all and when I have a question, you all will be the first I'll ask.


    P.S. To the owner of this site,
    My most sincerest thank you goes to you. I have been to so many advise/training dog sites and by far, you have created the standard they should aspire to be. Great design, graphics, use of colors and the content, AWESOME CONTENT.
  5. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Good luck to you and your hubby with the pup. ^^ You do indeed need to be the dominant one, but as we've stated, you don't have to roll your dog or use any painful methods. :) Positive reinforcement doesn't have to be just toys or food. Praise can be his only reward if that is all that is motivated by. And that's okay. =)

    There are at least 2 treats that I know of that even non-food motivated dogs like. One is a roll of dog food(looks like a sausage roll) and you can buy these for sure at Petsmart and PetCo. You simply use pieces of the roll. Pet Botanics and Nature's Recipe both make these. All natural.
    The other is a freeze-dried beef liver treat that comes in a blue tub(3 pounds or 5 pounds). It's a bit pricey, but will last you forever and most dogs go crazy for it. I just started trying this with my 100% toy motivated BC/ACD and he loves it. I can start using this for luring tricks now, which is great because it's a bit hard to lure with a tennis ball when he doesn't want to follow the tennis ball. Lol!
  6. snooks Experienced Member

    i am a positive trainer with a traditional background (punishment based). i'm currently taking a karen pryor clicker class which is different and great. why change?? i stayed open minded and tried all. the best thing about positive is that there is no downside. rewards don't have a bad side unless u hand them out for nothing. punishment, dominance, intimidation do work but they have a downside. fear, aggression, etc. if u are unsure of the possibility of this go visit a shelter and ask to see fearful dogs. i have one that isgenetically shy. punishment does not work well. positive taught her agility, rally, her cgc certigication, service dog 4 me, and freestyle. i also fostered a petrified foster that was petrified of collars. wonder why.. :(

    good news is that foster is a happy dog in a forever home today when she was unadoptable before.

    i disagree a little with my spouse too. how about a contest teaching with clicker vs punishment. not anything extreme but i bet u and ur clicker win at anything that doesn’t involve cowering like down. pick something a little complicated and fun like a roll over or shake.

    think too of all the service dogs out there. can u imagine anyone dominating them into taking clothes from the wash and putting into the dryer? hard eh? go to the professionals with degrees and see how they teach, all positive. look at the ongoing research at vetmed teaching hospitals-positive. is it right for u?? gotta try. :) the latest research is currently centered on the discovery of how small aversive can be to poison a cue. even a very slight leash tug has been demonstrated to cause negative effects, less compliance, less attempts at compliance.

    dr Nicolas Dodman wrote a new book with loads of references that might lead u to good resources it's called the well adjusted dog.

    pyr's tend to be very independent because they are bred to think for themselves and guard livestock in the absence of humans. if you engage the breeding traits of your dog to work WITH u to get what u want u'll be more likely to get what u want = what the dog wants. i have Goldens so i use their desire to fetch to enforce comes or shape a go to mat etc.

    i try to remember too that man spent thousands of years breeding dogs to be submissive to him. we don't really need to dominate them at this point they are already primed to please us and i would rather have a wiggly dog dying to please than one that might get even a little worried about me.

    i liken dominating an independent dog to dominating a usually get rebellion at some point in spades. one thing to agree on tho very soon, hopefully before getting puppy us to agree on basic training style & method. as w/kids dissention creates confusion. how about enrolling in a puppy class to get exposure to what training is out there and ever important socialization. that's how i learned AND it was fun. good luck with ur new pup!!

    No criticism implied just some info that will help u make decisions I hope.
  7. jeepdog New Member

    Here's my .05 cents.....(thats all I can spare in this economy)

    I believe there is a time and place for dominance like when your dog aggressively tries to bite. My method is to put them on their back and hold them there till they are relaxed and submissive. At this point let them up and praise them for relaxing and stopping the unwanted activity. Again the only time I think dominance is warranted is in extreme situations and end it on a good note. I have only used dominance on Grady twice since we adopted him and both have been for biting. If you are ruff housing with the dog and he nips this is handled by saying no bite and stop the play session.

    When you talk training I believe positive, treat, clicker reinforcement is the way to go. Remember you are trying to get your dog to do some thing for you. There are alot of thing that go into training voice, body actions, patients, patients and then some more patients. Training should always be a positive experience atleast for the dog. It can and will be frustrating at times but the rewards of a trained dog are priceless. If the you get frustrated during a training session your dog can tell and you should either end the session or go on to something he knows so you and your dog feel good about the training.

    Don't forget to throw in FUN in the next 10 years.
  8. lurchergirl New Member

    That's exactely when dominance is a very dangerous thing to use!!! Dominance will only teach the dog that they are obviously right to mistrust you and it will cover the behaviour up, but not cure it! So your dog will now not give you any warning anymore when he is uncomfortable, but will simply bite without warning! A very dangerous situation! Treating aggression with aggression creates in many cases very unpredictable dogs!


    PS. Forcing a dog onto their back is an extremely aggressive act towards a dog. A dog would only do that if they intended to kill or seriously hurt the other dog! Imagine how your dog must feel... Submission (rolling on back) is voluntary and not forced onto a dog... unless... as above! So definitely not something I'd want to do to my dog.
  9. snooks Experienced Member

    I've personally seen alpha rolls and return aggression catastrophically backfire. That's the reason I recommend not doing it. Return aggression escalates the situation and depending on the reason for the aggression, especially fear based aggression, this can ensure future problems. Even so far in the future that you may have forgotten. A fear aggressive dog is like a time bomb, the trigger can be so minute that you would never see it coming. It is solvable with positive training and you have to put time into it.

    If the dog is frightened enough to bite you then scaring him more will make the problem much harder to solve. And he'll believe he's very right not to trust and defend himself from a threat. Rarely are dogs truly predatorily or anger aggressive unless they've been horribly abused, trained for aggression, or have a mental imbalance. In a fearful situation I can only see an alpha roll getting someone bitten again or solidifying the dogs deserved mistrust and still making the situation worse. I advise consulting a certified applied animal behaviorist before using any form of correction other than removal of your presence and any opportunities to bite until you get help.

    All the rehab of the Vick dogs was done with positive training. Only one was put down because it was too aggressive to rehab.
  10. snooks Experienced Member

    interesting analysis of Cesar's training on the Karen Pryor positive clicker site.

    flooding, dominance issue
  11. tazman New Member

    He is Cesar Millan web site. Cesar Millan - Illusion Dog Collar and Leash Set Look at the photo of the dog dose the dog look like it about to be choke the collar under the chin is very tight and the face of the dog don't look to happy. I like to see Cesar Millan wear one I could buy it then use it on some one and then go to Prison for assault and battery but your safe with a dog. Did any one ask the dog what he thinks and feels about Cesar Millan.
    Cesar Millan - Illusion Dog Collar and Leash Set
    The Illusion Collar & Leash Dog Training Set
    This is choker collar with a different name for him it's about pain or you can ask your self would you wear this collar and let me hold the button to train you to be good. After all I like you to learn to be good and because Cesar's love you too.
    WARNING: If your dog's neck measures less than 13 inches at the base, or your dog weighs less than 18 lbs, you should NOT use the collar. The Illusion collar is not intended for puppies under one year of age. Dogs with any breathing problems, such as "pushed-in faces" that restrict breathing; dogs with trachea or throat problems, such as Pomeranians; and dogs with elongated, overly slender necks, such as Greyhounds, should NOT use the collar. Consult your local professional or veterinarian for further advice.

    Betty Davis once ask were are all the men because Cesar Millan is not one of them.
  12. lilypup New Member

    i got my dog in january from a rescue, not too long ago. she's shy. we went into the petsmart around the corner the first week, and the trainers were so good with her wary self, i signed up there for training classes. i guess the petsmart classes are positive reinforcement method, but certainly they include the firm no.

    i also watch cesar's show. what i see is that he uses treats and his whole body to communicate and the firm no too. i've seen episodes where he physically holds off attacking dogs, some of them bigger than him - and it seems to me that is basically what it has to come down to when a dog attacks.

    anyways, i went thru many different treats trying to find ones that would "motivate" her. she's totally uninterested in toys. she's fairly smart; i don't really need enticement to teach her things. i just have to show her and name it.

    the biggest issue has been her shyness. she can be fear "snarly." she'll run away or roll over soon enough, however, if that doesn't work. but in any case, she's come out a lot. the turning point was, in my opinion, my "cesaring" a dog in a pet express that attacked us. it wasn't our positive training classes. no, i didn't smack him or roll him or even hold him at bay with a foot. but i did block him and i did touch him to do it. not only did lily totally relax, the other dog stopped in his tracks and plopped himself at my feet with a big ol' dopey loving grin on his face. yes, i could have been bitten. but we were already at risk for that. at the very least it meant preventing my dog from biting, and it worked better than that.

    i think the reason positive training class wasn't the magic bullet in this area was because it's about you interacting with your dog. in class, if lily does her elvis sneer, it's about me telling her not to and her stopping. the instructor handles the other dogs. in real life, it's you, your dog, and the other dogs.

    to put it another way, i think there's more to being dominant than bossing your dog around. i think being dominant means being the one on the front line and facing danger first. you lift that burden from your dog... and it makes your dog more amenable.

    ok. just some thoughts from a person with a new dog needing a little rehab.
  13. snooks Experienced Member

    Certainly there is a great deal in being your dogs trusted protector. I resepectfully disagree about and would be very careful about stopping the sneer. This after working with my shy dog with two behaviorists. That sneer is a warning, if you train away the warning you get a dog that bites with no warning which is much worse. It is important that your dog is communicating with you her fear and terror. If you train away the symptoms you don't solve the problem you sent it underground. It may surface later without warning as fear aggression and that's how a lot of people get severely bitten.

    I also think if no treats are motivating her that she may be so over threshold that she's not eating. A dog that is relaxed will take food and eat, a dog that is over threshold will not. I often use that as my barometer to tell me if I need to give some space to whatever my dog is over threshold about. Not responding is not a good do it's a stressed dog.

    Just a little warning. A lot of the stuff Cesar does provokes a lot of dogs to bite a human for the first time in their lives....and it's Cesar. I have a big problem in particular with the way he immerses fearful dogs in situations called flooding. People don't use flooding as a therapy because it's too damaging. That's why people with a fear of flying go slow and just think about planes, then look at cartoon planes etc and work their way up. We don't strap them into a rocket and say sink or swim. People are able to reason their way around much of that but dogs are not equipped to do so.

    While what you did was a body block and mainly a benign yet calm and certain behavior it is not dominating. It is still a positive training tool. Your point of view about it may seem like you dominated but you didn't. See and the video about teaching stay with body blocks and treats in about the middle of the page. Patricia McConnell does a nice job in two parts showing this positive training method. One of the behaviorists we worked with was Lore Haug who has some videos posted on teh ARBI site.

    Rather than stopping a growl or sneer I would redirect and praise your dog or get some distance. If you concentrate on rewarding the good things you'll get results faster. I own one of those dogs that used to do that same thing and she's now a wiggly little sweetheart for new people that she used to be scared of and growl at. :dogtongue2:
  14. lilypup New Member

    hi snooks. i think i may have talked with you about this on another thread, when lily first came home. you don't have to disagree because i'm in accordance. that was the initial approach in the class. i rejected it and... cajoled the intructor away from it.

    we had our first bout of summer weather this weekend, and her responsiveness definitely took a bit of a dip. when she first came home, she was only eating about a 1/2 cup of food a day the first couple of weeks - she was definitely stressed. but praise was sufficient reward and continues to be, which i think is interesting.

    anyways tho, i did discover the lilypup is a serious carnivore. she's even iffy about liver biscuits. like a yarbo, i had to try biscuits, apple, carrots, etc. before i got around to meat, pure doggie meat jerky.

    i've heard people say cesar uses flooding. can't claim to have seen anywhere near all the show episodes, but i can't recall one where i've seen anything that looked like just throwing a dog in the deep end or that's particularly different from what is happening in our training class. lily hates the over-hand reach, for example, but we were supposed to get her used to having things overhead by, well, passing things over her head...

    yes. which is one of the reasons why i don't think i understand why cesar is called dominating. i literally copied him, mr. dominant. i certainly think it worked better than trying to stop lily from sneering. really, just the one class where the instructor did that, i could see immediately lily's tension being ratched up. but this cesar way left her her freedom to give her warning signal; it did, however, seem to show her she didn't have to be so tense all the time. and those results were also immediate.

    i think one of the things about his show, maybe, is that it features a lot of cases where owners have gotten to a scary point with their dogs. cases so bad, cesar tears up because the dogs are an incident away from being put down. his machismo and sexist cliches are idiotic really, but then again i don't suspect it takes plenty of machismo to wade into situations like that. it, however, is not needed for your routine housebreaking issues and so forth.
  15. snooks Experienced Member

    Sorry if I didn't remember our previous discussion about this. I'm past the age where I can corral all those thoughts and keep then neatly arranged. Clearly you've advanced past the stage at which I was throwing out the initial watch out for this and that's and discovered what you are comfortable with. That's great and good to hear that you are willing to say not for this dog to your trainer.

    I think very few dogs like reaching over their heads. Some come to tolerate it with no problem if it is associated with things like food. One of mine ducks a little but continues to wag and wiggle to greet and the other doesn't duck and they've had very similar training.

    By blocking the other dog you were nec being dominant-and you didn't corner him and keep advancing. That's an example of blocking done right then going over the edge too far. That's much of what usually gets Cesar snarled at or bitten. He doesn't stop when the dog says ok I stop which is what you wanted. He advances-arms out and corners the dog, leashes it with a noose style choke leash, pushes it down on the ground most often on its side, says the struggling is good, and physically restrains the dog until it gives up. This is dominant to me and it's also breaking like breaking a horse with spurs. There's another way to do it. So yes the block is similar that you did but not the same.

    I'll give you a few examples of flooding from Cesar's show in the vid link below. I watch them all because I learn something from good and bad. I also saw Cesar teach an injured terrified dog to use his front legs by lifting the back ones off the ground and luring with food. So it's not all bad, in fact that example was brilliant.

    We don't see the behind the scenes hours of what really goes on to be fair to Cesar. I do believe he's talented & have no doubt that he loves dogs and has done much for them. He does however use shock collars and hangs dogs off the ground by their collars (like the Jindo on the video) to submission. Some of his blocking is quite different than Jean Donaldson’s positive blocks and rewards. Two very similar behaviors to humans; but they send very different messages to the dogs. Jean's example on ARBI has no chance of inspiring fear.

    The basic difference in opinion I have with Cesar: I don't believe dogs dominate us or try, they surely do this amongst themselves. Are they masters of reading human body language and using their intelligence to get them what they want?? ABSOLUTELY. My dogs have all perfected the CUTE puppy look that melts me if I let it.

    What many people don't remember when they tell me to Cesar my dog (like when puppy discovered elk barking) is the disclaimer-do not attempt yourself. You don't see that disclaimer on Victoria Stillwell's show because the possibility for negative association isn't there with positive training.

    I don't agree with aversives like shock collars or hanging or alpha rolls. I've personally done an alpha roll long ago and had it backfired so bad that it literally came back to bite me years later. I just didn't know better at the time as most people don't. I've done a lot of work in the interim and understand clearly now exactly what I did wrong. I scared the living crap out of my own dog and threatened him without realizing. Thinking I was gently dominating and showing who was boss I instead terrorized my dog. He bit me years later while I was sitting down crying and seemingly weak, when I stood and said what's wrong boy in a concerned voice he bit me again very hard. I told him to lie down calmly and he did shivering, that's when I realized he was scared of me. How is that possible? I had to fix that pronto.

    My very submissive Golden girl was very food aggressive when she was a puppy b/c I took her chewies away very rudely and gave them back. Dominance had nothing to do with it. I thougth I was teaching her she could trust me to give things back but I taught her that I steal chewies. Luckily I got help and trained around it and she's now the biggest sweetie I ever had and will give me ANYTHING she has willingly because I'll trade her something better for it. She the calm dog the trainer puts between scared dogs in class to mellow things down and the example dog for training demos.

    After those episodes and many professionals later I realize my use of what I thought was a gently insistent alpha roll was really a very intense threatening thing for my dog because of the negative association he made. I switched to positive training where there is no risk for negative associations and it also works. Both methods work. But with many of the aversive trainers see backsliding in potty training, biting, redirected aggression (as seen in the video with the cat and GSD where Cesar shocks the dog and it turns and bites is owner in redirected fear aggression), fearful misread as guilty behavior and I just never want my dog to feel that way about any human (an old roomies dog used to slink away every time he came home saying menacingly "what did you do? you look guilty"). The slinking was really appeasing calming behavior the dog was sending to the human. Not submission. Aside from the sadness of it, dogs that are fearful are 99% of the reason for all bites (excepting trained bite dogs).

    We bred dogs for the last few thousand years to look as different as Chihuahua's and Danes and we've changed and bred their behavior just as dramatically to be submissive to us. I've never had a dog try and dominate me--several tested puppy limits in adolescence. Of all the breeds and circumstance, dog submissive and dog dominant dogs, not one did anything that just walking away (I refuse you attention when you do that) or redirecting positively did not fix.

    It only takes one traumatic episode to create a dog that is a loose cannon, some friends had it happen (one trainer harshly choke collar corrected their GSD), Emma Parsons who wrote click to calm had it happen with her dog Benjamin one time with one harsh trainer (who launched her career as a trainer to fix him), and I had it happen with two dogs. IMHO the risk outweighs the reward on dominance.

    One of the posters on this site is fighting courageously today to save a shelter dog where they volunteer time that was the darling of the shelter. He bit a child after being adopted and being told not to leave him alone with loads of kids and keep the excitement low for a few days since he was a new dog. He had no history of bites and was very gentle. Short story, huge family gathering-way too much excitement and he nipped a child. They not only allowed him around even more kids but upped the ante by having more people and kids around and he bit again. He's now gone from bright future to death row-that poster volunteered to pay for a behaviorist eval to see if she shelter would agree to stay the death and put some resource into rehab. The adopters of course have a large interest in not admitting blame since they are now liable for injury to two children. Even though they violated every instruction clearly listed the dog loses.

    So while we don't know what happened at the house we do know that all dogs and people can be scared into lashing out. I've punched a guy that threatened me and I'm very non violent.

    Ongoing behavioral research at all the major teaching centers shows dominance theory is less effective as a training method than positive reinforcement. Both have been around for the same number of years. The research is why every degreed ABS Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist does positive training without exception. They have the stats and tens of thousands of dog/trainer teams to back up the numbers in double and triple blind studies. Cesar's lack of degree is of no concern to me, there are many excellent non-degreed trainers. However he just doesn't have the stats the professionals do and he sure does get bitten a lot. None of my trainers has ever gotten bitten. I'm certainly not bashing him-just disagreeing, I think he has many admirable qualities. My purpose for belaboring this is just opening people's way of thinking and avoiding my mistakes. I do believe dominance is a myth.

    Thanks for the discussion-this is always a good way to bring up how different every trainer and every dog is. And is certainly a value to present differing perspectives because people learn from them. I certainly made my share of mistakes, and will continue to do so I'm sure. Hopefully tho I can head off some headaches with mistake, result, fix descriptions.
  16. lilypup New Member

    does cesar use shock collars? never heard or seen that. that's bad. hanging your pet is bad. have to say, tho, don't know that cesar was hanging the dog or the dog was hanging itself in the video.

    anyways, i do think blocking is dominant. one can try to be dominant by being domineering, bullying, but to me that's different and a mistake. in reality, bullying is a sign of weakness and will get you into fights.

    i think being dominant is being in charge and setting the hard line boundary. it's ending fights. it's being calm, cool, and collected (which is a cesar motto). i think also that you won't convince either a dog or person you're in charge if there isn't something in you says that i will make this happen and i have the power to do it. you have to be able to stand your ground, even if it does come down to physical confrontation. and i believe there's something in that attitude and surety that has a way of defusing situations before they reach violence. you know, it's like one thing people don't talk about, as to why people and dogs stay with abusive "masters," is that it's not only fear of what they will do to us. we stay because boundaries (any boundaries) are, in their own way, safer than the unknown. that has a high value to pack animals. we are compelled to attack the weak and love to obey the strong, even when we don't like it. the line between appeasement and submission is very fine.

    the other part of being dominant, i think, is providing. bullying doesn't work because it just takes away. the weak need and grasp.

    it's interesting. my boyfriend has a harder time with the lilypup than i do. he will say to me, "she's made progress!" and i will think "what is he talking about? she's being doing that all along." he wants to be friends and is afraid to make demands. he does things like plead with her to go potty, thinking he's given a command. he has been reluctant to accept her submission. he finally decided to give in to her licks, and that has changed a lot for him.

    anyways, what did you learn about that alpha roll you did?
  17. snooks Experienced Member

    Yep he uses shock collar quite frequently. They usually don't show that part on camera as much or obviously. After I read about it I started looking and it's not very obvious and usually I miss it or read later that they did it off camera. The people on the show must also sign no discuss waivers of some type so it's not well publicized though he does admit it. A lot of people use them and they work. I don't think they are appropriate for other than extreme danger like snake training which thankfully I've never had to do.

    I see blocking in two different categories;. My ex used to block and physically intimidate so my dogs would slink away. Part of the reason he's ex. :dogdry: But then the very next time they would see elk for examle they would bark. The way I learned to train blocking is a physical barrier always paired with a reward for desired redirected behavior either praise/food/play. The goal to break the lock on and get them back below threshold so they can hear and respond again. My block never implies a correction where his did-forcefully shoving, pushing, scolding, stepping on toes, drag back to the house etc.

    They might have gone away but they still wanted to bark at those elk. And they would as soon as they got the chance. So when I see a blocked dog exhibit uncertainty and stop I look at the reason they stopped. The first few times it's the novelty-after that you just become noise if nothing else is presented. Like saying sit sit sit without enforcing or reinforcing. If there's no redirect it will quit working eventually.

    To train my dogs not to bark at the elk what worked was a block and redirect; when they look to me I click treat. Look at elk and be quiet click treat. What I'm getting is a break in focus back to me then reframing the situation. The elk now means treats and praise and looking calm at elk or telling mom gets reinforced. Sitting or lying down even better, yawning blinking all click/treat because they mimic calm behavior. Like humans practicing meditation-we go through the motions to learn how to relax before we perfect it. Now they run to tell me when they see elk now instead of barking. I can always tell when they run in off the deck all excited hey come LOOK!! Then they go sit on the side of the deck near the elk. Reframing emotional response is the foundation of Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt. My fav training book for reactive dogs.

    A more block by itself doesn't reframe the situation for the dog into a happy one but a temporarily different one. Therefore the original problem is still there and the dog likely still over threshold, but now also uncertainty is there and with it the opportunity to redirect.

    A block works initially because it changes things all the sudden and the dog thinks hmmm what now? Over and over again without ever changing anything else it eventually quits working. Initially just blocking worked for me but after a bit my puppy just ran around me b/c she was faster than me and barked at the elk anyway because it was more self rewarding to see them run than to listen to me.

    If I didn't redirect with something more rewarding she'd rather bark and nothing would motivate a change. It was a learning/fine tuning thing for me that I wouldn't have picked up on as quickly if my trainer hadn't been watching what I was doing. Once they got that not barking was really rewarding and calmed down then I could fade the treats and clicker and now just go look at the elk and say what good girls telling me and maybe pets or play or treats randomly. It took a few months of 100% treat reinforcement tho b/c elk are apparently very fun to bark at. :dogmad: That's right run you big oafs RUN!!!

    The first few times you stop things for that moment and the dog doesn't really learn anything if you don't introduce variables. With positive results/reinforcement the dog learns to see the situation different emotionally. You did reframe for your dog, or began to, because she was rewarded by not experiencing the situation you blocked the other night. She realized you were there to block and therefore next time won't feel the same anxiety to sneer probably increasingly if you're consistent.

    Whole dog journal did a write up on prong collars a while back that hit home for me. A soft correction with a prong may work the first time and a few times but eventually the dog gets used to it and you must pop harder and harder. Unless a trainer is committed to popping the prong hard enough from the beginning to motivate the dog to work to avoid the consequence you set urself up to fail with that tool. I used a prong briefly and failed with it b/c I had no desire to pop it hard. So I opted for clicker heel and that worked much better.

    Many people equate aversive training with dominance as Cesar does. I don't think we can dominate without some fear or consequence, the ultimate definition of dominance. Respect is a term that seems abstract to describe desire to please. But dying to please you because its good for the dog is something I can wrap my arms around. If my dog is happy to please me because it's rewarding for her then I have the relationship as I love for it to exist.
    Does that make sense. I'm muddled today with too little sleep. :dogsleep:
  18. snooks Experienced Member

    I think we are probably thinking alike in some ways where I may say leadership you may be using the word dominance. Dominance to me implies physical consequence though it may not to you.

    From that alpha roll I learned that that's all it took to set my dog up for a miserable few years and me for a big bite. He'd jumped into the truck at the beach and knocked me aside accidently b/c he hit the door frame with his knee really hard when jumped in and bounced off me..I didn't know he was jumping in and he didn't know I was going to move as he jumped. So he thought I hurt his knee since I said hey eh-eh back out at the same moment. He jumped out and I said something like you don't jump in until you're asked and he snapped at me. I remember thinking why on earth did he do that-wonder if he hurt his leg. So sort of shocked I rolled him and softly but seriously said I am boss and you don't jump or snap. He raised his lip and I said eh! and he quit.

    He really was a perfectly behaved dog before and after that and I had no idea he had a problem. That one day sat on the deck outside and cried about some personal crisis I heard this rush and he hit me. I thought he just dorked out and ran into me. I didn't realize then that he bit me. So I stood up and asked him what was wrong and he bit me again. Probably my total lack of fear or anger shut everything down. Then I noticed the blood everywhere. Now I know and remember all his uncertain body language and lifted paw and ducked head and tucked tail, no hackles raised. All those mixed message scared dog signals.

    It all just came to me in a rush. Even though I've never hit a dog and rarely raise my voice above conversational. He was terrified. He wasn’t at all fearful of anything or anyone else and pretty bullet proof. He'd saved my life as a pup when he drove a homeless guy away that was trying to get in my truck. I felt awful and the trainers agreed that was probably it. I am the one that's always done all the training and rule setting etc because I like to and my ex didn't care to. I have pretty high standards and do a lot of pretty detailed work esp with these two now being service dogs for me.

    I never used treats or food to train back then but I did use his ball and we got around all that and I spent a great deal more time with him doing things we both liked. He was such an obedient dog that he rarely demanded time before then. So I made the time, taught some tricks and other stuff he liked that gave him confidence. And he knew what to expect from me and me from him better. This was about 20 years ago and I had never done any formal training. I switched over to positive training and treat rewards almost 5 years ago when I got my golden puppy that was fearful and which I unintentionally made food aggressive. That's when I found out what a behaviorist was and used them.

    It's different for every person/dog but the light went on and I got everything I wanted but faster with positive training and I was a lot closer to my dogs. I've been in a class or classes since then. :)
  19. lilypup New Member

    Dominance to me implies physical consequence though it may not to you.

    it crossed my mind there may be a matter of semantics here. no, dominance to me has no connotations of physical force or intimidation. i liked that link on dominance and submission, and its outline of the problem with bullying. it's really interesting - from what i've seen of cesar, i would not have said cesar has a different approach. but shock collars... then clearly there's stuff not being shown.

    lol re. the joys of barking at elk. we're working on lily's passion for birds, gophers, squirrels, and cats. it's a little bit funny, she'll do a two-foot dash and then stop like she's been hit with a star trek freeze ray or something. then she waits for her praise her word to come back to my side. she's shown me a lot of interesting things this way, but it's finally occurred to me i need to do something to make it eaiser for my boyfriend. he's not interested in nature walks. i've started differentiating between a walk and a roam with voice commands, and now i need to work on... my boyfriend to use them. lol.

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