Mirror Method?


Honored Member
Staff member
I haven't watched the vids yet, so this response is strictly on the girl's article referring to the method.

I would agree to an extent.
If Zeke were with a submissive, frail person, his fears would be more severe, he would probably have more fears, and his fear aggression would likely be more than it ever was. (Currently he hasn't had any remnants of fear aggression in probably about a year or more.)
On the other hand, if Z were with an aggressive person(not just dominant...aggressive), he would still be submissive, but his fear aggression would escalate greatly. He would probably actually be more submissive, but with more severe and more frequent fear aggressive outbursts.

When I worked at Petsmart, we had a very aggressive (pardon my French) ASS who had a Shepherd mix. The Shepherd mix was very sweet, but extremely unsure of himself, and therefore a little unpredictable. The owner wanted him to be aggressive(what a dumb ass) and tried to encourage him to bite, lunge, bark, generally be mean. When brought to the salon I was asked to help(lucky me). A lot of his aggression was fear based---because of his owner's aggressive nature, the poor dog really didn't know who to trust and just lunged at everyone. So naturally it was very hard to get him groomed. We did get him washed, safely, and he calmed down some. But for the brushing, nail clipping, ear cleaning, etc, he had to be muzzled. He just didn't trust us to be so close to him, and touching him so much. (We ended up skipping the nail clipping and ear cleaning, and much of the brushing...he was so stressed.) By the time we were done, even though he was stressed, he was much less aggressive and even almost relaxed around us.

The minute his owner walked in the door he was barking and growling and scared.

So...definitely say our own behavior impacts our dogs. :)

(And by the way....we refused to groom him again, for both the dog's safety and ours. But boy did I want to take him home. :dogsad:)


Staff member
Unlike tx_cowgirl I got to read and watch the videos. Yay snow day!

I would say I'm on the fence with this. Yes, our behavior affects our dogs but it is to an extent. It is the whole nature v. nurture debate. Just watch how different dogs react to different people. Watch how different people act around different people! If a dog is born with weak nerves no amount of training, love, compassion or anything else will get that dog to develop better nerves. My own boxers are the story with this. They both have weak nerves and while one is allowed around people, Isis on the other hand is never going to be around people that aren't immediate family because of her weak nerves. Just letting her just barely see someone a mile away is enough to cause her to panic and act aggressive.

While by nature a dog with strong nerves can have them weaken by a traumatic event. Kratos is like this. When he was a pup we got him used to gun firing, loud bangs, thunder, we even played within 50ft of fire works going off. Normal dogs would have freaked. Kratos however has strong nerves but I had my niece over one day and now he is terrified of her. Why? She dropped a pot in the kitchen while he was in the living room with me. It was something we didn't expect but it was enough to frighten him.

On the second part of their method- Training. Every dog need training in my mind. A dog that isn't trained is usually very unhappy, very bored and most of the time in trouble with the family. Training also strengthens the bond between us.

The third part of their method- Use natural instincts. I have also found it easy to get a dog to do something that is more natural to them. For my mastiff it is easier for them to guard. When I'm walking them at night when I tense up and put a hand on their sides I want them to get a little more aggressive and tense. They are guarding me. It isn't easy or natural to train an aloof dog to be like a golden retriever. My boxers love it fetch and chase, easier to teach a retrieve harder for impulse control. My bull mastiff hates hates hates water. However he will swim when asked because I taught him that if he goes in he gets his tug rope aka the greatest thing in his life besides his mom therefore more natural.

For a hyper dog it is easy to teach them to run along with you or fetch or grab something, not so easy to teach a consistant stay. For a mellow dog it is opposite, easier to teach a stay then to get them bouncing all over the place. But this is our job as trainers and owners to try and figure out what way works better for our dogs. Some work better with a toys, others with a treat and others with just praise. We have to adjust for the dog and not get into a cookie cutter method for everybody.