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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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You would literally NOT FEED your dog for three to four days in order to make them play your game properly? You're right. I find the very idea of this reprehensible & if this is what your 'dog sport' is all about, well, I'm glad I don't participate. Count me out.
 

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Yeah... very old school thinking. Right up there with "they don't get any interaction with you unless you are training".
 

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Discussion Starter #24
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.
 

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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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I don't care how you want to justify it - starving a dog for FOUR days just to get them to play your game "properly" is abusive. Figure out a different, more humane way, or give it up. Geeze - here in rural NC where dog care laws are pretty lax, you can chain your dog up in the yard 24/7, but you're still expected to feed him. I simply can not believe that any reasonably rational individual could justify going to this extent for the sake of what? winning a ribbon? points towards some title? Things the dog doesn't give two hoots about, but it all important for the owner. How about you fast for those four days along with the dog? I thought I'd heard it all, but this absolutely blows me away.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
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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Discussion Starter #28
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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GOD! reading this thread is so confusing!

I have a few questions. Please bear with me. My first Dog was a 6 year old rescue. I have never raised a puppy before. I was watching ZG's Inertia series but now that everyone is so upset over it I'm ready to throw all this info right out the window. I did see this video. As a novice, even I could pick out wrong things. The part that broke my heart the most was when she was hiding under that bench and he was just LETTING her. He didn't go to her or soothe her. :(

I have started watching McCans videos. Are there other dog training channels I should subscribe to on Youtube?

What is a Martingale collar and why is it suggested over a harness? My pup gets super excited as we get closer to home as she knows its meal time when we get in. I have her on a harness for walks because i don't want her to pull too hard on her throat.

I see two differing opinions here on Harnesses and I'm honestly not sure which opinion is the best.
 

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A martingale collar is also sometimes called a limited slip collar. It has a larger loop connected by a smaller loop. The larger loop goes around the dog's neck. Properly adjusted, they are nearly impossible for the dog to pull out of. This is a martingale collar. Frisco Solid Martingale Dog Collar with Buckle, Black, Medium - Chewy.com

I prefer a martingale for everyday walking and obedience training, but use harnesses for other sports. I use one style harness for nosework, another for tracking, and another style harness for parkour.
 

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I prefer a martingale for everyday walking and obedience training, but use harnesses for other sports. I use one style harness for nosework, another for tracking, and another style harness for parkour.
Thank you for your reply. This may be a stupid question... but whats tracking?
 

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That's where the dog follows a trail left by a person. It can be in either open fields, or in a more urban setting. Several organizations offer titles in tracking, including the AKC and CKC.
 

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GOD! reading this thread is so confusing!

I have a few questions. Please bear with me. My first Dog was a 6 year old rescue. I have never raised a puppy before. I was watching ZG's Inertia series but now that everyone is so upset over it I'm ready to throw all this info right out the window. I did see this video. As a novice, even I could pick out wrong things. The part that broke my heart the most was when she was hiding under that bench and he was just LETTING her. He didn't go to her or soothe her. :(

I have started watching McCans videos. Are there other dog training channels I should subscribe to on Youtube?

What is a Martingale collar and why is it suggested over a harness? My pup gets super excited as we get closer to home as she knows its meal time when we get in. I have her on a harness for walks because i don't want her to pull too hard on her throat.

I see two differing opinions here on Harnesses and I'm honestly not sure which opinion is the best.
I like Kikopup and Kristin Crestejo as Youtubers, but I actually get the most useful information out of books and podcasts these days (Drinking from the Toilet and Cog-Dog Radio are my favorites podcasts - the latter focuses on sport dogs but has lots of good info on training theory). I think with any YouTuber - or any trainer in general - it's important to realize that they can make mistakes or have blind spots. One mistake or technique that you don't agree with doesn't mean all their content is bad, but it's also important to reflect on what kind of relationship you want with your dog, what your goals are for your dog and household, and what's realistic for you to achieve. For example, I'd love to only take my frustrated greeter out around other dogs in super controlled environments where I can work him far enough away that he can stay calm and learn not to lose his mind around other dogs, but that's not something I can realistically achieve even if it'd be the fastest way to address his behavior. But I can still learn from techniques that trainers/behaviorists use in those super controlled environments and apply some in real life situations - the results aren't as fast, but we'll take the progress we can get. Does that make sense?

Basically, don't choose one trainer and follow their every word blindly. Think about whether their techniques will work for you and your dog, and try to critically analyze their reasoning behind the techniques to see if they're grounded in real dog behavior and learning theory (e.g. dominance theory has long been debunked, so if a trainer says you need to do something to "prevent your dog from being dominant towards you", that's a red flag).

As for harnesses, literally the only thing you can do with a collar and not a harness training-wise is deliver corrections. If you don't plan on physically correcting your dog with leash pops (and many of us on this forum do not), the choice is yours. There ARE other things to consider; a dog can get more power when pulling on a basic back-clip harness, whereas collars have been proven to have a higher risk of causing injury (collapsed trachea, esp. on smaller dogs, nerve damage in the neck, damage to the thyroid gland, and some problems associated with certain illnesses, like glaucoma). It's not a super high risk, but it's there. And some dogs are just plain more comfortable in one tool than the other. My puppy is currently walked largely on a collar because we're still working on making him comfortable in a harness. Otherwise, I use harnesses as much as possible. I've got smaller dogs, and we do a lot of long-line hikes, and I would NEVER put a dog on a long-line attached to a collar (they can hit the end of a six foot lead with enough force to gag themselves... imagine them hitting the end of a thirty foot lead with only a collar on, yikes). I mean, you want to train and prevent your dog from hitting the end of any lead as much as possible but... stuff happens.

Tracking is following a trail with their nose to find something - with a working dog this could be something like a criminal, a lost child, or a deer (depending on if the dog is a police dog, search and rescue, or a hunting dog). Blood tracking is a specific kind of tracking where dogs follow a blood trail, around here it's mostly used to find animals injured but not killed during hunting. Nosework is more like finding something hidden, think drug or explosive detection dogs who inspect packages at a mail center. For all of these, there's also competitive sports where dogs are trained in these skills even though they don't literally work in the field, largely for fun and enrichment for the dog and the dog/trainer bond. We've dabbled in a few of these with our puppy - and are considering training him as a Search and Rescue dog in the future - and I assure you that nobody I've met here where I live starves their dogs to get a good performance.
 

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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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Discussion Starter #35
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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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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This dude is pretty good at trick training. What he used to do with his old dog was awesome. I am pretty sure he competed a lot in free style disk. On the other hand, his training with his new dog is horrible. This dog is now 6 months, he had her since 8 wks. She has no basic OB, and just is a disaster. All Zak does is baby talk her and stuff her face full of treats. Jeez-
 
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