Completely Confused

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Cthulhu7, May 21, 2012.

  1. Cthulhu7

    Cthulhu7 Mitch & Erin

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    1
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Hello all,
    I have a wonderful miniature Schnauzer/Terrier. He is one year old, and was adopted one week ago. He's very sweet, but he isn't responding to training. A big part of that is that he doesn't seem to care about treats, except for cooked chicken.

    I don't know where he's been for the last year, all I know is that he's been sheltered for the last month and a half. However, I believe he was a stray, because the other day he picked up an old half eaten sandwich off the ground and tried to eat it. Could explain why he likes the chicken so much.

    Anyways, I'm very confused. One site: (http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/articles/alphadogbootcamp.htm) says that I need to be his alpha, and get him to follow my every word. Even so far as to not walk through doors before me (do dogs even understand that?)

    Another site: (http://www.essortment.com/train-miniature-schnauzer-dog-22234.html) says that I need to include him in everything, and let him be near my girlfriend and I at all times, and so on. I would prefer to do that, but this site also seems to be directed at puppies.

    I'm just trying to figure out what would be best for Cthulhu. I want him to be a happy dog that can trust my girlfriend and I. Also, I live in Austin, TX, so being able to take him to some of the awesome off-leash parks and events would be great.

    Thanks to all.
     
  2. Greenmagick

    Greenmagick New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    3,199
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    9 not counting ducks, chickens, and fish
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    No, he does not need you to be "alpha" and to follow your every word. He does need to trust you and follow your leadership, but that is different and it does take some time to build up to that. A week is still pretty early in the game, he may be still rather overwhelmed. Keep things simple, lots of positive interactions but also low key and calm with rules and boundaries. Show him what you want from him and work on building that bond.
     
  3. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    Messages:
    13,402
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Kennel Manager
    Location:
    Guelph, Ontario
    This. Also:
    Most any dog would want to eat a sandwich off the ground... it's yummy human food. It doesn't mean he was a stray.
     
  4. Cthulhu7

    Cthulhu7 Mitch & Erin

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    1
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Thank you. I really don't want to be the benevolent dictator that site wants me to be.

    True, i don't know that he was a stray. I do worry about what he's been through though.
     
  5. ~Tucker&Me~

    ~Tucker&Me~ and Spy.

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2005
    Messages:
    4,940
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 Dog, 1 cat, 2 lovebirds, fish galore
    Location:
    B.C.
    Welcome to the forum! :)

    I agree with Greenmagick, forget about the 'alpha' BS and just focus on building a positive, trusting relationship with your dog. He is probably feeling overwhelmed and is still adjusting to his new life. Dogs seem to thrive off regularity and schedules, so try to keep to a general routine that he can get the hang of. Ignore or passively interrupt behaviours you don't like (try not to "punish'), and reward behaviours you DO like (these can be tricks, but don't forget about general good behaviour - laying quietly while you watch TV, greeting strangers in a friendly way, etc). If he still doesn't seem interested in treats after some settling in time, go to the pet store and see if you can get some samples or bring him in and let him sniff some open bags to see what peaks his interest. Alternatively, if he likes toys, you can use those as training rewards instead :)

    Unfortunately, the dominance-based "alpha" methods are still being used by some trainers. They are just not as effective as the more modern methods, and they can really damage the relationship between you and your dog. Stick to positive, fun techniques that focus on building trust between you and your dog, and that make your dog ENJOY working with you. I was actually at a rally-o trial last month, and it was astonishing to me the difference you could see between the dogs trained with punishment (and dominance-based methods) and those trained with newer, positive methods. While both dogs did the commands asked of them, the ones trained by the old fashioned methods were slower, less excited and looked like they just wanted their class to end. The trust and enjoyment of being with their handler in the positive dogs was so, so nice to see in comparison.

    A great website I would recommend for training advice would be Emily Larlham's Dogmantics. She has a free video list that has been very helpful to me, and it is all about building a great relationship with your dog and teaching them how to be great companions. Here is a link:

    http://www.dogmantics.com/Dogmantics/Free_Video_List.html

    Also, that first website you linked us to is kind of known for being a bit of a joke among dog people. It has tons of completely incorrect, misleading and bad info and advice, so for any future internet searches I would avoid it like the plague :p

    Best of luck with your new dog, and please post some pictures and keep us updated! We would love to hear how he is doing and if he settles in ok :)
     

Share This Page