So I read "How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With"....

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Sweet72947, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    I just finished reading "How to Raise A Puppy You Can Live With" 3rd Edition (published in 1999) by Clarice Rutherford & David H. Neil.

    There is a lot of good information in it, but it seemed a little biased towards dominance theory. Also, the use of the "scruff shake" doesn't sit right with me. The book says the scruff shake is the way to communicate a correction to a puppy like its mother might; its a way for us correct the puppy quickly since we can't snap at it.

    From p. 82

    The book talks about ways to desensitize food/toy guarders for example, but in the same sentence tells you to scruff shake your pup if it growls at you! I'd think this would be rather counterproductive, as it wouldn't really teach your dog that humans coming near its valuables is good, and it might teach them to skip the warning (growl) and go straight for the bite.

    The book seems to contradict itself because on one hand it tells you to scruff shake your dog, and on the other hand it says that you are responsible for teaching your dog that hands are good, that people are good, etc.

    I guess overall the book is ok.
     
  2. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    I haven't read that book. Strange though.

    I wish there was a website with boor reviews of all these books....

    hmmmm
     
  3. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

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    As a breeder , that book was my bible , but you have to add common sense ! I never had to " scruff " an older pup , but putting a youngster in it's place for early ' issues' made it's point . Doesn't take much ! The thing I liked was the week to week guidance . Wore me out , but it was well worth the time !!
     
  4. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    I disagree Grammy. So many people don't know what is 'right' and what is 'wrong'. You should NEVER scruff a puppy. NOR punish it for growling. If this book says to do such things then IMO it should not ever be recommended to puppy people as they will have no idea. And when you recommend a book-people then tend to assume you recommend all things in the book, unless you tell them all the things in the book you don't agree with.
     
  5. HoundedByHounds

    HoundedByHounds Oh, it's *you*

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    been ages since I read it. It was along the same lines as the Monks book...they were kinda out around the same time. I prefer Good Owners Great Dogs. Scruff? meh...their mothers do far worse to correct bad behaviors like semi serious fighting. I have seen Nonnie and even Cleo fling a pup with their muzzle to the point they roll a couple feet, sometiems yipping all the way...

    The pup gets up...shakes and sometimes goes right back to what it was doing (Shirley) or gets up...shakes and toddles back to the discipliner and gives appeasement gestures and accepts it's reward of licks and resuming the game (Laverne).

    I don't think anyone who has raised a litter can say physical correction is not a part of a puppies world and everyday life. Many bitches are downright mean when they wean for example. But the arguement is should PEOPLE go that route...ah yes that is the touchy bit. I won't even go there since that always turns into a contest of who can affix the most labels, and toss out the most "hot button words and phrases", the fastest.

    I don't recall the book being horrible...or great...just kinda, semi interesting.
     
  6. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    I scruff Morgan all the time. But I don't shake, and it's not punishment. It's how I grab her when she does not have a collar on - she's quick! - and she doesn't mind it. She could fall asleep with me holding her scruff. :p

    I agree that dogs do correct each other and sometimes quite severely.

    The difference with dogs correcting each other like that and people attempting to mimic it is that we really do a poor job of it. Our timing is way off and we are physically incapable of all the necessary body language. We also have access to management and communication tools to use with our dogs that another dog wouldn't have.
     
  7. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    LOL You know what I mean.. I have grabbed some slippery dogs that way too. But there its like play wrestling vs fighting... looks similar but all seem to know the difference.


    I agree that dogs do correct each other and sometimes quite severely.

    And we are not dogs. Dogs know we are not dogs... you don't see the family cat trying to be a dog when dealling with a puppy.. no its cat. Dogs know that too. We don't want to teach puppies that they need to respect us cause we are bigger and meaner. Dogs HAVE to be dogs with eachother. And its very important. BUT we should be people with dogs... that too is important.

    Interestingly none of my moms ever actually corrected a puppy with physical contact. Riley would put the fear of mom in the pups but never touched them-though they would still yelp. The pups would play rough and sometimes an adult (usually a clumsy larger dog lol) would knock a puppy and puppies would yelp.

    And while yes some adult dogs do use physical contact with their pups.. I don't think that is what we should be telling JQP to do with his pups.. or we end up with more of that 'force them into a state of learned helplessness and you will have a good dog' crap.
     
  8. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Exactly. It's very counter-productive. To teach a puppy that humans coming near the food or valued toys is a good thing, good things must happen....bringing and adding something tastier to the food, trading something better if you're going to take a toy...then giving the toy back, in fact. If a puppy growls, then your offering isn't good enough and you have to find something better to trade and/or not give the puppy as high a value toy until he's conditioned to thinking that it's great to have his stuff taken.

    And absolutely, punishing a growl is universally known to be a very stupid move.

    As far as humans emulating a mother dog, that's ridiculous. When it comes to human-dog relationships, humans need to be trusted, never feared. It's the rough stuff that people do which causes "aggression".....defensiveness really. Two dogs I'm working with right now have been treated with Cesar Milan type methods and they've both bitten people several times. They need to learn that humans are completely trustworthy and that humans bring on good things....nothing but.

    Grabbing a dog's collar or scruff for other purposes, such as needing to keep them from bolting or whatever CAN be conditioned to being associated with good things. Lots of dogs bite when their owner grabs their collar quickly because it's been previously associated with punishment. If a dog's collar is grabbed and the dog is pulled closer, rather tightly, and the dog is at the same time given a yummy treat and affection, then this action can come to mean a good thing. It's a good thing to condition a dog to in case one has to grab the collar fast or tightly. But linking it to punishment is a dangerous game.

    I always heard good things about the book, but never read it. Now, from the sound of it, I don't like it. There are plenty of other much more sensible books out there. Messing around with imagined and unproven hierarchies, dominance theory and trying to mimick another species is all counter- productive and a big mistake... IMO.
     
  9. HoundedByHounds

    HoundedByHounds Oh, it's *you*

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    I didn't see that "we" were actually..."we" were discussing a book.
     
  10. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

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    I don't think grabbing a small puppy by the scruff damages it mentally or physically in anyway. I don't think it teaches them to fear hands, or will teach them not to growl and just bite later in life. Grabbing them and swinging them around the room for every little thing, might teach them that, but a few well timed scruff grabs won't.
     
  11. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    I disagree r.h.....I have seen dogs many times shrink back when their owner's hands come toward them and these people use scruffing as a means of trying to tell their dog something. It is every bit as aversive as slapping a dog IMO. I had my dog in a class and the trainer did this to her own dog. He shrunk backwards and the whites of his eyes were showing. This is not good. Hands coming toward them then, equal a potentially scary time delivered from their owner.

    Dogs' sensitivity varies...some are more calloused than others and I agree that sometimes it won't affect them too badly.... but you can not predict positively how it's going to affect a given dog, at a given time in a given context. All that varies too and can affect how the dog perceives the aversive. It is further not always likely that he's connecting the scruff with his own behavior, but rather with some other thing in his environment or simply with the owner himself. The owner then becomes a likely "attacker" and trust is eroded. I do not agree that using hands to grab a dog as a means of punishment is a very wise idea. Being an animal, this has a high probability of eliciting a defense response.
     
  12. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    It can. I have seen it happen with ONE scruff. In a puppy class I was assisting with. The pup then shrank from the owners hands from then on. Why teach dogs your hands are something to be feared? I mean there are so many better ways to teach pups to respect people.. even if it is only a moderate to low chance of causing issues-why do it or recommend a book that does when there are better and 'safer' ways to go about it?
     
  13. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

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    I don't know, cause maybe they have found it works. I've also found it to work too. Especially with young dogs. I'm not swinging them around, it calm and effective. I'll gladly video my and my younger dog (the one I last did it to) she's 2.5 now and you can tell me what to do for the video and then show me where our relationship is poor because of the scruffing.
     
  14. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    Yours might be fine. (or it might be slight) BUT the issue is you don't know until AFTER you have done it. So why play russian roulette with your puppy? Especially when its not necessary to begin with.

    Why scruff a puppy? Would you spank a 7 month old baby? Why not set boundaries and teach the pup what you DO want and not try to suppress what you dont' want?
     
  15. dr2little

    dr2little Moderator

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    With 48 (minimum) puppies of every breed and mix imaginable coming through my classes every 6 weeks, I can tell you that scruffing by human hands absolutely does do damage. Your puppy knows you're not a dog. Why would you try to establish a new and very different relationship with a puppy (often in one of their fear imprint stages) with physical methods. This really has nothing to do with what 'mama dog' does or doesn't do.

    There was another version of this book released in 2003, still with the scruffing corrections, and it is still very poorly reviewed in todays professional community. Remember, now that we know better....we're really obligated to do better for our dogs.

    This was considered a good book for it's time when it was released. The industry has evolved, the book has not.....yet. I still have hopes that another release may just be void of the 'old' stuff. Look at New Skeet...while it's still a very poor series in todays standards, it has DRASTICALLY improved.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2009
  16. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

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    because it is my puppy and I do what I feel is best for that puppy. I"m sorry, people can try and scare me as much as they want, but putting my hand on the back of my puppy's neck instantly stops the behavior and they don't shrink away from me and act scared either. Why do I do it?? Because I found it works at certain times and just because I can set things up to do them "differently" doesn't mean I really want to. Call me crazy, but quick and effective works for me if I get the working relationship I desire then where is the harm? Because somebody told me its bad? If my puppy is growling at me and I put my hand on the back of it's neck and it stops, do I really care if it thinks i'm a mamma dog or not? I'm serious, tell me what to video and I'll do it, then you can show me where my relationship is poor.

    I could also find a butt load of dogs that have never been scruffed or even seen a person and put your hand towards its head or over its eyes and they will shrink away. it's a natural response and not just in dogs.
     
  17. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    This stood out.

    YES you should care!!! You don't want to stop growling by scruffing or any kind of aversive. All it does is teach your pup that growling is dangerous.. it doesn't teach the dog to not 'want' to growl. You pup will still have the same 'issues' as before.. but now you just won't see it. You have lost a valuable 'barometer'. How can you work on issues if you punish the indicator?
     
  18. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

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    my dogs growl and they don't just lash out at people or the other dogs or the cats. I'm not the only one. I get that some people don't like it and why they don't. I've done it and have had great results. I care very much about my dogs, which is why I put all the training I do into them. I'm told my dogs should fear me for all that I do to them. I'm putting myself out there to be judged by the world of internet dog training. give me something to do, I will do it, and people can point out my poor relationship with my dog. People can tell me what I have taught my dog and what i've covered up, but I live with them and think I know better.
     
  19. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    The problem I have with this statement is this: JQP (and the lurkers taking advice from this thread) don't know how much is too much. They don't know how hard to shake their dogs. They don't know how to get the timing right. They don't know when they've used the scruff shakes too many times. THIS is why I try to NEVER suggest anything aversive to anyone without actually seeing them and their puppy, and showing them exactly how and when to use it. Am I a "pure" positive reinforcement trainer with the dogs I work with? No, I do use punishment occasionally. And I do suggest it occasionally for other trainers and dog owners.... BUT, it's only after I've gotten to know the trainer and the dog and know it's not going to cause more harm than good.
     
  20. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    I think you are making this personal. And if your dog's still growl then how was scruffing them to stop it successful? Sure maybe your dogs are great. BUT I know a woman who is VERY successful in obedience who trains with e collars. She will tell you how her dogs and her have a fantastic relationship (and she really does love her dogs) BUT to all of us outsiders we see stressed dogs who are NOT experiencing a fantastic relationship. So unless we see your dogs-we can only go by what we see of people who DO tend to punish such things.

    I used to punish growling. Then I had an Epiphany and realized that while this was 'working' to some degree wouldn't it be better to cure the problem than halt the symptom? Halting the symptom may be just fine for you. BUT that doesn't make it the best way.. or the recommended way to train dogs.
     

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