Treating symptoms and not the disease - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-19-2011, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Treating symptoms and not the disease

Approaching training as fixing individual problems as opposed to fixing the cause of those problems. Thoughts?


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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-19-2011, 08:54 PM
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Depends on what you mean by "cause". My dog is not perfect and there are things about his temperament and how he works that just are the way they are due to genetics. I can't really fix the cause because that would mean throwing in the towel (and there's way more I like and enjoy than don't like). These aspects of temperament, I train "around" as best I can but it is what it is. I guess in that sense I'm trying to patch individual problems (or some things I just let slide) rather than address the root cause. Now there are other problems that are not genetic but problems we have created and with *those* problems I prefer to address the root cause before picking the exercises/behaviors apart.
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-19-2011, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Now there are other problems that are not genetic but problems we have created and with *those* problems I prefer to address the root cause before picking the exercises/behaviors apart.
Can you expand upon this?


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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-19-2011, 09:32 PM
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well this is a bit like psychoanalysis .
There used to be a "dog psychiatrist" on a local radio program . Yeah he was legit , in that he was a papered behaviourist from a leading university with a veterinary program .
He would field questions about dogs being frightened of thunder storms and formulate theories about why this could be possible -- then give advice to join the dog in the closet to provide security .
Oh brother .
Deal in the present , as dogs do .
You have to correct the problem . You can't analize that the dog is biting because when he was a pup he got scared by some big man -- you stop him from biting NOW , or running away NOW and make the new experience okay and profitable for the dog , which may mean as much or little as removing tension by direction to an appropriate response , and eventually snuffing out the old response.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-19-2011, 09:44 PM
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exactly ! basic temperament . This Dr never attributed behaviour to something , nerve base , that the dog was born with . It seemed as all were just clean clear slates and whatever the dog became was the result of the owner input. You hear that when there are shows based on some local "dog bite" incident and the public phones in , poor innocent dog (or breed) it was because the dog was poorly treated or the owners trained it to be mean .
No , sometimes the dog is just unstable .

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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-19-2011, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Deal in the present , as dogs do .
You have to correct the problem .
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Of course, but you don't think that dogs have reasons for what they do? Do you truly believe that training issues are purely mechanical and not related to the dog's state of mind?


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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-19-2011, 10:46 PM
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I have no idea where this idea comes from . Of course they have reason's for what they do , including genetics and basic temperament . You deal with the situation that is at hand , with good timing , and with a positive approach to help the animal through its problem .
Not mechanical at all , organic and fluid yes .
Actually Patricia McConnell's book "the Other End of the Leash - why we do what we do around dogs" is a good read.

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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-19-2011, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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Actually, I am not familier with Patricia...never heard of her.

Of course you deal with the issue at hand, but to me the best way to do this is to understand why this is now an issue. Usually, in obedience, it boils down to the dog lacks either motivation or pressure. If one is to remedy this basic state of mind, the rest tends to fall into place.
However, I watch many people train and they approach problems with an eye to fixing that individual problem, not fixing what is causing that problem.


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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-19-2011, 11:23 PM
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is this an example of what you were trying to ask about.

your dog is not crated . he is a young pup in the exploratory phase . when you come home the kitchen is a mess because he has gone into the garbage and strewn things around . you are upset , fix things , are abrupt with dog . next day same thing . your own emotions ramp up , frustrated , angry . you don't take it out on the dog but you sure are not pleased . dog is sensitive and tries to "be friends" .
the dog is conditioned that when you come home you are unreasonable and goes off to a corner , waiting for you to cool down. you are conditioned to coming home and finding a mess. you have to fix the cause immediately -- constructive confinement while you are away until the dog is mature enough and understands what you expect from him. the cause can be boredom , frustration , anxiety, a good snort in the garbage bin . the dog's avoidance or anxiety that has been conditioned by your coming home ready for a mess is not guilt on the dogs part . you turn things around by addressing the individual problem .
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-19-2011, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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OK Carmen, several problems. One, I am not asking a question. Two, you come up with terrible examples.
A better example is what I often see people doing with grips. Often I see people trying to fix grips very mechanically, Ie. using a bungee, leather covers etc. instead of understanding why there is a problem with the grip and solving the issue by correcting it that way.


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