Human Disagreements About Training Style


Experienced Member
If u figure out how to use the commands on ur BF let me know. LOL at the freeze ray.

Yes the joys of elk barking. I got that bagged. The deer still freak when she barks while the elk just stare at her with a sarcastic expression and continue eating. So we did deer debarking some more just now which went pretty good. I see lots more elk than deer so we're not as practiced at them.

Hearing a huge pack of coyotes singing brings them both to amazed inquisitive silence. That's about the time I bring my little glow in the dark golden predator mcnuggets inside and away from the pack of soon to be hunting coyoodles as I call them. we have lions here but supposedly no bear. foxes use our potty area at night but usually the night critters carry all that off. So i pick up all doggie poo too so as not to attract a buffet. I have night vision surveillance cameras and catch the darnedest things. i'm not sure what some them are but they are gopher/woodchucklike creatures some with big ears like rabbits but they don't hop. Needless to say night walks are prefaced by much lighting and human voice and bustle and a can of mace. Elk no like retriever field whistles...hope the neighbors don't figure out who's doing that. :dogtongue2: otherwise they won't leave and they are very dangerous. but when puppy's gotta go she's gotta go. they totally won't shy from a human because they know we are harmless and weak. I hit one on the nose with a pinecone from the door one night and it just looked at me like I was kidding. The whistle from the window behind him and he left a hole where he peeled out...heheheh


New Member
and i can just see that fox too, hehe. speaking of practice... we live in the city. the other day we came across some rabbits. lol, totally unprepared for that. i don't know when we'll ever get the chance to practice rabbits again... oh man. haha. maybe we will, tho. we've got a lot of protected land around our city. for a small dog, lily is pretty sporting, so i'm getting back out there for some day hiking. we've learned now about cows, horses, and deer too. i worry a little bit about the deer - hehe, i think they'll eat my dog. my mom gets them in her backyard. i should probably read up about rattle snakes and walking with a dog come to think of it, gack.

this is very bad of me to say, but training my boyfriend is so much harder than training my dog. he's so reluctant to lead, but he won't be led either, lol.


Honored Member
Staff member
The Cesar discussion has many times over been run into the ground, but nonetheless I must join...

As a former Cesar fan and supporter, I understand that many people see him as a wonderful behaviorist. I respectfully but strongly disagree. I do think that his heart is in the right place. I know he has helped many dogs, which is wonderful. But the fact of the matter is, his methods ARE harsh and overly dominant.

Example: It was either a terrier mix or a pom in the episode I'm thinking of...had to have daily medication for ears I believe, and the dog was VERY aggressive when owners tried to medicate.
The positive trainer's response would be: Create a positive association with the whole experience, starting with breaking the pattern the owners had started(bring out bottle, chase him around, etc), perhaps maybe getting him to take interest in the bottle itself so he understood that there was nothing scary about it. Get him used to having his ears handled peacefully, and slowly accumulate him to having his ears medicated.

Cesar's response: Dominant body blocking--forcing him to different areas of the room until he had him cornered. Use hand to mimic the jaws of a domineering dog, firmly grasp neck as a dominant wolf would latch onto a lower-level wolf's neck. Pin him down, an alpha roll if he fought and got away, and then hold him to the ground and administer medicine. The only reason the dog stayed down was because he was so stressed out by the whole experience that he shut down. Is this a happy dog who will readily accept medication? NO.

As the owner of a fear aggressive dog, when you try to use dominant Cesar-like methods to correct fear aggression, you escalate the problem. Let's take my own dog, Zeke, for example. He's been extremely timid since the day I brought him home at 3 months old, despite careful socialization throughout his life. Now 4 years old. Original response to other dogs was to flatten himself to the ground and appear as submissive as possible. After being attacked(not serious, but frightening for him of course) by another dog around 1-2 yrs old, Zekers became fear aggressive. With timid dogs like Zeke, it's pointless to try to dominate him into accepting other dogs. If you alpha roll a submissive dog because he is trying to defend himself(even if he doesn't have to), he starts to think something along these lines:

--This dog could attack me, so I need to defend owner just "attacked" me, can't trust her either.
--I'm scared and my "PACK LEADER" is forcing me to accept a scary situation that I'm not ready for. She must not be my alpha if she'll lead me into danger.
--I don't trust this dog and my owner dominates me when I try to defend myself. Since she's acting aggressively too, then there must be some REAL danger here and I need to try harder to defend myself.

With fear aggressive dogs, a POSITIVE approach gets much better results. The dog learns that other dogs(or people, or whatever the issue is) aren't all that scary, and he doesn't have anything to defend himself from. Not only that, but he creates a positive association with the scary thing. Trainer helps create the mindset that DOGS(or other scary thing)=FOOD or in Zeke's case, SCARY THINGS=YAY TENNIS BALLS!!!!!! Or even that accepting a scary thing means that you get to leave it. Sometimes the best reward is getting to leave a scary situation.

On the subject of alpha rolling and scruff shaking, the idea just doesn't make sense. In the wild, a dominant wolf will alpha roll or latch onto another's neck not to WARN them, but to KILL or exile them. Wolves don't give these as WARNINGS, they give them as last resorts, that's it, all-hell's-breaking-loose, no more putting up with you messages. Recently one of our members, Dat123, had a bit of a confrontation in agility with his very well-trained Border Collie. His sit-stays were flawless everywhere but in front of an agility course. A class member offered to help and gave the dog several rough scruff shakes if he broke his stay. The result: Talin still wouldn't sit-stay, and his obsession with agility was thrown out the door. Talin could care less about that stupid agility course because he now had a negative association with it. He refused to do anything the rest of the day. He shut down. His demeanor remained this way well into the next day if I remember correctly. I'll get a link to the thread if you'd like.

With overly dominant techniques that rely on the alpha theory, the end result is a dog who acts "properly" because he's scared to receive a correction. He may not show it in his body language at all, but he's not doing the right thing because he wants do--he's doing it because if he doesn't, someone's going to give him a correction of some kind.
With positive techniques, the dog ENJOYS doing the right thing. Dogs are what's-in-it-for-me animals, and if they're receiving something(praise, treat, toy, etc) for doing something good, then they are more than happy to do it constantly. They want to do what you're asking of them, and they like doing it.

I've used both techniques with a variety of behavior problems--dog herders, barkers, leash pullers, dog aggression, people aggression, car chasers, etc...and I've gotten consistently better results out of dogs trained with positive techniques. I would never, ever go back to traditional methods and now quite frankly I can't stand them.

My apologies if I got carried away. :dogblush:


Experienced Member
I hear ya TXCG. I keep watching because I want to know what is being said but inwardly I cringe and even say insulting thing to the tv. Not too nasty b/c i don't want to upset my two sleeping dogs. They don't watch the show because they know the real story. It really bothers me to see all the restraint and flooding and cornering and forcing to submission. This calls to mind the south American rodeos that they are trying to change where thy hook spurs into the horses rib cages to hang on and break them. and it's not professionals-it's a bunch of locals that know nothing about horses that make extra money and compete with one another. So many people I meet ask me if I watch the DW no matter what when I have my dog with me or they come to my home. Yes I do and I don't train that way, I train with positive means. Is usually enough to stop a longer discussion about how I should treat my dog sitting at their feet wagging her tail. Treat her for what?? Does that lump of honey butter look like she needs treatment for anything? :dogtongue2:

I think of my shy dog in hands that hurt or force her and it makes me shiver. She trusts me so completely now and she's come so far that I would never do any of that to her or allow anyone else to. she doesn't go out of the room at the vet when i'm there. been there done that mistake too. Would I ever let Cesar touch my dog?? noooooooooooo SSHT Cesar!! ShhhhTTTT!

This Cesar point may have been hacked around a lot but new people to dog training and new to the forum may not have seen it and I think it helps us all to see different perspectives. So don't worry that you got carried away. If someone wasn't talking about it then the people new to seeing DW wouldn't have that different perspective to help them decide the best way for their dog.

As for dogs and meds--it just never needs to go there...most of this stuff never has to go to that level if ur dog trusts you.


New Member
so... my best friend is fearful of dogs, but won't admit it and can't see it. he goes rigid and glares, not knowing how tense he is and thinking he's being wisely watchful. he's fear-aggressive himself. when he holds out his hand to let a dog come to him, even leaning back, he's threatening. he's bullying using friendly techniques. it's a weird conundrum.

i didn't know lily was shy, you know, until i had her home for a bit. not that i'm god's gift to dogs - i'm sure we won her confidence accidentally because my boyfriend is so slow, lol. we stood outside her playpen for a long time, dithering, before looking in. but she came home and we started going out, and i started seeing it. and it wasn't just folks like my best friend. all these genuinely confident, positive people - pet professionals too - would just scare the wits out of her. they wouldn't, for example, really let her come to them. they'd hold the hand out for her to approach, but then be scooting forward surreptitiously. friendly, but still anxious.

i feel one training truism is quite true - a lot, if not most, of the work you'll have to put into yourself. techniques will only go so far in hiding any anxiousiness you have. i like going to see a trainer. i can teach my dog tricks, but i can't see myself. i need someone to observe me and teach me tricks.


Experienced Member
it is sooo helpful to have someone knowledgeable watch for me too. they catch all kinds of confusing things i don't. alternatively i video myself and see all kinds of things i do with bad timing or things i can't see from my position so near the dog and above that the camera catches 10 feet away.

weird indeed about ur friend. and it's a serious fear for many people. i hear it’s very easy to overcome with a practiced therapist fairly quickly. lots of guys esp and girls too won't do that tho. my brother would die before he went to a doc about his phobias. i tend to want to solve them and get on with things. he also constantly complained about his dogs but never trained them either. another conundrum the search for mind reading dogs. :)


New Member
had a friend in high school. he could have used a mind-reading dog. he was trying to teach his dog to sit and would complain, "what's wrong with this dog!" well, one day i was watching him do this, and i was like "hmm. do me a favor and just put your hand behind your back." yes, and voila presto, the dog sat. he used to put the hand with the treat behind his back. mwahaha!

yeah, lots of people give therapy a wide berth. having a therapist can bring on discrimination against you some places, or make it out like you're some kind of failure. i'm from california, tho, where people look at you funny if you don't have a therapist. having one is an advantage in the quest for success. a phobia doesn't necessarily mean what people think it does. like my best friend - he's not afraid in that he thinks my little dog can take him down. he more has a reactive flinch that has nothing to do with his thoughts, so he's not quite aware he's put it out there.