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Didnt realise so many people believed in Alpha nonsense.

13508 Views 172 Replies 45 Participants Last post by  Pawzk9
So I have moved areas and become part of a face book group for the local dog park.

There are quite a few members who post, asking how do I get my puppy not to be the alpha over the older dogs and blah blah blah she needs to know she is at the bottom.

I REALLY did not realize how many people bought into that BS.

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Oh my goodness I just got a reply from someone I gave advice too. Told me I was stupid for telling them that the older dog won't correct a 12 week old puppy. And why would I give such dangerous advice. Argh!
An appropriate older dog won't seriously correct a 12 week old puppy. But there are an awful lot of inappropriate dogs out there. It's not something I would depend on. Tell me there aren't really 12 week old puppies at your dog park?
IF three dogs are in a room and you put three bones in the center of the room and one dog takes control of all three bones, what do you call that? ?

Resource guarding (and often the worst offenders are dogs very lacking in skills and confidence)

If your dog takes orders, follows instructions, and commands given by you, what do you call that?
But if you see a stray dog in heat in a vacant lot and three male dogs come into that lot... One is going to run the other two off and breed the female. I
Orrrr, the litter ends up with three different papas (not uncommon at all)
Quite possible.... But pappa two and three will wait until Pappa one leaves. When puppy litters end up with multiple sires, it happens often over days. They are not standing in line to take turns.
I've seen them do so - in the neighborhood.
Must not have been very dominant males :)

I do believe dominant dogs exist. Yet dynamics are always changing. For instance, in my dogs, the old male eats when he wants, lies where he wants, moves the others, or corrects the dogs as he sees fit. Then normally the others fall sort of numbered on down. I have brought in others that challenge some, replace positions, etc. Every once in awhile a fight may break out, usually the lesser dog backs down.

Usually dogs that live together have a structure, dogs just meeting go through all sorts of positions. It's not as simple as a stance or one rolling over. One dog may display lots of dominant or submissive actions, and then there is fear, insecurity, aggression, many number of things play a part.
I agree that dogs who live together tend to have a hierarchy, though it is frequently in flux. I just think that posturing like dogs is a rather silly model for humans to follow.
IT was theoretical..... But every night I watch one dog pull all the toys out of the toy bin, just to have another dog take them and stack them up.

Explain this.....

Two dogs meet.... One dog immediately goes on its back and gives its underside to the other dog.....
That would be Alice. But I would not consider her submissive, as she is very manipulative and uses it to get what she wants. I believe she is what Patricia McConnell calls "aggressively obsequious"
Interesting, then need opinions on the trainer/behaviorist who makes a diagnosis on what dog's problem's are in anywhere from 15 minutes to 60 minutes.

I made the statement that it took me 2 weeks to get into a dog's head, maybe it was cause I was just slower than most.

Next question is where the diagnosis is done, at home or in a neutral/strange area. Curious and curiouser. Need opinions please.
The evaluation needs to be where the problem is - which could be in the home, or could be outside the home. I won't claim I can get "inside a dog's head" in 60 minutes. But between taking a thorough history and observing the dog in the problem environment, it's possible to get a start on understanding what is going on with the dog, and coming up with a plan. History is important, because a lot of what the owner thinks is happening might be something else. And, people often either over estimate or under estimate their problem. Sometimes asking the right questions makes it clearer.
Yes, and then add to the mix the owner's verbal description with all that entails and the hope that behaviorist can understand just what the owner is trying to describe.
Often people don't know which details are important. That's why it's necessary to get a history and ask the right questions. It doesn't tell you everything, but it probably tells you more than the client's description
Yes indeed how's that sayin go something about "you're preaching to the choir"
Yes, I realize that! It's amazing how sometimes they "remember" additional incidents that were not mentioned at first.
I feel that most people humanize their dogs and anthropomorphize. This does plenty more harm then dominance.
I don't believe in Cesar Milan or Ian Dunbar. I do use touch to train my dog and I refuse to click, treat, repeat.
I think there is a happy medium. Dogs don't need to be babied and treated all the time, nor do they need to be choked and smacked all the time.
I use my personal method and my dog is very well trained. She is a stubborn soul too (never getting a bitch again, all males for me!)
Really? So CM and Dr. Dunbar are sort of like the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus? I've seen with my own eyes that Ian Dunbar does, indeed, exist and I accept NG channel's assertions that CM is a real person. Personally, I wouldn't claim either of them as the absolute truth of dog training, though. Can you explain exactly how you use touch for training? I gotta say, I adore my girl dogs (and my boy dogs as well) and have never met a stubborn dog. Just dogs that people haven't discovered how to motivate (and no, that's not either babying and a steady stream of treats, or choking and smacking.)
Dog training is not a topic worth attacking someone over. You know what I meant when I said I dont believe in "them". I meant their methods. No need to be flip.
What I call stubborn you call "unmotivated". Potato , potato. My female is either- stupid, stubborn or "unmotivated". I'm still not going to give her treats to "motivate" her. Maybe I'm stupid, stubborn or unmotivated lol! I don't care. I know what works for me. It's worked with over 200 fosters/rescues and 10 personal dogs.
Woah! So you saw my attempt at humor as an attack? Is Mercury in retrograde or something? I just found it a very funny way to put it and couldn't resist. You mentioned that your dog was stubborn. I just wondered if she might be less so with better motivation. Many dogs are. And again, what does your "touch" method entail?
I would never lump you in with the "dominance" trainers, wvasko. :) I know you use some old-school techniques, but you've said yourself that "alpha rolling" was never a part of that, and that all of this Cesar Millan "alpha dog" stuff came along later! It's the studies on captive wolves, misinterpreted and misapplied to dogs, that really messed things up.
Actually, I think CM probably found a copy of the Monks of New Skete book, which was written - what? in the 1970s? 80s at the latest. Job Michael Evans later said that he was sorry he'd written it as it got a lot of people bitten.
I have found this thread very interesting. After years (too many to mention) of being out of training dogs it is amazing how attitudes have changed. After spending years training and trialing in herding both ACDs and BC's I fell out of the dog training scene got a pet dog seven years ago (mini poodle) and enjoyed a non competitive relationship with a dog that reads my wants and needs very well so I ask very little of him other than be a well behaved pet. I have recently got a puppy and have started to think that I should spend some time doing some training on her so started reading up on forums and have found this thread eye opening.
Although I do believe that positive training methods are preferred I have had some personal experience with dogs in the neighborhood that have been totally out of control and the owners seem to be afraid to take control of the dog. One dog that lives next to us (a pit bull cross) is extremely aggressive mostly towards people. Whenever this dog sees anyone that it has not approved (it seems if you make friends with the dog he does not try to kill you) it lunges at that person and shows it's teeth. I have run into this dog several times in close situations and it really is pretty scary. I have no desire to make friends with a aggressive dog (nor would most people I believe). The owners of this dog are very sweet and try with all there might to distract the dog, praise the dog when for a moment it looks away from it's target or stops lunging even momentarily and avoiding meeting people that the dog has not preapproved but after years this dogs is still very unreliable and I believe it is only getting more aggressive with age. The owners really are trying to handle this dog with encouragement and praise but honestly as a outsider (that may one day get bit by this dog) they are not getting anywhere. So I am curious how people feel this dog should be handled? I know from my past in dog training that this dog needs some serious rehabilitation before a incident happens and I truly feel sorry for the dogs owners because they are very nice people (maybe too nice for this dog?). I guess I am just looking to find out how folks that believe only in positive training would handle this kind of situation. I am afraid this dogs fate will end in tragedy the way things are going.
There are ways of working with some HA dogs. It requires not only changing behavior but changing the dog's perception of the situation. The perception is seldom "improved" more than temporarily with aversives. I don't know that it is possible for every dog in ever situation (sometimes the home is a big part of the problem). And I also think it is a problem outside the scope of a forum like this. Requires professional intervention
This post is a farse....
The practice of sending a pup out with older experienced dogs has been used for thousands of years in certain jobs with dogs. Herding dogs in real life working situations, hounds in hunting situations, etc. It is standard practice to send the pup out with older experienced dogs. Whether the older dogs intentionally teach the pup is debatable. But the pup learns and the older dogs cover the pups mistakes and allow him to learn from his mistakes.... It is one thing to do herding trials with a pup or hunt birds with a pup. But Putting a pack of pups on a sounder of wild hogs or a herd of wild woods cattle will cause you to end up with dead pups quick.....

But Alpha rolling looks good on TV.....
I think it depends on what you are trying to teach the dog. Certainly dogs are better at instinctive behaviors (like herding) than I am. I teach sit better.
How do you get an aggressive dog to focus on you, with positive only, that is determined to attack another dog in sight?

I feel most can be easily redirected, but I have had a few that really were not going to be distracted, no matter what. A few handler aggressive dogs especially. They don't care about treats, toys, and if you attempted to pet them.. well you wouldn't do it twice lol.

What you describe here is clearly over threshold. I suppose you could shut the dog down with aversives enough to listen - or get more calm and more distance - starting teaching your protocols when the dog is not already in reactive mode. In fact, start teaching the protocols when there is nothing to be reactive about. You also (other than the puppy with a little mis-wiring/issues) seem to be talking about dogs who have already been pretty damaged by aversive methods and see humans as an enemy. Sad..
Sorry, the "prong and praise" thing ruined my dog. She now doesn't trust any treats or praise :(. So not like it works on all dogs. Plus, some dogs don't care about praise. For some dogs, petting is aversive.
When you pair pain and praise, you risk making praise aversive. If you pair pain and cue/command, you risk poisoning it. I had one dog (early in my doggie days) whom I taught to become nauseated by freeze dried liver. I used it in the conformation ring, and while she tolerated being handled by the strange judge, she really did not like it so much that she assoicated it with the yummy because the two always happened at the same time.
I'm sorry the person who did it ruined your dog. It's very strange that that happened to your dog. Perhaps the person who was training it was correcting while giving praise without knowing it, even slightly tightening the collar is enough for a dog to feel it. Or maybe your dog is just very sensitive.
However, nothing works for every dog, I've said it a million times. Some dogs positive methods work great, others not so much. Sometimes aversives work great, other times not so much.
It's not strange at all. It's a fairly frequent occurrance, though maybe not often to the point of actually "ruining" the dog
Say what you want about that I'm not applying the technique enough & that dogs do respond to it & they do... But some learn to outsmart the standard CC/OC & click-&-treat procedures.

I sometimes see dogs ask questions: will this be reinforced? is this allowed? I try to answer those questions clearly, but it tells me the dog is not conditioned to the behavior. Often we take short cuts and skip steps. And by the way, your use of negative punishment (time outs, etc.) is every bit as much an element of operant conditioning as click and treat.
I think I will have to use more positive reinforcement/treat training with my girl Ruby. She's a bit hard headed and when I use aversives she either doesn't care or she seems to challenge me more. She is just a teenager (almost 15 months) but I'm thinking of using more treats as she is VERY food motivated. I have never trained this way but I am open to it.
The way I figure it- maybe I've never used this method before but maybe she wont reach her full potential if I don't...
Thing is it is not just about using "more treats". It's about using the treats thoughtfully and in a way where the dog understands exactly what is being reinforced. That means a marker, and it also means that the treat is not a bribe - I make it a point to not even reach for the treat until the behavior has been performed. I do find it works a lot better than routine aversives.
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