Get A Puppy n' Dog Training Guide >>

Archive for November, 2007

Dogs That Hate Either Men or Women

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Hating men or women is the most peculiar form of instability in dogs. They seem to be sweet and happy with one sex and nervous or vicious with the other. What form of neurosis causes this we don’t know. What can an owner do to make a dog with this nature livable?

First, examine the owner’s mind. Has he or she ever had a grudge against the opposite sex? Did an overpowering schoolteacher make the young boy’s or girl’s life a misery? Does he or she boast that they only get along with men or women? Alsatians are peculiar in this way and will hate men or women instinctively if thought transference comes from an owner with a similar dislike. Many women like big guard dogs, and the big guard dog thrives in this state of affairs and easily develops a dislike of the sex the owner wishes to dominate.

Corgis do the same. This has been particularly noted in these two breeds, partly because they are highly intelligent breeds and telepathy is very marked and partly because the shepherding instinct is uppermost and they have a natural suspicion of strangers. Correct them firmly when young and one gets no further trouble. Accept their suspicious natures, and you will have dogs that hate men or women, usually women.

Now how do we live with such dogs? The world being what it is, we can’t mix with only one sex. Even husbands or wives are a necessity, and it is often against the one or the other that the particular hate is centered. I think the solution is either to send the dog to be boarded or trained by a person of the sex it hates, or else get friends of that sex to feed it or take it for walks. If it shows any signs of being vicious, muzzle it and send it out for a long walk with the person it dislikes. Greet joyously that person when he or she returns and praise the dog. Make the person pat the dog and praise it before saying goodbye and, if possible, give it its food.

Of course there aren’t many good friends who will do this, but I think that if an advertisement was put in the local newspaper, some dog lover would respond. It might even help to employ a “dog sitter” of the hated sex when you go out so that when you are out, the only comfort the dog would get would be from the sex it dislikes.

Only by being made to tolerate people will it respond. Obviously, if a female owner has been jilted and hates all men, her dog will naturally pick up this feeling when the owner is talking to a man. In many cases, all these faults in dogs can be traced to some minor mental disturbance of the owner, although the owner may be unaware of it.

Train Your Dog With Consistency And Persistence

Monday, November 26th, 2007

If the rules change from day to day, the dog becomes confused. He needs to know how to consistently earn reward and avoid punishment or he will give up responding. The good trainer is consistent and always uses the same command for the same behavior. Most dog owners teach the dog that the command “down” means to be in a prone position. Unfortunately, many dog owners use the same command to mean, lie down, remove thyself from the couch or bed, or stop jumping on people. When a command has many different meanings, the word ceases to have an important message.

Give each behavior its own command. The command “off” can be used to mean paws on the floor, and “down” may remain to define the prone position. After you decide on consistent commands, the next step is to be persistent in using them. Dogs are naturally good at persistent behavior, and even better if rewarded for it.

Many a dog owner has given up trying to correct the dog that barks all day or jumps on people. Dog owners drop out of obedience classes all the time because they are worn down by their dogs’ seemingly persistent behaviors, and they give up trying to teach their dogs new behaviors. The key is that the owners gave up, and the dogs learned that persistence pays off.

When an owner gives in, the dog’s persistent behavior is strengthened and reinforced. Any determined dog owner can wear the dog down. Therefore, it is extremely important that you be more persistent than the dog about continuing the training process until the dog performs the desired behavior.

The dog must learn that the energy he spends engaging in undesirable behavior is not worth the effort, because you will persist. If you correct him for jumping up the first four times and don’t correct him for the fifth jump up you simply teach him to jump up five times for the payoff. Similarly, if you correct the dog for barking at the moon sometimes and not at other times, you teach him that sometimes barking is acceptable and sometimes it is not. The dog will continue to bark to determine when barking is acceptable and when it is not acceptable.

Consequently, correcting barking sometimes actually encourages even more barking. If you don’t correct the dog for barking in the backyard because you are not at home, he will learn that barking is acceptable when you’re away.

If you sneak out of the house so as not to cue him that it is acceptable to bark, he only needs to bark twice with no correction to figure out that you are not at home. A behavior will be extinguished or changed only if you persist in correcting the dog every time he misbehaves.

Choosing Dog Training A Method

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

Before choosing a particular training method, carefully examine the technique to ensure that it will communicate proper associations. Certain methods may not communicate what you intend. A dog-aggressive Akita was enrolled in a training program that his owner thought was reputable. The trainer convinced the owner that the only way to break the Akita of aggression toward other dogs was to let a more dominant dog put him in his place.

The trainer’s dog displayed dominance toward other dogs, so she placed him in a room with the Akita and left the two dogs to work things out. When the trainer heard a window crashing, she opened the door to find that her dog was injured, and the Akita had been richly rewarded for his aggressive behavior with a nice victory under his collar.

If this method does not make sense to you, it probably won’t make sense to the dog, either. One trainer sent around a flyer giving free advice to the general public on how to stop dogs from digging. The trainer suggested filling the newly dug hole with water and taking the dog over to the hole by the scruff of the neck to dunk his head in the water filled-hole.

The next sentence on this flyer cautioned the owner that the dunking probably would not stop the dog from digging; instead, forcing the dog down to the water by the scruff of the neck was a demonstration of dominance, a root cure-all for problem behavior.

The trainer thought through the method far enough to figure out that the water would have no effect on future digging. Unfortunately, he did not explain that the dog would learn to mistrust his owner for trying to drown him. Shortly after this flyer was distributed, another trainer was indicted for animal abuse for employing this very correction technique.

Occasionally, even thinking through a method does not result in a clear understanding of how it works. One day a fellow drove up to class in a pickup with his dog in the back. The dog trainer explained to him that it was very dangerous to have the dog in the back of an open pickup.

He went through the normal lecture on how the dog’s nose and eyes could be damaged from debris in the air, the danger of the dog being thrown out of the truck in an accident, etc. The fellow proudly said, “I fixed the dog from jumping out of the truck. He was jumping out and I would throw him back in.

We did this for five or six times when I finally got really mad and threw him in the truck for the seventh time and stuffed a piece of horse manure in his mouth for good measure. After that the dog never jumped out again, and the next time he does something bad, I am going to use that manure trick again.”

It was really hard to determine if the dog stopped jumping out of the truck because he got tired of being thrown back in, or if he was grateful for the gourmet horse manure treat. If you are not sure about exactly how or why a method works, it is probably best to avoid the technique altogether.

Even the most popular methods use techniques that may not be suited for every breed or temperament of dog. A trainer who evaluates each method based on the efficacy of the associations and motivators will be better equipped to match the appropriate obedience method with the dog’s individual temperament.