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For me, the luring and spinning to treat wouldn't be a correction, either, but going to retrieve the dog and bring him back, however happily, IS. I am not sure why the distinction in my brain, exactly, though, and couldn't begin to explain it to you except that to me going and getting the dog, however happy you may be, says 'nope, you've got to do this' in a way that simply luring the spin around again doesn't. And again: I don't know why, but frankly since 98% of my training is done with nothing more harsh than a no reward marker, it probably doesn't matter overly much, anyway.

 

I guess I see it this way. Suppose I hadn't recalled my dog. Suppose I was hanging about in the yard with the dogs and I wandered over to the fence and at that moment decided to go to the house. So I turned to my dog and said, "Come on, let's go!" and the dog came along with me.

 

That's not a correction.

 

So - if I do the exact same thing after the dog has failed to recall from a distance, I still don't consider it a correction - it's the same exact thing.

 

And, really, it's no different from the food lure. I am using something pleasant to lead the dog into the behavior that I eventually want the dog to do without any assistance from me.

 

I'll let you in on a little secret. I am an experienced dog owner and have done quite a bit of training with dogs over the years, HOWEVER:

I've never done an ounce of official recall training with 4 of my 5 dogs. The one dog I did any with was the GSD-X, and that amounted to putting him on a long line if he blew a recall and using it to reinforce (bring him in and treat) for a week or two after he blew it. He hasn't done that in probably a year now.

The others? They're velcro dogs. They want to be close to me. I'd randomly reward attentiveness to me in general, and when off leash if they checked out, I'd simply say 'Bye' and walk away from them. Sometimes, I'd outright hide from them. They were dogs who weren't happy about losing me, work hard to find me (or catch up to me) , and then when they did I'd praise and reward and carry on with the day. That was literally all I had to do with any of them.

That wouldn't work with a dog who was more prey driven than handler focused. Some of the equation is the DOG and their drives and desires, too.

Basically what I'm saying here is don't necessarily give those who have dogs with perfect shot out of a canon recalls too much credit. Sometimes it's the trainer, and sometimes it's just the DOG.

 

Sure, sometimes it's the dog. Speedy was like that, more or less. Granted, we needed to do formal recall training for Rally, but in regular life, he pretty much just came when he was called. Always did.

 

But of my dogs, he really was the only one who was like that.

 

Tessa was probably the most extreme when we first started, as she was semi-feral. At first her strongest desire was to run away from me, not to me.

 

I also trained her recall with reinforcement - no corrections. In fact, she got a ton more leeway than Bandit ever did. If she ignored a recall back in the beginning, I didn't even go get her happily - I let it go altogether!! At first if I had approached her, that would have been so aversive to her that I never would have done so in the context of recall training. Thankfully, she followed my dogs other dogs everywhere, so she always came in when they did. In fact, she recalled on Dean's name well before she recalled to her own!

 

In spite of that, her recall is excellent. And it didn't come naturally to her - we both had to work our rear ends off to build that recall! She also hikes off leash and plays off leash on the beach and I trust her completely!

 

I don't credit Bandit the majority of his reliable recall, either. Sure - he had no baggage, nor bad habits, nor did he have any reason to want to do anything other than come with me. That made it much easier than it was with Tessa. And he's super smart and he does have a strong desire to please.

 

But he was also a puppy, and he seriously had his own agenda! He did have to learn that it was worth his while to recall to me, and we trained it, quite systematically. When we first stared, he would have chosen to chase a rabbit whether I was calling him or not.

 

I love training recalls. I find it one of the most enjoyable of the "basic manners" things to train. You can practice in the most interesting places, and it's probably one of the easiest behaviors to turn into a source of great joy.

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I think that for purely positive (eg correction-free) training to have even a chance working (and I am talking total reliability in all environments), the trainer must have an excellent understanding of reinforcers and the ability/patience to completely control the environment. The dog is never allowed to have the thrill of the chase to begin with, so it just doesn't think about taking off after a rabbit. I think that most people (including myself), and certainly not the average pet owner, are probably not willing/ able to control the environment to the extent needed. And in the end, one still needs the right dog.

 

I am thinking that this approach (total control of the environment) is now as out of date in the +R training world as the term "purely positive" or the false notion that +R trainers have to carry food all the time to get their dogs to do anything! I do remember hearing such things many years back, but +R training is constantly growing and developing and all of the +R trainers that I know use the dogs drives to build the dog's self-control, not try to control the environment so the dog never experiences those drives.

 

My best friend trained her Beagle to focus by giving him permission to sniff. Yes, I said Beagle. "Everyone" says that Beagles can't be taught to stop sniffing and you must never, ever, ever let them put their noses on the ground if you want attention. She trained him to pay attention by doing the exact opposite. We jokingly call him her "Border Collie", his focus is so awesome! He's a Beagle - that's not supposed to be possible. Well, apparently it is!

 

Bandit chased rabbits and guinea hens in my yard freely as a young puppy. He was allowed to chase them as far as the fence allowed. (The guinea hens do not belong in my yard, and so my dogs are allowed to chase them out) When he learned a recall, I used it to call him off. Up until that point, he was allowed the "thrill of the chase". As long as he was safe - which he was in the yard - I wasn't concerned at all.

 

Personally, I couldn't live with dogs if there were never a context where they could just let down their "sport manners" and be dogs. Control Unleashed was revolutionary in putting forth the idea that you don't have to control the environment all the time, that there is a time and a place for dogs to be dogs - and you can still have self-control and focus, and that we trainers can give up trying to be "more interesting" than prey because we really never will be! And I am running into that point of view more and more and more among +R trainers who are getting results.

 

That's not to say it doesn't take some planning, some work, and that there are never difficulties or blips along the way. But control the environment totally? Seriously . . . I don't think that's realistic for anyone.

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Root Beer, on 04 Sept 2015 - 13:46, said:snapback.png

I once asked a group of "balanced" trainers if they would consider this a correction: I cue my dog to spin. The dog stands still and stares at me. I take out a treat and lure the spin, and give the treat. Then I cue the spin again, the dog does it and I give another treat. Was that a "correction"? After all, I "made the dog correct" and I got him to do the behavior. You could even go so far as to say I "made him do it". But . . . the answer - a resounding "no - that's not a correction"! And I agreed with them. Now, it is certainly information, but I doubt there are many who would define that choice of delivering information to be a "correction".

Does the dog being cued to spin know the cue? Has it mastered the behavior? Or is it a dog that has never been taught to spin on cue?

Either!!

 

Now, typically if the dog knows the cue, I would actually toss a treat to break off what we are doing, and then cue again. If the dog still didn't respond (and I were positive that there were not a physical issue in play - with Dean, for instance, if his hip is sore, he won't spin, and I know that's because he's feeling sore and won't ask him again), then I would use a lure or two (or a big hand cue) to remind the dog what I am asking for.

 

For a dog who is just learning the cue, I am going to be mixing up good clear hand signals (not usually food lures at the cue stage) with the verbal.

Well, for me, it makes a difference, because a dog who has not been taught to do/not do something, and demonstrated an understanding of that something, should never be corrected for failing to do/not do that thing.

 

I do agree with those who said what you did was not a correction.

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There are drives and there are drives. I suspect that if Bandit were chasing the rabbits and hens with the intent to take down and kill, his recall would not be so terrific.

 

Geonni hit the nail on the head. We all chose dogs that are compatible (or have a high probability of being so) with our training styles. There is a reason why many of us chose Border Collies as our sports prospects as opposed to Malinois from police lines. Many police dog trainers would probably fail miserably with a Border Collie and many of us would probably fail miserably with the Malinois bred for police work.

 

Of course this puts the trainers of pet dogs into a pickle because most pet dog owners don't chose their dogs with the same care that we do.

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This is interesting to me. I have been criticized for using what amounts to the Koehler method on my dogs as being "so mean!" and various other things of variable printability. But those same individuals, many times in the same conversation, will remark on how thoroughly my dogs seem to trust me. Many of these dogs were rescue dogs who came to me with a considerable baggage of fear issues. They are free-spirited dogs with a sense of humor, who have a fun time with training and in general. The very last descriptive that would apply to them is "robotic" or "lobotomized." But they are reliably obedient, and generally well-mannered.

I suspect you have excellent trainer skills, and you are obviously interested in creating a relationship with your dogs.

 

My first few were trained quite badly by me with heavy handed poorly timed corrections and a lack of understanding, yet they had that same kind of relationship with me.

 

I meant more an average pet person who thinks they will have a bombproof, rock solid well trained dog after a 6 week beginner class with zero practice. The one who gets mad because his terrier mix with a very long history of ignoring his yellling human isn't doing as well as the Aussie in his class owned by a person who trains every day so he starts yelling and jerking his dog around saying "he should know this!"

 

Not you, and probably not anyone on this forum.

And no, I don't see how teaching a behavior in thirty sessions is better than teaching it in four if you have the skills to do that, and you end up with a happy dog with rock-solid trust and reliability.

 

No, and if you read my post I say some things can be taught well and quickly with a well timed correction with zero fallout...but not everything. Some dogs need more time, some have a lot of previous life experience that affects the outcome, some just don't give a shit about the correction.

 

One of my favorite students is a GIANT pit mix (I think he is half pittie, half black mouthed cur). Hes a doll and 18 months old and probably outweighs his mom by 20 lbs, and he came to us in a giant prong and could have given a shit about the collar even though it was clearly poking him. She yelled a lot and it had zero affect. But working with him Mom, getting cookies and play and a lot of body smacks (oh he loves that) now he is doing really well and is not only walking on a loose leash but heeling and his mom wants to teach him rally and obedience!

 

choose my dogs carefully, and with an eye to a character and temperament that will be most suited to the way I train. In cases of dogs that were "a pig in a poke," (usually a dog between a rock and a hard place) I keep them if it works, or place them with someone who will be better suited to their ways than I, if they have a character incompatible to me and my training style.

 

And Bingo.

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I don't like the notion that 'positive' sport people are cherry picking dogs. At least not any moreso than Leerburg and the like are picking their own sport dogs. I find agility in particular to be one of the most inclusive sports as far as breed and type of dogs go.

 

That said breed plays a role for sure. Good god my terrier x cattle dog has a level of prey drive none of my other dogs have had. And that is HARD to work through. Some of my herders wanted to chase but it is very different.

 

From what I've seen at petsmart training here it is pretty bad. Just lots of aimless clicking and I could never tell what they were trying to work on.

 

From the Leerburg article:

 

 

Now back to these all-positive trainers. They have blinders on and they just don’t get it. They don’t understand that dog sport competitors who train with all positive methods need a very specific type of dog – they need dog’s that are compliant and have a very strong food or toy drive.

These same trainers could be given 10,000 pet dogs and they would be lucky to be able to train and compete at a high level with one of those dogs using all-positive methods in their respective dog sports much less be able to train that dog to be consistently compliant in off leash obedience.

 

I've read that article before and I disagree with this. I see all kinds of breeds and origins of dogs able to learn agility (because that's my sport) through positive methods. It does help a lot to have food and toy drive and most the dogs at the highest level will have that. But then so will most the dogs in the more 'balanced' sports too. IPO people are also picking dogs that suit their training styles. It's not that surprising, is it?

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Well in my experience people use what they have for the first one or two agility dogs and then cherry pick (eg put more care into selecting dogs) if their goals are more than recreational agility.

 

Nonetheless, I suspect that Leerburg is referring more to obedience and schutzhund than agility.

 

And I totally agree that there is a big damn difference between whoopee chasing and predatory chasing. I live with both types of dogs and there is a world of difference between the 2 types of chasing. The former is a game and the later is raw, primitive instinct.

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I would say it's common to get a 'next dog' with the sport in mind but I don't like it looked at like it's a) a BAD thing or b ) that 'non traditional' breeds can't learn positively or have success in sports. Because people do succeed at sports with positive/mostly positive training (agility by nature is just mostly positive) with so called off breeds. I watched a beagle earn a MACH recently. They're not usually considered the most biddable breed. So you can achieve high level success with dogs that aren't 'cherry picked'. Maybe not winning worlds or something but most BCs aren't going to do that either.

 

And it just seems natural to me that as people get more invested in sports their needs and wants in dogs change. It makes sense to put more emphasis on the drive and such. Doesn't it make sense to stack the odds that you will end up with a dog that enjoys the sport as much as you do? That said in my personal agility circles I think it seems about even as far as 'switching breeds' and then people who stick to their chosen breed or stick to rescues, etc. (I really hate the notion of 'switching breeds' to be honest)

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I dont see the problem in picking a dog to do well in whatever it is you want to do with it. Nor do I see changing breeds as a problem. You get the dog that has the best chance, physically or temperamentally, to be a good match for you.

 

One of the saddest things there is is a dog that is a disappointment to its owner, and is aware of it. I knew a couple who had a German Shepherd Dog that had a very soft temperament. They wanted him to be a big, chesty, noble dog.

 

If they called him, he would always come, but with some obvious misgivings. They would respond with an "Oh, forget it!"

 

They never hit him or were cruel to him in any of the usual senses, but they found him contemptible, and he was sorrowfully and pathetically aware of it. Yet they would not give him up.

 

"No! He's our dog for life!" they would assert. But he wasn't - not in any meaningful way. He lived with them for ten years, and then was put down with some intractable physical problems. They made that dog miserable for years, and spent a lot of money on getting him vetted with all sorts of problems. Digestive, allergies, etc. He was fit, and otherwise well for most of his life, and I attribute much of what ailed him to his depression.

 

And he was depressed. Nothing he ever did was good enough, while the Chesapeake Bay Retriever that he shared his family with was loved, appreciated and lavished with affection.

 

I used to go walking with them at the dog park nearly every day with my Collie and my Doberman Pinscher.

 

Poor Zander

 

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I think it all goes back to your relationship with your dog. Dogs are just as different as people are. They have different personalities,different likes and dislikes ect. If you conduct yourself in such a way that your dog respects and trusts you things are going to go lots better than if your dog does not respect and trust you. How many dogs do you see pull owners around when they have a leash on? How many bark after being asked to be quiet? Ok so maybe they have not been worked with but it is interesting when someone they do not know can take the lead and they do not pull with one word correction or leash tug. Dogs are very very good at reading body language. People are not. We send signals the dog picks up even when we do not mean to. The dogs know who is confident in what they are asking and who is not. Yes border collies as a group are going to want to fall in line faster than say Belgium shepherds but the same things goes. There are dogs that are easy and just want to please and would turn themselves inside out for their person. There are some that are a harder sell, a more dominant personality that need a bit stronger tone maybe, that hesitate a couple seconds before deciding to come... There are other dogs that just dont care what treat you have they are going to do their own thing as long as it suits them or until they push the wrong the wrong person who makes them submit. Thankfully border collies are not usually extremely physical dogs.

 

I am reading Mike Ritlands book Trident K9 Warriors. He was a Navy SEAL and now trains dogs for special forces. He describes a senerio in which you just meet someone, they are gushing all over you telling you how great you are, asking what they can get you ect. Then you meet someone that walks in carries himself well - well dressed, well spoken, cordial, says thank you or you did a good job and moves on. Which of these people will you respect and want to be with? Dogs are the same, they will try and work harder for the person they respect. If indeed you have their trust and respect I would say more often that not just showing your displeasure in something they do or do not do is a correction. I basically have a conversation with my dogs. If they are pleasing me I show them by my voice, tone, actions... if I am not pleased they know by my voice, tone, actions. IF they are happy or worried or stressed I know by their actions.

It is a two way street. I want their respect but I need to give it also.

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Ourwully - just a thought, but how well does Juno know an "off" or "leave it" command?

 

When it comes to critter chasing, I usually have better success with a recall if I call an off! (Or leave it, whichever you use) before I recall Penny. It seems to get through to her excited brain enough that I then have her attention for the recall. I've also used "Ball!" once or twice when it was urgent and that worked wonders.

 

Not that I'm really experienced and I wouldn't say we have a 100% recall yet either in all situations, but just wondering if working a lot on the self control with the leave it would help you with Juno's recall. :)

 

Oh, and I also do use verbal corrections in the form of "eh eh" or "No" with Penny, in the spirit of the behaviour conversation as per the original discussion, I do find she takes it in stride and if often helps communicate what I don't want quite well.

 

Now if anyone has any tips on the stopping alert barking at everything that goes by, after I've said Quiet.... I'm all ears lol. I've tried both the rewarding for being quiet and a verbal correction, and not had great success unless I get up and stand in front of the window and tell her that's enough and to go settle.

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I don't like the notion that 'positive' sport people are cherry picking dogs. At least not any moreso than Leerburg and the like are picking their own sport dogs. I find agility in particular to be one of the most inclusive sports as far as breed and type of dogs go.

 

Very true, and I'd say Freestyle even more. There is a lot of peer pressure in Freestyle NOT to work with Border Collies because there is a strong belief that they require no training and are easy peasy and you just get one and you can do anything you want with no effort. I don't care. I will train and perform with the dogs I love, and I don't care what misconceptions people have. But that reverse "peer pressure" not to choose a dog for the sport is out there.

 

While it's true that many who get into a sport do choose their next dog with the sport in mind, it's not an absolute. I NEVER would have chosen a street dog with an unknown history who was completely shut down as my sport dog. But she came along and I decided to give her all that I can just because I wanted to give her a good life. When it came down to it, that was more important to me than sports. In turn, she became my dream Agility dog. It's ironic. I never would have expected it!

 

I've learned to expect the unexpected in my dogs, no matter where they come from.

 

And as a +R trainer/sport enthusiast, I am not alone in that. Sure, some choose dogs with certain traits for particular sports. But just as many choose the dog they want and enjoy the sports in whatever way is appropriate to the dog.

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There are drives and there are drives. I suspect that if Bandit were chasing the rabbits and hens with the intent to take down and kill, his recall would not be so terrific.

 

OK, then how do you explain Tessa? I know for a fact that she killed at least one cat when she was a stray. At first her drive to chase prey really was based in survival and the kill. It was a strong drive, and she was out to kill. She got a groundhog in her first months here, as well.

 

She also goes off leash in the unfenced part of our yard and I have every confidence that she will call off those barn cats. in fact, she has! Many times. She calls off cats, bunnies, and groundhogs now.

 

Her recall (as I mentioned above) was trained +R sans any type of correction. Not even NRM's, time outs, me going out to get her - nada! Eventually, when she was comfortable with me going to her, I would go to her with treats to lure her back as we were building the strength of her recall, but I am definitely with Geonni in not considering food lures to be corrections.

 

So, I am not convinced that if Bandit had been chasing rabbits with the intent to kill that a +R trained recall would not have been absolutely possible. It would likely have taken more legwork on both of our parts to build his recall to that level of strength, but if it could be done with Tessa the "cat killer" . . . then why not?

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htmlgirl - Juno and I have been working on both the off (from jumping up) and leave it commands for a long time now and for the most part she is pretty good. We still work at the leave it command everyday. I just started with a trainer this week and I got some good suggestions. Juno and I have a great relationship so I am confident that the recall will come in time. I have taken a step back and put her on the long line for now so that I can reinforce the recall if she doesn't come.

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Oh Sheepdogging Geezer, tell the Vashon Trial I said hey! One of my favorites, used to do blade shearing demo there and run my dogs, but catching up now after the big fires here so won't attend! Sorry off topic!

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Now if anyone has any tips on the stopping alert barking at everything that goes by, after I've said Quiet.... I'm all ears lol.

 

Some years ago, at another forum, someone asked how to make the dog not alert bark to everything. A lady that I knew only online but really respected for her contributions to that forum answered something I never forgot. It went more or less like this:

 

"I don't want my dog to not allert bark. In fact, I very much want her to tell me when the grizzly bears and very bad baddies are around. I just want to be able also to tell her that I heard her alert and now have things under control. So when she starts barking, I ask her what it is. Make a fuss of letting her know I understand she's telling me important stuff. Gett off my chair and go with her to the door, go out, scan the horizont and ask where the bad guys are. Scan some more and tell her, yeah, they where here, but I've send them packing. Profusely thank her for letting me know there where things in need of checking, go back inside, thank her again and ask her to lie down and settle. Over time, all is needed is a "Thanks for telling me there's something going on outside, I'm on it, you can go back to lie down and relax."

 

I started using this with my dog-at-the-time that was not usually a barker but allerted extensively to a lot of stuff (until then I was using the usual "Quiet. Calm down. Hush. Hush now, for god's sake! hey, stop barking!". With very poor results :rolleyes: )The difference in her behaviour was imediate and profound. She just wanted to be sure that I understood there was something in need of attention. Once I was able to let her know I got it, she was in turn able to relax quickly.

 

I used this with Tess from the get go, and she is the calmer quieter dog I've ever had. She does tell me everytime the grizzly bears are in the vicinity, but she imediatly quiets down when I tell what an astoundingly great girl she is and that I'm now in control of the "emergency" (she looks enormously pleased with herself for having been usefull).

 

Work with them, not against them :)

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About the original topic, I use corrections in training. And train at a school that is pretty "old school". When I started training 7 years ago it was the only place within a reasonable distance (1/2 h by car) and I knew zero about dog training. There's stuff I dislike, so I just don't use it. MY dog, I know her, no one is going to tell me I have to do things this or that way if i think it's not suited to my dog. I've never had a problem there for having common sense and a formed personality, and my dogs tend to be a bit the stars of the class, so...

 

Recently I started doing dockdiving with Tess at another place, whose trainer very much dislikes my trainer methods. I don't encourage gossip but off course he did manage to tell me a bit of his views on the matter. One thing he said, and I know is true, is he has had a couple of dogs from my place moving to his place, and the dogs arrived a bit shutdown and joyless. I said yes, that's true, but my personal experience has been good. The problem is often with owners that have only 2 neurons that hardly ever connect and are more focused on getting things done than getting to know and understand their dog. And yes, that type of training is not for everybody. If it's going to work, you have to have a thinking critical mind, a great desire to know and understand dogs and a profound respect for your dog. THEN you can use corrections.

 

In august I had to board Tess for a couple weeks, and she stayed with the dockdiving guy. When I called to check if everything was good, he said, "Oh, she's so great! so fun and full of life, always ready for anything! Easily one of the two most awsome dogs that ever stayed here, but the other one was a sweet but lazy rott. Tess is much more fun!"

 

Good to have comfirmation on my impression that Tess is not ruined by the use of thoughtfull corrections in training.

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Some years ago, at another forum, someone asked how to make the dog not alert bark to everything. A lady that I knew only online but really respected for her contributions to that forum answered something I never forgot. It went more or less like this:

 

"I don't want my dog to not allert bark. In fact, I very much want her to tell me when the grizzly bears and very bad baddies are around. I just want to be able also to tell her that I heard her alert and now have things under control. So when she starts barking, I ask her what it is. Make a fuss of letting her know I understand she's telling me important stuff. Gett off my chair and go with her to the door, go out, scan the horizont and ask where the bad guys are. Scan some more and tell her, yeah, they where here, but I've send them packing. Profusely thank her for letting me know there where things in need of checking, go back inside, thank her again and ask her to lie down and settle. Over time, all is needed is a "Thanks for telling me there's something going on outside, I'm on it, you can go back to lie down and relax."

 

I started using this with my dog-at-the-time that was not usually a barker but allerted extensively to a lot of stuff (until then I was using the usual "Quiet. Calm down. Hush. Hush now, for god's sake! hey, stop barking!". With very poor results :rolleyes: )The difference in her behaviour was imediate and profound. She just wanted to be sure that I understood there was something in need of attention. Once I was able to let her know I got it, she was in turn able to relax quickly.

 

I used this with Tess from the get go, and she is the calmer quieter dog I've ever had. She does tell me everytime the grizzly bears are in the vicinity, but she imediatly quiets down when I tell what an astoundingly great girl she is and that I'm now in control of the "emergency" (she looks enormously pleased with herself for having been usefull).

 

Work with them, not against them :)

 

This works with some dogs, probably most dogs, for sure.

 

Unless you live with Mr. Barky Barkerson McBarkpants. He could NOT stop barking at the cats outside or dogs on TV.

 

With him, I had to add a quiet "stop now or else get a 5 minute time out" word which was "Enough." I say it once, and if he doesn't stop I quietly set him behind a gate where he can't see outside. I only say it once. I say it clearly but quietly, its his job to hear me. No anger, no fuss, just walk him through or set him over the top (he is a Papillon) I set a timer for 5 minutes.

 

When we got very consistent with this, the "Enough" worked. We haven't had to put him away for a while now.

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Sorry for a bunch of quotes in one post, but I didn't check in all weekend, and there were just some comments in this thread that I wanted to address. So here goes....

 

Rootbeer:

According to the theory that corrections are necessary in order to train a reliable recall, I shouldn't have anything resembling a reliable recall. But I have one so good on this dog that he surprises me sometimes.

 

This confused me a bit because you seemed to be answering Donald's original post. I even went back and re-read his post to see where he said that corrections are necessary to train a recall, but it wasn't there. This is the first I've ever heard of this theory, so I'm just really not understanding where it's coming from, except to support your argument for your way of training. But I've read the entire thread and nowhere did I see anyone espousing a theory of "corrections are necessary to train a recall." Yes, a couple folks said that they considered going to get the dog as a correction of sorts, which of course you disputed, but really that's just a matter of POV. The point is I don't see anyone saying corrections are necessary to train a recall. For me, with my latest pup, I do use a voice correction. But it's not really correcting for the action of not coming, but for the fact that he's so focused on whatever he is doing that he's not even aware I'm there. So if I call his name and he never even flicks an ear, he gets a voice correction that says "Yoohoo! Pay attention!" Probably just another splitting of hairs....

 

Our Wully:

I am convinced that positive reinforcement is the best way to train a dog, but I am also convinced that, for some dogs and for inexperienced trainers, it is a very difficult way of doing things.

 

The exact same thing could be said of those who use corrections in training. I know some would argue (and I believe Donald has argued) that mistimed rewards or ineffectual rewards are just as bad as mistimed corrections because they leave the dog confused, but from my POV, a mistimed reward (or mistimed anything postive-based) is less likely to harm the dog and thus a better choice for inexperienced trainers. Because even though most of us know that correction does not equal punishment, there are misguided folks out there who do take corrections too far, and the results for the poor dog can be disastrous. So although it may indeed be hard for inexperienced trainers to use positive reinforcement, I still think it's the best option for the dogs of such inexperienced owners.

Rushdoggie:

 

(I used to be one of those crazy has 6 dogs at a time ladies).

:o:o:o

 

and

 

 

I also have found, that many (certainly not all) people who go the more forceful method (and no not every correction is forceful) do so because they want it NOW. They don't want to take the time to build that rapport, that bond, that trust, that communication that creates (as discussed in another thread) a mannerly dog.

And sometimes that's appropriate. I know these discussions have been had ad nauseum on this forum, but certainly in cases where a dog might be endangering its own life, a "want it NOW" approach isn't the bad thing people seem to be implying it is. There are also times where another approach just isn't cutting it. For example, take a young dog who dives in and bowls sheep over or grabs them and won't let go. If that young dog has had enough training to know better (and has been given every opportunity to correct itself), then there might come a time when the dog does get a more positive correction (positive punishment) for its behavior. There's a line beyond which young dog enthusiasm turns into young dog being an asshole and the poor sheep shouldn't be the ones suffering as a result. I know this is a very specific reference and it relates to stockwork, which is not really what is under discussion here, but it does serve to illustrate why labeling people who use corrections as belonging to a "want it NOW" group might be a bit misleading.

 

To be continued....

 

J.

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Cont'd:

 

Blackdawgs:

 

There are drives and there are drives. I suspect that if Bandit were chasing the rabbits and hens with the intent to take down and kill, his recall would not be so terrific.

 

Rootbeer:

 

OK, then how do you explain Tessa? I know for a fact that she killed at least one cat when she was a stray. At first her drive to chase prey really was based in survival and the kill. It was a strong drive, and she was out to kill. She got a groundhog in her first months here, as well.

 

I'm not going to get into a long, twisted discussion about this, but I do want to point out that one dog is a hunting dog by genetics and the other is not. Tessa hunted and killed because she needed to. Once in a safe place with clear rules, hunting is no longer necessary and is certainly not part of her makeup. In fact, her genetics predispose her to biddability (not to mention that famous "modified prey drive"). Beagles are a whole 'nother kettle of fish. And I guess it's fortunate that Bandit didn't kill any of the neighbor's chickens or guineas, but would you have minded if he did? The answer to that question might put a different perspective on training dogs regarding the chasing of other animals.

 

I do wonder, though, about my own dogs. My latest two puppies have not been raised around poultry the way all my other dogs have been. The older dogs learned from day one that poultry were part of our lives, and like the cats, were not something that they should ever consider chasing. I of course did this training largely with corrections (as in, the pup gets a voice correction for thinking about chasing the chickens)--and praise for going off and leaving them alone. My two youngsters have not had those opportunities because where I am now the poultry live in the barnyard, and there are sheep there as well, so they don't get to just exist alongside the poultry. That said, they are being trained for stockwork, so I expect me recall training and the understanding that they don't "work" (i.e., chase) anything without permission will serve us well. The first time I took Birdie in the barnyard off leash she did work the geese, so I turned it into a training session. I tried to get her to work the chickens, but she wasn't sure they were worth the trouble. ;)

 

J.

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"How do you explain Tess?" (I'm sorry, I can't make quotes work).


I don't think it's that hard to explain her. Her biddability is higher than her prey-drive. It's really that simple. Get a dog with similarly high prey-drive (or higher) and less biddability, and your training method would have to change, or it would take longer.

You do build relationships with dogs, for sure, and trust and a desire to work for you, but you are never going to have a (typical) Livestock guardian or (typical) scent hound who cares as much about pleasing you as a (typical) herder.

 

You can still use positive methods for the LGD or hound (and I would), but it's going to take a lot longer, be a lot harder, and you aren't going to get the same level of reliability from a dog who has generations of breeding behind it to chase the rabbit (cat) or to work miles away from you without human input and the dog who has generations of breeding to take direction.

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Rootbeer:

 

This confused me a bit because you seemed to be answering Donald's original post. I even went back and re-read his post to see where he said that corrections are necessary to train a recall, but it wasn't there. .

 

Hi Julie,

 

While Donald was not talking about recalls per se, he did say . . . "Corrections are . . . necessary if you want a dog who can surpass himself; a dog who is trustworthy on or off lead in the dangerous, unpredictable, fascinating big world"

 

Bold added by me to highlight the part of the quote I wish to emphasize.

 

In response to this, I chose to ask him about recalls for three reasons.

 

1. The topic of reliable recalls had already come up in this thread, although it was other posters who were discussing the skill. Still, it had become part of the context of the broader discussion.

 

2. It's a nice, simple example that I can speak to very directly from experience (with my own dogs and clients dogs), and experience with very different dogs with different temperaments and backgrounds.

 

3. A reliable recall certainly is a significant component of having a dog who is trustworthy off lead in the "dangerous, unpredictable, fascinating big world". I don't mean to imply that recall is the only skill that such a trustworthy dog will have, but, again, it is a major part of that skill set, and a nice simple one to discuss.

 

So, I am very interested in his answer to my question.

 

If . . . as he proposes . . . corrections are necessary to achieve this. Then why have many people (including myself) managed to train highly reliable recalls without incorporation of corrections? I am actually not looking to discuss the way I choose to train (you all have a decent idea of that already), but to discuss his specific point of view on necessity in this case.

 

So, that's where my question came from.

 

The question could be expanded to incorporate other elements of a dog who is trustworthy off leash, but I would rather keep the question nice and simple. :)

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Well said!

I agree.

Mutual respect is the foundation of any good relationship, and I believe strongly that a good solid and trusting relationship should be the first priority in training. Anything that in any way undermines that relationship should be avoided. For some dogs, such as those who have been badly abused or have come from a puppy mill and do not even know what it is to have a relationship with a human being, that may very well mean no corrections at all, not even the most gentle ones. If I had used anything resembling a correction with Kelso I would have undone months of hard work getting him to trust me. In his permanent home he has a good recall because he wants to be with them. I am sure that no corrections have ever been used by his people.

 

I don't agree with Mr. McCaig that corrections are needed in order to have a dog who can surpass himself and be trustworthy in all situations. I think it depends on the dog and the relationship that the dog and person have. I think any blanket statement like that is inaccurate because no one thing applies to all dogs or dog/human relationships.

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