New Skete? I don't get it - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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New Skete? I don't get it

Hello all,

I just got a new rescue dog and had planned on training him using the New Skete method. However, I see that there's backlash against them?

I don't understand.....apparently electronically shocking dogs is OKAY, but being firm and physically in control is not?

I trained my Otis with the Skete book when I realized he was going to be HUGE. Admittedly he was a 3 month old puppy and it was easy (I guess). I think I might have done the controversial alpha dog roll ONCE with him. Hello? Why is electrically shocking more humane??? I think the personal contact ENHANCES the training and bonding............

Anyway, now I'm all nervous and confused. I brought my last dog up on New Skete training principles and he was the Best DOG Ever..............literally his behavior was commented on by strangers and I trusted him unconditionally to behave. Maybe I was blessed with a good, good dog..............or maybe just maybe the monks, who LIVE with dogs have it right.
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 09:40 PM
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I've never once had to discipline my GSD. Never once used physical force to make him do anything. He listens and is eager to please. Never once worried about projecting an alpha image. I just KNOW that I'm the alpha, and my dogs read me as such. I don't have to do anything special. People tell me that their goal is to have their dogs as well behaved and listening as well as mine. Then they go home and try the Cesar Milan tssk and pokes and try to make their dogs submit to them. I don't have to make my dogs submit, it doesn't occur to them to challenge my position. It's just the energy I give out.

Low stim e-collar training is a world apart from the mentality of 'shocking' your dog. Low stim is exactly as it sounds - you work at the lowest possible setting the dog can feel - sometimes so low, people can't even feel it.

With my dog, I mostly worked on engagement, on obedience training, on meeting his exercise needs.

He's a pretty good dog. Can't complain.


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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 10:22 PM
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 11:03 PM
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My own personal belief too on owning dogs, based only on my own experience, so not coming from some big dog authority here, is that if you have to physically make a dog do something because he won't do it when you tell him too - like get in his crate, get off the bed, move out of your way - then you have serious relationship issues and a breakdown in pack structure. Many, many, MANY times when people come on the forum with "my dog bit me!", it was in a situation where they were trying to physically get a dog to move: pull them off the bed because they wouldn't get down when asked, being pushed into a crate because dog would not enter on its own, etc . . .

Being firm is fine, but you should be mentally in control, and firm in your expectations - if you have to be physically take control, you've lost the battle already.


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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 11:30 PM
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I don't recall reading the alpha roll in the new book. However, it could have been in there. Things I don't agree with I just disregard. They did have a lot of other great training techniques.

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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 08:26 AM
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I thought the book was a great read and a good book (old version have not read the new one). I think their techniques do work, and at one time they where considered the correct way. Like anything techniques grow and change and people have found arguably better ways to approach training. IMO there is a lot of great ideas and insight in those books but I don't follow the approach as a guide to training. I take some of the ideas but not all.

I don't think you have to force your dog to see you as an Alpha if things are going right. Your dog will know you are the Alpha without ever having to force the idea on them. It think if you are a leader with your dog and work with them on a regular basis they will naturally see you as the Alpha roll and will happily follow you.

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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 08:43 AM
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The current book has removed the alpha roll. I have both books.

I see no issue with most of their methods. I like to think I can read and decide what part of what method will work for my dog and myself. I use parts of a variety of 'methods' to make my own method which I hope is balanced.


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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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I agree with everything you guys have said. I didn't even remember the alpha roll until I saw the brouhaha on-line while looking for training books. I remembered it being more about developing a close relationship, with mutual love and respect, with your dog.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 10:32 AM
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The New Skete method is absolutely fine for training your dog. There are so many methods out there and I think they all work to a degree, depending on the dog and the handler.
I also struggle with questioning which training method is best and after alot of research, talking with people, observing, and using common sense, I have come to the conclusion that it depends on:
1. What level of training do you want to accomplish? A "well trained" dog by 1 person could mean that they come when called, or a "well trained" dog by another person could mean that they perform in advanced obedience competitions, bite work, SAR, etc.
2. The personality and temperment of the dog. Some methods work great on some dogs and fail with other dogs. Find what method works and stick with it.
3. The handler. A really soft person probably will not do well with + punishment training. The dog will sense their lack of confidence and their owners un-easiness.

This is jsut my opinion and limited experience.

I see nothing wrong with New Skete. I read their books and they have a ton of experinece and clearly love and respect their dogs.
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 02-20-2014, 10:53 AM
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Personally, I would suggest you go with what has worked in the only makes sense. Granted, what may have worked on a previous dog might not be the method which will work on a different dog. Too many folks stating they have never disciplined a dog and their dog is wonderful sounds like a cheap infomercial....too good to be true....or their idea of a "wonderfully trained dog" is quite different than another person's definition of a well trained dog. Dogs are simply not all the same and some tougher dogs need to be dealt with differently than soft dogs. This notion that some have never disciplined a dog is only being stated by some because "discipline" is a relative subject. Crating a dog at times is most certainly a disciplinary action just as withholding a reward/treat for improper behavior is. The word "No" is a disciplinary action just as using a collar and leash is at times. Anyone who would suggest they have never disciplined their dog is simply rationalizing their method because the reality one form or another they used discipline......or they are happy with a completely unmanageable's of no concern to me.

Of course there are commonalities most all dog owners share as we educate our dogs along with ourselves and many times similar methods will correct the unwanted behavior or create the desired behavior....but discipline is a common thread. In my world, which some might scoff at....if I require my dog to lay down and wait while I put my shoes on to take her for a walk and then she breaks...I will then stop the process until she holds patiently..and then continue to prepare for a walk. This process of having her wait in position rather than going bonkers is still a process of using discipline. Sure, the dog finally figures out, the sooner I get my shoes/jacket/collar and leash attached, the sooner she gets to go on a walk...BUT...when I stop the process because the dog broke not my stopping until she takes the proper position a form of discipline...I most certainly believe it is. If other posters are talking about never PHYSICALLY disciplining their dog than they should be more clear. Using an e-collar on the lowest setting is a form of discipline no matter how you slice it....and I don't see anything wrong with it, if that is what it takes. Using even handed discipline in whatever form it takes seems to be required at times...since none of us speak "dog" and even if we did, it more than likely would still require the use of discipline at times.

I have learned a lot from certain folks in this room and the common denominator of these particular folks is their ability to train a dog not just well but efficiently....more with an understanding of how the dog perceives the situation rather than the human perception of the situation.

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