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Do you hit?


Flamincomet
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Absolutely not!

 

What makes you ask?

 

A situation with a trainer that conflicted with my beliefs (I do not believe in hitting). I don't want to go into too much detail other than it made me uncomfortable at the least, and I was curious if this was a normal thing (specifically while working and training sheepdogs), because this trainer was saying that it was.

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A situation with a trainer that conflicted with my beliefs (I do not believe in hitting). I don't want to go into too much detail other than it made me uncomfortable at the least, and I was curious if this was a normal thing (specifically while working and training sheepdogs), because this trainer was saying that it was.

 

 

I have not met, but have also heard of a trainer that suggests that the dogs must learn to "take a correction" no matter how harsh (and from the sounds of it, they are VERY harsh). In my opinion, that is no way to maintain the team that the dog and handler are supposed to work as. There needs to be a balance of trust and respect, but not abuse.

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I don't think smacking a dog has any place in a training situation. I will however smack my dog on the butt for trying to "get physical" with another animal or a person. She's the kind of dog that can go from zero to sixty in five seconds, and when she's in that frame of mind a verbal command makes no impression and a smack on the butt is simply a reset - a reality check that makes it through the rising excitement. She does not react with fear, or even avoidance - but she will amp down and give me a sort of sheepish look that is quite comical.

 

But for training? I think that the only thing you teach a dog by hitting it is that you are someone who hits without provocation, and therefore should not be trusted. There are two reasons that a dog fails to comply with a training directive. Either they don't understand what you are asking for, or they are motivated strongly by something else to ignore you. If they don't understand, hitting is counterproductive and unfair. If they are ignoring you in favor of something else you need to go back and work on proofing and keeping the dog's attention. If a dog is only watching you to avoid being hit, his mind is not on training, it's on avoiding your seemingly random outbursts.

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I wouldn't hit in a normal day.

 

Early on, my dog was very reactive and before I knew him well, he would sometimes really "get into it" with other dogs. My instinctive reaction, to get him off, was to whap him. But it was a stupid reaction, didn't get me what I wanted, and served no purpose. (Instincts and stress are bizarre and illogical.)

 

So... I guess I've hit, but not as part of a plan, and not with any success. I might do it again if put in bad circumstances again, and I suspect it would be equally stupid and unsuccessful.

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I've hit them on the top of the nose but i probably could have accomplished what I wanted without a whap on the nose; I wouldn't say it is routine to hit your dog when training on stock but I've seen it done. I have hit one with a stick when it would let go of a sheep, and i've hit one by accident with the stick while training.

 

One of my friends smacked her dog on the nose after he went after another dog in the park and got a visit from the dog warden...

 

Cynthia

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I've wapped a dog or 2. But that's probably cause I lost my temper or the dog was really getting into something it shouldn't be and was dangerous and not calling off.

I would never hit or touch a dog with force if it was in a fight. For my reactive dog if I hit him it would send him more out of control. I would get the dogs apart and then be quite rough on my dog if it's his actions that caused the fight. but again if I hit him he'd be right back at it.

 

I teach my dogs to take a correction too, and yes my corrections can be harsh if called for but that doesn't really include physical violence. I might grab him by the collar and lift him up like TC mentions but I wouldn't be choking the dog, or being physically rough. It is counter production for my training practices. But all my dogs know what a harsh correction is. They are very upset if they get one. Still doesn't involve physical violence.

 

If my dog was hanging off a sheep, again I might bop it in frustration or to get it to release the sheep but like Laura says, it would be my fault for putting my dog in a situation where it wasn't understanding what we were doing or it felt there was no other way for it to react.

 

I tend to think if a dog is doing something wrong, at least my dogs, then it's my fault for not teaching it or helping it understand what I want. So I go back and look at my training to find the holes. Not included in this is puppy training, where it's biting cause it doesn't know any better. I would keep it off sheep till I felt it was ready to take more pressure. From me and the sheep.

 

I have tossed my training stick or even winged it at a dog but not aimed at making contact with the dog. Mick was young, a friend trainer swung her stick at Mick to slow him down. Mick ran into the stick with his front paws, he limped for days. That quickly taught me what hitting can accomplish.

 

Another time Mick attacked my old dog Jazz. For no reason but he's a jerk. She was on the ground screaming. I ran across the garage and kicked him, not to get him off he was done by then but in anger. He again limped for days. I felt horrible he was in pain and it didn't teach him a thing except that being kicked hurts. He still will attack another dog sometimes.

 

I have found for attacking dogs, to separate and time out which doesn't mean in a crate but on his side at my feet while all other dogs are loose and running around him makes the most impression. it takes his power away.

 

I never really spanked my children either but I would wap them on the butt sometimes to shock them back to reality, don't know if it ever worked, like the few times I've "hit" a dog. It was because I lost my temper. I've always figured that was how abuse happened. The bigger person losing his temper and using violence. Not teaching anyone anything.

 

JMHO.

 

And I do know of quite a few trainers out there (stockdog trainers) that use physical violence. I hate to look at their dogs eyes, they have a deer in the head lights look on their faces, and I think it'd due to violence and not knowing when it could happen again.

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No and I've had to work with my kids on understanding why bonking the puppy on the nose when she nips does not work.

 

I also had a friend come over and hold her down by the scruff, I set him straight right away. I don't come to your house and spank your son, you don't force my pup to submit.

 

The only time I ever used force on a dog was with a prior rescue (non bc) who just went bonkers one day. She wouldn't let me in the house and I was afraid for myself and the kids. I moved her away from me with a broom (I didn't hit, I pushed her). I didn't want to put my hands on her while she was snarling. That felt awful. I was heartbroken and really felt like I'd failed. But when it comes to my personal safety or my kids, I'll do what it takes to maintain it.

 

In training any creature physical violence usually just creates a response out of fear, not out of willingness to want to participate. I'd be wary of someone suggesting it as a training tool.

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I don't want to go into too much detail other than it made me uncomfortable at the least, and I was curious if this was a normal thing (specifically while working and training sheepdogs), because this trainer was saying that it was

 

What kind of context was it in? Like taking a hand and hitting the dog? Throwing something at the dog to get it's attention?

 

I don't hit my dogs, But I could see myself throwing something (like a hat or something) and hitting a young dog who is blowing me off on stock to get their attention again.

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I've whapped my dogs from time to time. It's not something I am proud of, and something I ever-strive to improve about myself, but I've got a temper, and a lot of dogs, and when they really frustrate me, I've been known to give them a slap on the ass. Not too long ago, I flat out spanked TWooie (for strolling by and biting Dexter in the ass for no reason at all). My trainer friend called it "actionable feedback" which is nice of her ;-) But in reality it was just me losing my sh*t with a dog who was being a total sh*t. I always feel very badly after I do it, and I don't think it's a very effective form of training and accomplishes nothing except a release of frustration for me.

 

I do not, however, ever hit a dog when I'm trying to teach them something. I've whapped a dog with the stock stick when training, but that's just my poor timing ;-) So no, I don't hit as a training methodology, but I'm imperfect and have slapped the odd dog when I blow my top, and it shames me to admit it.

 

RDM

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What kind of context was it in? Like taking a hand and hitting the dog? Throwing something at the dog to get it's attention?

 

I don't hit my dogs, But I could see myself throwing something (like a hat or something) and hitting a young dog who is blowing me off on stock to get their attention again.

 

Context was a young inexperienced dog not knowing how to call off. He'd been getting better with it, but this particular time he blew us off, and the trainer ran up to him, back handed him across the face, dragged him away shaking him and back handed him several more times. I never hit my dogs so I suspect this only confused and scared him more than it helped, but I'm not a stockdog trainer. Still, I've worked with a couple big names (one who bred this dog) and we had the same situation, handled completely differently. The trainer said she did it to gain the dog's respect, but he just seemed fearful to me.

 

I hope to be working with Norm Close once he comes back from Canada the end of September, so I guess I will see if "all other experienced sheep dog trialers do this."

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That, what you just described?

 

Oh, h*ll no.

 

That was my thinking at the time too. She was very offended and mad at me when I said I was not Ok with what she just did, and said if I didn't like it, I could pack up and leave because she refuses to work my dog unless she can give those types of corrections. So I left. Sad that I lost out on an opportunity to work so often, but it's not worth my dog being treated like that.

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I agree with Laura. Just as when training a recall, I don't see how whacking a dog for not coming to you will encourage the dog to come to you.

 

Like RDM, I have whacked my dogs on occasion, though not so much hitting as a swat on the butt (for example, when Twist is stalking Kat and refusing to leave her alone when I've told her to stop it, or Phoebe is repeatedly biting Pip's hock and ignoring my command to stop it).

 

If I had to make hitting a dog part of my training repertoire in order to teach it to work livestock, I think I'd find something else for that dog to do.

 

J.

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I, like Mr Snappy, have given an rare boot to the butt - unusually because I have lost my patience and I am not proud of it. The boot to butt is more like a push than a hit. That being said - if someone did what you described to my dogs (four) - I don't care who the heck they are, I would take my dog and head home for good. I think that trainer is only potentially laying down the ground work for your dog to view other people with fear. That can bring on huge issues. Good luck.

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What that trainer did was weird and not OK, imho. It seems to me that leashing the dog and working another, doing a foced stay, putting him away, etc. would have had a much more effective result than smacking him in the face.

 

This is likely to be a surprise to many here as I am an advocate for training with minimal corrections, but I do have low frustration tolerance and I have gotten very angry a few times over the years and smacked a dog. The resulting look of confusion and horror my dog gives me always makes me immediately want to throw up. It has never actually helped anything.

 

I try and remember always that my losing it served nothing except to confuse my dog and make him lose his trust in me. I saw one of my dogs flinch for a wole month when I reached for him after I got angry and scruffed him once. You can correct a dog without being violent. Violence seldom teaches anything.

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Context was a young inexperienced dog not knowing how to call off. He'd been getting better with it, but this particular time he blew us off, and the trainer ran up to him, back handed him across the face, dragged him away shaking him and back handed him several more times.

 

My young dog is going off for training next March. If that happens to her, I will be looking for another trainer. I'm all about respect and obedience but that would not work for me.

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Having a dog respect you is important, especially if you are working partners. But respect, like trust, must be earned. You can instill wariness or fear in a dog by hitting it, but never respect. A highly intelligent and sensitive dog can have both its trust and respect for you destroyed by treatment such as the OP describes. Unfortunately, there are many people who cannot distinguish between respect and fear. I am not a big fan of the sloppy, over the top grinning idiocy displayed by many dogs, but if a well-mannered, well brought up dog looks in your eyes you should be able to see trust and respect rather than watchfulness. A dog that is busy watching for what you might do to it is unlikely to readily see what you can do with it.

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