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So I don't like to spank a dog when he/she does bad things. On the other hand my friend feels completely different. His dog is very obedient! Very!!!! I didn't agree with spanking my dog until he told me that, in the wild a dominant dog doesn't tell the dog no and stop it etc etc. It snaps and the dog understands this and stops certain behaviors because of this. What is your take on this?....
 

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So I don't like to spank a dog when he/she does bad things. On the other hand my friend feels completely different. His dog is very obedient! Very!!!! I didn't agree with spanking my dog until he told me that, in the wild a dominant dog doesn't tell the dog no and stop it etc etc. It snaps and the dog understands this and stops certain behaviors because of this. What is your take on this?....
My take on it is that dogs are much more skilled at dog to dog communication than I am. Their timing is perfect. The amount of force is perfect, and as soon as the incident is over it is over. I don't think I've ever met a human who communicates that well in "dogish". The other thing is that what dogs want from other dogs is quite different from what we want. Dog discipline is all about social behavior/social space. I haven't met the dog yet who is trying to teach another dog to heel, to give attention, to do a straight fast recall. In fact, the things I want from a dog would be socially unacceptable with other dogs (hard eye contact, straight on approaches, staying in my personal space). If I don't want the same things a dog wants, why would I ask in the way a dog would ask (even if I were skilled enough to make myself clear)? I suspect your friend's dog's "good behavior" is what many people seem to want - a dog who is afraid to try anything unless specifically told to do so. A lot of people find that obedient. I just find it sad. I'd much rather have a dog who is always thinking about things he can do that will be reinforced. That translates into a happy confident dog who is always looking for ways to please the human. And a dog who gives me a lot to work with
 

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Your friend's dog sounds like my brother's. He would hit her to punish her when she did something "wrong," like chew one of his belongings. She is very well-behaved, but her ears and tail are down much of the time, and she seems anxious. She will run away when people argue because the raised voices scare her. She is obviously afraid of making a mistake. That is not the kind of obedience I want from my dogs.

Here is some reading for you about "dominance:"

http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Position_Statements/dominance statement.pdf
http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/misconceptions-mythical-alpha-dog
http://www.davemech.org/news.html

I would also recommend Dr. Patricia McConnell's book "The Other End of the Leash," which contains a great chapter on dominance and explains how dogs are not like wolves, and how wolves don't even do most of the things we think they do in the first place. It's an interesting book and will teach you a lot about how dogs think.

It is much better to teach your dog what you DO want him to do than punish him for doing what you DON'T want him to do. For example, if I catch my dog chewing on something he shouldn't be, I don't spank him. I give him something I do want him to chew instead -- one of his antlers, or a toy. I praise him when he chews that. If he jumps on me and barks when I come home from work, I don't spank him. I ignore him -- I don't even look at him. Once he calms down, I reward him with the attention he wanted. This way, he learns what I do want, which is for him to greet me quietly and politely at the door.
 

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You only think your friend's dog is obedient, but I'm certain there is fallout from such an approach.

Physically "snapping" at your dog will only serve to portray you as unpredictable, among other things, in your dog's eyes.


And, for what it's worth ... a "firm voice" isn't really neccessary either. Clear communication, consistency, and consequence (hopefully R+) will assist you in getting the job done by using a completely "normal" tone of voice. :)
 

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So I don't like to spank a dog when he/she does bad things. On the other hand my friend feels completely different. His dog is very obedient! Very!!!! I didn't agree with spanking my dog until he told me that, in the wild a dominant dog doesn't tell the dog no and stop it etc etc. It snaps and the dog understands this and stops certain behaviors because of this. What is your take on this?....
Well there is a lot of debate about whether domesticated dogs even follow pack theory anymore. Now even if dogs did follow pack theory, the dominant male/female would not attack a subordinate unless they attempted to mate.

From what I've experienced, domesticated dogs only snap at each other when they overstep boundaries or feel uncomfortable.

Dogs respond better to people they trust than those they fear. I'd much rather encourage good behavior than simply discourage bad behaviors.
 

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So I don't like to spank a dog when he/she does bad things. On the other hand my friend feels completely different. His dog is very obedient! Very!!!! I didn't agree with spanking my dog until he told me that, in the wild a dominant dog doesn't tell the dog no and stop it etc etc. It snaps and the dog understands this and stops certain behaviors because of this. What is your take on this?....
There really aren't dogs "in the wild" anymore. I mean, I guess, if you count strays, or feral dogs, abandoned since birth, living on their own. But, this isn't the same thing as "in the wild" as your friend meant.

Dogs have been domesticated far too long to have any traits left over from when dogs were "in the wild". I mean, we're talking hundreds of years.

So, that theory just doesn't hold true. Dogs of today are different that dogs hundreds of years ago.

Plus, the link between dog behavior and wild wolves has been found to be erroneous.

And, dogs will do things that they consider rewarding, because they can. They don't realize you consider those things "bad". They can learn what you don't like and what you do want them to do instead, without being "spanked".
 

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your friend's dog is obediant because he's afraid. Having a fearful dog can, and IMO, almost always will, backfire on you. One of these days, he might get sick and tired of being spanked and defend himself. I much prefer to have my dog's obey because they trust me and want to please.
 

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Dogs don't just snap though, they have a whole language. We had foster pups here and they'd charge up to the adults with bones. Adult dog would stiffen and stare, then growl and bare teeth, then flip puppy and snark at them and go back to chewing their bone. The odd pup who didn't get the message would try the same thing again, but all they'd need is the stiffened body and the eye contact and they'd move elsewhere. Storee did the same with a dog we met on a walk, he was bashing into every dog he'd see, till her. She just stood her ground and stared, stiff back and he turned at the last minute and never crashed into her the rest of the walk.

It depends on what your goals are, do you want a mindless canine robot who simply obeys to avoid the pain of a correction, or a happy working dog who isn't afraid to try new things because they associate you with fun times? The latter can take longer to get the same sort of results in training, but it's a lot more fun for both of you and more rewarding.

Lana
 

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Hundreds? Try thousands :D.

Ok, question for those who are experienced in dogs: when dogs discipline other dogs/puppies etc dont they stop doing the offending behavior BC they are AFRAID repeating the offending behavior would result in a stronger correction by the other dog. So why would CM like techniques (administered correctly so to speak). When Izze snarks at Jo for something, Jo doesn't continue to do it BC she is scared of the consequences... Right?

Now I dont train for formal obedience or anything, I have ranch dogs that MUST obey BC it could be life or death, where everything almost has (to me) be a "do it or else" scenario, for tricks or initial teaching of behaviors I do use R + with praise/treats/toys.
 

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Ok, question for those who are experienced in dogs: when dogs discipline other dogs/puppies etc dont they stop doing the offending behavior BC they are AFRAID repeating the offending behavior would result in a stronger correction by the other dog. So why would CM like techniques (administered correctly so to speak). When Izze snarks at Jo for something, Jo doesn't continue to do it BC she is scared of the consequences... Right?
I'm not a mind-reader so I can't say for certain what a dog thinks when another dog "snarks" at him.

However, if I may answer a question with a question -- even assuming the dog interprets your growl/snap (interesting image btw) the same way she interprets a growl/snap from a dog, do you want the same relationship to Jo that Izze has with Jo?

My dogs gets along well, play well, communicate well in general, but honestly I want more than that between myself and each of them.
 

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See, the things that we consider "bad" are so random to dogs - chewing on things, biting, peeing, those are completely natural things to do. The random human aggression makes no sense to dogs. That's why humans are poor at punishing dogs.

Also, just because dogs do it among each other doesn't mean it's the best way to do it.
 

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Hundreds? Try thousands :D.

Now I dont train for formal obedience or anything, I have ranch dogs that MUST obey BC it could be life or death, where everything almost has (to me) be a "do it or else" scenario, for tricks or initial teaching of behaviors I do use R + with praise/treats/toys.
I really don't understand the concept of teach your dog with the best tool around (R+ if done skillfully) and then start the "or else" stuff once you've decided they should know it. All you are doing is poisoning the good work you've done.
 

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See, the things that we consider "bad" are so random to dogs - chewing on things, biting, peeing, those are completely natural things to do. The random human aggression makes no sense to dogs. That's why humans are poor at punishing dogs.

Also, just because dogs do it among each other doesn't mean it's the best way to do it.
It's probably the right way for dogs to get what they want from other dogs. But it's not the same things I want. Also, I realize that I will never speak "Dog" as a first language. If I try, I'm probably going to look like a clueless bully, and the best I can hope for is intimidation. I also know that no matter how hard they try, my dogs will never be able to use English as a first language. So, I choose for a language that allows us to communicate on pretty equal ground (my clicker)
 

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Spanking a dog can result in a "mindless canine robot" that only does what he is told when he is told. However, like Dogdragoness, I want a dog that can make decisions and do what he needs to do. My dog is a pet, not a working dog, and he is not 100% obedient (b/c he doesn't need to be), but he does understand and he does do what I need him to do, sometimes without a blatant cue, b/c he wants to anticipate what I need.... You don't get that type of attention by hitting a dog.

BTW, a well-socialized, confident dog may snap at another dog, but won't make contact...
 

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So I don't like to spank a dog when he/she does bad things. On the other hand my friend feels completely different. His dog is very obedient! Very!!!! I didn't agree with spanking my dog until he told me that, in the wild a dominant dog doesn't tell the dog no and stop it etc etc. It snaps and the dog understands this and stops certain behaviors because of this. What is your take on this?....
There are some flaws in this theory. Firstly, in the wild you'll rarely see the dominance displays people talk about. A wolf alpha is not very likely to get physically oppressive without great need. The smarter (and longer-lived) alpha rules with calm attitude. The wolf that snaps at another wolf better be doing that to a young wolf, and gently, or blood might well follow. The next problem with it is that dogs aren't wolves. There are (IMO) some pack-oriented behaviors you'll still see from dogs, but not nearly to the level you see in wolves. Dogs have developed along a different track for several thousand years now.

The last part of what I'll put into this has to do with conditioning. There are a lot of ways to condition behavior. I could convincingly tell someone I know that I'll shoot them if they don't sit quietly while I work on something, and if they believe me, they are very likely to stay quiet. I could also just explain to them that the work is important to me and that we'll hang out later, and ask them to be quiet for a bit, and this is also likely to yield results. Not as quickly as the overt threat, but with fewer ill side effects. I should also add that although the threat yields faster results, it does not yield lasting results. It has to be repeated, and often with greater threat than before as the person/dog adjusts to the fear level. Just think of all the dictators that have been brought down by people that have lived in fear 1 day too long.

No living creature is happy living in fear. Good behavior from a dog that's scared of its human is a ticking time bomb. Dogs really only have four ways of dealing with a perceived threat - avoidance, flight, fight, shutdown. If you hit or yell at your dog to force them into submission, they can't use avoidance. They also can't run, so that leaves only fight or shutdown. You'll end up with a dog that has little in the way of emotional response, or a dog that will bite you someday. In order to get good behavior from your dog, make doing the right thing fun and rewarding for them. If they're chewing on something they shouldn't, give them a chew toy and praise them when they take it. If they eat food when you step away, don't leave your food out! Nearly any living creature (including humans) will steal your food if you're foolish enough to walk away from it. If they pee in the house, watch them better, and praise them for going outside. You get the idea. Offer better alternatives to what you don't want them to do. Don't punish bad behaviors - reward good behaviors. Like most all other living creatures, dogs will repeat behaviors that are rewarding, and avoid those that aren't.
 

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There are some flaws in this theory. Firstly, in the wild you'll rarely see the dominance displays people talk about. A wolf alpha is not very likely to get physically oppressive without great need. The smarter (and longer-lived) alpha rules with calm attitude. The wolf that snaps at another wolf better be doing that to a young wolf, and gently, or blood might well follow. The next problem with it is that dogs aren't wolves. There are (IMO) some pack-oriented behaviors you'll still see from dogs, but not nearly to the level you see in wolves. Dogs have developed along a different track for several thousand years now.
I agree with this totally. While dogs may not follow the same pack rules as wolves anymore there clearly is some pack instinct in them. Dogs clearly want someone they can trust and follow. If you want to see yourself as the alpha, that is fine, but understand what being the alpha dog really means. Dogs follow because they trust their leader and know following their leader is beneficial to them. The alpha is going to provide protection, resources, and structure. Being alpha doesn't mean forcing your dog to submit to you. Being forceful on your dog is only going to make you look insecure and untrustworthy.
 

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I don't know that dogs really see us as 'alphas' exactly - probably more like a life partner that they listen to, because good things come from their human (hopefully). Providing food is of course a first step, as this shows the dog that you're going to provide for them. I agree with the spirit of everything you said, though. A dog that trusts you is 1000 times more likely to listen and respond well to you. This means, as its human, I have to be consistent (even when I'm grumpy), fair, and understand that what a dog needs even more than proper training is love and understanding. The rest just falls into place.
 

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There are some flaws in this theory. Firstly, in the wild you'll rarely see the dominance displays people talk about. A wolf alpha is not very likely to get physically oppressive without great need. The smarter (and longer-lived) alpha rules with calm attitude. The wolf that snaps at another wolf better be doing that to a young wolf, and gently, or blood might well follow. The next problem with it is that dogs aren't wolves. There are (IMO) some pack-oriented behaviors you'll still see from dogs, but not nearly to the level you see in wolves. Dogs have developed along a different track for several thousand years now.

The last part of what I'll put into this has to do with conditioning. There are a lot of ways to condition behavior. I could convincingly tell someone I know that I'll shoot them if they don't sit quietly while I work on something, and if they believe me, they are very likely to stay quiet. I could also just explain to them that the work is important to me and that we'll hang out later, and ask them to be quiet for a bit, and this is also likely to yield results. Not as quickly as the overt threat, but with fewer ill side effects. I should also add that although the threat yields faster results, it does not yield lasting results. It has to be repeated, and often with greater threat than before as the person/dog adjusts to the fear level. Just think of all the dictators that have been brought down by people that have lived in fear 1 day too long.

No living creature is happy living in fear. Good behavior from a dog that's scared of its human is a ticking time bomb. Dogs really only have four ways of dealing with a perceived threat - avoidance, flight, fight, shutdown. If you hit or yell at your dog to force them into submission, they can't use avoidance. They also can't run, so that leaves only fight or shutdown. You'll end up with a dog that has little in the way of emotional response, or a dog that will bite you someday. In order to get good behavior from your dog, make doing the right thing fun and rewarding for them. If they're chewing on something they shouldn't, give them a chew toy and praise them when they take it. If they eat food when you step away, don't leave your food out! Nearly any living creature (including humans) will steal your food if you're foolish enough to walk away from it. If they pee in the house, watch them better, and praise them for going outside. You get the idea. Offer better alternatives to what you don't want them to do. Don't punish bad behaviors - reward good behaviors. Like most all other living creatures, dogs will repeat behaviors that are rewarding, and avoid those that aren't.
Dang! Where's that "LIKE" button when I really need it?
 

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There are some flaws in this theory. Firstly, in the wild you'll rarely see the dominance displays people talk about. A wolf alpha is not very likely to get physically oppressive without great need. The smarter (and longer-lived) alpha rules with calm attitude.
Yes if you think about it if the head wolf gets too tough, pretty soon he won't have a pack to be tough with, or at the very least it would/could be a damaged injured pack. That is not a really good survival program.
 
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