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Hello!
Some background info you might want to know first: My mum and I foster chihuahuas. We kennel them, and they stay downstairs in the living room (separated from the house by a door). If they aren't outside, they're in their kennels. We have about 6-12 at any given time, plus our two forever dogs, both standard poodles. We adopt out fairly quickly; We've adopted out 42 in the last 3 months.
Today a guy came to our house and did a sort of dog-training thing, where he taught us how to show our dogs that we are alpha and that they must obey us. It was very Cesar Millan-ish, and if I remember correctly, he's been trained by him. So it was along the lines of responding the way a dog would to another dog. Don't like the dog jumping on you? "Bite" them (grab side of dog quickly with hand, like a mouth nipping the side). Say "chht." He showed us how to walk them as a pack, making them all walk behind you by using a walking stick to keep them behind. Use simple commands, e.g. no, right, left, stop, etc. Pay attention to the quiet, patient dogs first. Guide/block bad dogs with feet in necessary. Don't pick up the dog/cuddle them. Exclude from when when acting up. I could go on for a long time.
Ok! So, my question is, would Cesar Millan's principles work with a whistle, like a Shepherd's whistle? Mainly for getting them to be quiet. I can't snap very well, and neither can my mother, which is what the trained primarily used. Right now, we're using clapping, a wooden stick (striking on the ground, sort of in a "YOU SHALL NOT PASS" manner.), and the verbal que of "CHT," to try and get them to stop barking.This has only been a day, maybe less, and they're doing pretty good. The problem is, when they start barking, they can't hear us clap/ our verbal ques. So would a shepherd's whistle get their attention faster? Can we use it to signal bad behavior? Our should be stick with the clapping? And how long would it take for them to learn? Or is the whole idea kind of defeating the Cesar Millan mentality? Thanks!

Sorry if this has already been asked or breaks some sort of rule, I'm new to the forum!!!
 

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I think you'll learn pretty quickly that the majority of people on this forum aren't big fans of Cesar Millan. His training philosophy is based on old, outdated research (which was done on a pack of captive wolves more than 40 years ago -- much of it has since been proven wrong). Real, educated behaviorists and trainers like Ian Dunbar and Patricia McConnell are more popular here! They both have written several excellent books about dog behavior and training.

Here are a bunch of links for you to read if you're interested!

What Do I Think About the Dog Whisperer?
De-Bunking the "Alpha Dog" Theory
AVSAB Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animals
Misconceptions of the Mythical Alpha Dog
L. David Mech's site (he wrote a book on that original wolf research)

Here is a great, free, online training textbook: Digital Dog Training Textbook
And here's a training method I like a lot: Nothing In Life Is Free

As for your question, I don't see any problem with using a whistle to get the dogs' attention! All of the stuff with making them walk behind you and keeping them there using a walking stick and all of that is unnecessary, though. Dogs really, truly do not think of humans as upright-walking dogs, and that stuff means nothing to them. It won't hurt them or anything, but it's a waste of time and effort.

So is "biting" the dog with your hand. Patricia McConnell discusses this in one of her books (The Other End of the Leash, which is awesome and definitely worth reading) -- she says that a dog does not understand that you're trying to "bite" them. The dog knows you're not a dog. This is a good way to get yourself bitten... as Cesar himself recently did when he did everything wrong when dealing with a food guarder:

I would not use the whistle to "signify bad behavior" or anything, just to get the dogs' attention. Then you can give a command.
 

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I took the time to type out a bit from "The Other End of the Leash" for you:

Dogs are disciplined by their elders with a swift, inhibited bite across their muzzle, a behavior I strongly suggest you do not replicate. Trust me: you could never do it fast enough, you probably wouldn't be able to do it with the intensity that another dog would, and you would end up getting bitten yourself. Almost as bad, you'll get a mouthful of dog hair. Dogs do not discipline other dogs by biting at the scruff of their neck: bites to that area are about challenges to the hierarchy or are the equivalent of barroom brawls.
If you don't want your dogs jumping on you, fold your arms, turn around, and give them no attention. There is no need to punish. It is so much easier to redirect bad behavior and praise good behavior... and then you don't end up with dogs who are afraid of your hands (or of you).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I took the time to type out a bit from "The Other End of the Leash" for you:



If you don't want your dogs jumping on you, fold your arms, turn around, and give them no attention. There is no need to punish. It is so much easier to ignore or redirect bad behavior and praise good behavior... and then you don't end up with dogs who are afraid of your hands (or of you).
Thank you so much! Looking at this... it's really not very Cesar based. The trainer wasn't, that is (his name is Andres). I mean, there really wasn't punishment. It was more of asking the dog to do things with physical body language, and if the dog didn't, guiding them somehow and showing them what to do. The punishments described on the Alpha-dog link sounded horrible :( The only way he really "showed" the alpha dog that we have up (his name is Mikey), was by putting Mikey on a lead and holding Mikey in front of him, forcing Mikey to stand up and face the big scary man. He just stood there, with a tight leash until Mikey realised that the guy wasn't actually going to hurt him, and calmed down. Then he laxed the leash, and Mikey still sat there, absolutely fine. He preaches patience (impatient, noisy dogs get treats/food last), and social harmony (owner provides, dog obeys).
thank you so much for the help! :D
 

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The patience/social harmony stuff sounds kind of like Nothing In Life Is Free (dog has to do something to get what it wants -- sit nicely before it gets a treat or before leash is clipped on to go outside, lie down before a ball is thrown, stuff like that), which is fine.

I don't like the thing about forcing the "alpha" dog (who honestly sounds like a nervous dog, not an aggressive one) to stand and look at him like that. That's a challenging posture from a person and it sounds like he basically just intimidated the dog into compliance rather than actually fixing anything. You can desensitize a scared dog to frightening people or situations, but it takes time and patience -- there's never a quick fix. This site is excellent! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks! :D Any reccomendations on what kind of whistle..? Do I get a dog whistle or a plain brass whistle or a coaches whistle or a shepherd whistle or a bosun whistle?? @[email protected]
 

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I don't think it would matter! It's just a way to get all of the dogs' attention quickly, right? Normally I'd say my dog's names, but if you have a bunch of dogs around, saying all of the names is impractical. I like the idea of the whistle. I'd try to get one that wasn't too loud; you're going to be using it at close range, and dogs have much better hearing than we do.
 

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Am I the only one concerned that this obviously well meaning person is training fosters in such a way that they may be quite shut down and biters by the time they get adopted?

Seriously, no alpha stuff. No chts or hand bites (dogs aren't that dumb) or alpha nonsense. For the sake of the dogs and their future owners.
 

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No, you're definitely not the only one, which is why I provided lots of good reading material and links to Ian Dunbar's training textbook and to NILIF. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
The only problem with Ian Dunbar's method of trying to stop barking is it's expensive. I could understand recommending this to owners who have this issue when they adopt a dog (and I think we will), but with the numbers we have and how fast they come and go, is there another way?

Edit: And our "chht" is more of a "shht". Not quite shush. Does the word/sound choice matter?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Am I the only one concerned that this obviously well meaning person is training fosters in such a way that they may be quite shut down and biters by the time they get adopted?

Seriously, no alpha stuff. No chts or hand bites (dogs aren't that dumb) or alpha nonsense. For the sake of the dogs and their future owners.
So no alpha/dominance, but what about a sort of "respect me"? We don't get shutdowns really, just barkers and skitterish dogs at the most. The skitterish ones... Ee love on them and let them do their thing. They don't bark or make a fuss. Our goal is to make every dog that we get, a better dog. So the skitterish ones don't need someone else to come in and inferiorize (is that a word?) them further. With the barkers, today (again, the training was yesterday), we've just been saying "SHHT." and shaking our index finger at them. Sometimes it worked, sometimes the dog ignored us. No hand grabbing stuff. When they jump at the door, the lightly push them off and say "SSHHT." Then, going inside, we blocked the doorway with our foot, shushed away the dogs that weren't suppose to go in, and called the name of the dgo that was suppose to go in, and let them by. Is any of that going to lead to an agressive/shut down dog?

Are there any other things (behind the hand bite/alpha dog thing) that shouldn't be done? Obviously if I do something and the dog growls/recoils sharply/shows aggression/etc, I'm not going to do it again. Not trying to make abused dogs! D:
 

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So no alpha/dominance, but what about a sort of "respect me"?
What do you mean? A dog that will listen to you? Teach him what you want - then reinforce it and help him understand what you are asking him to do.


With the barkers, today (again, the training was yesterday), we've just been saying "SHHT." and shaking our index finger at them. Sometimes it worked, sometimes the dog ignored us. No hand grabbing stuff. When they jump at the door, the lightly push them off and say "SSHHT." Then, going inside, we blocked the doorway with our foot, shushed away the dogs that weren't suppose to go in, and called the name of the dgo that was suppose to go in, and let them by. Is any of that going to lead to an agressive/shut down dog?
Probably not, but is that some sort of cue they understand (i.e. do they know exactly what behavior they are supposed to perform when hearing that sound)? If not, that probably is why it is inconsistent. I would teach the behavior you want them to perform, put it on a cue, then you can use the cue to get the behavior you want if they are doing otherwise.
 

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Hello!
Some background info you might want to know first: My mum and I foster chihuahuas. We kennel them, and they stay downstairs in the living room (separated from the house by a door). If they aren't outside, they're in their kennels. We have about 6-12 at any given time, plus our two forever dogs, both standard poodles. We adopt out fairly quickly; We've adopted out 42 in the last 3 months.
Today a guy came to our house and did a sort of dog-training thing, where he taught us how to show our dogs that we are alpha and that they must obey us. It was very Cesar Millan-ish, and if I remember correctly, he's been trained by him. So it was along the lines of responding the way a dog would to another dog. Don't like the dog jumping on you? "Bite" them (grab side of dog quickly with hand, like a mouth nipping the side). Say "chht." He showed us how to walk them as a pack, making them all walk behind you by using a walking stick to keep them behind. Use simple commands, e.g. no, right, left, stop, etc. Pay attention to the quiet, patient dogs first. Guide/block bad dogs with feet in necessary. Don't pick up the dog/cuddle them. Exclude from when when acting up. I could go on for a long time.
Ok! So, my question is, would Cesar Millan's principles work with a whistle, like a Shepherd's whistle? Mainly for getting them to be quiet. I can't snap very well, and neither can my mother, which is what the trained primarily used. Right now, we're using clapping, a wooden stick (striking on the ground, sort of in a "YOU SHALL NOT PASS" manner.), and the verbal que of "CHT," to try and get them to stop barking.This has only been a day, maybe less, and they're doing pretty good. The problem is, when they start barking, they can't hear us clap/ our verbal ques. So would a shepherd's whistle get their attention faster? Can we use it to signal bad behavior? Our should be stick with the clapping? And how long would it take for them to learn? Or is the whole idea kind of defeating the Cesar Millan mentality? Thanks!

Sorry if this has already been asked or breaks some sort of rule, I'm new to the forum!!!
Why not just train them with humane scientific methods? You might actually do better to warehouse fewer dogs at a time so you can work with them individually.
 

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The problem is, when they start barking, they can't hear us clap/ our verbal ques. So would a shepherd's whistle get their attention faster?
I would assign a VISUAL cue (signal) for "quiet", perhaps both hands up palms facing towards the dogs like a double stop sign. That way, you're not trying to overcome noise with more noise, and the dogs should be able to understand and "hear" your request more easily. Teach to each dog individually, and make sure it's rock solid on a one-on-one basis before expecting them to comply in a group setting. Use R+ only, to accomplish this.
 

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I would assign a VISUAL cue (signal) for "quiet", perhaps both hands up palms facing towards the dogs like a double stop sign. That way, you're not trying to overcome noise with more noise, and the dogs should be able to understand and "hear" your request more easily. Teach to each dog individually, and make sure it's rock solid on a one-on-one basis before expecting them to comply in a group setting. Use R+ only, to accomplish this.
And of course, a cue needs to be TAUGHT. There is no magic word, sound or signal that dogs will automatically know what you want.
 
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