Realistic training. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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Realistic training.

After reading through a recent thread on here I was left with a few questions. I believe that positive training works. I also believe that it is somewhat limited. So what do we as new dog owners do to compliment the positive training. For myself usually just a Stern voice gets the point across. For my wife not so much. I kind of treat my dog with the same attitude my kids get. Basically yes I love them but mess up and their is consequences. I am a firm believer that out of fear comes respect. Now when I tell people this the normal response is "well your kids aren't supposed to fear you". We'll my kids don't fear me personally, they fear the consequences that will come out of my duty as a parent to teach them lessons. But as a new dog owner these consequences can be a little confusing as to what is smart or not. Understanding that all dogs are different and may respond differently to different types of enforcement what do the experienced owners do to correct their dog without being abusive. Besides NILIF. That is already on here a lot.
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post #2 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 09:53 PM
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I find being firmer in body language and voice followed by ignoring works well. Right now I'm dealing with youngest being more aggressive then I like with the other dogs. So now I give him a firm, stern leave it. I do not reward him or acknowledge that he did well with the leave it, no good boy or a treat for leaving it because I shouldn't have to tell him that to begin with. If he wants any attention from me he will act like he is suppose to. In the last two days I've noticed a difference. He is walking past the others, ignoring them as he should. That is what will get him attention or a good boy. My dogs seem to know when I'm not happy with them and they are not happy if I'm not happy. All the way up to this point I've used positive training with him with no issues. Sometimes he wears a prong but I've never corrected him n the prong. He is getting the idea and prefers getting attention and praise.

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post #3 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 09:59 PM
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Good question. But hard one to explain.

I love positive reinforcement. I use it a lot. But there are consequences to bad choices. For me and my dogs.

I think that when talking about corrections, it all comes down to understanding the dog in front of you. Each dog is different. No one way works with every dog.

For example, my boy Nix, is fairly handler sensitive at home. A stern "what are you doing", sends him to his "corner". At training, or when he is in drive, a medium leash pop with the prong settles him down, except in bite work, then a stronger correction is needed.

When it comes to fosters, or dogs I don't know well, I always start with a firm "eh". If they react then great. If they don't, I up it, I may grab a collar, I may bang a shoe on the table, I may pop their leash.

There is no one size fits all. A recent foster was borderline fear aggressive. If I grabbed her collar, she dropped to the ground and tried to bite me. But she was also disconnected in the beginning, so she did not even register praise. So I had to find a way to reward and correct that would not freak her out and then let her know when she was good. For a reward, food worked. For a correction, banging a shoe on the table snapped her out of everything.

With her, I did a lot more positive than negative. But she was a cat chaser, so I had to do something. Lol.

In the end, it all comes down to the dog. I use lots of different things, leash pops, prong collar, shoe bangs, firm "eh", looks. What distinguishes corrections from abuse is where they come from in "your heart". If you lash out because you are angry or frustrated, it's abuse. You use physical force or correction to ease you emotions.

But a correction, for the most part, no matter what kind, given with no emotion, just as a way to communicate, as long as it fits the crime, is just a correction.
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post #4 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 09:59 PM
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Great topic OP

I'm needing to change my methods for the next chapter (with a young adult dog). I'm not sure that "fear" is the word, nor respect.....for me.

Just basic - positive or negative is more what I'm looking for but not physical punishment..... lol -when it comes down to it, I guess all training methods are based on this.

It almost seems like - as computer's operate 1 or 0. We should be able to work with our dogs to establish simple right or wrong pathways that would ease training. Do we has humans over analyse things sometimes? I know I do.

For this next chapter with my dog. I'm thinking that I know when I train a new behavior and I know when she has it ingrained and knows it - all that is left is yes (correct) or no (incorrect) - black or white.

I'm ok with there will always need to be some type of reward for good behavior (food or ball or tug) because every dog in a working capacity that I have seen requires this. But, I don't think every time I tell my dog go not beg, or go laydown or no barking should need to be rewarded. ???
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post #5 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by gsdsar View Post

What distinguishes corrections from abuse is where they come from in "your heart". If you lash out because you are angry or frustrated, it's abuse. You use physical force or correction to ease you emotions.

But a correction, for the most part, no matter what kind, given with no emotion, just as a way to communicate, as long as it fits the crime, is just a correction.

"As long as it fits the crime" Why does correction (communication) need different levels?
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post #6 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
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I guess one of the reasons I posted this is that I have heard some people say that aggression towards a dog will lead to an aggressive dog. Now so far I have been lucky with rosko. His temperament is great, easily trainable, very food or toy motivated so plenty of options to reward or takeaway. I could see where a dog could become aggressive if being abused in order to protect itself. Or they may become very skittish and afraid to do anything for fear of being abused. So I guess I was looking for safe ideas for people who may not know how to go about correcting beyond a simple verbal command .
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post #7 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 10:22 PM
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Pretty much what gsdsar said.My dogs all respond to a firm EH!They immediately stop what they're doing,or if they were blowing off a command they come to their senses and comply.If they're really amped up about something a tap with two fingers on the ribcage brings them back to reality.

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post #8 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by cdwoodcox View Post
I guess one of the reasons I posted this is that I have heard some people say that aggression towards a dog will lead to an aggressive dog. Now so far I have been lucky with rosko. His temperament is great, easily trainable, very food or toy motivated so plenty of options to reward or takeaway. I could see where a dog could become aggressive if being abused in order to protect itself. Or they may become very skittish and afraid to do anything for fear of being abused. So I guess I was looking for safe ideas for people who may not know how to go about correcting beyond a simple verbal command .
For most stuff, if I tell my dog twice and she blows me off - she gets confined in a room. I just have short door barriers I pull closed. They would no way hold her if she wanted out but they are "lines in the sand" and she does not cross until I release her. She does not like it at all and I can usually count on good behavior for the next 4 or 5 hours when she's been "timed out".
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post #9 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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Let me ask a hypothetical question. Right now rosko is 9 months old. If we need to reach into food bowl no issues. If we decide to take a toy no issues. But suppose he gets a year older and he's shredding a toy rope and myself, my kid, or my wife reach down to pick it up and he growls or snaps. I have always said of friends dogs that would growl if they were to take a toy that they should punch that sucker in the head as hard as they can to teach that dog what growling at them gets it. Now that I have my own dog I wouldn't do that. But what is the appropriate response to that. And I don't accept the answer to give the dog his space. There may be a time where an owner needs to remove something from a dogs mouth or take a toy away just to continue a training session. Am I wrong to expect my dogs to relinquish whatever they have at my command.
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post #10 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by cdwoodcox View Post
I am a firm believer that out of fear comes respect. Now when I tell people this the normal response is "well your kids aren't supposed to fear you". We'll my kids don't fear me personally, they fear the consequences that will come out of my duty as a parent to teach them lessons. But as a new dog owner these consequences can be a little confusing as to what is smart or not. Understanding that all dogs are different and may respond differently to different types of enforcement what do the experienced owners do to correct their dog without being abusive. Besides NILIF. That is already on here a lot.
Yes, but. I think that respect can come without fear too. Using your example of children, would you rather they do right out of fear of consequences, or because you've taught them the value of right vs wrong?

If you're relying on fear of consequences to drive behavior, there's always the factor of "will I get caught?" Without that possibility, potential consequences are moot.

For me, it's such a combination of things, customized to the particular dog. Number one is a solid foundation of positive reinforcement for the right behavior. As many times and as many ways as I can make that work, so the dog learns that doing what I want is in his/her best interest because it makes good things happen for the dog, the better. If a behavior can be extinguished by ignoring (and obviously that does not apply to all behaviors), then I'll do that. Some behavior are self reinforcing, so ignoring has no effect. But I reinforce what I want and I don't reinforce what I don't want, as much as I can as an imperfect human.

I'm also a firm believer of NILIF. To me, that's all about polite behavior and house manners, which becomes a routine part of the dog's life. Don't mug me for food or toys. Sit politely before I let you outside, before going in the car or getting out of the car, before going in or out of the house, before I throw this ball for you or give you this bully stick I'm holding.

And impulse control work, tons and tons of this. Overall, I want my dogs to learn that controlling their impulses makes great things happen, and trying to take what they want doesn't work at all. I want them to understand that eye contact makes the world go round. I want them to know that if I'm holding something they want, be it food or a toy, if they want it they have to ignore it and look at me instead.

I teach trust with trading games. I teach them to give up something for something better. I teach them to bring me whatever they have so I can take it away and give it back again. I make a game out of anything I can possibly make a game out of.

Then, and only then, do I work on the "have to" part of the equation, in the sense that they have to do what I say. My philosophy is that the more they WANT to do what I want them to do, the less I have to MAKE them do what I want, and that's a win/win situation as far as I'm concerned.

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