Promoting responsible German Shepherd Dog ownership
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On another forum, not the one you're probably thinking of, this one is positive only, some of the advice that is given is so clearly wrong it makes me cringe!
For example, one of their pet peeves is anytime anyone says anything about a dominant dog, they pull out the "dominance theory was debunked years ago, by the guy that came up with it."
Without realizing that alpha pack behavior and a dominant dog are 2 very very different subjects! Having personally know several dominant dogs, I can tell you it's a fact!
Another one that just kills me, is that whenever anyone mentions anything about a fearful or stress induced reaction by a dog in a given situation, they jump right into the full blown extremely fearful dog routine, focusing on the specific actors, without even trying to understand what might be bothering this particular dog! It's the same boilerplate solution for all!
Anyway, I should have posted this in the rants forum LOL! I just thought maybe here we could actually discuss some of these things if you're so inclined...
This is a good topic. In my experience with trainers and dog owners, when someone knows a little about fear, they think they know everything. I used a trainer who told me a rescue male I fostered and kept and who bit people had fear based aggression. I thought wow this guy really knows dogs. Then I got a puppy from a GSD rescue who was fine with me and with my family but didn’t like him. She hid behind me. He said she is very fearful and will probably become aggressive. She wasn’t and she didn’t she quickly became dominant over my other dog.
I took my WL dog to him as a puppy. He said fear based aggression. This time I knew he didn't know what he was talking about and I found a better trainer. He made a career out of convincing people their dogs had fear based aggression.
ive also noticed people who push PO tend to know a little but don’t understand breed-based traits or how to deal with them. I mostly use positive with my dogs, far more than anything else. But there are times when a dog needs to have a firm NO! That might take a physical correction as well. I’m not going to limit myself to food based training when my dog isn’t food motivated. I’ve also noticed they are resistant to hearing anything they don’t agree with. So, yes, you are right and Internet advice is only as good as the abilities of the person giving the advice.
What is your experience with this?
I find most of the positive only trainers I’ve seen to be competent in teaching commands in general, competent in getting dogs to perform in a sterile environment, getting good attention from dogs with decent food drive, and find success with the way going, softer dogs. The methods tend to fall apart when aggression, competing motivators, dogs with lower food drive, and the dogs with a more I do what I want when I want attitude are involved. I find most of the solutions to problems are carry around treats and stuff your dogs face. While not that different in terms of walking your dog on a prong as far as having the tools you use always available, the difference is effectively using them when the rubber meets the road. There’s a large black dog near me, maybe a big poodle. Seems more muscular though. Anyway this dog lights up anytime he sees bear and Cion. This could be from across the 4 or 5 lane street l, while he’s in their courtyard area or anywhere else. This dog is usually on a no pull harness with the wife. The struggle with this dog while he’s blowing up is immense. This is an issue that could be quickly and effectively improved with the use of a prong or slip. I also have a friend who began to struggle with dog aggression in her huskies. They got so reactive they didn’t go in walks. She went to a positive only trainer who recommended a desensitization program similar to the one you often see recommended online l. Not super effective and involves a lot of long term commitment to work through some major struggles. What I’ve seen is more people with actual issues leave positive only dogs to go to balanced trainers more than the other way around. I’m not saying that all balanced trainers or trainers who also use force techniques are good. It’s just that the positive only trainers have a limited tool box.
I also agree that positive only trainers aren’t familiar with most working dog breeds and how they are. For example most of the ones I’ve met are only familiar with pet line shepherds. They are also not use to working with dogs that are bred to have aggression. This is in general.
It’s true and they don’t know what to do when their methods fail.
Two previous trainers I’ve worked with have German Shepherds, but as you said one is pet line and the other is ASL. Very hyper but not any aggression. I told the second one some issues I was having when mine was a puppy and he said I’m sorry. He had no idea how to fix behaviors. He only taught obedience.
My experience with PO trainer's is very similar to what's been stated, good with general obedience, totally lost with any aggression.
Resource guarding is especially funny. It always involves throwing treats. And I'd be willing to bet it's about 10% effective. But I've also heard people say, if your dog likes that spot, just honor that LOL!
Honestly, I have never seen a trainer that I agree with 100%. And in my own training, I do 98% positive training, because it works. But I am always ready willing and able to correct if needed, and my dog knows it, which makes a correction hardly ever needed!
I always say this. I can't be 100% positive with anyone or anything, because it just isn't honest. And you can't lie to an animal.
Throwing treats has ruined more dogs than anything else. That trainer wanted people to throw treats at all my dogs. I never want them accepting food from totally strangers. They don’t understand protective breeds.
Have you ever known a person to be successful using the positive conditioned emotional response (+CER).
The idea is you pair an unwanted stimulus with some sort of positive reinforcement (likely a treat) until the dog comes to associate the stimulus with the reward, so as not to be bothered by it anymore.
I've never seen it work. People (a) aren't consistent enough, and (b) don't stick with it long enough.
Skinner did it back in the day with a mechanism that always delivered. People, IMHO, aren't reliable enough to get the results they're after.
My puppy was leash reactive when I got her; tried to chew the face off of the first dog she saw while on leash. I resolved it with a combination of desensitization with treats and mild verbal corrections/guidance. I can't imagine how long treats alone would have taken. Nor why anyone would want to take the long road like that.