Watching the Dog Whisperer and noticed something.. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-18-2010, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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Watching the Dog Whisperer and noticed something..

I actually love watching the Dog Whisperer and know he is controversial trainer with some other trainers but all I know is he knows more than me.

Anyways..I see many of the people who ask for his help and notice that they seem to be kind of weak personalities. (Not weak in the sense of a bad person or lazy). I have kind of a strong personality when it comes to dogs where I expect obedience and behavior. So I am wondering if this is why some people have issues with their dogs listening to them. My career has been in sales management. Structure is important to me. So anyways..enough about me..my wife is laid back and she spends time with our GS. When she tells the GS to do something our dog immediately looks at me for permission. This annoys my wife where she walks off. lol! I never trained my dog to do this. This is my first dog and never had really any behavior problems that I see on the dog whisperer and wonder if it has to do with a person's personality on how they will act?

Now I am also open minded to take feed back and someone told me I might be to strict with my dog. They said to me..let the dog be a dog. Well to me this doesn't mean allow the dog to have run of the house. Our GS knows not to walk on carpet in the house and she stays on the wood floor. She doesn't go to the bathroom in the house or tear things apart. She always looks to me for permission first on anything told to her. So does having a strong personality where I take charge not fair to the dog? I don't want the dog to fear me but I do want it to respect the basic rules of the house. It seems like Cesar Milan's customers don't put structure with their dog and hence the issues they have. let me know if my thinking is wrong. I love my rescue german shepherd but if she starts to do bad things the only way she will know is if I am firm with her right? I try to not train with treats because what if i don't have treats. She's not an employee I pay with treats is the way I look at it.
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-18-2010, 03:11 PM
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I think you are correct in your assumption. I am a soft-hearted woman who has difficulty acting as an alpha when it comes to training my GSDs. ("too much babying" as my husband tells me.)

Therefore, I have found great guidance from my trainer who is actually training ME more than my dog, London. I have taken him to her since he was 8 weeks old and I still take him to the Intermediate Class every Monday. At the very start, we were not allowed to use treats. Out dogs had to perform the commands for us, not for food.

The Obedience Classes have really helped me to stay in command of London who is now close to 2 years old and 90 lbs. He is very smart and always challenging me. But he is a good, obedient dog and I will continue to work with him forever. He does enjoy the class and the structure and the socialization (the last 15 minutes of class is play time with a variety of other big dogs.)

Also, I think that the "alpha training" has helped me in other areas of my life as well. I have discovered how to be more assertive in my work and it has paid off.

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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-18-2010, 03:17 PM
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Well, treats aren't exactly used as 'payment' but as positive reinforcement. They're also used as a lure to get them to do a certain behavior, like a proper heel position for example. Gradually the use of treats in training are phased out and they get to become just that- a treat! We don't allow dogs on carpeting or furniture either so that doesn't sound too strict to me, a dog being a dog doesn't mean they can't learn to control their behavior and learn the rules of the house. Perhaps your wife looks at you first without realizing it and is giving your dog a cue to do the same thing.
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-18-2010, 03:20 PM
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Cesar talks in most episodes about this. I'm surprised that in regularly watching the episode you haven't heard him talk about it... He regularly says it's a lack of leadership that is causing the problems. In most cases, it is.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-18-2010, 03:35 PM
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My dog does the same thing and I am by no means strict. She has simply chosen me as the alpha. My wife is frustrated as is yours for the same reason. However, as the dog gets older she is bonding much more with my wife. Although she still follows me everywhere, every once in a while she will get up and go to where my wife is and stay with her. She is also minding both of us more equally.
My last dog was more attached to me and I think it is because when she was growing up my wife was busier and less inclined to spend time focusing on the dog. I am a dog lover and play with them a lot, my wife is more into her own priorities .... so the dog goes where the fun is.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-19-2010, 10:26 AM
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I love watching his show. He doesn't hide the fact that he loves Pit Bulls and his favorite dog is Daddy. I really wish he would spend more time with GSD's.

my wife, bless her heart, commented that GSD's are such good dogs that they don't need any help.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-19-2010, 11:58 AM
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I am glad that you are having such a good time with your dog. There are a couple of things in your post that I would like to comment on.

1. I agree that clear leadership is important for any dog, particularly with a GSD. That does not necessarily mean forceful leadership. If people are telling you that you are too strict with your dog, you may want to explore that feedback and see if there is anything that you can improve.

2. IMO much of being a good "leader" for your dog is clear communication. Food rewards help with that communication. Many people have the misconception that if you use food, you will always have to use food. This is not true. The food reward is simply to "mark" for the dog what behavior you want them to have. Once they understand, you ween out the food reward. If you watch obedience, Rally, agility, or SchH competitions you will never see food or toys in the competition yet the dogs do some amazing things. I will guarantee you that 99% of the dogs were trained with food or toy. It sounds like you have a very biddable dog and that is great to use that in her training, but don't discount the advantages of other methods as well.

3. Your dog looking to you for permission, I think has more to do with her being a GSD than you being "the boss". I heard many people talk about this behavior from their GSD. Mine is the same way. I am the one that feeds him, plays with him, trains him, takes him for walks... When my husband asks him to do something, he often looks at me to see if he has to. I had a trainer once tell me this is bad and that it is because I "spoil" him. I don't think so. I think it is because he is biddable and he is used to me being the one to command him. Why SHOULD he listen to someone else?

4. You asked "if she starts to do bad things the only way she will know is if I am firm with her right?" This is only partially true. Yes, she needs to understand boundaries, but she also needs to understand what is the right thing to do. Think about how you train your people to be good sales people. Is it only telling them what they do wrong? You probably have them go to sales training where they teach them right way to do things, you might set up a mentor for them... You said that she is not your employee, but in a way she is. GSDs NEED a job. Her job is to be your dog and to follow the house rules. Why shouldn't she be rewarded for that? How happy do you think your sales people would be if they didn't get paid and you just told them what they did wrong?

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Last edited by Ruthie; 10-19-2010 at 12:00 PM. Reason: add space
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-23-2010, 09:31 AM
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I have to agree with Ruthie, she has some great suggestions. Also who feeds the dog, you or your wife. Has your wife ever done any training with the dog? It might be fun for her to take a class with the dog.

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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-23-2010, 10:11 AM
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I love watching Dog Whisperer. I notice though that most of his clients are people who "humanize" there dogs. In other words, treat them like a human and not dog. I always love when the clients have that "a-ha" moment, like the bulb finally turned on in there head. lol. "Oh, so its no ok to pet Fluffy and talk to him in a loving voice while he's trying to go for the neighbors throat?" lol

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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-23-2010, 10:37 AM
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The dogs here sleep on furniture (or in the bathtub, as one likes to do) and , where ever please and are all trained with treat and toy rewards. Yet, we have none of the so-called "dominance related behaviors". The biggest reason people have behavior issues with their dogs is because they aren't consistent in their expectations or training. Too often owners expect their dog to grow up to be Lassie with little effort on their part.
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