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waggytail
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25-07-2011, 09:48 AM

Media Pushing "purely Positive" methods..Where is the Balanced approach?

I regulary pick up a copy of one of the many Dog magazines available. I have noticed that increasingly these magazines appear to be filled with articles to promote "purely positive" training methods. a typical example is the recent issue of "Dog today" which has a 2 page spread from Victoria Stillwell on this subject.

My concern is that Dog training appears to be going from one extreme to another, Of course it is unacceptable for a dog to be beaten but is it really any better to exessively reward a dog to the overall detriment of their learning?

If the media continue to represent only one side of the debate then it will make it increasingly difficult for owners and trainers to have a balanced view on this issue. even organisations such as APDT are now taking this line, banning their members from using a number of techniques and products.

As a trainer and Behaviourist myself, I have seen both ends of the spectrum and I feel what is missing is a balanced approach. in order to teach fairly, surely dogs they need a mixture of both postive and negative consequences? I also feel that certain aspects of Dog psychology have been pushed aside to suit this new regime, Watch any pack of dogs and then ask yourself wether "leadership" is important or not.

I am interested to know what others feel about the representation of Dog training/trainers in the media? Have TV shows and magazines warped our sense of reality? is there now an increasing pressure on how we train our dogs? The methods we use, even the words we use (Don't say "Dominance!!")

As people are becoming more aware there are more questions being asked, more expectation of trainers and clubs and divided opinion on what is the right way to train a dog. I feel people have the right to learn from both sides of the camp but more importantly to find the acceptable middle ground.
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Murf
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25-07-2011, 09:58 AM
Welcome to dogsey ..
I am sure others will be along to debate your points ...
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krlyr
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25-07-2011, 09:58 AM
Can I ask what methods/techniques/products you feel we should be using?
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joto
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25-07-2011, 10:04 AM
Aren't you getting confused about this? A group of dogs or any other animals will have some sort of hierachy. My nearly 15 yr old bitch only has to curl her lip at the other 2 and they will back off.

What is NOT true is that humans are part of that hiearchy. If you want to train a dog not to knock you out of the way to dash through a door, then yes, teach them some manners for safety reasons, but not because they have to see you as the first letter of the greek alphabet.

IMO it devalues a dogs intelligence to say they see us as part of their pack, they know we are not dogs. we know they are not human
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labradork
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25-07-2011, 10:07 AM
Depends what you are defining as a "more balanced" approach?
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smokeybear
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25-07-2011, 10:09 AM
I am a bit confused with the above post as I cannot see anywhere in the OP post that mentions anything about "alpha", humans being part of an animal hierarchy, or that dogs see us as part of the pack?
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ClaireandDaisy
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25-07-2011, 10:30 AM
Most people say Hallo in their first post.

I use positive methods. I was using them before Victoria Stillwell and Cesar Millan were invented. I won`t stop using them because you or anyone else isn`t happy with them. I use them because they work and I feel comfortable using them.
When exactly did an actress who got into dog training become someone listen to with awe and wonder? Or a Mexican with a very good contract and a PR company?
I don`t follow any `method` slavishly and try to avoid evangalists of any persuasion - which I feel you are, or why would this bother you so much? There are loads of articles telling us how to make a perfect dog. The more intelligent ones among us recognise them for a modern version of snake oil ads.
I suggest you try to avoid Celebrity Dog training and evolve your own method with the help of your dog.
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waggytail
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25-07-2011, 10:34 AM
Ok, let me give some clarification....

In an episode of "its me or the Dog" I saw an aggressive dog being "distracted" with food. My concern was that the dog was clearly being rewarded whilst it was still growling!? This is no less an "Accident waiting to happen" than watching Cesar Millan doing his "Alpha roll"??

My approach to this situation would be to remove the dog every time it growled, to repeat until the dog entered the room calmly. THEN the dog can be rewarded to reinforce the behaviour.

In response to Joto, I understand that I am not a dog but I am still a "Leader" The above method shows the dog that I take responsibilty for him (and the situation) not the other way around.

I use a mixture of postive and negative but I am never harsh or unfair. I do not use choke collars, shock collars or "Alpha rolls" I always prefer to use positive reward based techniques where possible but also I see no harm in using methods such as Aversion therapy (Loud distracting noises) or verbal reprimands where appropiate.

It is important to assess each dog and each situation and find which approach is most suitable. It all depends on the dog, and the behaviour you are dealing with.
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Tupacs2legs
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25-07-2011, 10:39 AM
Your not rewarding the growling if u distract then treat
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krlyr
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25-07-2011, 10:42 AM
I don't think you can really criticize a whole method for the way one person uses it. I haven't seen much of "It's Me or the Dog" but to use your example, I would say it depends why the dog was growling, for a start. If it was a fear-based reaction, for example, whilst I wouldn't reward the dog for growling, I wouldn't use an aversive or reprimand either. I would find the dog's threshold, and sit on the non-reactive side of it, and reward the dog for not growling. Similar to your solution, but I wouldn't keep pushing the dog beyond its comfort level by taking it close enough that it felt the need to growl.
I don't think aversives would have a place in many situations because you are not changing the dog's frame of mind - you aren't teaching it that the scary item isn't scary, just that it's bad to growl (which may then lead to the dog surpressing that behaviour until it reaches bursting point and resorts to the next behaviour- snapping, for example).
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