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Thread: Question for (but Not Limited To) Dog Fanatic

  1. #1
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    Default Question for (but Not Limited To) Dog Fanatic

    Quote Originally Posted by Dog Fanatic View Post
    Not my words & I couldn't have said it better myself....

    "Prong collars and other painfull training methods are nothing but laziness. Please do your research when looking for a behaviourist. Reputable behaviourists will only use kind, positive reinforcement training methods, which you and your dog will both enjoy, meaning your dog will chose to do the right behaviour rather than have it forced out of pain!

    You are supposed to enjoy training your dog. Do you enjoy inflicting discomfort or pain on your dog, especially knowing that safer, and pain/side effect free techniques exist? You are teaching a creature who does not intrinsically understand our culture or ways, and is quite willing to cooperate once he realizes you are both on the same team. As the human, one of your jobs is to protect your dog from harm so he can trust you. Why send conflicting messages to your student who speaks another language? Only lazy, ignorant, and uncaring trainers still teach people to use these barbaric tools on their friends. Speak up. K- my rant is done."

    But will add you people thats use such barbaric collars are low life cold hearted f****** scumbags & its people like you that need karma to hit you 1000's x over.

    The images speak for themselves...
    I did not want to derail and hijack Jonathon's PP Collar thread, and dont want to open (yet another) argument about PP collars, but would like some input from those trainers who use "purely positive" methods only.

    I, myself, prefer positive training methods, but do not limit myself to positive only. As with human research, I believe that you need to have a balance of positive reward and correction (I'm avoiding using P+/P-/R+/R- terminology for simplicity). That does not, however, mean 50% reward/50% correction IMO. I use approx 80% positive/20% correction as my ratio.

    And I DO enjoy training my dogs. And I DO encourage members in my classes to enjoy their dogs and have fun with training. And I SEE huge benefit to my students who do have fun and enjoy training. YES, it works!

    But; here's my question, based on personal experience:

    I adopted a 6 month old Dobe. He weighed in at 26kg when I got him. He had no training when he arrived and was a bit of a disaster, really. As a result of stupid breeding, he also has a mix of anxiety and HUGE drive. (Bad combination, bad, bad, bad- but that's another issue).

    So, my boy on walks would LUNGE out at trucks. Not little trucks, BIG trucks. So much so that we are probably lucky to be alive after one incident where he pulled me off my feet (I'm not small, and I am strong) and almost under a log truck.

    Now, we know that to counter condition and teach, we need the object that the dog is fearful of to be present. And this boy would be fine and calm UNTIL we were close enough to be in danger and only then would he LUNGE!

    I was able to teach my dog a loose lead walk with reward based training. I was able to teach him that as his leader I woud protect him. But I also needed to teach him that this lunging at trucks was NOT ON.

    Now, I also believe corrections need to be administered efficiently and effectively. Not "nagging" little annoying tugs, but a correction that says "this behaviour unacceptable". I believe you administer the most effective correction you can with a view to only having to do it once- or twice. To continually "nuisance correct" is cruel, IMO, to efefctively and fairly correct is good teaching.

    I therefore purchased and used a PP collar. The dog gave himself one enormous correction. And has not done it since.

    Since that massive correction, I have applied positive strategies to desensitise and counter condition, to reward loose lead walking, have taught and trained a number of skills to high level. You would not recognise this dog now as being the disaster he was at 6 months.

    So... Dog Fanatic or others- what strategies would you have used in my situation? Could I have done it differently?

  2. #2
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    But will add you people thats use such barbaric collars are low life cold hearted f****** scumbags & its people like you that need karma to hit you 1000's x over.

    Sorry I didnt see this post yesterday but the above comment I find pretty rediculous! Concidering that there were members that admitted using Prong comments I am very surprissed this was aloud to stay!!

    Cold hearted? Scumbags? Hmmm.. Pull YOur bloody Head in!!

    V + F - Really, as you would know. I have my own issue's with behavior so Im no proffessional but I will say in your situation, where it is in a way life or death. It is VERY Acceptable to use the methods you did!
    Rubylisious


  3. #3
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    In my opinion, though I have never used a prong, I would say that sometimes you have to take a breath and do what is necessary to make everyone safe. Especially in such a life and death situation. Dobes are large powerful dogs and you don't want to be pulled under a truck nor have your dog get hit if he was to ever get off lead etc etc etc.

    I don't believe in total positive based training. As in you can sure teach and train a dog with only positive methods (i.e you can TEACH them sit and drop and stay etc with only positive reinforcement) but you CANNOT change BEHAVIOUR without teaching the dog right from wrong with punishment and reward being used at appropriate times to show what is acceptable and what is not.

    V&F what you did worked, and I say GOOD ON YOU! you know your dogs better than anyone and you are switched on. If you felt that was the right way to deal with the situation then it was. Follow your gut, it usually leads you the right way.
    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." - Edward Hoagland

  4. #4
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    I'm a big fan of Susan Garrett's methods of training. She believes you need to "earn the right to punish" a dog. Ie you need to have trained the dog what you want it to do, across a number of different environments and the dog needs to have demonstrated that it understands the command/signal before you can consider giving any kind of correction or punishment.

    Her punishments tend to be "time outs" for her dogs. Ie if dog goes in pond without permission - she jumps in after it and pulls it out and puts it in a drop stay for as long as she sees fit - which depends on the dog and how well it understands what it was supposed to have done (like ask permission before jumping in the pond). For a puppy she doesn't tend to use time outs or they're very short. For an older dog that has demonstrated good understanding the time out may be 20 minutes or longer depending what else she's doing.

    Mostly when the dog does what she doesn't want - during the training phase, she just brings it back to try again in the least rewarding way possible ie no more cues or treats or tugs - just try again. For some kinds of training (eg weaves) she may use a "non reward marker" like "oops" to let the dog know they're not going to get a reward for the action they just tried.

    So one could argue that not getting a reward is a correction or punishment as the idea is to make that behaviour less likely. But that's getting technical. Most people mean by punishment something more severe than withholding the reward - like causing the dog some pain or mental trauma.

    In the case of the truck... SG would try the counter conditioning and rewarding calm behaviour at a distance, and gradually work closer in a kind of two steps forward, one step back ping ponging of the distance. If the dog showed the least bit attention or distraction when the truck went by, she'd back off the distance until the dog could remain focussed on her. I know with my dog - and possums - that she will get "distracted" by the possum ie she will take her focus off me - before she bolts after it. I have had a recent problem with her deciding to greet cars that look like friends and that's caught me by surprise - ie the loss of focus is followed instantly by the bolt - so I haven't got much time to stop her. And it's hard cos she didn't used to do this particular behaviour. But for her it will mean a lot more on lead time until her recall is better conditioned. Ie the kind of recall you get that bypasses the thinking (i've got something better to do) bit of the dog's brain.

    While I would avoid prong collar and ecollar and etc, and so would SG - in some cases - ie life and death for the dog, ie to teach it not to run across busy highways or play with snakes - we'd both consider the use of something more severe than rewards based training.

    Note I prefer the phrase "reward based training" to "purely positive", because with holding the treat is "negative". Technically speaking.

  5. #5

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    Dobes big and powerful? Try an 85kg out of control Great Dane... no prongs necessary, took 6 months but the dog happily trotted along for walks.

    They really aren't needed if you are capable of basic lead training, any dog can be taught, most people just give up too easily.
    It takes WORK and yes it can take TIME but you can train a dog without resorting to shocks and pinches.

    One of my favourite methods is the "watch and wait" making the dog focus on you.
    You start out in your home where it's nice and quiet and gradually build up to distractions.

  6. #6

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    Every dog is different and you do whatever works for that particular dog.

    I've seen both extremes - ones who shut down over minimal corrections and ones that take a pretty damn harsh correction to get the point.

    Never say you'll never use this tool or that tool... You will never know what the future holds!

    ETA: I also find Danes easier to get off balance than a Dobe, easier to stop them lunging too. I'm not that tall or that strong either.

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    Great replies so far, folks. I truly am interested, as I believe one's bag of training tricks can never be too full!

    Crested, I have found that size and weight do not always = controllability or lack thereof. Some breeds simply have higher drive, which for me translates into harder to control. Whilst I certainly agree that 85+kg of Dane is alot to hold on to, traditionally they are not huge drive dogs, like some of the 'utility' and 'molosser' breeds. Having handled quite a few Danes and Wolfies, I do find that breeds like Sheps, Dobes, Malinois etc are harder to handle.

    That said, we have a spaniel x poodle at training currently with MASSIVE drive and he is an absolute handful!

    I agree that one definitely starts from low distraction to high. Absolutely. In my case, my biggest issue was not having a 'pet log truck' so to speak in
    order to implement a structured desensitisation program. Villain certainly could watch and wait, until the danger moment... Which was a little hard to pick at times....! Obviously I was looking to find 'critical distance' but in the end it was on the cusp of us potentially being hurt badly which I saw as untenable.

    @ Hyac, yep, the very best 'punishments' can be withholding a treat, pat, or even release. Not every situation requires actually administering an uncomfortable sensation. In general, and in low-medium drive situations, my dogs know full well from a head shake and verbal 'oops' that they are on the wrong track.

    @ A&B- yep!!! Centre of gravity plays a huge part. Low(er), more compact breeds are harder to unbalance compared to the 'leggier' breeds, for sure!
    Last edited by Villain & Flirtt; 07-05-2011 at 09:53 PM.

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    SG often comments about people complaining their dogs are over the top drivey / excited all the time and impossible to train. She had one of these herself but she found it common with people who got into agility with some calm breed like spaniel and then got themselves an "agility dog" ie a border collie. Ie a super responsive eager dog who is fully into trying to figure out what you want and doing it - super fast. Which doesn't go well with someone who has bad co-ordination, inconsistent signalling and a dog that thinks it knows what they want when they don't even know.

    Her dog - who was over excited most of the time was "Buzzy". And she managed to train him with all positive. She did have to start across the car park on the oval away from the building were dog training classes were taking place - to work on keeping his focus. At first, she couldn't go in the building or Buzzy would scream everybody's ears off with excitment.

    She wrote a book called "Shaping success" about dealing with it.

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    Hyac, though I will have to grab and read for myself- does SG train to take the drive out of the dog, or build the drive and use it? Or a combination of both?

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    SG and Steve Courtney both talk about peak drive/excitement and working on keeping the dog in the optimum level. So she'd have to calm Buzzy down and that meant training him to take food treats - cos he'd get less excited about those, and training Decaf (a JRT) to do tug - cos she was easily put off by everything and needed more excitement.

    So it depends on the dog and its state of mind - it seems like you have one that is Over the Top excited and would need more of the calming focus techniques.

    Mine needs more revving up that not, but every now and again, she's over the top bonkers (sheep anyone?) and I have to find a way of getting her attention without over doing it and shutting her down (she seizes up and won't do anything for fear its the wrong thing).

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