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141 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ruby is progressing nicely. There seems to be something magical about 16 weeks old. :) She's slowly learning sit and down. We met a trainer Wednesday who is a balanced trainer. We're going to take supplemental private lessons.

I've done a lot of research about training methods and, except in fear cases, believe it to be the best methodology. In any event, it squares with what I've seen with cats, rabbits, horses and children. Ironically, it was the maltipoo attacks and ineffective response that first spurred me to investigate various schools of thought on dog training and what kind of school we were attending. Because him getting cuddles/cookies for hurting my dog didn't change the behaviour and was fundamentally unjust.

She got her third boosters today too. Just has to go back for rabies in three weeks. She only weighs 7 pounds, so they wanted to hold off on doing it with all the others. Her guesstimated adult weight is 14ish pounds. I guess 16 weeks is useful for that too.

People are starting to remark on her personality. I've always found her to be a delightful, little firecracker. Others agree. Trainers look fondly at her and say she has lots of drive. Still learning some of what that means, but she certainly loves tug toys. The vet tech, who loves her and whom I've known for years, said that she was domineering. She just has no self esteem issues. 馃挄 I'm hoping that this personality will help her learn, because I hope to do obedience and some other dog sports with her. :)

141 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm the black sheep of my class, because I utter the word 'no' and use kibble instead of treats for training. She still gets treats, just not for doing stuff. In training, they make her lose her focus, though that may change with age (I hope it does; treats are more fun!). And it is 'no' when she's chowing down on me.

Unfortunately, the reward for engaging in certain behaviours far outweighs that of the redirected behaviour. Example: the maltipoo clearly got more out of t-boning my dog than he did out of the cuddles/cookies. This is especially true for animals. I don't believe that hunting (for lack of a better term) my living, breathing dog would be less fun than most immediately available redirected activities. These are dogs. I can't imagine the high they get chasing squirrels. My dog was his squirrel.

I worked with children for years. Grandparents, in particular, often gaped when the stated age and behaviour appropriate consequences were followed through on. Caregivers never did. I didn't even recognize one child when I met him with his parents.

You want to paint on another kid at 8 years old rather than your canvas? Okay, you were warned once already; now there's no paint for you. You'll choose better next time. That's not aversive. That's not a punishment. That's a predictable consequence and the kid had a warning. Other kid didn't like that and his parents don't want to have to buy new clothes.

The kids always wind up choosing the smart path after one such instance. But they, like the animals, know exactly how far they can get away with stuff with each person in their life.

My cat's next step, if I had failed to reform her, was the euthansia room. Through no fault of her own, she had a serious, non-fear based people aggression problem. She enjoyed biting people. Every time she attacked, I firmly and slowly pushed her away, said 'no biting' and gave her a toy if it was safe to do so (it wasn't always). My four limbs were covered in bleeding cuts, scars and half healed wounds for months. Work was concerned about me; I looked abused. She's alive today, because I persevered.

According to the hands off, positive only school of thought I shouldn't have touched her at all, even gently but firmly, no matter what she was doing. She'd be dead. I'm sure she prefers this scenario! I got in trouble for petting Ruby's backend in an attempt to get her to understand what sit meant. I was petting her.

You have to herd rabbits with your hands to get them to stop consuming your home. You have no choice. They have to know to the very marrow of their bones that you will rise off that couch each and every time they decide to eat ____ (the list is long). This takes months, a lifetime in some cases. If I wasn't allowed to pet a puppy, I bet they'd see this gentle, firm herding as even worse.

I could go on with other cat/rabbit/kid/horse examples, but this post is already too long. I guess I'm upset that you seem to be judging a perfect stranger on the internet. My home is nicknamed Easy Street by others, after the posh life animals here quickly become accustomed to.

My puppy school specifically states that they don't deal with dog/people aggression and a whole host of other serious behaviour problems, because fixing them would involve non-positive reinforcement and they don't do that. I guess they'd rather the shelter dogs die than experience any consequence whatsoever. At least they're honest about the limitations of their chosen training method.

My dog doesn't have any behaviour issues, apart from regular puppy ones. What did the balanced trainer suggest? More sleep and a lick mat.

Am I about to buy cruel training implements to put on my dog? No. Am I about to hurt my dog? No. And heaven help anyone who tried. But I will say no and not use treats for training.

There is value in every real, collaborative, results evaluated training method for any species. I appreciate and respect your point of view, much of which I actually agree with. I also deeply appreciate that you reached out privately when I was, in hindsight, confused and overwhelmed. But no is still part of my vocabulary. I hope we can still communicate respectfully on this forum. I'm still going to read your posts; I learn a lot from them!
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