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Controversial ZG dog park video

8287 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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Thanks islanddog for posting those links. Multiple times I've watched McCann's video, Zak's original video, his reaction video, and also another video by one of Zak's peers reacting to Zak's reaction video. Whew. That's a lot of ... watching. lol

I think it's safe to say his dog is simply NOT dog park material. The problems he's struggling with now can likely be traced back to the dog's genetics, as well as typical BC breed characteristics, ... and mostly, IMO, his improper handling at puppy class, ignoring the early warning signs there, and his apparent compulsion to push his puppy through not only one set of classes but two. His pup is shown in the reaction video, at one point, trying desperately to escape by hiding behind a curtain while being chased by multiple other pups during playtime. Gasp. Needless to say, his pup is terrified, and is getting no support from her handler, as she should. These elements I've mentioned are likely what has contributed to much of his dog's current state of emotions. I won't call his basic training skills and mechanics into question, although there may be something there too.

Poorly run puppy classes, especially those which include end-of-class play time (uncontrolled free for all) or those that don't highly emphasize a total lack of pup-to-pup interactions, are a disaster waiting to happen for many unsuspecting owners and their dogs. They are generally something to avoid at all cost, unless they are run by extremely competent and knowledgeable instructors who ensure that any puppy contact whatsoever is not permitted. Well run classes will also ensure that no pup is ever bullied or put into a position that causes it to feel fearful. A positive dog-to-owner relationship should always be the sole focus. There are just far too may sizes and temperament of puppies involved to make playtime safe and a good idea. Private, selective play sessions on the handler's own time should be the way to go, if at all.

Frankly speaking, Zak hung his pup out to dry. Not only at puppy classes, but at the dog park as well. I'm not sure what other outcome aside from damage, unnecessary damage, a prudent person could ever expect from this.
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From soup to nuts; from harnesses to ... tractor parts? This thread has it all. LMAO.

Yeah. I don't see ANY correlation between collar / harness, and ability to communicate clearly. Unless, of course, if you're using it as a communication tool.

I tend to let the rewards, or absence of rewards, do the heavy lifting.
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Ken Steepe, in the video: "I would repeat 'sit', and then SHOW them how to sit (slightly aggressive hand motion pulling up on leash and collar)". Communication I suppose, but not the kind of conversation I have with my dogs.

Suggesting the use of force, albeit relatively low-level force, is part of the .1% I'm not in agreement with.
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Agreed. Especially when there are several non-physical methods that are far more effective.
His dog is way over threshold. And as a teaching / learning moment, it's highly unlikely she'll absorb ANY of it, including Ken's proposed correction.

IMO what he needs to do is physically back away from the stimulus. From the look of things - far, FAR away from the stimulus. To begin with, get between his dog and the distraction to break her line of sight and her hyper-focus, and encourage her to follow. Whatever it takes ... food lure, presentation of a toy, walking backwards, kissy noises, whatever. Then at a much further point away, establish attention and try the cue again. Distance is your friend. THAT'S where learning has a chance to occur.

The dog is giving him soooo much information, and apparently Zak's not heeding even one little bit of it.
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I find FB an incredibly frustrating platform for discussion, it discourages longform text and encourages content free hostile exchanges...
Me too. I don't 'do' FB, twitter, instagram or any of those platforms.

I refer to them collectively as "anti-social media", lol. For the most part, DF is pretty civilized and productive.
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.
That sounds like a simple issue of food VALUE / placement to me.

Use of a higher food value near the beginning and during the track, with a slightly lesser value at the point of indication, would likely fix the 'shortcut' thing. The dog would then have the incentive to stay ON the entire track. No need to starve the dog for four days, good grief.

Bringing reinforcement (treat value) into BALANCE to achieve the desired outcome is a huge part of using food rewards successfully.
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.
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I'll give an example, using formal obedience for comparative purposes. The Drop on Recall exercise.

If, during training, the dog blows off the drop or drops too slowly, treat value can be employed to bring the situation back into balance. ie: lower value treat for the front and higher value for the drop. (I'll also point out that the dog is cycling through different drives here as well, very similar to the previous example of tracking vs indicating.) On the other hand, starving my dog for days and then feeding him a jackpot for coming to front will most certainly have the exact opposite effect on what I'm trying to rectify. That's simply the mechanics, and the laws of behaviour.

Not bragging, just saying as a sidenote. In all my years of trialing I don't believe I've ever received any less than the full 30 points for DoR. My dogs have all had mat-peeling initial calls, lightning-quick shotgun-blast drops, and mat-peeling final calls to front. Well, I might have rarely lost a half point here or there for a slightly crooked front. But I'd chalk that up to the extreme speed involved and the frictional properties of rubber matting. In other words, skid to front. lol. And it happened so seldom that I didn't want to jeopardize speed and enthusiasm for the sake of nit-picky precision. I'd just take the hit, thank you very much.

Anyway, getting back to original topic. I was quite surprised to see Zak show such a lack of good judgement in this dog park fiasco. I've always regarded him as a relatively decent trainer, ... heck, I've even recommended his videos to posters here from time to time. But I really feel he dropped the ball on this one, big time. And I think it's worthy of some third-party criticism in order to prevent others from repeating his colossal mistakes.
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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.

I Looked at other Zak videos. I cannot believe he has so many followers. Really. Just left me SMH.
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.
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