Discussion in 'Dog News and Articles' started by youhavenoidea, Aug 20, 2008.
I think they make some very good points, but some of those points do need to be modulated, like the thing about tug. I don't think tug will make your dog aggressive, per se, but if you don't play it properly, it may teach your dog to snatch things from you, which is definately undesirable. So the points are good, but not always precisely accurate.
Let me go down the list with my understandings of some of these points:
My understanding of this, from the research I've read, is that feral dogs will form wolf-like packs IF RESOURCES ALLOW. Otherwise, they are more like coyotes, forming alliances, splitting up, joining another group. If resources are really low, they are largely solitary.
I have to admit, this always struck me as strange. However, its a good idea to prevent your dog from charging out the door for safety reasons.
No comment on this one. I've heard it, took it as gospel, and have to admit that there's not reason to believe it.
Dogs have an innate desire to make you happy and get rewards and affection. They do ths by pleasing you. That's how I always took this. But the interpretation she is discussion . . . yeah, that's bunk.
To me, bribing means that you always have a treat ready whenever you ask them to do anything. We all know dogs that will only do something if they see the reward. So . . . not quite accurate. Rewards are not bribes, but there is such a thing as bribes.
Took this one as gospel too. This makes sense. Perhaps the problem is people who themselves act afraid when the dog is afraid, rather than those who give their dog a nice confident pat.
See my first answer.
People believed this?!?!
A terrible, dangerous thing to believe, and part of the reason behind BSL. Thanks for hitting it.
It is an interesting article. I may not agree with all of it but I do agree with most of it.
Its IMO a very good article. There isn't much that stands out that I don't agree with. The studies in Pariah dogs that I have read show that while they may travel in packs they are not really 'packs' the individuals change from day to day. They don't form life long bonds like wolves do.
This is the main reason I HATE it when people try to run their dogs on pack theory.
I prefer my dogs to go out doorways a head of me, I do ask them to sit first if they are over stimulated. I have always wondered at the people who are huge into pack theory and buy this one. How many doors have you seen a wolf go though? (that and the fact of my most 'alpha' dog always goes through doorways last.
Tug is a cooperative game..if it made dogs aggressive then almost all agility and flyball dogs would be HA.
But haven't many, many people here on Chaz said that petting a dog when they are afraid is reinforcing being afraid? Perhaps I'm not understanding this one.
(With Daisy at the vet, I've tried ignoring her fearful behavior and I've tried patting her when she's afraid, and neither seem to make a difference.)
Its a very widespread belief, but I'll buy that its a myth. I think it started with telling people not to talk in a comforting, baby voice or make a huge fuss when the dog was afraid (because the dog will think YOU are also anxious) and progressed to the idea of not rewarding the dog for being afriad. I always believed you shouldn't, but I'll buy this as a myth. The explanation makes sense to me.
I have successfully worked with dogs to over come fear by exposing them to low levels of what freaks them out and rewarding like crazy.
my oft used example..
Lets say you are terrified of men in big black hats. And you are in a strange land where no one understands your language nor most of your gestures. This land has many men in big black hats (MIBB) they wander around. As a child you had a horrible experience with a MIBB and now have a real fear of them. Now if people passed you chocolates and money when a MIBB was hovering over you, would you still freak out. YES. (if the people around you whacked you and jerked you till you stopped freaking, you may learn to to freak but would still be terrified..but that is another example)
Lets say people took you out to where you could only see MIBB from a great distance. Every time you spotted one your friends smiled and passed you fifties. You might feel a little nervous but like the money so you start looking for MIBB cause they mean money!
Then the money only comes when you are a little closer to the MIBB etc etc.
I've heard of that, and that's one reason why I think the article is right . . . if rewarding in the presence of a fearful thing can make the dog less afraid, then why would pats hurt. No, I think it came from people freaking out because their dog was freaked out and making a huge fuss over Fido "Oh Fido, its ok, baby, oh fido, no its ok" and thus convincing the dog that their human friend was also afraid . . . which means they should continue to be afraid of the MIBB, because the human is afraid of the MIBB. But I'd never really put all that together before today.
I don't play tug, because in my experience, if I haven't, teaching the "drop" command is 100% easier, and it seems not even to occur to the dog that resisting the removal of something from its mouth is even an option.
Plus, I just don't enjoy it. Having my arm reamed on by a tugging 60+ lb dog is far from the top of my list as far as fun games with my dog.
articles like this are fun to talk about on the interent, but in reality the whole do I pet, or not, or do I reward or not, or do I sooth or not, or what to do in a "fearful" situation for dogs is rather complex and in any one case what is right for one might not be right for the next.
Most of my dogs don't need or get soothing, pets or anything like that. They've never been that afraid of anything. I've met plenty of dogs that soothing helps them overcome. With my personal dogs if the situation ever arose I ignored their behavior for the most part (ignored from a standpoint I didn't acknowlege their reaction with a reaction of my own) acted like nothing mattered and went about my business. It's never taken more than a second or two and they were over whatever it was.
But you also have to take into account how is the dog reacting to its fear, growling, snapping, avoidance, shaking, trembling, tail tucked and trying to hide, hackles up and growling. I'm not going to move away from fearful stimuli when they are acting aggressively, that would only reinforce their aggressive displays that is entirely based in fear. Just like I wouldn't give them treats either.
about the dogs and pack stuff, I disagree. Just because some might make a whole bunch of training methods based on "pack theory" that don't really seem to make a whole lot of sense and makes some pretty loose assumptions, like a dog running out the door first is because of dominance when it just as easily could be because of excitement, doesn't mean that dogs aren't pack animals. It just means that some have made incorrect observations. Dogs display are huge array of pack behaviors everyday, and mine remind me that they are indeed pack animals everyday in the way they interact with each other and myself.
If you want to do agility you might want to reconsider. A co-operative reward is one of the best ways to reward your dog. Tug is likely the 1# most effective reward for training agility. It keeps YOU as part of the reward. Many agility people work VERY hard to teach their dogs to tug. Just from my experience with my own dogs, those that tug for a reward are much easier to train than those who work for food or a thrown toy (a thrown toy removes you from the reward)
Playing tug with Auggie has never made "drop it" difficult. If I tell him drop it, he will drop it - even if it means an abrupt stop to a fun game of tug. He'll even do this for total strangers... some of my friends came over a few months ago and he fetched a toy for one of him, brought it back, and he likes to play a little game of tug before you throw it again. I told my friend to tell Auggie "drop it" and he did so... and Auggie instantly let go of the toy. (I was glowing, because I knew Auggie would listen to me, but I wasn't sure about somebody else!)
But I can understand not enjoying the wrestling aspect of it. Auggie is only 15 pounds, so it's different from over here!
training tug can be done very badly. LOVE this clip If you see how her dogs play tug, there is no issue of drop it, grab it, or arm wrenching.
Tug can be great, but it does have to be played right. That's one reason I do disagree with that statement. Tug doesn't cause aggression, but it can lead to very undesirable behaviors that can themselves lead to aggression.
Taught and played correctly, tug is fun . . . at least, if you like to play tug yourself. With Sarama, I taught her "drop it" first. There are also set rules. She can not start a game by grabbing something from me, I have to offer it and ask her to play tug. Nor do I start a game by grabbing a toy she already has. If she's in the mood to play tug, she has to bring an appropriate toy to me. (its usually pretty clear what she wants). This prevents the snatching, which can be dangerous, and the refusing to give things up, which can also be dangerous. My not grabbing things she has and starting to tug prevents setting up a resource guarding scenerio. There are some very good guides to "how to play tug" out there, and ogs love it. But there do have to be rules, especially early on, and especially with new owners who don't necessarily realize that they may be teaching a bad habit.
That's how most of my foster dogs are trained-- like Archie, for example.
He used to become afraid and bark and carry on when he saw other dogs. After working with him for so long, he would purposely (And confidently) approach them, smell them, then turn to me for a reward.
I just choose not to reinforce insane fearful behavior, like screaming, barking, lunging, etc. It's slow, but it's worked for what dogs I've used this technique on thus far.
I liked that article, a lot. It touched on a lot of the issues I've had with dog behavior explanations I've disagreed with. I believe that dogs are bred so distantly from wolves, that they don't have the same social structure and social behaviors anymore. People (like Cesar followers) will always pair dog's behaviors with wolves, and what the "wolves would do in the wild".
Obviously during the evolution of the dog, they've become a lot less social with each other-- some breeds more so than others (Working breeds, for example.) And even if they aren't anti-social, we've taken away their ability to communicate clearly. Ridgebacks are always pilo-erect, Pugs always have a neonatal expression and can't express lip-lifting very well, Bulldogs can't make facial expressions very well, either. Huskies can't properly express tail movements. Labs can't express Ear 'signals' as easy as a German Shepherd, and so on.
If a wolf were as anti-social as some dogs are, he'd have one heck of a time surviving.
^Just to make myself clear; I do believe dogs have a strong social structure with each other and people, too. Dominating and submissive behaviors usually somewhat clear for people and dogs together. I just think some people read into their ancestral ties too much sometimes...
Worse, they are often wrong about how WOLVES behave
Very true, but this swings both ways. Wolves aren't viciously fighting one another for dominance every minute, but they aren't sweet little bunnies who democratically vote on who should be pack leader either. I always have to laugh at statements like, "Wolves NEVER physically force other wolves to submit, submissive wolves only do that when they want to." O rly. Perhaps someone would like to tell that to Yellowstone's Wolf 40, the dominant female of the Druid pack, who would routinely attack the other females until they showed submission.
That's the thinking behind that statement-- Cesar Milan (probably the biggest controversy on this issue) Pushes the dog right into submission; forces them to the ground and won't let them up. Wolves will attack and say "You BETTER do it, or you're in trouble!" And they eventually will give in, or they'll probably be severely injured or killed. She doesn't physically push them to the ground and hold them there.
I haven't seen this wolf, and I have no strong opinions on this topic (Thus I don't want to start a big argument), but I think that's what the big Cesar issue is. If the dog was truly dominant and thought it could overpower him, it would attack back. If the other wolf thought it had the upper hand, it probably wouldn't submit.
Yeah, the thing about the alpha roll is that the submissive wolf does it themselves . . . not, necessarily because they want to, of course, but because they've been bullied into it. Nonetheless, that very different from the other wolf throwing them to the ground and rolling them over.
I was also thinking of the greater fluidity of rank and role of females that recent studies have shown, which are entirely different from the male dominated/alpha/pack leader model that we used to have. What I found fascinating is that the "pack leader" and the "alpha" are not always the same animal. There is an alpha male and an alpha female, and one or the other can be the "leader" but not always. Sometimes the wolf that leads in the hunts is an entirely different animal. That's intriguing.