Updating practices
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Thread: Updating practices

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Updating practices

    So touching a dog and it's food is not a good idea and having to go first through doors is not necessary. Although you do want to be able to trade for something the dog should not be eating and it is good to practice the dog waiting at a door for safety.
    What other things are either bad practice or not necessary?
    Should I be eating first? And keeping the dog on a lower level physically?
    Are there other things widely taught that are not helping?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member PatriciafromCO's Avatar
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    Re: Updating practices

    I think dogs do well learning structured routines that living in a household has rules, as puppies or when they first arrive at your house as an older dog. And for dogs that have never learned structure or new owners that don't know what to do .. Nothing In Life Is Free has some great ideas of things to do and how.

    My dogs have a free for all, and my husband is even worse with breaking all the rules of what he encourages them to do .. It doesn't change them from their first learning.

    I was taught not to mess with a dogs food for meal times, and that you never use their meals as training.. just let them eat in peace and if anything stops food aggression is a dog learning he is safe during meal times.

    My breed is pron to being food aggressive, so I am not offended by , I start them off in a safe place to eat in peace. The older adult I brought in he started off very food aggressive , even for an empty pan to guard over it. Me leaving him alone and not going to pick up the pan until he was off doing something else is the way I handled it. He's been here 3 years with me and without training or trying he is not food aggressive when it comes to me.. He learned it's not necessary. Lots of things the dogs don't learn is just from not teaching them being defensive is necessary

  4. #3
    Senior Member Canyx's Avatar
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    Re: Updating practices

    There's too much to go into for one post. But on a very general note, dogs do what is rewarding for them and avoid what is unpleasant for them. They make IMMEDIATE associations only. That's it (in a very small nutshell)! If any trainer tells you to do something to appear as 'more of a leader', it's not scientifically correct. Don't get me wrong... dogs have emotions and things like setting boundaries, being consistent, controlling resources, etc. are still important! But it's easy to take 'bad behavior' personally and that's where some trainers play off of people's emotions rather than giving sound advice. Here are some common examples:

    Myth: Dog doesn't come when called at the dog park. Dog is stubborn.
    Fact: Dog really enjoys playing with other dogs. Dog is not motivated by your calling, your praise, or maybe not even your treats in that moment.

    Myth: Dog bolts through the door when you open it. Dog is acting as the leader by going through first.
    Fact: Dog really wants to go outside (to play, sniff, pee, run around, etc.) and has not been taught that waiting for permission is equally as rewarding.

    Myth: Dog jumps on people to exert dominance.
    Fact: Dog really wants to greet people and has learned that jumping up is rewarding. Human reactions (yelling, pushing, glaring, etc.) are forms of attention.

    Myth: Dog looks guilty when I come home and there is trash everywhere. Dog knows he did something wrong!
    Fact: Dog enjoys tearing up trash. Dog learned through prior experience that when person comes home and trash is on ground (association), person gets angry. Dogs will act to avoid discomfort. The "guilty" look is all appeasing behavior. Dog does not associate your punishment or scolding with the act of getting into the trash. If that worked, why would the dog still 'go into the trash then act guilty'?


    Myth: Dog is being spiteful about being left alone since he pees on carpet when I'm gone. He never does this when I'm home!
    Fact: There are many possibilities... One, dog may be anxious about being alone. Anxious dogs pee, among other things. Or, dog has been punished for peeing inside. Punishment only happens when someone is there. When dog soils but no one is there, it is safe (and rewarding, since relief comes with peeing). Dog learns to hide accidents.
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  6. #4
    Senior Member Lillith's Avatar
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    Re: Updating practices

    One thing you need to remember is that dogs know humans are not dogs. The things you might see another dog doing to communicate to another dog in no way, shape, or form mean you should do that to your dog, because it won't mean the same thing. So when trainers tell you "be the Alpha" or "be the leader" it really isn't giving you any useful information.

    Like Canyx said, dogs do what gets them what they want. Dogs climb on furniture because its comfy and perhaps they want to be near you. They don't want to take over your household or be "on a higher level" than you. The human eating first is completely unnecessary. They'll still want what you have, haha, but whether the human or the dog eats first means nothing to them! They just want food.

    That doesn't mean you shouldn't have rules, though. Having the dog wait at the door is good because then they won't charge out and into the street or something. Not jumping is good because they won't knock people down. You just have to teach the dog that waiting at the door gets treats, and perhaps the leash that means a walk. Not jumping and having paws on the ground means attention, and perhaps treats. Remember, the dog will do what gets him what he wants!

  7. #5
    Senior Member CptJack's Avatar
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    Re: Updating practices

    The real heart of it is exactly what Caynx said: Dogs do what is rewarding for them, and avoid what is pleasant and unpainful. In truth, not just dogs - every living organism on the planet works this way. There is no situation that you can't apply this to. Figure out what you want the dog to do, figure out what the dog finds rewarding and gain control over the dog's access to it, and the sky is the limit.
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  8. #6
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    Re: Updating practices

    Not that this comment (#3) needs my "seal of approval" (not my intention) it is phrased very well! Absolutely dogs learn by association (good or bad practices). Owners can get confused whenever they assign "human emotions" to a dog's state of being (just as you've described). Another person who comments frequently on this forum, would add, it's about prevention. Don't create the occasion that leads to an issue (an unwanted learned behavior, often arising from defense, fear, anxiety, aggression). Routine is a very helpful adjunct because the natural instinct for dogs to survive is the use of routine, which is (obviously) the repetition of the same kinds of "cause & effects."

    "Leader" and (heaven help us all) "Pack" (especially when linked together) are truly hot button words on this forum because the application of them has been entirely misused by a "celebrity trainer." However, the natural behavior of dogs, in a group setting, is to recognize a system of hierarchy. Which is done for safety and efficiency. Most dogs do not want to be the leader, and are more stable in the position of following the lead of a naturally dominant dog (this ONLY means being confident, folks ... not aggressive) because that kind of dog possesses the skills to be used in the best interests for (or purpose of) survival of the group. Therefore an owner/handler needs to assume this role, so the dog will be responsive in learning to take common sense direction. But really, another word for this relationship - means TRUST.

    Owners should always be building trust with their dogs. Which is best done through positive and rewarding communication!
    Last edited by Pacificsun; 06-12-2019 at 05:50 PM.

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