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Controversial ZG dog park video

8289 Views 36 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Deacon.dog
Why is this dog even at the dog park ??? ... good grief.

Honestly I'm not a big fan of McCann's either, generally speaking. But I have to say in this instance I'm 99.9% in agreement with what they say.

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Any trainer (Zak) who takes a dog out for training with a (d***ed) harness on is completely without merit. McCann's catch this in the video.

McCann's are correct that you must be the "go to" when the dog is stressed or over excited. It is called ADVOCATING for the dog.

McCann's are correct.. ask the dog for attention. Looking at (and interacting with other dogs through sight) other dogs IS self rewarding. They are correct that rewarding her for focused attention on other dogs is incorrect. What is he rewarding? He is rewarding her for looking at other dogs and NOT focus on the handler.

Next the dog is sniffing.. absolutely this dog is not sniffing to smell, the dog is showing stress.

The rest McCann's have their discussion spot on. Totally spot on. And NO HARNESS for TRAINING. I know you all think I am a crack pot for nixing harnesses, but they are NOT good training tools. Not at all. You cannot be clear with a harness.
Zak has followers???? If the rest of his videos are like this one.. No Wonder so many dogs are messed up.

He gets about 30% right.. but the rest is not so good. Harness. Bad Timing. Not advocating for his dog. Not rewarding for focus. Not reading his dog.
Plenty of dogs get trained perfectly well with harnesses, mine included. It's no different than training with a flat collar, really. Unless, of course, you don't understand how to train without corrections, which is all I'm getting from your little anti-harness diatribe.
You and I have been down this road before. Even the McCann's (multiple titles in agility at high levels which is as nearly purely positive as one can get in dog sport) say "lose the harness."

You are welcome to train any way you wish (as is anyone). It does not mean it will work for others or as well.

Harnesses are unclear for communication in training. If you are training using a harness you might as well not have any physical connection to the dog (during training) including outside the home (NO leash, NO harness, NO collar). Every time the dog hits the end or pulls on the leash the dog is corrected no matter what the device or training method. If, in your training, your dog never ever ever hits the end of the leash then kudos to you. Most people are not capable of that.. and most dogs as well.. regardless of your teaching method.

Even in puppy class if you have a leash attached to your dog, it is HIGHLY likely your puppy is not going to keep that leash loose.. and every time he/she tightens the leash you have just given a correction. Might as well make it clear.

In classes around my area the first class is without the dog. Everyone to a person says "no harness; no head halters" Flat Martingale is preferred to start and to teach. Dogs cannot escape (they often do from harnesses) and the control, if needed, is far better. It does not mean you yank and crank. It simply is far more clear in communication.

Not every dog in a class is a brachiocephalic breed with a thick neck where a collar might be a device you move away from AFTER the dog is trained. Most dogs and handlers do better with collars, and most good trainers (including the McCann's) nix the harness until a dog is well trained (at which point the equipment used is superfluous.
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@3GSD4IPO There's no correlation between popularity and competance. Yes, Zak is quite popular.
It's too quiet here, I thought there'd be a bazillion opinions. Me, I'm to each his own. So many people claiming the exclusive right answer, often at polar opposites.
Which makes me useless at carrying on this conversation.
Harnesses are handy for lifting dogs up and over obstacles. I use them on camping trips. For training, not my style.
This forum is not terribly active with the advent of social media. A lot of forums are pretty dead except the Antique Tractor forums.. those can be very good if you need advice or procedure to do a repair or to obtain parts.
Absolutely his dog is over threshold. He is being VERY unfair to his dog. You should advocate for your dog as a partner. He does not. I see this guy doing everything he can to CREATE reactivity in his dog. I find it a bit heartbreaking. What he does not know is hurting his dog. He has a Border Collie and they never forget.. good and bad.. and he is showing his dog he will never be the safe place, the "go to" if she has questions or is worried. He is saying to his dog as clearly as writing: "I will not help you, figure it out." Most dog will figure it out by becoming reactive (the old "If I look big and bad first you will leave" scenario).

I am willing to be the next step will be for him to start correcting the dog if she reacts.. and in this particular breed and dog it may appear to work but will further damage the relationship. The dog may LOOK obedient but will also not work with any joy or pleasure.. more of a gritting of teeth and doing it because to NOT do it is unpleasant. That is where I expect this to go and a completely inappropriate use of correction.

Absolutely in training PR and absence of R when teaching a new thing is the way to go. The object is to get the dog to first learn How to do what it is you ask, and, as part of that, to Want to do what you ask. And that works most of the time. If you start to add speed and drive switching from food to toy/ball reward there may come a time when drive over comes thinking and a simple clear correction can get the dog's mind back. IOW's you may need to introduce "have to."

PR works until you have a dog in DRIVE and the dog ceases to hear a word you say and, depending on the dog, you get completely blown off. How you handle that and the response you get depends on the dog.

Speaking of with holding reward here is a common practice in tracking:

Competition Tracking (foot step tracking) is trained using food. You start the dog using food in every footstep. As the dog progresses you start to skip food in some foot steps. Eventually you put only a few pieces of food on the track (after a difficult piece of ground.. randomly on any "leg" of the track etc.). You also train (off the track and on the track) that if the dog comes to an article (a roughly 1"x2.5" flat piece of felt, carpet, leather or wood) that the dog is to indicate the article by laying down with the article between the front paws. Most dogs don't really want to stop tracking and indicate the article as tracking is a bit self rewarding. So a common practice is to feed a much more valuable food at the article to make indication valuable to the dog.

A smart dog may figure this out. That dog may come out to training one day and SKIP tracking altogether and simply go to the article and indicate it.. essentially blowing off the tracking part to get there.

Here is how that is fixed with no corrections involved. You do not reward that indication (the dog did not do the exercise as required). You simply take the dog back to the truck or car and kennel the dog up and go on to the other two phases of training (obedience and protection). And then you do not feed to dog. At all. For three or four days. You do not track during this time. You only use toy rewards to train. No food. At. All. (talk about with holding reward!).

At the end of this time period you again set up a track, complete with two articles on the track and one at the end. Normal track in really GOOD conditions. You put one piece of food on the first leg. You have someone walking with you with the dog's bowl and normal food with them. You track the dog normally (and you have a REALLY hungry dog and you have trained the tracking with food so the dog will track). At the first article the dog will indicate (remember.. hungry dog) and at that article the dog gets their bowl with some of their food. The rest of the track rinse and repeat.. one piece of food on each leg, food bowl at the article and at the end they get to eat the remainder of their meal.

There have been NO corrections. No harsh words. Nothing except with holding what the dog wants and doing it for a LONG time. It works well. I have never seen a dog that has gone through this blow off the track again and just go straight to the article. Never seen a dog suffer ill effects of this method. Usually bothers the owner more than the dog. Most dogs don't need this method.

Yet.. this is a PR/NR method and I am willing to bet some will find it reprehensible.
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Like I said, I figured this would be the response. Others (not me) use an e collar for this (good way to ruin a tracking dog if you are not spot on with both timing and intensity.. I won't do it). It was not using Positive Punishment. It is using Positive reinforcement and Negative Reinforcement.

PetPeeve it is not a matter of food value. I wish it were that simplistic. Oh yes I do. Some people feed KIBBLE at the article which is low food value and still the dog figured it out. Kind of like a kid getting an answer in math but not showing the work as requested. "If I just do this in my head and don't show my work then it's still right?" Nope... I knew someone who used Corn Chips... yes.. corn chips. Dogs are not gold fish.. they do actually calculate the easiest way to get an answer.

What happens with the lower value at the article is most dogs will tend to not stop at all. Stopping for an article is a change in drive and thinking. For some dogs just the act of stopping at the article is stressful (even though the articles are trained off the track and all with a clicker or other marker NO corrections ever). Most dogs do not transfer the training off the track to article indication on the track. It is a LOT more complex than it sounds. So.. you train it off the track and then when you are on the track you are right behind the dog and know where the article is.. most dogs new to tracking will pass over it..so you help them with a cue at exactly the right time (platz, down, whatever your word is). Then you reward that. I use "touch" at first off the track and then use it on the track to reinforce what it is we are doing. As you continue training you use less food on the track but still must reward the article indication.. and some dogs need help for a long time. Then, one day, the dog indicates and you have said nothing. On that day when the dog's elbows hit the ground you quietly softly mark it verbally and then say your down word (because the exercise is not finished) you go up and reward the dog very well. In a trial at the end of a 33 of line you say nothing when the dog indicates. Like I said, it is way more complex than it sounds between switching drives, teaching the dog to go slow on a loose line footstep to footstep.. (pulling creates oppositional reflex.. and speed.. and speed creates missing articles and corners.. all kinds of trouble) and stopping to indicate an article that gives the dog no drive satisfaction so that is obedience.. taking the dog out of hunt drive. Then you restart the dog.. so it is back to hunt drive..

Still all taught using Positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement including the skipped meals (if necessary). Not all dogs require the skipped meals. Usually that happens with a dog that is genetically an excellent tracking dog.

Dogs are started tracking at 8 weeks old. Some people feed the dog's entire meal on the track on tracking days when the dog is a puppy and they use a LOT of food. I feed raw so that does not work well for me.
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So. Typically speaking. A dog that blows off a track (which has been occasionally and lightly reinforced) to head straight for an indication (which has been constantly, and heavily reinforced) is miraculously fixed by either 1. starvation, or 2. use of an e-collar.

Incredible miracles do actually happen, and creative skills are severely limited in your IPO world. Those are my conclusions.
No. You have it wrong entirely.
Tracking is started with food in every foot print. Short, straight tracks and NO PRESSURE on the collar. If you put pressure on the collar your dog will pull (oppositional reflex). You train with NO pressure on the collar or you will create a dog that pulls and goes fast.. and that can cause the dog to miss corners and articles. If your dog goes fast anyway you add things like serpentines or you make tracks with more corners (you NEVER put food on the corner even training.. but by the time you do corners your puppy is doing straight tracks very well).

As time goes on you start to pick up food. By the end of the first YEAR your dog should go 20 - 30 paces with no food and have the beginning understanding of stopping to indicated articles. In difficult conditions you up the food reward. In easy conditions you lower it. When to start picking up food is always a challenge.. some dogs sooner than others and you need to pay attention.

The dog that blows off the track and goes straight to the article is a dog that is very very seasoned. I tend to use a bit more food a bit longer than some people. I ALWAYS use food in training. My little Miss who blew off the track in favor of the article was coming 4 years old and had titled to a IPO 2. We are headed for our "3." The track she blew off had food on it. This was purely taking a short cut on the dog's part.

It does happen, usually with smart dogs that are good tracking dogs. That is the solution frequently used (no food for a few days and making the track very valuable to the dog). This same dog LOVED tracking. She had hunt drive beyond real. She was also very very smart. After the one incident she simply connected the dots and never blew off a track again.

She tracked in 4 inches of moving water (and that was an entire IPO 3 level track.. fields had 3-4 inches of water and it was MOVING. Dogs were failing right and left. We went out and I looked at her (pouring rain) and she looked up and I said, "Baby dog, you've got this!" She did. Banged out a 90. Would have scored higher but the water was cold and a bit deep and she got to the articles and had to lay down.. you could see her thinking.. " I don't want to lay in that cold water" but she did. That slow indication cost points. I did not care. She equaled the score of the National Champion. After that she was in a tracking championship. World class competitors. She beat them all and won the trophy. Seemed to know it too. We all had Pizza after and so did she. Because I am so mean to my dog... ha!

I Looked at other Zak videos. I cannot believe he has so many followers. Really. Just left me SMH.
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Umm .. thanks? ,, for the long-winded O/T diatribe that still doesn't add up. And also regaling us with tales of your personal glory days as well. Nice.

You use four days of starvation and claim that it fixes your dog. I use an understanding of reinforcement value to fix mine. We're obviously different. I feed my dogs every day regardless of ribbons or training mistakes, and I know I'm quite comfortable putting my head on the pillow every night. You, I can only surmise your moral standpoint and how you might fall asleep, at best.

Anyway, moving on. THIS is more on topic. Sort of. It's a step in the right direction at least, although I was never intending to tear the guy down entirely.

Hey, here's an ugly afterthought. Maybe someone could start a youtube training channel with starvation as the basic premise, and see how many faithful followers they get.
Actually, most training IS based on short term witholding food or, if you prefer the word, "starvation."

Most R+ trainers want your dog to come to class hungry and often the advice is "do not feed <breakfast> <dinner> prior to class.. so the ONLY difference is duration.

(TRUE starvation takes a lot longer than witholding food for 4 days).
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