Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 20 of 62 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
One of course, is the emphasis that you are the pack leader, you're the alpha and that everything stems from there (ie Caesar Milan the Dog Whisperer). the other is a newer concept based on that dogs see us more as playmates and debunking the alpha theory based on the latest science on wolves and dogs. See the new book called "Dog Sense" by John Bradshaw.

I have a mutt that has a dominant personality (will hump other dogs) and barks and can act aggressive toward other dogs, especially if he and the other dogs are restrained. But he has never bitten anyone or any dog and he's hung out with a lot of different dogs (lived with some lab and lab mixes for several months, dog parks, meeting dogs on hikes, etc.)

I'm feeling caught in the middle about this. Not sure what to do because he likes to play tug and the 2 schools of thought differ on this. One would say no because it encourages aggression and you "must win" the game. The other implies that your dog sees you as another playmate and is not out to dominate, especially, if when you let go of the rope your dog comes back right away with it and begs "more more!" (he sees you as a fun playmate). And if you don't engage in tug with him, your dog will simply see you as "no fun".

Would it be a safe assumption to say that the type of training needed is based on the individual dog's personality?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,406 Posts
One of course, is the emphasis that you are the pack leader, you're the alpha and that everything stems from there (ie Caesar Milan the Dog Whisperer). the other is a newer concept based on that dogs see us more as playmates and debunking the alpha theory based on the latest science on wolves and dogs. See the new book called "Dog Sense" by John Bradshaw.

I have a mutt that has a dominant personality (will hump other dogs) and barks and can act aggressive toward other dogs, especially if he and the other dogs are restrained. But he has never bitten anyone or any dog and he's hung out with a lot of different dogs (lived with some lab and lab mixes for several months, dog parks, meeting dogs on hikes, etc.)

I'm feeling caught in the middle about this. Not sure what to do because he likes to play tug and the 2 schools of thought differ on this. One would say no because it encourages aggression and you "must win" the game. The other implies that your dog sees you as another playmate and is not out to dominate, especially, if when you let go of the rope your dog comes back right away with it and begs "more more!" (he sees you as a fun playmate). And if you don't engage in tug with him, your dog will simply see you as "no fun".

Would it be a safe assumption to say that the type of training needed is based on the individual dog's personality?
Humping can be a sign of arousal, or an invitation to play, or a question "Is it okay if I do this to you?" I think when you base training on incorrect information (traditional alpha wolf theory) you may be more likely to get incorrect results. Tug is fine if the human sets the rules.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
948 Posts
I've always enjoyed playing tug, even wrestling around on the floor with my dogs. They know when I'm playing, they stop when I say stop. I would rather ignore the "alpha wolf pack" theories and go with what I've learned through experience which is, dogs will follow a leader, you don't have to "prove you are the leader", you just have to "be the leader." In my experience, that doesn't mean "don't play with the dog", they are quite capable of seeing you as playmate one minute and boss the next. If you don't provide leadership you'll likely end up with a problem dog, possessive, anxious, maybe agressive, who knows what all.

[thanks for the book recommendation, here's another Inside of a Dog (Horowitz)]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,761 Posts
Would it be a safe assumption to say that the type of training needed is based on the individual dog's personality?
No.

The type of training needed is based on the laws of learning. Be it dog, human, whale, or slug.

How those laws are explained, that makes sense to you, is a different story; to which, there are many covers for that book...you've only touched on 2. In the end, it's usually never more complicated than the laws of learning and learning thoery.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
559 Posts
Dog Sense was a great book - well researched, and well-cited. That is the difference between the alpha-CM stuff and behavior theory. Behavior theory (learning theory) has solid science to back it up.

Re-read what Bradshaw had to say about playing tug. One of the things that comes to mind is a study that compared letting dogs win vs. not letting them win. Although it was not true that dogs who won became more aggressive, those dogs did learn that playing tug was more fun and were more likely to try to initiate play.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,851 Posts
I have several dominant dogs, they all play tug with me. Tugging is one way of building confidence in a dog. As pups, they are always allowed to win. They are also taught to out as young pups, and taught voraan, enough or go away.
Dogs know you are not a dog. Period. Your dog doesn't sound as if he is trying to dominate you.

I have seen many working dogs brought up with both methods. The "I have to show I'm the boss" method, makes for grumpy dogs, likely to bite their handler. The play method, makes dogs that can't wait to work, and always wanting more interaction with you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
574 Posts
training a dog to me boils down on how we guide a dog into doing what we want.

We can add something that the dog likes when he does what we want.
We can remove something the dog likes when he doesn't do what we want. WE can add something the dog doesn't like when he does what we don't want.
We can remove something the dog doesn't like when he does what we want.

The consequences have to meaningful to the dog and they have to be timely. If I give him food for sitting and he is not hungry it is not meaningful. If I take him in the house after training and give a hungry dog a steak, even though meaningful it is not timely.

Personality and genetics affect training and are factors that are dependent on the dog and may or may not be greatly altered.


Now my opinion on tug. I think its a great game to work on self control.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,350 Posts
I've learned through experience which is, dogs will follow a leader, you don't have to "prove you are the leader", you just have to "be the leader."
I like this! You should just lead, just communicate what you want, train them on how to accomplish that, and just lead.

I have to say, I don't really agree with the way the OP (Dobry) summed up the 2 schools of thought, it was either "you are the pack leader, you're the alpha" or "a newer concept based on that dogs see us more as playmates..."
I don't think I've every heard anyone say, here or elsewhere, that you should simply be your dog's playmate. That would be about as successful as being your kid's friend instead of their parent.
I would say the "newer" concept has to do with shaping and guiding a dog's behavior, not just being it's playmate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,406 Posts
I like this! You should just lead, just communicate what you want, train them on how to accomplish that, and just lead.

I have to say, I don't really agree with the way the OP (Dobry) summed up the 2 schools of thought, it was either "you are the pack leader, you're the alpha" or "a newer concept based on that dogs see us more as playmates..."
I don't think I've every heard anyone say, here or elsewhere, that you should simply be your dog's playmate. That would be about as successful as being your kid's friend instead of their parent.
I would say the "newer" concept has to do with shaping and guiding a dog's behavior, not just being it's playmate.
Really good point. I ask pretty much the same things from my dogs that I always did - I just ask for it in a different way. They still have rules and boundaries.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
I'm feeling caught in the middle about this. Not sure what to do because he likes to play tug and the 2 schools of thought differ on this.

Would it be a safe assumption to say that the type of training needed is based on the individual dog's personality?
Schools of thought that you mentioned are for dealing with entirely different issues. The "dominant dog" theory is NOT *training*, it is rather an attempt to bring dominant aggressive dogs under some degree of control.

If your dog shows aggression during walks, train him the meaning of NO and he will probably figure out that what he's doing is wrong. Some dogs have simply learned this behaviour from other dogs, they're not really aggressive, just being idiots.
Other than that, choke collars solve REAL aggression or first signs of dominance rather quickly, they *force* the dog to calm down and think about what just happened.

Before trying out implements of destruction on your dog, try teaching NO first. Even if it means embedding news paper on his butt. If he reacts to NO after this then you have done your first successful training session :). Before this though I'd do my best to maintain his attention with food, plays, lots and lots of food and more games and avoid things that cause aggression for a few weeks - let him know that you're really an alright and pretty cool guy. I wouldn't train anything during this positive time with the dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
482 Posts
Our ACD mix is dominant and very competitive. There is nothing wrong with her wanting to "win" every game, that's her personality and who she is and I'm not going to be able to change that by refusing to play her favorite games with her. What we have done is make sure she has solid "drop it", "leave it", "come", "sit" and "stay" commands. She can be as competitive playing tug of war as she wants, as long as, when we want her to let go, she responds to the "drop it" promptly and the "leave it" when we are done playing and the toy is being put away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,406 Posts
Schools of thought that you mentioned are for dealing with entirely different issues. The "dominant dog" theory is NOT *training*, it is rather an attempt to bring dominant aggressive dogs under some degree of control.

If your dog shows aggression during walks, train him the meaning of NO and he will probably figure out that what he's doing is wrong. Some dogs have simply learned this behaviour from other dogs, they're not really aggressive, just being idiots.
Other than that, choke collars solve REAL aggression or first signs of dominance rather quickly, they *force* the dog to calm down and think about what just happened.

Before trying out implements of destruction on your dog, try teaching NO first. Even if it means embedding news paper on his butt. If he reacts to NO after this then you have done your first successful training session :). Before this though I'd do my best to maintain his attention with food, plays, lots and lots of food and more games and avoid things that cause aggression for a few weeks - let him know that you're really an alright and pretty cool guy. I wouldn't train anything during this positive time with the dog.
Umn, yeah. Choking a dog down can certainly make a dog "appear" calm. Just curious what "no" is supposed to teach a dog to do? Wouldn't it be more useful to teach a dog how to handle the situation calmly, without you having to intimidate or choke him?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,307 Posts
Other than that, choke collars solve REAL aggression or first signs of dominance rather quickly, they *force* the dog to calm down and think about what just happened.
How does that work to calm them, most every living creature when choked gets into a panic non thinking mode that may end when choking stops. The aggression may also stop if dog is choked long enough but that also stops the dog so is not a good ending. I'm not sure of the learning curve on choking programs does it begin before, during, or after the choking.

I have no problem using aversives that work just don't believe choking something is one of them but good luck with that choking stuff. I have used other aversives to stop aggression, actually more to just protect myself from getting bit. No more, no less.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,350 Posts
If your dog shows aggression during walks, train him the meaning of NO and he will probably figure out that what he's doing is wrong. Some dogs have simply learned this behaviour from other dogs, they're not really aggressive, just being idiots.
Other than that, choke collars solve REAL aggression or first signs of dominance rather quickly, they *force* the dog to calm down and think about what just happened.

Before trying out implements of destruction on your dog, try teaching NO first. Even if it means embedding news paper on his butt. If he reacts to NO after this then you have done your first successful training session :). Before this though I'd do my best to maintain his attention with food, plays, lots and lots of food and more games and avoid things that cause aggression for a few weeks - let him know that you're really an alright and pretty cool guy. I wouldn't train anything during this positive time with the dog.
I have to say that I agree with the others who have said that choke collars don't really force a dog to be calm. They force him to be frightened, or panicked, and they may appear to be calm, but are really just shutting down to avoid further issues.

I also don't agree with simply teaching the meaning of "no". The thing is, "no" basically, according to the dictionary (paraphrased) means to express denial or disagreement. The concept is somewhat similar, when you think about it, to the concept of "right vs wrong". And, dogs don't generally understand right vs wrong in the way humans do. They can learn to understand that certain things displease us, but they don't think in terms of right or wrong in general.

So, to "train the meaning of no" is kind of overkill, and pointless, in a way. Dogs don't generalize well, we've heard that said many times. If you say no when you want the dog to stay off the couch, and no when you want the dog to stop chasing the cat, and no when you want the dog to stop jumping, it stops becoming a specific word meaning, and is simply becomes an interrupter word.

So, sure, if you want to use "no" as an interrupter word, a marker to interrupt a behavior, fine. But, you're not really teaching what humans know to be the meaning of "no". And, that can lead to problems, because no is super overused in today's society. My fiance comes home and says our favorite shop downtown gets broken into, I say "NO!" as in "no way! oh my gosh!" If he asks if I want to go to a movie and I'm too tired, I say "no". If my dog gets into something, HE says "no" (I hate using no with the dogs), if my niece calls and asks to come visit, I may jokingly say "no" before I say "just kidding". No is used all day, and it starts to lose meaning. In fact, it doesn't really have just one meaning, the way we use it in today's society. So, which definition are we expecting our dogs to "get"?

Also, many people change a simple "no" to "no, no NO NO NONONO!" when a dog is really frustrating them. And, since dogs generally learn sounds as opposed to actual words, "no, no no NO NO NONONO" doesn't mean the same thing.

And, bottom line is, if you use "no" as an interrupter, it would also be wise to include what you DO want them to do, not just what you DON'T want.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Choke collars use a rather simple concept: dog's air supply is stopped therefore its priorities change. This is sometimes only way to manage a situation with large aggressive dog however awful it appears - it's either that or handler gets bitten, dog gets loose and kills another dog. Also, most dogs figure it out and just stop doing what caused the immediate choke off. Trachea damage and blindness are nice long term side effects that can happen but that's still better than having a dog locked up for life, put down or sedated IMO. As for teaching NO, it teaches the dog stop whatever it was doing, look at you and wait for next instruction. I'm not punishment happy sadist, I'm actually all for counter conditioning bad behaviours but fact is most people don't have that patience and nerves and won't invest time and effort needed to redirect their dog's attention (for aggressive adult dogs it takes massive amount of time).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,761 Posts
I'm not punishment happy sadist, I'm actually all for counter conditioning bad behaviours but fact is most people don't have that patience and nerves and won't invest time and effort needed to redirect their dog's attention (for aggressive adult dogs it takes massive amount of time).
CC is always happening, so the time and effort for it, is for as long as you have the dog, no?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
Is this THE John Bradshaw that wrote those books on codependency in the 1980s?

If so, now he's going for "dog psych theory" because it's the new thing that will get him selling books again?...Just askin...

DustyCrockett, I tend to your way of thinking - I think the way a dog thinks is more complex and not so one-dimensional as some theories would have us believe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
@doxiemommy
What you say is perfectly fine but we're not teaching dogs english. We're conditioning NO to a bad experience through positive punishment. There are also different tones of NO, one that you use in marker training and one that you use to make it clear to a dog that something bad is about to happen. They don't understand our dictionary, they just pick up the tone, you can use whatever word you want. I use NO with my dog on weekly basis and it's crystal clear to him what it means. He learned that rolling in a carcase is not what I appreciate, getting into other peoples yards, eating faeces, chasing cats, people, children etc. I did not say "Fido come" I said "Fido NO" and after several reps he figured that doing those things produces a negative experience. This did not make him fearful, aggressive, reactive or anything, he's a perfectly happy normal dog - it's a vast overreaction and a misconception on people's part when they claim that anything aversive will melt any dog into a useless lump of flesh. Trainers that use "pure positive" methods and escape avoidance system never use NO but I simply disagree with this idea. I find NO very useful in a variety of situations. Hope what I said makes sense.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,307 Posts
With me "NO" was old school, what it meant was simple "stop what your doing now and do something different, if you're peeing, stop peeing, if you're not peeing, start peeing. I know sounds crude but it was very old school. I have mellowed somewhat.

Keep one thought, I was training when the Dead Sea was healthy. Heard something similar on American Idol.
 
1 - 20 of 62 Posts
Top