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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-14-2009, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Unsolicited advice

There is this adorable Australian shepherd puppy at the park I go to every day named Tank. Probably between 3 - 4 months old.

Tank's owner has been using the park as an opportunity to "train" him against distractions. When Tank is off having a good time, playing with the other pups, the owner will call him away and do obedience drills with him. He makes him do rapid, 10 minute successions of come, sit, and down.

When Tank obeys, he gets no positive reinforcement - no praise, no treat, no clicker to tell him he's done well or even executed the correct command. Here's the kicker: when Tank doesn't obey, his owner grabs him by the muzzle and tosses him around to punish him (he's a really tiny puppy, maybe a mini Aussie?), or grabs Tank's head and forces him to look at him, or pushes him off. Not enough to be considered abuse by any means, but definitely too heavy handed for a puppy. I'm pretty sure this dog doesn't understand the down command, and when he doesn't do it, he gets punished.

Unsurprisingly, after one or two commands, Tank gets bored and he starts staring longingly at the other dogs playing, cause he's not getting anything out of this training and he's just a baby! Then again with the pushing and the grabbing of the muzzle to get him to focus.

Other people at the park have cautiously asked the owner why he does what he does, and he always says that Tank needs to train under distractions, Tank needs to learn to obey when his owner tells him to, etc. Good ideas in theory, poor execution. Tank's obedience, which was surprisingly good for a puppy at one point, has gotten worse, and his owner gets more and more frustrated.

I am not the type of person to give unsolicited advice, especially when it comes to dog training because everyone has their own methods, and I personally HATE people telling me what to do with my dog. Everyone with a dog, has ever owned a dog, or has come in contact with a dog in the last 5 years is an expert, right?

But this guy is clearly not doing right by his dog. It's to the point where when Tank and his owner show up at the park, I immediately leave cause I get so angry watching them. Should I say something? Am I being out of line with this? Is there any way to put it nicely so that he'll listen? This guy does not seem like the type who would take suggestions too well, even if they were given gently.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-14-2009, 02:06 PM
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Re: Unsolicited advice

How about saying something like "hey my trainer showed me something...can I show it to you? maybe it will help his focus while you are training him."

or how about doing your own little training session with your dog next to him so he'll see what you are doing and maybe it will be "his idea".



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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-14-2009, 02:09 PM
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Re: Unsolicited advice

I'd definetly classify it as abuse, neglect if even!
He's not really giving the dog an opportunity! Thats the problem with some people, they try to make dogs like humans as much as they can. Maybe, suggest other methods.. bring some treats with you or a clicker and show him hey, look, my dog does it for reward until it's learnt. It's effective so I don't know why he's not doing it. Puppies aren't children (god this is so annoying to try to tell people sometimes) they don't get it if you rub their faces in a spot of pee. You could talk to some other people at the park and go up as a group or something? Or go buy him a book on puppy training, for dummies preferably =D

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-14-2009, 02:17 PM
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Re: Unsolicited advice

I like Jax's suggestions. I have had a similar experience with a guy who never let his rottie play with other dogs - all he did at the park was drill, again with no rewards. His owner was a bully know-it-all. I hope you can make a difference in this puppy's life.

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-14-2009, 02:17 PM
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Re: Unsolicited advice

Quote:
Originally Posted By: KaitykaityPuppies aren't children (god this is so annoying to try to tell people sometimes) they don't get it if you rub their faces in a spot of pee.
Puppies are very much like children. Kids wouldn't understand it if you rubbed their faces in pee either. Positive rewards work best for all living creatures. Children need praise and rewards when they do something well also.

Maybe you could explain it to the owner of Tank this way.



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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-14-2009, 02:26 PM
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Re: Unsolicited advice

If a child wets his/her bed, okay nevermind sorry. What I'm trying to say is that people will TALK to their dogs as if they are having a conversation with them and expect them to understand when they (from what I know) only understand what they are taught.

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Hype - 3 years GSD
Cinq - 1 year bengal
Sunshine - 7 years tabby


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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-14-2009, 02:32 PM
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Re: Unsolicited advice

HUnh? I'm supposed to rub my kids face in it if he pees in his bed? Shesh, and I've been waking him up making him change the sheets and put them in the washer.

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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-14-2009, 02:33 PM
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Re: Unsolicited advice

I second the idea of doing your own mini training session - using praise, clicker, food, etc. - when he's NOT working his dog (that way he can watch better). Do it right around the other dogs and make sure your dog has good reasons to focus.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-14-2009, 02:34 PM
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Re: Unsolicited advice

This is a whole other discussion. I talk to my dogs too. Dogs actually are very good at picking up another language. My dogs know plenty of words I haven't taught them. They know how to make logical links and draw conclusions.

One example - I have never taught them the word "cottage". Yet if we are having a conversation and the word "cottage" is mentioned, they immediately begin to pay attention, because they know that word involves travel and a visit.

There is a difference between teaching specific actions and interacting with your dog by talking to him which makes it easier for him to learn actions because he understands some of what is beiong said.

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-14-2009, 02:38 PM
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Re: Unsolicited advice

Quote:
Originally Posted By: SunCzarinaHUnh? I'm supposed to rub my kids face in it if he pees in his bed? Shesh, and I've been waking him up making him change the sheets and put them in the washer.
See!! That's why he's swinging bats in stores!!!



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