Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,927 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is pretty good, although I think that what the author means is that the handling was unclear.. and it exacerbated the issue. Dogs LIKE black and white. Grey just leads to confusion. When Grey is compounded by incorrect reward timing and delivery or both, grey can become red for the dog.

Genetics play a large roll in dog behavior. If genetically based behavior is less than ideal and that is coupled with unclear handling you can have a mess. In this blog link the first clue is the dog in the back of the kennel at a shelter. That is not the family pet you want to pick... but pick that one she did and then it all went downhill from there due to lack of clarity and making excuses instead of making changes in handling.

I have also seen lack of clarity ruin a dog with good genetics simply because there were no boundaries (and part of that is in this blog as well).

https://www.rootsk9.com/blog/2019/4/18/one-effective-way-to-kill-your-dog
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,374 Posts
You know, there are plenty of stories too of people who have tried e-collars, prong collars, or more outdated methods like helicoptering dogs... ending up with euthanizing their dogs? And you know what... I haven't even gotten to the point of believing that correction based training kills dogs. The bigger picture involved genetics, socialization, and many other factors. But all people like you (and like the author of the link) seem to be capable of is placing blame on R+ trainers. Wait, not even on R+ trainers but on a caricature of a R+ trainer. Don't pretend R+ based training is "killing dogs" while balanced or correction based training is "saving them" unless you can provide the hard data to back things up.

As someone who is involved heavily in training and sheltering... Let me tell you from first hand experience that I've had conversations like the ones in link. Real conversations with real people, and real consequences. As always 3GSD, YOUR world is black and white while the rest of the world is grey. Of course, you can post whatever you want. But it's very interesting to me how hard you push a perspective you really have no idea about. Work a year in a shelter, then come back and we'll keep talking. Better yet, since you're apparently such a great, black and white, no-nonsense trainer, go adopt one of those red-zone dogs and try to rehabilitate them with your methods. Go save them. Then we'll have this conversation again.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,329 Posts
That article is absolute trash. It reads as nothing more than a rant against positive reinforcement trainers and is void of any sort of educational material.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,927 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
there was much about the article that was clearly incorrect. The person (owner) of the dog did MANY things to "create" this dog with improper use of R+. If you reward when the dog is behaving inappropriately, you WILL build inappropriate behavior. I guess I was hoping for a bit more discussion and not just trashing the article without discussion.

I think the point of the article is that when dog training and handling is misunderstood and applied with misunderstanding it can create a mess. Reading the article the thing I was impressed with was incorrect reward delivery and a simple lack of establishing clear boundaries and communication. Reading about this dog in this article I would venture this is NOT a dog that needs corrections as much as it needed clarity, boundaries, correct handling and understanding of dogs. When I got to the part where the trainer gave up I believed (and maybe reading too much into this) that the OWNER failed and not the dog.

If you are working with someone training a dog and you say do "X" (such as crate the dog next to the bed at night and yes.. that may be a bad example but I am writing on the fly here) but the owner won't do it and insists on doing "Y" (letting the dog own the bed and sleep on it) and then complains because the dog owns the bed.. well after awhile you just have to stop trying to teach them or help them because they are making excuses instead of doing the work.

This article was IMO about an owner failing and not understanding how to use R+ and totally not understanding dogs AND not learning.

I do not think R+ is "bad" and corrections are "good." Most of the training I do is R+ and most of it in our club is R+ simply because it works. Understanding location of delivery is and timing of delivery is essential.

Are corrections used? Yes. Infrequently and judiciously. Depends on the dog. Depends on the situation. Depends on a LOT of things.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
341 Posts
The thing that strikes me about this article is the way the dog owner is described in hyperfeminized terms. All the people in the story who fail the dog are female. The strategies that fail on the dog are stereotypically feminine. The husband is cast in the role of voice of reason, with the strong implication that if the husband reacted in a more masculine way (i.e. more physical, aggressive, tough, however you want to characterize it) the dog would behave better. He ends up being right about everything: that the dog's behavior is a problem, that the training is pointless, that the dog should be put down, etc. The entire story is an indictment of a certain attitude toward dogs that is associated with more traditionally feminine attributes.

The "feminist" lens was my third least-favorite brand of literary theory in college (right behind Marxist and psychoanalytic theory), but this piece of writing actually seems to warrant it. It kind of jumps out at me. And I can identify with it, too. When I first started really researching dog behavior, I found Cesar Milan's ideas highly attractive because I hated feminine stereotypes. All my heroes growing up were either men or women who took on more traditionally masculine roles. Everything that was associated with "girly" stuff was anathema to me, so the idea of being firm, even domineering with dogs appealed to me. Dogs aren't people with fur. They're dogs. Animals. My family culture never valued a dog's life very highly (if the dog killed livestock, you put a bullet in it, that sort of thing). So the idea of treating dogs like dogs really lined up with what I already believed.

I still believe that to some extent, but I've learned a lot more science since then. I no longer think that every traditionally feminine attribute is bad, nor that traditionally feminine attributes are entirely environmental. I no longer think that pack structure is an important part of handling domestic dogs. I take a more analytical approach to behavior, relying less on emotional explanations and more on what I think of as behavior "programming." I know brains aren't computers, but using learning theory to change behavior in a dog feels an awful lot like programming to me. It's all inputs and outputs. We can make up just-so stories when we don't understand where we went wrong, but I think the real principle this article highlights is GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out).

On two occasions I have been asked, 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,409 Posts
First off, not sure but I suspect this dog and owner are fictitious. Contrived in an attempt to sarcastically discredit those who use gentle, thoughtful, and sometimes time-consuming training methods. There are no references or details that lead me to believe it is an actual real-life case study.

This is pretty good, although I think that what the author means is that the handling was unclear.. and it exacerbated the issue. Dogs LIKE black and white. Grey just leads to confusion. When Grey is compounded by incorrect reward timing and delivery or both, grey can become red for the dog.
The same could easily be said for using punishment. "When grey is compounded by incorrect PUNISHMENT timing and delivery or both, grey can become red for the dog". And likely, much quicker and with more detriment.

Reading the article the thing I was impressed with was incorrect reward delivery (...)
I didn't see that at all. Perhaps you can point it out.


I dunno. I guess at the end of the day, I just don't give much credibility to 'flash-in-the-pan', 'overnight sensation' type of trainers who start out by rehabbing their own aggressive dogs by circumstance. And then decide to portray themselves as experts on behaviourism, charge exorbitant fees to the public for their questionable knowledge and services, and hand out ecollars to every 'student' that comes along, puppies included.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
As an owner of a "red zone" dog, this article was both interesting and appalling to me. My dog's never bitten anyone (I don't think he would, but I don't let him have the chance anyway) but he is very fearful of strangers and a lot of what was described in the article are things we've done - medication, check, reactive dog support groups, check, fence fighting, check, trainers, check, etc. etc.

My boy was definitely not abused, at least not in the traditional way. I got him at 8 weeks old and he seemed like a normal pup at the rescue site, but upon arriving home it was clear that wasn't the case. He's from a hoarder, he's inbred, he really didn't have a chance from the time he was conceived (or really from the time his grandparents or great-grandparents or whatever were conceived).

Why do I keep on keeping on? Well, what else is there? He's not aggressive and has no bite history and there's no reason to euthanize him, plus I LOVE him. Once he knows someone, he's a total snuggle bug. He's smart. He's fun. He's my boy. Someone else might have given up on him a long time ago - and I've had trainers tell me that - but he's not a bad dog. Now, I would probably think differently if I were afraid of him for any reason, but I'm not, he's just anxious and fearful and intense.

There are things I could do better and I'm getting better every day. I'm certain my next dog will be the same breed, but from a good breeder to avoid a lot of the genetic messiness my poor boy has to deal with. But he's mine and I'm just insulted by people/articles that sugar coat this and who are written by people who would have euthanized these dogs long ago without any kind of effort.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,329 Posts
there was much about the article that was clearly incorrect. The person (owner) of the dog did MANY things to "create" this dog with improper use of R+. If you reward when the dog is behaving inappropriately, you WILL build inappropriate behavior. I guess I was hoping for a bit more discussion and not just trashing the article without discussion.

I think the point of the article is that when dog training and handling is misunderstood and applied with misunderstanding it can create a mess. Reading the article the thing I was impressed with was incorrect reward delivery and a simple lack of establishing clear boundaries and communication. Reading about this dog in this article I would venture this is NOT a dog that needs corrections as much as it needed clarity, boundaries, correct handling and understanding of dogs. When I got to the part where the trainer gave up I believed (and maybe reading too much into this) that the OWNER failed and not the dog.

If you are working with someone training a dog and you say do "X" (such as crate the dog next to the bed at night and yes.. that may be a bad example but I am writing on the fly here) but the owner won't do it and insists on doing "Y" (letting the dog own the bed and sleep on it) and then complains because the dog owns the bed.. well after awhile you just have to stop trying to teach them or help them because they are making excuses instead of doing the work.

This article was IMO about an owner failing and not understanding how to use R+ and totally not understanding dogs AND not learning.

I do not think R+ is "bad" and corrections are "good." Most of the training I do is R+ and most of it in our club is R+ simply because it works. Understanding location of delivery is and timing of delivery is essential.

Are corrections used? Yes. Infrequently and judiciously. Depends on the dog. Depends on the situation. Depends on a LOT of things.
I would love to discuss, but this article was literally EVERYTHING that could possibly go wrong. An unstable dog with fear issues, an inexperienced owner, the dog getting worse for some reason that really isn't explained in the article other than "the owner was too nice". Not to mention, the entire article was judgmental. Who cares if you have an Instagram for your dog or like dog-themed bumper stickers? That doesn't reflect on your ability to train a dog....(and no, I do not have an Instagram for my dog or have any bumper stickers, lol!!) Also, judging people who SEEK HELP by hiring a trainer?

Obviously, the dog described in the article is imaginary, as is the owner. If such a dog did exist (and we know they do), it likely has genetic fear and anxiety issues that are not likely to be overcome with correction based training, either. Did the imaginary owner make a mistake in taking on that type of dog? Probably. But, it read as an article from a high-on-herself "balanced" trainer who really wanted to bash positive reinforcement trainers and put a catchy "How to Kill Your Dog" label on her article. I went to this trainer's blog, and almost every one of her articles follows the general theme of the "How to Kill Your Dog" one. "Anyone who doesn't want to punish their dog is soft and wrong" is what I'm feeling. She's very impressed with herself.

Also, here are a few excerpts from the trainer's website:

But what if fear was actually a useful emotion?
"I don't want my dog to be afraid of me...but what if it's useful? That's okay, then, right?"
I am not against using e-collars in certain circumstances, such as recall, when properly used and when the dog is properly and fully trained to understand the command, but this statement is a huge red flag to me.

You want it done right, quickly.
In "When to Call a Pro". We all know that doing things right sometimes does not mean doing it quickly. Dogs are individuals and it takes time. Any trainer who said "I can teach your dog to behave real quick!" is not someone I want to work with.

You might also find "The Most Good" an interesting article, which seems to imply that punishment is the only way to achieve ultimate dog zen across the entire world and completely eliminate reactivity, fear issues, and anxiety.

So, trash. I believe the author of the article is completely absorbed in her own world and basing her claims on a limited number of scenarios (most of the success stories appear to be of normal dog bad behavior issues that are pretty easily fixed, such as jumping, inability to settle, and poor leash skills) while belittling anyone who would rather try force free methods first.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,374 Posts
Makenna, I certainly don't want to speak for you. But I have worked with a lot of reactive dog owners who have gone through the same efforts (medication, support groups, etc.). What really bothered me about this article is it seemed to be mocking those choices (and subsequently those owners) by creating a false narrative of their efforts, as if the writer could have solved the problems faster for them... I know it's not that simple. I'm sure Chisum is very happy to be in your life! And even what you wrote, "I don't think he would, but I don't let him have the chance" paints a more honest picture of how reactive dog owners think.


3GSD, you wrote "I think the point of the article is that when dog training and handling is misunderstood and applied with misunderstanding it can create a mess." No, that was not the point. Perhaps that's what YOU took away. But the article was a tirade, really the most polarizing thing you can find. I think you can find a hundred better articles that say "don't misunderstand and misapply dog training", written by trainers of many creeds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,927 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I did not go to the website (wish I had). I absolutely think this is a fictional dog and owner (but maybe not!!!). I disliked the added stuff about Instagram and so forth.. it was really demeaning. I have SEEN owners like this and while reality check would be nice, demeaning them for having a big heart and loving the unlovable is not a good thing at all. I was more interested in the parts where the person rewarded the dog for bad behavior and the bad behavior escalated. I also was interested in the excuses rather than reasons. The rest was hyperbole that sounded like Adults talking in a Peanuts Movie to me. That said, you all are correct.. a LOT of unnecessary demeaning talk in there.

I am sure there are better articles and certainly better trainers than this author. Thinking you need to make your dog afraid of you is completely wrong. Even dogs interacting with other dogs will correct but not create real "fear." Fear is not a necessary emotion in training. JMO. Even if you go with "leadership" thinking a good leader creates a desire to follow and not a fear if you don't follow! Human history is full of those leaders who used fear to force followers to follow.. and we know the outcome with them.

Doing things right is rarely a quick outcome. Sometimes it is, but mostly not (and that goes for most of life, not just dog training!). I should have gone to her website.. and I did not..

I also agree PetPeve with the delivery of corrections inappropriately can make grey just more grey and (in some dogs) red.. Corrections do require the dog to be very clearly blowing off a clearly known and understood command. Most corrections I see delivered are out of frustration on a dog that has no clue why they are being corrected.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
Makenna, I certainly don't want to speak for you. But I have worked with a lot of reactive dog owners who have gone through the same efforts (medication, support groups, etc.). What really bothered me about this article is it seemed to be mocking those choices (and subsequently those owners) by creating a false narrative of their efforts, as if the writer could have solved the problems faster for them... I know it's not that simple. I'm sure Chisum is very happy to be in your life! And even what you wrote, "I don't think he would, but I don't let him have the chance" paints a more honest picture of how reactive dog owners think.
Oh exactly! The meds definitely help, and as I also have a non-reactive girl, I can tell you having a support group to bounce ideas off of and vent to is very helpful :). Reactive dogs are just...a lot.

I actually managed to get into a Reddit argument with someone who believed that ANY dog with the potential to bite should be put down - and since I said what I said above, that I'm pretty sure he wouldn't but I didn't give him the chance, therefore my boy is dangerous and should be put down. Now, he's been in situations where other dogs would have bitten. Historically, he has either run away or, when that option is unavailable, urinated/defecated on himself. For obvious reasons, I don't want to force him into trapped, stressful situations because even if that is "all" he does, it's no good for him and I wouldn't do that to him. But again, ALL DOGS CAN BITE. So the logic from their side of the argument was flawed from the start.

As Lillith pointed out, it's very interesting that the dog just keeps getting worse with no real explanation as to why. I'm not a professional dog trainer by any means, and as such have certainly had dogs in the past that never received any formal training outside of what I could get them to do (and I have never used punishment). I'm also pretty lax in certain things that others might not be - dogs are allowed on furniture (but are taught to get down when asked), I don't mind if they are near me when I eat, etc. But the dog in the article is just so extreme. Most dogs aren't going to bite just because they don't know the command "off." Most aren't going to attack the neighbor's dog because you don't make them sit before going outside.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,374 Posts
The reason why the article feels very extreme is any good trainer, regardless of how they train, will start by being honest about expectations and recommending management strategies. Any owner who cannot comply with reasonable amounts of management is not a client the trainer should continue with.

Don't get me wrong; there is some reality to the story. I've seen bits and pieces of it (ex. dog rushes out by accident and bites someone, dog bites someone's face at a party, dog is still growling at husband, etc.) across many different cases. But the spiraling that happens here is outlandish. I have seen R+ trainers, CPDTs, do things that have not helped dogs. I have seen more balanced/traditional trainers do things that have not helped dogs. But the author is clearly very anti R+ and it is delusional for her, or anyone, to think that this is the sole factor that hurts dogs and leads to euthanasia. In fact, articles like this demonstrate a clear misunderstanding of R+ training. It's riddled with examples like "throw 10 bully sticks into the bathroom for separation anxiety.." "dog still won't take treats outside..." Those aren't examples of R+ training. It's not R+ if the dog's behavior isn't being reinforced. Sure, an R+ trainer could have recommended trying food in those scenarios. But failure to eat does not mean positive reinforcement doesn't work. It just means the owner/trainer has not found the right reinforcement for that dog in that situation. And really, a ton of other things should have been considered even before that point.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top