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Dog Training Nature's Way - Free Dog Obedience Tips:
New Research Findings by the International Institute for Canine Mental Health, now made available directly to the public. How Obedience Training actually affects the Domestic Dog's Behaviour within his Own Home.
This is to save you and your dog, from being yet another victim of a system that destroys the minds of so many beloved pets – as well as their
lives. A system that up until now, has gone unquestioned and unchallenged…. A system that is so harmful, yet is even promoted
unquestioningly by the most respectable dog professionals around the world… .
In discussing an incident where a Husky bit two veterinary students, Veterinary Medical Ethics: Volume 35 says: “Obedience
training, increased exercise, and behavioral modification techniques recommended by a local animal behavior authority were ineffective in
altering the dog's behavior, so he was euthanased.”
Domestic Animal Behavior for Veterinarians and Animal Scientists (Iowa State University Press), discussing an aggressive
Springer Spaniel says: “Even though he had been to obedience training, he was very aggressive in the presence of his owner.”
Domestic Animal Behavior for Veterinarians and Animal Scientists (Iowa State University Press), says: “This dog was a well-trained animal, an obedience champion, which indicates that even a dog
that is well-trained can be destructive when alone.”
British Medical Journal , Vol. 33 states that in a study conducted by doctors in the UK , over 25% of all dogs that attacked
children had been obedience trained . Less than .1% of the pet population is taken to training.
The actual reason for all these dogs' aggressive and destructive behaviour becomes very clear in this research document. Proceedings of
the 29th International Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology (study of behaviour), states in a paper
called Companion Animal Behaviour that they have moved away from, commands because dogs clearly don't understand them.
So why aren't dog owners informed of these facts? You are
about to be. This kind of information is never given by mainstream systems that have their own agenda. But if a person is going to
invest money and emotions in a project, they have a right to be informed about how this project works, where it originated,
what quality control is there, and what are the ultimate consequences.
To make it easier for you to make this essential (and very liberating) paradigm shift, let's start at the very beginning, so that you can
unlearn before you learn.
If a Frenchman and an Eskimo lived together, one would have to learn the language of the other, or they could not communicate. Likewise,
in order to communicate with our dog, either our dog must learn our language - or we must learn his . In crossing this communication crevasse, obedience dog trainers aim at teaching dogs, our language, taking their
rules from the army, and using commands. It is taken for granted that the dogs understand these commands - and if they don't, they are
regarded as “disobedient”, and are punished by having their choker chains jerked.
Dogs do however, have the` capacity to learn words,
provided they learn them according to the principles of Pavlov's conditioning. E.g. pick up keys, say the word “walkies”, pick up keys,
dog goes ballistic. Or say “bath time”, bath dog, say “bath ...” dog hides under bed. But because correct conditioning principles are
not used when dogs are commanded, they don't understand the commands they are given to “Leave!” “Voie!” etc. As a result, they all have
to keep on going back week after week, with their owners getting ever “firmer”, and shouting ever louder at the spirited dogs that
refuse to be intimidated by their handlers jerking and yelling actions. Which is not unlike the Eskimo saying to the Frenchman -
“Speak louder - I don't understand French.” [When dogs do obey commands, however, it's through fear of punishment – which is so often labled
by us mere human beings as “obedience”. These facts are expanded on a little later.]
Even “Motivational Dog Training”, which does not use force, states: “Good dog training revolves round a dedicated and tireless campaign of
repetition, practice, patience and resolve ( Country Living UK August 1997.) ...” Easy words to say. Another article
from the Sunday Times Newspaper says: “ ...you must keep on doing the same thing over and over again so you must be
consistent and dedicated.” Dogs are really not that stupid! And if that's what dog owning required, few people would be in a position
to own one. Not many dog owners have this kind of unlimited time and patience at their disposal. And why should they? They have
better things to do with their time than mindlessly repeat what is clearly not working. Our dog must be an asset – not a liability.
If our dogs understood us - all this “resolve, repetition, tirelessness and mindlessness” would not be necessary. The
dogs are probably thoroughly enjoying their owner's undivided attention, as they watch their dog eagerly in the hopes of catching a
glimpse of what might just look like obedience. This is so clearly demonstrated on the videos Before and After Learning Dog
Language, and The Dogs Must be Crazy , where you see Thandi being walked to heel. You can see how she's calling
the shots - and lapping it up. She knows that should she (be stupid enough to) cooperate – she would lose her power to hold her audience.
We don't want meek dogs afraid of being punished. We want to be proud of our spunky, intelligent dogs – that are also well behaved.
Without us having to constantly tell them what – and what not to – do.
What we all need to realise is: dogs don't command each other… but they bark! And a bark is a sharp, loud outburst - which is a call to the
hunt. In other words - to the kill. A command is also a sharp, loud outburst. It therefore impacts on the dog's central nervous
system as a hunting signal . So, when we direct a loud, sharp outburst (a command) at our dog – he is
hearing – “ Go for it!!” He honestly believes that we're barking. And why shouldn't he? He's a dog.
Because non-verbals speak louder than verbals, it is the signal - not the word - that the dog responds to. Otherwise known
as The Culture-clash of the Millennia. (This, and the last.) “Ah, so that explains why I keep getting expelled from obedience
schools!!” Yes – now you know! (Your dog probably knew all along.)
And even if our dog does obey our command - it is more
likely to be through fear of having his choker chain jerked or being dominated than, actual cooperation. And all those dogs that we see
at obedience training, sitting and staying and walking to heel so nicely, all too often, once their leads are off, they let rip. Like
soldiers after they've been drilled all week. They don't keep walking in a straight line and clicking their heels when the
sergeant major is nowhere to be seen. Or like school children after they have been walking in neat straight lines -
until the bell goes… Walking in straight lines doesn't make soldiers, children or dogs polite, well behaved or decent citizens. These
values are learnt in their homes. What actually happens, is that all this suppression actually causes rebellion. I hear so frequently:
“My dog is top of his class at obedience training, but when we get home....” Or, “my dog did not bark all night when we went out/bite
visitors/attack the other dog/dig/chase his tail/the cat/children on roller blades - until he started going to obedience training.”
Making a dog obey is always a short-term solution. The dog simply counter-reacts at a later stage by being “naughty” again. Jumps on the
next visitor, sniffs the coffee table again an hour (or 5 seconds) later, gets back onto the couch again, etc. Why shouldn't he? He's
likes hearing his name. Through trying to impose human logic onto our dogs without taking into account their pack and hunting
instincts - we simply get into a command loop with our dog. When visitors come, he jumps up, so we say: “get down!” So next time
visitors come, he jumps up, so we shout “get down!” So next time.... Sound familiar? Frustrating for the owner. Delightful for the dog.
(Who doesn't have a very full schedule.) So when dogs continue to “disobey”, (counter-react to their owners), their owners are blamed for not being consistent, tireless, repetitive, thick-skinned, violent enough. We frequently hear dog trainers trying to
defend their failed command system, by saying: “It's not the dog's fault - it's the owner's ”.
The video The Dogs Must be Crazy demonstrates very clearly that it is neither the dog's nor the owner's fault... but
the fault of the system that is using the wrong “instruction manual” - i.e. army rules in the place of applying the principles that
govern pack behaviour . On this video, you can also see dogs that “failed” at obedience training, “obeying” instantly, as soon as their
dogs understand their owners. You can hear Opollo's owner's despair at not being able to control his dog after months of training, as
he pours out his heart on camera. Then you see how his dog pulls free out of his hands as soon as he sees another dog on a walk, with his
desperate owner running after him, trying to catch him. And then, 15 minutes later (without any tireless, mindless, repetition whatever),
walking past the other dog (a Bullie) of his own free choice - without any jerking or commanding, with the lead held
loose - once he understood his handler . (A 12 year old boy.) And you see exactly how this was achieved. It's not
magic - it' very obvious, and very simple, once you are shown.
Then there's Thandi. She can also be seen on this video, as well as on the demo, after tying her kind hearted and struggling owner up in
knots and literally “laughing” in her face - walking sedately at her side, as well as at the side of her 10 year old son,
minutes later - without any jerking or commands. Again, out of choice – you can see the lead being held loose, and hear the thrilled
child comment: “It's amazing!” Which no amount of being firm, getting hoarse, restraining or jerking can achieve. And which is all
so simple, once you have achieved this all important mind-set shift. (The secret was in going from being reactive to being proactive.
Simple, subtle and hugely powerful.)
And if a dog does finally become “well-trained” it's not practical. His owner's focus then has to be constantly on his dog
(some schools even say “don't let your dog out of your sight”), in case he “needs” to be commanded, or breaks his stay while being
told to sit in the corner so that he doesn't jump on visitors that you can't talk to because you have to watch your dog in case he
jumps on them. What's in it for the dog to be good? He gets much more attention when he's naughty. And if he's locked outside, he knows
how to summons you by threatening to rip all the varnish off your front door if you don't let him in. And most obedience schools only
allow one person to give the dog orders (the one with the loudest voice), so when that person is at work earning money to buy food to feed
his dog ... his dog has a field day.
Army brainwashing techniques, where mind control is the goal, are frequently used in what appear superficially to be innocent obedience
training schools. These are techniques that push our pet dogs to their very limits, and then punish them for reacting. For example, walking
dogs amongst other dogs, and then not allowing them greet and sniffle one another. Dogs are intensely social creatures, so this causes them
enormous stress. Brutal “anti-poisoning” techniques, where hungry dogs are given meat, then shocked as they gratefully try to take it, are
also used. (Dogs that are not hungry do not have to be “poison-proofed”.) Or, hungry dogs are just left to drool in front of food while the
dog trainers forbid them to touch it, thenwatch their torment. They are no longer “training dogs”, they are torturing them – under the guise
of training. Or, among other things, they bring a bitch in season amongst males, and then punish the males for showing an interest in her.
Again, emulating what is nothing other than concentration camp conditions, dogs that are being “trained” are kept on minimal rations. It is
not unusual for a dog owner that is experiencing problems with his dog to be told not to feed his pet dog for several days “to show him who's
boss”. This keeps the dog demented with hunger, and therefore groveling around his owner's heels in the hopes of a morsel of food. Which is not
being a leader - it's being a sadist. The practice originates from the army, where concentration camp inmates are entirely dependent on their
warders for their meager rations, giving the captor total control over the minds of the inmates. Even reputable behaviour therapists will
recommend these sadistic practices.
A “trained” dog has in fact, had his initiative stifled. He has
become cowardly. (“Submitting”.) He is now completely dependant on his owner to do his thinking for him. The army is there to break down
(they even say, “don't think - we'll think for you”), and then re-build as cannon fodder. Self-expression, initiative and individuality are
therefore not tolerated. And obedience training is an extension of this system.
As a result of propaganda and media exposure, obedience training is given biased, and (as you will see), dangerous, unquestioned credibility.
What dog owners need to realise is, that if the trainer's priority is to achieve military precision from the dogs and their owners (crisp
marching, straight lines and sharp corners) - while their priority is to have well behaved dogs by improving their relationship with their pets,
the training is doomed to fail from the start. You cannot have both - a good relationship with your dog, and crisp marching and neat
As the big picture continues to unfold for you, and as you start learning more and more about how dogs think, feel and communicate, it will all
become very clear to you. The stock comment we hear from clients all the time is, with a sigh of relief: “This has been such an
And the reason for the superficial focus that is entirely on the outward appearance of the dog school, rather than on the dog's relationship
with his family and his behaviour at home? It is because obedience training originated in the army, by ex-soldiers who were unable adjust to
civvies. So when suddenly there was no more war, they were unable to live outside the “give orders and receive orders” environment,
so they set up dog obedience schools, where they re-created the drilling, giving orders, army precision, domination, subjugation, of the
army system, coercing dogs to react with the same robot-like precision which had been forced on them. They then directed the
aggression that had previously been directed at the enemy - at the dogs (and frequently at the owners as well.)
The playing out of these army fantasies is still to be found in many obedience schools, causing numerous problems, and solving none.
Many years of researching the effect that obedience training has on a dog's behaviour and on his mind within his own home environment,
has revealed what dogs are in fact learning at training:
A: How to work, and how to perform At obedience school, there is the hype of commands and barking, parading up and down,
being jerked, seeing dogs going for each other, and dog owners going for their dogs, chasing dumbbells, and sometimes even jumping through
hoops, and running through tunnels. All this makes it very difficult (and ultimately impossible) for the dogs to wind down when they get home.
So they run paths through the flower beds (obedience training taught them to keep busy), dig the garden (which is also work – what they went
to school for – to learn to work), chase the cat, which like the dumbbell, also moves, bark at the next door dog (dogs learn at training to
bark at other dogs – they don't think like we do - and when they get home, the neighbour's dog suffices very nicely for them to do their
homework on), and many dogs add to their CV.: “Keep the neighbourhood awake at night with my barking.” Which he also learnt at
obedience school. The dog cannot differentiate between “ legal” and “illegal” performing. (Except illegal performing is
more fun, because it is usually followed by a rather enjoyable Punch and Judy show, as his owner tries to tell him what a bad dog he has been.)
Performing has become a lifestyle, so on the weekends, action is action - whether it's jumping through a hoop on Sundays, or over the garden wall
Which all means that when the dog is busy chasing the cat, digging up the Gladioli bulbs, or barking at the next-door dog, he is no position to
notice an intruder climbing over his gate. He probably thinks “what a kind dog trainer, to send some one to my house in the middle of the week
to throw my dumbbell for me!” Perfectly good dog-logic.
Of course, anti-bark collars and electric wire that shocks dogs when they go into gardens, and weights that weigh a dog down so that he
cannot jump walls, hiding behind bushes so that when he digs, he doesn't know we're there (which is highly unlikely), so we can catch him
by surprise (we wish) by throwing a mock home made hand grenade at him, and cutting his vocal cords are all options that are
available to dog owners (at a price) ... but wouldn't it just be easier (and kinder) (and cheaper) not to over-stimulate the dog
in the first place? And if a dog has no initiative, what's the point in owning a dog? Just stick to your TV remote.
Oh yes, and there is the fact that in the wild, there's no such thing
as obedience(!!) Obedience is an entirely human concept, because it requires verbalisation – and dogs don't verbalise. They do what the leader does , not what the leader says . The leader leads by example, not by giving orders. When the leader hunts, the pack hunts.
When the leader goes north, the pack goes north. When he eats, they eat. When he chills, they chill. In order to take a cue off him, the
pack therefore, watches their leader – and in order to keep them fed and safe - he watches the horizons. This protocol is built into their
genes. At obedience training, we watch our dog to see what he's going to do, so that we can tell him not to… Ooops, again.
Our dog does not see it the way we do. All this limelight simply gives him celebrity status, and we all know how difficult someone who is
addicted to the limelight is to live with. And if the celebrity happens to have 4 legs instead of 2 - it's no different. They still get too
big for their boots.
B: How to be first . Because the leader leads from the front, when we hold our dog at our side, his nose, neck and head are
all in front of us. (Because it makes the trainers' lines look nice.) This makes the dog the leader. The dogs therefore lose all respect for
their owners who “follow them obediently” around the field all Saturday afternoon, and during the week when the dogs do their homework, by
keeping their owners behind them at every doorway and threshold. Doing karate with the dog at doorways to try and keep them behind us, as
many trainers tell dog owners to do, is a bit like lighting a fire so that you can put it out. Rather don't light a fire in the first place,
then you don't have to put one out. In other words, if you don't give your dog leadership status by walking behind his head and nose, then
you don't lose his respect, so that pushing you aside at doorways just won't be on his agenda. Many clients start reporting back surprisingly
early in Natural Dog Training – “My dog is holding back for me at doorways!” This is because the Natural Dog Training programme works on
natural principles like respect, trust and communication, instead of coercion, drilling and commands.
C: How to “hold us over a barrel” . We take our dog to obedience training to make him obey us. In theory, yes. Now
that we are looking at obedience training through the eyes of the dog, we are realising that being commanded is not only very unnatural
and foreign to a dog's pack mentality – it's actually rather nice for him.
He gets noticed and (if he's lucky) entertained too. ( We call it “discipline” and “dominating”.) Even if it is a bit scary.
(Or perhaps – especially if it is!) And when we tell our dog to sit, he can then decide when, how and if he is going comply. And while he is
mulling over these various options - he has our undivided attention. “If my dog does that to me - I'll donner the living day-lights out of him!!”
Why not just not command him? He's not an army private to be demeaned by the sergeant major - he's your buddy. Or as they say in Australia –
your cobber. “So How do I tell my cobber to sit then?” You don't. You don't do that to friends. “Then how do I stop him jumping on
visitors?” Telling a dog to sit when visitors come gives him priority status over the visitors - and an option. It's like saying -
“the way to stop a child stealing is to put handcuffs on him.” If you apply the principles in we teach in communicating-with-dogs, the “need” for
this crutch (commands) falls away. Your dog will not want to jump on visitors any more. “Then how do I stop my dog stealing cakes on
the table?” Put the cakes up out of temptation's way. Use common sense, and be tactful. And at the same time make life much easier for yourself.
And nicer for your dog. (And your family.)
D: How to be obeyed. There is the power that comes from making someone do something - or obey you, as we mere humans call it.
Dogs, therefore, go to obedience training to make us obedient.
“How can I obey my dog !! (Pulease!!)” In the real world (not the world of “I wish”), the dog at obedience training is
actually setting us up to give him the commands – which he knows perfectly well by now, that we are going to give him. A dog that's
been going to obedience training more than twice knows by now what's going to happen when he goes for another dog, jumps gets on the couch,
jumps against a visitor... (He is going to be told to leave, get down, voie, been there, done that.) In other words, he called
the shots, because when we commanded him, we took a cue off him. Which is how the leader in the wild leads - by being proactive – not by giving
orders. (As you can see, Natural Dog Training puts dog owners through a Jungle Leadership Course, as well a gives tools to handle dogs! That's
good value!) A dog is simply not wired up to do as he's told. So the dog that goes to training quickly learns how to train his owner to
command him. (Ouch!) This he does proactively by doing something that is “not allowed”, like barking at another dog.
The owner ( and the trainer) can then be depended on completely to reactively obey their dog by shouting: “Leave!, heel! voei!
whatever!” The dog is actually applying the principles of conditioning. Pavlov didn't invent them. Or patent them. Dogs knew them even before he
did. But instead of Pavlov ringing the bell, and the dog drooling, the dog barks, and the owner commands. Who wouldn't enjoy it? It's gratifying
to be able to make people do things, which is why control freaks control.
Our domestic dog has far more variations on this theme, than the
unfortunate wild dog has. And he can be very innovative. An enterprising and intelligent dog (which your dog definitely is - you can check his
breed standard) will find the many opportunities to elicit a command out of us both challenging and rewarding - whether at training or around
the home. And then of course, being a gentleman, the dog rewards his owner's obedience by dropping the slipper, leaving the sugar on the table,
and getting off the couch, stopping sniffing the visitor…to see that we keep it up.
Remember, when the leader in the wild barks at whatever – prey, enemy, the jackal for zapping his nosh, etc – those below him in rank bark second
to bring reinforcements and confirm that he is still the king pin. In other words, like us when we command our dog, they took a cue off him.
Even if you really scare him with your “being firm”. If his ancestors weren't scared of the horns and hooves, teeth and claws of the meals on heels that they hunted – what hope have we? Just like roller coaster rides, skydiving and bungee jumping, dogs also get “scary thrills” when there is danger. Which is all part of the survival make-up of the carnivore.
What we need to realise is, that although our dogs do “obey” these commands (sometimes).... if they had not done a leadership course at obedience school, the (proactive) dog would not be setting us up to take a cue off him (by commanding him - and would not be committing these “crimes” in the first place!
Commanding dogs is as much a part of our Western culture as behaviour problems. And Veterinary Journals point out that more pet dogs die as a result of being euthanased as a result of behaviour problems than anything else. What a way to treat a best friend! Obviously we are doing something wrong.
It appears that euthanasing dogs is also as much a part of our Western culture as commanding dogs is. It also appears that they are linked. They are. Take away the commanding, and you take away the behaviour problems, and the resulting astronomically high euthanasia rate as well. Communicating-with-dogs.com is all about removing this superficial and destructive false prop in our society – commands - and replacing them with a proven system that works in the long term, by removing the dog's very desire to be naughty, while keeping his trust, turning him into an asset and an enhancement in our lives.
The demo video, Before and After Learning Dog Language shows you how domestic dogs, and a Siberian Wolf each stopped pulling children's clothes, chasing them on roller blades, knocking them over, even a dog attacking his owner. They all stopped almost immediately of their own free choice, once commands were removed and replaced by “the language of the pack”. It also shows you so clearly how commanding a dog is playing right into their hands. Paws, rather.
It is not good for our ego to hear all this, but how else are we going to live in harmony with our best buddies? They can't help this culture clash. And nor can we – until we are informed. Which is exactly what Natural Dog Training does. It untangles these crossed wires.
This “formula for ‘obedience;” has worked with so many dogs in the past, just stick to this proven package. Seeing it work on the videos, and on your own dog will give you encouragement as you progress, and will delight you when you start discovering how easy it is to own a dog who's behaviour you can be proud of - and who still retains his personality.
E: How to be a bully
In a functional pack, wolves and wild dogs all cooperate with their leader as a team when they hunt, rout enemies, move territory, etc. The alpha dog is their captain – not their “boss”. Or their sergeant major. When he eats, they eat, when he's safe, they're safe. Unlike the dominate/submit techniques, that the mainstream dog systems all teach - through all researching each other's writings and articles - the captain/team relationship of the alpha and his pack, is a mutually enriching, mutually supporting, win/win relationship. And it is this teamwork that enables the functional pack to hunt efficiently, and to coexist harmoniously, in order to survive. In the jungle (and that is what are dogs are designed and equipped for), unity is strength, and constant conflict and wrangling over who is boss (civil war) does not bring unity. And who in their right mind would imitate a non-functional situation?
It is essential for us to realise that a dog that cowers (submits) has become a coward…. and cowards are bullies, who are seeking to do to the next one down, what has been done to them. A reality of life known as the “bully-cycle”. In the army, they call it the “chain of command”. In South Africa , they call it the “bliksem-cycle”. So, because dogs learn by example, when we are “being firm”, “showing them that we are boss”, and dominating them, we are actually giving them lessons in how to dominate their own victim . It is therefore perfectly natural, and alas, very common, for dogs to go and seek out their own victims, after coming home from being dominated at obedience training. And who is the victim that the dog picks on? True to the bully-cycle, a smaller pet, someone who is gentle or weak, a child, or any soft target that can't defend themselves.
How many men tell me – and a lot of other people who work with dogs too, no doubt: “My dog listens to me . It's my wife , (girlfriend, mother, sister) that can't control him - he jumps all over her (them)!” This dog is caught up in the bully-cycle. The more the owner of the dog is a ‘good boy”, and does his “homework” during the week, the more aggressive his dog becomes toward the child, other pets, etc. Trojan had been dominated at obedience training for many months, and the pressure to turn on his own victim was mounting daily… until one day he bit a child that he knew very well - then remorsefully offered her his paw. He was given a second chance by being put through the Natural Dog Training programme. He chose to reform, and his true personality blossomed as he got confidence and started understanding his family. He became beyond obedient. He simply did not want to bite or be naughty any more. On Before and After Learning Dog Language , you see a perfect example of “when the fist is absent”. Here you see two family pets that had been bullied into submission by their owner. They were completely “obedient” to him. (I.e. intimidated by him.) When children came to visit, the dogs targeted them as their own victims. One day, when Dad was not at home, a child came to visit, and you see the dogs' reaction. They immediately start bullying the child. Then the male thinks – “Hold it. Dad hasn't come out to send us into our box! Let's see if he's at home.” In the dog goes, and as he comes out, if you look carefully, you can see him actually thrust out his chest, and lift his head high. He is “stepping into Dad's shoes”. Then what you see is what is so typical of obedient dogs when the authority figure is absent. The lid is taken off the pressure cooker…. You even see the Maltese go in to have a proper look – she obviously thought that the bigger dog did not investigate thoroughly enough. The child was not hurt, and after the bully-cycle was broken, she was given the tools to handle these dogs herself, even though she was only 6. And of course, you see how it's done. When you know how - it's child's play.
What is more, all this controlling and dominating just gives us license to release all our personal anger and city stress onto our dog. If we have had a bad day at the office – do karate on the dog and we feel much better. Ah, that feels good! Now my son is getting in my hair, I'll get physical with him too - it felt so good on the dog! And the feeling of power spills over into our other relationships. So subtle, and so dangerous. And not only are we a very bad role model to the dog – also to any of our kids that may be watching! Get violent when it suits us. We are taught that essential life skills like tolerance and empathy are a weakness.
Arthur, the owner of Max who attacked the neighbour's child after being “made to submit”, said: “Dog training made me behave in a way that was not me”. Another client said: “It (dog training) just brought out the worst in me.” Being a team with our dog, and winning his co-operation is so much more rewarding, and successful. We get to keep our dog's trust. And our dog.
We cannot change our dog's opinion of us (or anyone's for that matter) by forcing our will on them - they have minds of their own. Otherwise we would not be able to enter into any kind of meaningful relationship with our pet dogs. What a pleasure it is when our dog co-operates with us because he chooses to.
E: How to hunt children, visitors and other pets. Dogs that go to dog training have a hunt to finish . I know, because I see the link between obedience training and predatory behaviour in the homes of obedience-trained dogs. Even if a previous dog was taken to training, the family has been programmed to send hunting signals to all the dogs that they own in future. If we always thought the brakes in our car were the pedal on the right , we would keep on having accidents – whatever car we drive! (No matter how much we shouted at them!) We can't blame the car. No different with our dog. If we are taught that commands (which send dogs forward) are brakes – all our dogs' brakes will fail! (“Ah, now I know why my dog chases the cat more when I command him to stop!!”)
Because dog's are potentially our natural predators, it is essential that we understand:
dogs bark when they call one another into a hunt, and our commands provide this hunt signal;
the barking of the dogs in a pack gets all their adrenalin flowing, and adrenalin is essential in a hunt, so dog training is nothing more than “gathering together for the hunt”.
the leader dog barks first, and the 2 nd 3 rd and 4 th etc. in command, support his (or her) hunt by following suit. A command suffices very well for a bark.
the dog behind bites the neck of the dog in front of him, to incite the front dog to rip out the jugular of the prey that they are hunting (the little psycho). So when we jerk our dog's choker chain, that is the message that he gets. If you observe the German Shepherd on the Before and After demo video, you will see very clearly how this jerking action acts as a packing signal. It is also illustrated very clearly on the demo where you see the two pet dogs hunting. Each time the female bit the male on the neck - he stormed his prey. Except once, when she bit him, and instead of storming his prey, he went into the house to check if his male owner was at home. So she stormed the prey herself instead. It is not that you are not jerking hard enough!
If you do jerk hard enough to deter your dog from barking, biting, etc, he does not lose the desire to hunt – you are just holding the lid down on the boiling pot more tightly.
The theory behind jerking a dog's choker chain is that he will associate something “unpleasant” with being “bad” without us actually hurting him, and he will therefore not want to do it again. Firstly, this theory works from the false premise that jerking a dog's choker chain is a deterrent to further “bad” behaviour, (which it is clearly not), and second, it has been developed without taking the dog's hunting instincts into account . Which also explains why dog owners have to keep going back week after week, when dogs are clearly intelligent enough to learn extremely quickly –provided they understand. Like anybody else. Many dogs that have been obedience trained have to have operations on the vertebrae on their neck as a result of all the jerking. To say nothing of the physiotherapy some dog trainers have to have on their right shoulders! What for?
Dogs group (pack) during a hunt. So when we hold our dog at our side, we are informing his instincts: “we are in this together!!” Which cannot mean peace, can it? Not even if you're a dog.
The dog that goes to training is therefore constantly searching for this prey - is it the next-door dog? Is it other dogs at their gates on my walk? Is it the jogger? Is it the visitor? Is it the other pet? Is it the child… by barking at, chasing, pouncing on them. And by commanding him each time he hunts in these different directions, our answer (in dog language) is “Yes... yes!!! Keep it up!!! Kill, kill! Explaining why the British Medical Journal reported that so many dogs that attacked children had been obedience trained ; why the Springer Spaniel was aggressive in the presence of his owner, “ even though he had been to obedience training.” Now you see so clearly that it was because he had been to obedience training. Now it all makes so much sense! He had learnt (like so many “trained” dogs) that aggression provoked commands out of his owner, which was the motivation behind being aggressive.
It is essential that you grasp this vital paradigm shift - if only for your sanity, and the time and energy that you will save. If this were common knowledge, many innocent people would be saved from being bitten, and many innocent owners saved the trauma of their dog biting, and so many dogs saved from being doomed to small back yards, wearing muzzles, being locked out of the house, being on Prozak and being euthanased.
F: To become jealous and possessive. Dog training causes many dogs and their owners to get into unhealthy obsessive relationships with one another. Holding our dog close at our side every Saturday afternoon can make our dog very dependent on us, which can cause dogs to become very jealous of anyone who comes near their owners. It is not being a watchdog - it is being pathologically possessive and jealous. The dog does not want to share what he has come to regard as his very own personal possession. (Command slave, rather.)
I am repeatedly being called in for dogs that were not aggressive until their owners had developed this claustrophobic relationship with them by holding them close at their side at obedience training.
Some dogs actually bite children, and attack other pets that come to the left-hand side of their handler. A Great Dane that was being obedience trained, killed his companion, a Jack Russell who went and sat at his owner's left side, and on the demo video you can see a mother describing how her trained dog bit a child when he came and stood on her left hand side. Which clearly explains the owner of the Springer Spaniel in the behavioural textbook.
This type of claustrophobic relationship takes away a dog's peace of mind, as it removes his self-sufficiency. He is therefore unable to handle his own company when his owners are out. This can also make him chew, dig and bark out of despair when separated from his owner, because he has not been allowed to develop self-sufficiency and become “his own dog”. (Separation anxiety.)
What we are actually saying here is that obedience destabilizes a dog emotionally.
If obedience training did work, obeying orders and being submissive never made anyone loyal and trustworthy – whether they have two or four legs. More likely, it turned them into snipers.
Leadership is about brain power - not brawn power. A leader is a leader simply by virtue of the fact that he will not be led. Not because he is a bully, a tyrant or a dictator. None of those are leaders. They are losers.
Dog owners do not have to command when they are IN command. The dog then simply willingly and trustingly accepts their authority. It is easy. It is profound. It is powerful. Pam will show you how.
So now that we have turned that somersault, how on earth are we going to cross this communication crevasse???? You are already halfway there. The rest unfolds as you continue through this course on understanding how dogs think and communicate, and see it work as you try it with your own dog.
Imitating wolf and wild dog behaviour literally (“alpha training”).
The Literalist School of Obedience Training, who call their approach “Alpha” Training. (or: “Me Big Chief”.) Even though it is extremely widely spread, it has never been proven. The only reason it is so common is that everyone researches each other – all going back to the same paper that has conclusions that were drawn from false premises – as you will see so clearly here. Behaviour therapists also read and rewrite these theories, teaching them as if they were proven.
Studying wolves over long periods has cause some students of animal behaviour to become divorced from reality. They therefore advise dog owners to imitate the outward actions of the wolf and of the wild dog literally in order to communicate with their pets. Their theories are becoming increasingly widespread as behaviour problems in the domestic dog escalate, and many thousands of pet owners turn to the dog experts for help.
Even though the dog's natural behaviour is now being taken into consideration, he is still being approached from man's standpoint. The dog's predatory instincts are therefore seldom taken into account, and the all important criterion of how our dog perceives our actions is still lacking.
Those who recommend these techniques through veterinary journals, books on dog behaviour, and through the media have not researched the effect that they are having on the behaviour of the domestic dog in his own home . There are therefore still some very serious pitfalls to this approach, particularly as most of the behaviour patterns in the wolves and wild dogs that the Literalists copy, are aggressive. They frequently advise dog owners to unwittingly direct aggressive signals at their dog, causing the dog to identify them as prey . The dog's instincts are then under a compulsion to return aggression for aggression - or to “turn on” their owners. These techniques are receiving enormous exposure through books and journals ... yet Times magazine (June 1997) says: that whereas the dog population has increased by 3%, dog aggression has increased by 37%!
Copying the behaviour of wolves and wild dogs without taking animal perception into account can therefore be lethal.
Some of the techniques that they recommend are:
ROLLING OVER TO “SUBMIT” WHEN WE ARE THREATENED BY AN AGGRESSIVE DOG.
I hope this advice has never been taken seriously. The theory originates from the fact that during a dog fight, the submissive one rolls over in order to submit - theoretically. This terminates the aggression as there is no longer a confrontation. The validity of this theory has never been questioned or tested by the drawing board Literalists. Because they do not recognise the domestic dog as our potential predator (unless it is to state that because he is a carnivore, we must therefore develop his hunting instincts, thereby placing the fitness of the dog above the value of a human life) they advise people to “submit” if they are confronted by an aggressive dog by lying down or rolling over - taking it for granted that all aggression between dogs and humans is “dog on dog aggression. (And not dog on prey aggression.). But when a prey is lying down or rolling over, the dog's instincts are informed that he can now administer the coup de grace, as the rabbit, wildebeest, human, etc. are no longer in a position to defend themselves and the vulnerable areas of their body are now easily accessible.
Pack protocol does not operate between species - only within a species. Rabbits and zebra do not lie down or roll over to submit in order to “tell” a dog to stop attacking them . In fact, when a rabbit is on his back, it's time to bring out the salt and pepper. If dogs respected “submitting” prey, they would have starved to death long ago. And we wouldn't have any doggies.
That is why it is so important to get our body signals right, so that we can send relevant signals to our dogs
so that they do not perceive us as prey.
A LEADER DOG ROLLING A SUBORDINATE DOG OVER ONTO HIS BACK
Because the Literalists are an extension of the dog training system, it still applies rules from the army, rather than the underlying principles that govern the social behaviour of wolves. They therefore confuse submitting with co-operating. And because they have observed dogs rolling over onto their back in order to terminate a fight , they presume that this is an act of submission. Perhaps it is - but it isn't long before the submitting dog discovers that in future he can call the shots again by “saying”: “OK. - you win” in order to terminate aggression - or even get an advantage over the other dog by catching him off guard or having access to his jugular. (Yes, they are almost human, aren't they?) Because a dog that rolls over is superficially perceived to be submitting to another dog, the Literalists reason that if our dog rolls over in front of us, he is therefore submitting to us.
But firstly: a relationship is not built around who submits to who. We want our dog to love, trust and co-operate with us not fear us. Subservient body language in a dog is as unacceptable as it is in a person. A dog shows his respect by walking up to us and looking us in the eye - not by groveling at our feet.
And secondly, a dog that is rolling over onto his back is far more likely to be manipulating us and calling the shots -than to be submitting. (Who's idea is it that we tickle his tummy with our foot while he lies flat on his back at our feet while we watch TV anyway?)
And, as we have seen in the real world, it is not a case of: “chief makes underling wet his pants, end of story.” When a wolf or a wild dog has been subordinated by a dog that is above him in rank, he then goes and seeks out his own victim the way he was taught by his senior. So when we dominate our dog in this way, we simply become an aggressive role model, and aggression then becomes the norm. So much of my work consists of breaking these cycles of aggression.
Otto is a cross Bouvier who had been to dog training for about two years and had been made to “submit” by being rolled onto his back. His owner consulted be because he used to go and roll small dogs over onto their backs in the park. He told me that Otto then used to run back to him and roll onto his back in front of him. This is the kind of thing that happens when we copy dogs without taking either the context of the situation or the dog's perception of a situation into account. The dog was a psychological mess.
Because copying wolf behaviour does not take into account the context of the situation, dog owners are instructed to roll their pups at puppy “socialising” willy-nilly... . Which is extremely damaging to a puppy's trust. Trying to subjugate a pup to us in this way confuses and stresses him, and can make him very distrustful of us. Being a bully does nothing to build up a healthy relationship between a dog and his owner. (Any more than it builds up healthy relationships between a sergeant major and his soldier.)
I was also consulted by the owner of a Corgi that was starting to display scalping patterns toward children. She was known as the “dog of a thousand rolls”.
But we only need to put our dog onto his back once to make him confused, distrustful and angry - and therefore potentially dangerous.
Spud, a Newfoundland that had been rolled onto his back repeatedly as a puppy suddenly attacked a child when he was 7 months old. He was a very loved dog belonging to an extremely caring owner who did the “responsible” thing, and took his dog to puppy socialising. His wife was pregnant at the time.
“DOMINATING” OUR DOG BY BEING ABOVE HIM
Increased height is frequently used to gain a power advantage. (Within both human and canine societies.) We have all seen people increasing the appearance of their stature in order to drive home a point or to impress. The MD always has the highest chair. And if you observe the spontaneous behaviour of domestic dogs, you can see how dominant dogs try very hard to appear taller when they are around bigger dogs. Even when they cock their legs, they try to leave their mark as high as possible. They also sit on furniture to raise their profile and dominant small dogs climb on the backs of sitting room furniture so that they can look down on their owners.
The Literalist school of dog behaviour isolates this “height advantage” technique, and instructs dog owners to lift their dog's front feet off the ground and lean over them from behind, in order to “show them that they are boss”. But our dog is unlikely to be impressed by us being above him as he's quite used to it by now. If this is all that it takes to be a leader, we would automatically be pack leader over our dog, simply by virtue of being Homo Erectus. A person does not become a leader merely by being the tallest. Mafia leaders have been known to rule their empires and dominate people from the height “disadvantage” of a wheel chair. Even a Maltese can be dominant over a Rottie – and frequently is. Once again, these theories do not match up to reality. Being pack leader over a dog is not that simple. Leadership comes from strength of character .
Because the dog's hunting instincts are not understood by the Literalist school of dog behaviour, dog owners are frequently taught to bend over their dogs ”in order to dominate them” - from behind. But subordinate dogs pack from behind, so by standing behind our dog, he is going to think that we are packing with him - not dominating him. Because this action is out of context with our general behaviour, and because it sends inappropriate signals to our dog, it is not within the framework of his instincts to perceive it as a statement of leadership. One must also not forget that the leader dog is the one that is focused on. So by leaning over our dog in this way, we are also focusing on him and therefore giving him a lot of power.
Cynthia had been taking her Rottie, Humphrey to a dog school that copied wolf behaviour and was told to bend over him from behind in order to dominate him because he was jumping all over visitors. As a result, his instincts were informed that she was packing with him, so a few weeks after doing this, he started attacking visitors. Dogs bring backup (send packing signals) from behind during a hunt ... so where are the prey? Must be the visitors.
All this theorising is very dangerous when we own a dog to whom power is important. And modern breeding programmes are making pet dogs more and more conscious of their position on the corporate ladder and therefore very eager to raise their profile and - unfortunately - abuse the power that they score over us as they work their way effortlessly up the rungs with us suckers as footholds.
And common sense tells us that bending over a dog just for the sake of bending over a dog is going to confuse and possibly irritate him, and he can turn around and bite us. So why provoke him.... we all have our limits.
Another variation of trying to dominate a dog from being above him is to get down on the floor, and placing our head over our dog's neck - the way we see dogs do just before a dogfight. The problems we may encounter with this approach are: firstly, it does not take into account the position of the dominant dog's ears and tail, and secondly, we may not fully understand the entire context under which such an exchange may take place within a pack of dogs. Plus the fact that he will probably say: “You gotta be kidding!” and promptly go about proving this point by leaping joyfully all over us. (Commonly known as “being hyperactive”). Our behaviour is suddenly so out of character with what he has come to expect from us through being domesticated all his life, that the rare treat of having us on all fours with our face down in his world will cancel out all the pomp and seriousness of the fearsome message that we are trying to convey, i.e. that we are now Kingpin in this establishment. We have little likelihood of convincing him, because he has become so used to seeing us walking around sedately on our hind legs. It's a little like pointing a finger at someone and saying “Bang!”, then expecting them to be terrified out of their wits.
If we do decide (when no one is looking) that we would like to try and dominate our dog by going down on all fours, there is the very real danger that he might not like us taking such liberties with him. And don't forget ... we are conveniently placing our neck right next to his canines, without the advantage of tough skin that real dogs have...
“DOMINATING” OUR DOG BY OUTSTARING HIM
An eye-message between dogs in a pack that says: “Don't forget who rules the roost around here, mate,” is a menacing eyeball-to-eyeball that does not impress a confident dog one bit if we try it – simply because our ears are not pricked forward and our tail is not straight up in the air. If our dog is intimidated by our direct stare, however it is probably because he associates it with being reprimanded. Intimidating our dog with a menacing glare is no way to win his trust and co-operation. Or to teach him how to make his own correct choices. Just because a school teacher or a sergeant major can humiliate a child or a soldier by making them cut eye contact in shame, it does not mean that the child or soldier will now co-operate with him or can be depended on when his back is turned.
We should in fact be encouraging our dogs to return eye contact confidently , not to avoid it - as we would in a healthy human relationship. A dog that will not look us in the eye is like a person that will not look us in the eye - shifty. A dog that will not look me or his owners in the eye is a cowering dog that cannot trust, and that therefore cannot be trusted until he himself has learnt to trust.
When I work with a dog, I assess his “honesty” and his ability to trust by his willingness to acknowledge me by looking me in the eye. Only when our dog focuses on us, can he know what we require of him. It is impossible to tell a child what we want him to do while he avoids looking at us. - and dogs are also social creatures, so it is no different with them. When a dog acknowledges me by looking at me - I can work with him. But when he persistently looks away from me, I know I still have to win his trust before I can start getting results with him.
On the other hand however, a dog that challenges us with a direct stare is like a person who does the same - creepy. As with people, our dog should acknowledge us without either avoiding eye contact or challenging us. (See more on eye messages in Living with an Alien.) I assess a dog's dominance as well as his willingness to co-operate by the way he looks at me. If his tail and head are held high and his eye is unwavering I know he's probably a thug.
So before we start “staring dogs down”, let's see what their perception of our behaviour is. If our dog is not hearing what we are saying - there's no point in saying it.
Under what circumstances then would a dog stare at another dog? Or a prey stare at a carnivore? What we need to realise is that:
a) dogs challenge one another to a dogfight with an eyeball to eyeball challenge (try that with a person , and see if you don't end up with a black eye). Not all dogs that are challenged with an eye “put-down” actually cut eye contact - some retaliate. And:
b) the defending prey locks a predator into the attack with the mesmerising stare of the eye.
So if our dog's perception of us trying to outstare him is that of another dog challenging him to a duel, or of a confronting prey, and he comes to the conclusion that it would not be very difficult to turn us into dead meat – what's to stop him? Our teeth?
Locking eyes while not communicating is inappropriate behaviour, causing confusion, tension and even aggression. Those who do not have social skills and “need” to “prove themselves” victimise their dogs by trying to put them down with the eye - then tell others to do the same.
Cynthia's husband, Ronnie had been instructed by the dog trainers to outstare Humphrey in order to show him “who was the boss”. Humphrey was starting to growl at him and even going for him. I pointed out that if he did not provoke his dog in this way, he would not be placed under a compulsion to return challenge for challenge. I warned him that he was very close to a full blown attack as Humphrey was extremely confused by these “inappropriate” eye signals. He said: “If my dog attacks me I'll smash him against a wall!” I asked him if that was what dog owning was about. I also pointed out his chances of winning such as round.
Amanda consulted me for a dog fighting problem. It turned out that the dog fights sere only a symptom of a far greater problem. When I arrived, she told me that she was black and blue all over from her dogs nipping and dominating her in play. I confirmed, yes it was play - but play is the dress-rehearsal for the big hunt. If they were making her black and blue in “play” - they were building up to an actual attack. She told me that when her dogs did something she did not like, she would “stare them down”. The result? She was “black and blue”.
“SHOWING WE ARE BOSS” BY DOING EVERYTHING FIRST
The myth that doing things first earns us leadership status over our dogs has become very widespread as the Literalist school of dog psychology publishes it's theories in dog magazines, training manuals and in veterinary journals throughout the Western world. They have observed that the leader of a pack of dogs or wolves does everything first, like be the first to cross over the periphery of their territory on returning from a hunt, eat, lie down, sit, bark first, etc.
We human beings have the same protocol within our society and apply it subconsciously and automatically . And so do lions, meercats, dolphins, and all other animals that are built for social living. This is because the underlying principles that govern social interaction are the same for all societies.
This theory then goes on to state that if we therefore eat before our dog does, get through doorways ahead of him, etc., this will make us his leader. Following this superficial and over-simplistic observation, they instruct the owners of new puppies not to feed their pup until they have eaten, and to let their hungry puppy watch them while they eat. This is done in order to impress on his little mind how important they are because they are eating first while he's ravenous - then he will know that they are boss and will therefore display no behaviour problems.
But in the real world, the hungry pup goes and chases the cat, chews up their slippers, whines, bites their feet, pulls down the table cloth and gives the whole family indigestion. Let's also see what happens in the real world in the bushveld. John McNutt who initiated the Botswana Wild Dog Research Project in 1989 says in his book Running Wild: “..wild dogs consistently favour their youngest members by yielding to them priority access to food.” Right so now you don't have to feel guilty if your puppy is well fed and tubby and eats before you do - because that's the way it's meant to be. (When the ecology is healthy - and why imitate famine conditions?)
If this theory were correct, all we would have to do is sit before the MD does at a board meeting, and bingo, we are now Managing Director! (Or, when an MD politely stands back at the doorway to let his secretary through first, she is now MD.) And if we are dining with royalty, all we have to do is pick up our knife and fork before the King or Queen does - and bingo - we are now the monarch! No such luck. It is far more subtle than that.
Holding our dogs back at doorways to stop them going in front of us as Literalists recommend also does not send any message of leadership to our dog – except to run faster next time. Sitting first at a meeting, eating first at a company dinner, going through doorways first are privileges that are earned through being a leader - not actions that make us a leader. Many of my clients report back that when they apply these principles, the dogs start holding back for them at thresholds of their own free will.
IGNORING THE SUBORDINATE DOG
If for instance a family is experiencing aggression amongst their pet dogs, the Literalist school of dog psychology teaches them to ignore what they perceive to be their subordinate dog and only give privileges to the “top” dog. Which of course is just the way King Brat wants it.
This advice comes from:
the belief that once the hierarchy amongst our pet dogs is clear-cut, there will be no need to fight;
presuming that power is the only issue over which dogs fight.
By allowing our “top dog” to dictate to us in this way, we are in fact placing ourselves beneath him in rank. .Also, a great deal of so-called “dominant” behaviour is actually:
misdirected hunting behaviour
- all of which are covered throughout this book.
All too often, when the so-called “subordinate” dog is not fighting back, it is not because he is being submissive - it is because he is simply choosing not to because he is actually too good natured. A bully (the dog that is usually superficially diagnosed as the “top dog” by the “might is right” corps) is seldom a true alpha dog - he is nearly always nothing more than a jealous, demanding brat who is holding the other dog (and his whole family) to ransom so that he can get his own way .
So, through ignoring the gentler dog, we inflate the ego of the dominant dog even more, and make the “subordinate” dog even more depressed. This causes the aggression of the dominant dog to escalate as he sees that his companion is now becoming an outcast of the pack (his family). What in fact happens is: - by stepping down to our “top” dog (giving in to the demands that he is making on us that we do not on any account give attention to his companion) we are in fact obeying him, and are therefore placing ourselves beneath him in rank.
The way is now clearly open for him to dominate the other dog even more - as his family obviously no longer value him. So when the “top” dog sees that the “bottom” dog, through being ignored, has no status in the family and therefore stands alone - the jungle laws take over and he turns on him, injuring him more and perhaps eventually even killing him. Now the dogs aren't fighting over who is King Pin - but because the bully is losing all respect for what he now perceives to be n outcast. Time to finish him off.
Those who promote these theories (which is all they are - as they have never been proven) have not monitored the affect that they are having on the dogs and their families in their homes. When I come across a family that has been told to “cure” the dog fights - or even prevent them - by giving privileges only to the “top brat”, I see “subordinate” dogs that are very depressed - and King Rats that are becoming more and more demanding, causing tension and aggression in the family to mount. Whoever says: “That's enough power, thank you, I won't be needing any more.” (Someone who did not read their history books. Or has not seen a child have a tantrum.) No, the more power a dictator gets (which is what our dog has become), the more he wants ... And dictators with strong jaws, large canines and twice as many legs as we have can be pretty lethal.
Then when the gentler and more amenable of the two dogs gets injured or killed, it's all because we didn't have the guts to stand up to the bully and ignore his tantrums, but gave into them weakly for the sake of peace. (Even if that was not our motive - that's the way the dog sees it.) His attitude of contempt then spills over into disrespect for us as we turn him into a tyrant by giving him unlimited power through obeying him.
The advice is also unpractical, as the dogs are there for us - not vice versa There is no point in owning a dog that you can't pay any attention to. ( Or in owning one that orders you around.)
This kind of subordinate behaviour on our part does not give our dog the opportunity to adapt and to develop any emotional maturity. It is in fact like saying to a first child that he can have everything his own way because he is the oldest.
How to come out of the power of a dominant dog (as opposed to compromising with him) in a situation like this is demonstrated in both videos where I give a “subordinate” (gentler) St. Bernard attention against the “instructions” of the “dominant” (bolshy) St. Bernard in the video, Living with an Alien. The expression of astonishment on the face of the “top” St. Bernard is very revealing as he rolls his eyes in utter disbelief, clearly thinking, “The world is surely going to the dogs.” It was very obviously a totally new experience for him not to get his own way. On The Dogs Must be Crazy , I also disobey Domino the Dalmatian by giving attention to the Corgi in defiance of his “orders” that no-one (No One - You Hear!) touch his “squaw”. Again, his behaviour is very revealing as he attempts to restore his lost image by trying to make himself appear taller. Aggression toward the less confident dog was immediately and permanently cured in both cases. As it always is in the many thousands of cases where I have assisted families to apply these very simple principles of disempowering their four-legged tyrants. The video's The Dogs Must be Crazy and Living with an Alien both demonstrate actual techniques..
SHAKING THE DOG
Some dog trainers try to copy a mother dog when they see her shaking her pups, believing that she is disciplining them. But the mother is more likely to be teaching them how to hunt and how to kill their prey by learning how to snap a spine when they grow up and have to hunt for their living. Because dogs learn by example, these pups then try and shake each other and their “toys” (in the wild - old hides etc.) in their “hunting games”, practicing for the real thing. Haven't we all seen dogs “kill” their toys and our slippers while playing? They are playing “hunt-hunt”.
Bitches who's sympathetic nervous system has been activated, activate their pup's sns by shaking them. This can make the pups destructive and difficult in their new homes.
And few dogs perceive being shaken as a deterrent to further bad behaviour, particularly as breeding programmes are making dogs more dominant, more courageous and more volatile. Because a pup's face is usually so far away from ours, way down on the ground, being lifted up into the “privileged” area near our face cancels any discomfort he may experience from being shaken. The pup will just think he's on a roller coaster ride – and get lovely adrenaline thrills. So all we do is turn our attempt at disciplining him into a thrilling game. Or an invitation to a hunt - and if our dog is no longer a small pup, he has bigger teeth than ours. He is our predator, and we are giving him easy access to our jugular, while at the same time challenging him and bringing his adrenaline up.
We are also reminding a large adult dog who is the strongest. (We don't have powerful canine neck muscles in our arms.) And if we shake our dog to try and teach him not to jump on visitors, as some Literalist schools teach, this action will send him packing signals - inciting, not deterring him. Dogs that have been “disciplined” in this way in an attempt to try and stop them dominating visitors, usually start actually biting them. This is because the action makes the dog think his owner is packing with him. (Makes a lot of sense, if you're a dog. And even if you ‘re not one.)
I was consulted by Judy and Andrew for their dog Zara who had been going to dog training for about three months. She was starting to “go for” visitors (in order to provoke a command out of her owners) and when they asked the dog trainers what to do, they said “Shake her till her teeth rattle to teach her a lesson.” But she just got worse.
She was only 9 months old and had not actually bitten anyone yet, so I felt it was safe to “call her bluff”. When Judy and Andrew opened the door I was met by this ball of fury. I told the poor embarrassed owners just to go and sit down in the lounge and cover their faces with their hands. I stepped past Zara who was also rather embarrassed by her owners apparent betrayal, now and went and sat down too. “Hah!” thought the dog. This will make them “bark” and she stormed me with a very convincing display of “Me Big Fierce Killer Dog!”. “She's only 9 months old” I reminded myself and kept my face covered. She also thought she had me covered, but when she went back to her owners to say: “For Pete's sake, I can't handle this woman on my own - DO something! Shout at me, shake me, rattle my teeth, but don't just sit there darn you!” I told them just to walk out. You know the rest. She's now a lovely, unconfused little lady.
BEING IN FRONT” WHEN WE PLAY.
Again, because the Literalists regard nearly all interaction between dog and man is viewed as a “dog on dog power challenge” and not as a “predator on prey hunt situation” (which it so often is), dog owners may be advised that when they play with their dog, they must be in front “so that they are the leader”. The rabbit is also in front. If the Literalists were in touch with the real world, they would also realise our chances of staying in front - even for more than a few seconds. And the more we try and stay ahead of the dog, the more the hunt hots up. I have come across children (and adults) who have been badly bitten while playing these kinds Russian Roulette games with dogs. Sometimes dogs that play these games attack another pet or a visitor. One dog played these games with Charles, her owner. The dog had puppies and as her adrenalin levels were running very high, she got all her pups over stimulated - and they caused havoc in their new homes.
DOMINATING THE DOG BY HOLDING HIS MUZZLE
Dominant wolves have been observed to hold the muzzle of a subordinate wolf in their mouths to suppress his aggression. If we do this to our dog, he is more likely to perceive it as a challenge, and counter-resist us by biting, than to perceive it as the action of a dominant dog and start being good.
SHOW A DOG THAT WE ARE BOSS BY NOT GIVING HIM ATTENTION WHEN HE COMES TO US - ONLY WHEN WE INITIATE IT.
Dog owners are sometimes instructed to send their dog away from them when he comes to greet them or for affection, then call him, tell him to sit (even though they are trying to copy wolves and there is no recorded incident of a wolf telling one of his pack members to sit) which gives him an option.
I don't know where this theory comes from as it is not a social skill that any society uses. It is being a tyrant and probably comes from the army and not the wolf pack, as the sergeant major would be highly affronted if a soldier tried to speak to him unless he was addressed first.
However - in the real world, the initiator is the one that is making the weaker power move. This is making dog owning difficult (even impossible) and turning power into a whole issue. Our dog is our friend, so we give him attention as and when we would another person. Particularly a twelve year old because that is the emotional level of development of an adult dog. A twelve year old does not sit on our laps, sleep in our beds, get stroked endlessly, get greeted with glee when we come home etc. They still need their parents, but they still have a life of their own. They have a measure of self-sufficiency, but still get jealous easily.
So when a dog's superficial behaviour is observed without looking deeper into the significance of his actions, we are playing with fire. Nay, with dynamite. Responsible dog owners should not be provoking their dogs by challenging them over power - or over any issue. We all have our limits and it is foolish and dangerous to push a dog to his. And what for, anyway? He's our buddy. We should be enjoying a mutually rewarding relationship with our four-legged friend - not trying to turn him into our victim.
“So how DO I become my dog's leader?” This is covered in detail in the book, Living with an Alien.
Motivational, Schitzhund Training and Clicker Training
Attempts at reducing the shortcomings of the dog training system have given rise to:
The Literalist School of Dog Behaviour (which imitates the outward actions of wolves and wild dogs, and is called Alpha Training.)
Motivational Training (which replaces coercion with “motivation” – i.e., bribery.)
Schitzhund Training; (which uses even more right wing army methods.)
Clicker Training, (which claims to have found our dog's remote control.)
Puppy socialising; (which gets the dogs – and their owners – indoctrinated into the army system, at a very young age. Hitler said – “give me a child under seven years, and he is mine for life”. The puppy socialisers say “give me a puppy under seven months, and he's in our system for life.)
Because our pet dogs are potentially “weapons”, and because they play such an integral part in our lives, it is vital that we know what affect these techniques are having on their minds, emotions and instincts. Let's have a close look at what they think about each of the above approaches. In other words – the all-important dog's eye view of our actions and behaviour.
Alpha training and Puppy Socialising are covered in the booklets of the same name.
Some of the dog trainers that have become disillusioned with the high failure rate at obedience schools have dropped the punishment and force, and use only rewards. But they still believe that they have to use commands in order to communicate with dogs. They also believe that dogs reason like we do, and perceive our actions from the same standpoint as us. There are therefore some very serious drawbacks to this approach:
Positive reinforcement places dogs centre stage . What our pets are needing is to learn is to know their place in their families, not get a taste for the spotlight through being held close at their owners' side, while being constantly watched, and rewarded. It is so bad for (or good for, whichever way you look at it) their ego.
It causes emotional problems in the dog . Being held so close makes the dog both jealous and dependent. These can both lead to serious behaviour problems. Jealousy can lead to aggression. It is not unusual for me to be consulted for a dog that growls at, and even bites children who come near the parent who took them to training – especially when the child approaches the left hand side, where the dog us usually held. This dependence causes barking and destructive behaviour when the now emotionally unstable dog is separated from his owner. This unnatural intimacy, (what many trainers - who are themselves frequently inclined to unhealthy dependency patterns themselves, call “bonding”), destabalises the dog's emotions by removing his self-sufficiency. This causes the dog desolation and misery when separated from his owner. The barking is like a crying baby, and the destructiveness is through despair.
Commands still give dogs options . The option to disobey is always there when there is a command. Dogs are not robots. They have minds, feelings and opinions of their own. And because dogs neither command nor reward each other, these concepts still remain foreign to their pack mentality.
A hype to a dog is a hunt . Rewards therefore give many dogs reflex adrenaline surges, which so often lead to hunting behaviour when they get home. This they can (and follow-up studies in the home show that they do) be directed at children, other pets or their owners' possessions.
We should expect good behaviour from our dog , and not feel obliged to shower him with a display of gratitude every time he decides to behave himself. He owes us. His good behaviour is our due. He costs us enough. Just as we wouldn't reward children every single time they said “please” and “thank you” and wiped their feet on the mat (implying that there is another option – i.e. not to do so), so we should expect our dogs to be well mannered as well. There are, however times when rewarding a dog would be appropriate – but not in an artificial situation. For example, if our dog slipped out of the gate, and we call him back, and he comes right away – then patting and hugging to compensate for what he gave up for us would be appropriate. But if we reward our dog for not cocking his leg inside and for not jumping on visitors, for example - he honestly hasn't a clue what we are on about. It may be very entertaining for him, but he honestly has no way of making the connection, so it will not achieve anything - except just to get him all revved up, and make him naughty again, just to hog the centre stage the way he did last time visitors came. If fact, his pack mentality will make him start thinking that we are inviting visitors over so that we can pat and excite him! Why shouldn't he? He's not a human.
Positive reinforcement is bribery . Bribing dogs has the same effect as bribing children. It makes them contemptuous of us. Giving dogs tidbits is very common amongst even the most elite of dog experts, and is very subservient to the dog. All this “being waited on” eventually makes the dog very arrogant (as it would the dog expert, too), and many a short-fused dog like a Boerbull or Rottie, has turned on owners who hand fed them. Our dogs must not associate us with food. We are not their cook-and-bottle-washers. We are their friends and masters, whom they must respect – not exploit, or drool around. When we think we made our dog sit by giving him a tidbit, he thinks he made us give him a tidbit by sitting – and this makes dogs very exploitative, in control and dominating. They then go on to pull other stunts to push our buttons when they get home. Get on the couch to make us tell them to get down…. Pushing our buttons and holding the limelight has now become a lifestyle for the motivationally trained, and clicker (see later) trained dog! Remember – those who teach it have conducted no follow up studies in the home!! We have – so we are in a position to give you the full “Behind the Scenes” Reports.
On the other hand, Schitzhund training carries army techniques to even more right wing extremes. Many of these dog trainers are ex-soldiers who cannot re-adapt to civilian life. If a dog doesn't understand, and therefore “disobeys” a command, he is regarded as insubordinate, and must therefore “be taught a lesson”. The punishments are more severe, amounting to nothing less than brainwashing. In fact, the tactics of coercion, subjugation and retaliation are all carried to the point of sadism.
An extension of Schitzhund dog training system is the German Shepherd dog's Breeder's Survey. According to this ruling, it has now become illegal in some countries to register German Shepherds who have not passed this “survey”. Which means that before a dog can be registered for breeding purposes, he must be subjected to concentration camp “interrogation”. Which means the victim is given two options - and is penalized for choosing either. (Which is a brainwashing technique.) They demand that a dog must be beaten, and must neither fight back, nor submit. He must only fight back on command. He has his initiative and his mind wiped out. The dog breeders who carry out these surveys make them very brutal (“strict”) so that very few dogs “pass” - leaving all the “business” for the “interrogators'” dogs.
The idea behind the beating is to “bring out the fire in the dog” - “fire” meaning killer potential. If the dog has a promising temperament, i.e. there is no “fire” (killer streak) in him, he is discarded as a coward. “Bringing out the fire” at the Breeder's Survey” trials removes a dog's rationality and sanity, making him so “brainwashed” that he is now only bent on beating up his own victim - another pet, a child, someone elderly or gentle for example. No dog comes out of these “camps” unscathed. And neither did their trainers.
These right wing army techniques sift out the more sensitive dogs that have promising character potential such as loyalty and devotion and only “pass” dogs that have a killer streak (“fire”) for breeding as pets . As long as the public take it lying down, this practice is going to flood the pet market with psychopathic social deviants and is going to cost a lot of innocent people and pets their lives.
So why do dog owners take their pets to these “torture camps”! Because this system is presented by kennel associations, trainers and professional people who are trusted and respected in society, as the “correct” way to test a dog before being allowed to breed from him. And there is no other way of registering a GSD for breeding purposes. The solution? Only buy dogs from people who are letting their pet have a litter. The dog breeders are jealously guarding what they would like to turn into a monopoly, by trying to make it illegal to breed from pets, and by calling families who let their pet have a litter “back yard breeders” - even though many of the pups are born and raised in the kitchen or in the living room, while the breeders dogs are raised in kennels outside. They are even successful in canvassing the support of many animal welfare societies who blindly go along with their propaganda.
Clicker training comes from Pavlovian the “stimulus-response” theory. It presumes that dogs don't think and that they are nothing more than machinery that respond mindlessly to outside stimuli. The more enlightened academics call this approach “the black box theory”.
Yet, while stating that dogs don't reason, they automatically presume that dogs see things the way we do. For example, that what is positive to us, they automatically presume is positive to the dog as well, and that what is negative to us, is also negative to the dog.
Although vets and behaviour therapists sell these gimmicks by the crate load to misguided and trusting dog owners… their efficacy has never been proven outside a laboratory!
Clickers work on the principle that dogs can be conditioned to behave in a certain way when one click is heard, and in another way when two clicks are heard. This is because rats can be conditioned to go down maze 1 on one click where there is a piece of cheese waiting for them, and not to go down maze 2 on two clicks where there is an electric shock waiting for them. Dogs have far more choices, far more outside stimulation, and far more intelligence than laboratory rats. And, it seems, their professors. And even if it did work – we would have to carry a clicker around with us wherever we go in case we need our dog's “remote”. (As if we haven't got enough already!) Dog owners are sometimes told to buy up to 15 of these gadgets, so that one is on hand in every corner of the house (and yard, I suppose.) (I wonder if they will come up with one for teenagers.)
One may well ask – if dog owning has become that complicated – why own a dog? (And what did our grandparents, who did not have clickers do?)
In reality, what happens is, the dog gains the power over their owner – who thinks that THEY have the power. (But the dog knows better.) By now, you will almost have completed your course in Understanding the Psyche of the Dog, so you have achieved a clear understanding of how clicking is reactive, and the one who can make us react is the one who has the power. Ask a politician.
And because of the very intense and unnatural focus on the dog, it can cause the same arrogance and emotional dependence that motivational training causes. This then leads to separation anxiety. This is because neither the short term, nor the long effect that this training has on the dog's emotions and behaviour within his own home, have not been monitored.
Now we wait with baited breath to see what new marketing gimmick the dog system is going to come up with – out of the army, or out of the laboratory, which is the next one to be?
If it came out of life - it wouldn't be a gimmick.
“So, what can I do if I have already confused or damaged my dog?” Pam has all the answers to undo this damage and confusion and restore your dog's trust in you, and bring him under willing control. Pam's Natural Dog Training Home-Kit has done this for so many thousands of dogs and their families – why don't you get the connection with your dog that you have been seeking by obtaining one these fascinating and empowering programmes?. Find out more about these unique techniques on NaturalDogTraining.info's Home Page.
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