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I see a big difference between how people on the internet claim to train their dog and in real life.
Online most people say to only train their dog with positive reinforcement (treats, praise, affection etc). Comments under any video that is only close to correcting a dog contain words as 'abuse' and 'should not have a dog', often much worse than that.

However at the park and in the homes of my friends I see many different methods. Most people in my environment do praise their dog but definitely do correct as well. A firm smack on the nose/head or a muzzle grap after unwanted behavior is common. I personally do not see a problem with physical corrections. To the contrary actually, my labrador responds really well to a muzzle grap and a firm tap on the nose every now and then. After a correction she behaves much better and is just a more gentle dog to be around.

Im very curious how you all train your dog. Any one that is completely against any form of correction? Why? Anyone that, against popular opinion, has had good experience with physical corrections?
 

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I personally don't hit my dogs or my horse. If I have to use physical correction, I use a spray bottle which works great (form my dogs, the horse is sensitized to it).

I have three dogs and the bigger two I have never hit in their life. BUT, I have hit our smallest dog. She fell into a pattern of being highly aggressive to my big male dog and she was completely ignoring me and anything I was doing - verbal commands, spray bottle, treats, toys and on one notable occasion raw meat. When she gets into attack mode, nothing else matters. She wasn't doing any damage to him (he is a large, powerful catch dog made for large game, this 10 kilo pipsqueak wasn't even registering) but it was upsetting me and I was also worried that one day he will sort her out himself, leaving just a stain on the wall.

So I decided to approach it the same way I have seen my large female sort her out - make the little terrorist think she is about to die. I made a very loud noise, hit her lightly and dominated her heavily with my body language. She submitted immediately and I held her in submissive pose with my body language for a minute or two. I have had to repeat it twice more but she has since stopped being aggressive to my big boy. I am of the opinion that, same as with horses, if you are going to hit them - make it count. I would never hit my animals for some minor infringements, there are more pleasant ways to solve such things. But when it comes to safety, I will not hold back.

I have only hit my horse once in five years, when she forgot herself and offered to bite me. Same thing, hit her lightly and made a lot of noise, held her in submission for 30 seconds and everything was fine after that.
 

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I'm not a dog owner, and I am not even sure if what I'm asking is a rhetorical question or a "real" question, but -- without at least the possibility of physical punishment, how do you tell your dog "no" in such a way that he understands and will do what you are asking?

I had never thought of the question you asked, but I wonder if that's why there are so many poorly-behaved dogs in my neighborhood. With a lot of these dogs, the dog will do something it's not supposed to (like run up and jump on someone else because it's not on a leash, because it wouldn't be on a leash, because leashes are "cruel") and the owner is just standing there pleading with the dog to come back while the dog just ignores her. I have always thought these people thought of themselves more as "dog moms" than "dog owners."

I always thought I wasn't a dog person until I temporarily moved somewhere where people trained their dogs to obey, and then I realized it was the dog OWNERS I hadn't liked before. I feel like dogs, like horses, are animals that could serioulsly injure or even kill a person, and therefore must be trained to be safe at all times. My dad was walking my brother's dog when another (unleashed) dog came up to them, jumped on him, and knocked him down. He went through a series of several surgeries as a result of that. The dog owner wasn't even apologetic: to him, his dog was just "being friendly."
 

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Some people think that any form of correction is cruel.
What's cruel is using an inappropriate level of correction for your animal. And yes I include too soft/nonexistent corrections in that. An insufficient correction is pointless and teaches the animal nothing. An excessive correction causes compliance through fear.

Balancing the right level of correction for your animal comes with experience and feel. I can apply an effective correction for the softer of my two dogs with a 2" flat collar (and while we're on this topic why do some people think wide collars are cruel? they literally spread out the pressure over a wider area?????), while the other needs a check chain or a prong collar.
 

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Just like with a horse, you are not really "correcting" a dog. What you are doing is communicating. Generally speaking there are a few types of communication for unwanted behavior.

#1: "whoops, that isn't quite it, try again, let me help you get the right answer this time". This is by far the most commonly useful. Often the first helpful thing you are going to have to do is get their attention.

#2: "NEVER EVER DO THAT AGAIN." This is for that small set of activities that will get someone hurt or killed, usually your dog. Chasing cars. Biting your horse. Whatever. What you want here is a super duper unpleasant experience that you will only have to use once or at most twice. If the behavior recurs after that you will need to change your approach. Because getting angry and punitive will damage your relationship, the best corrections are more "hand of God" -- a shock collar, a water pistol emptied in his face. You do not want to be the bad guy, you want the event to be the bad guy. Otherwise, if it is fun enough, they'll just wait until you aren't there to indulge.

From my experience and those of my dog trainer friends, there is no such thing as purely "positive" training. You have to have a way of telling your dog they erred. But what that is depends a lot on the dog. My dogs are sensitive, wanna-please herding breeds, and a sharp Anh! is often more than enough. If you have an impervious, pain-insensitive, stubborn breed, especially a high-prey-drive one, sterner measures will be called for.

I rarely walk dogs on leashes on the farm or on trails, but my years of leash training have shown me that the collar is unimportant. What's important is the dog's understanding that he must not pull on it.
 

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I'm not a dog owner, and I am not even sure if what I'm asking is a rhetorical question or a "real" question, but -- without at least the possibility of physical punishment, how do you tell your dog "no" in such a way that he understands and will do what you are asking?

I had never thought of the question you asked, but I wonder if that's why there are so many poorly-behaved dogs in my neighborhood. With a lot of these dogs, the dog will do something it's not supposed to (like run up and jump on someone else because it's not on a leash, because it wouldn't be on a leash, because leashes are "cruel") and the owner is just standing there pleading with the dog to come back while the dog just ignores her. I have always thought these people thought of themselves more as "dog moms" than "dog owners."

I always thought I wasn't a dog person until I temporarily moved somewhere where people trained their dogs to obey, and then I realized it was the dog OWNERS I hadn't liked before. I feel like dogs, like horses, are animals that could serioulsly injure or even kill a person, and therefore must be trained to be safe at all times. My dad was walking my brother's dog when another (unleashed) dog came up to them, jumped on him, and knocked him down. He went through a series of several surgeries as a result of that. The dog owner wasn't even apologetic: to him, his dog was just "being friendly."
There are "people moms" that are just as irritating as "dog moms" ... and I wonder how that dog owner would have liked it if you knocked him down and said "Hi! Just being friendly!"
 

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There are "people moms" that are just as irritating as "dog moms" ... and I wonder how that dog owner would have liked it if you knocked him down and said "Hi! Just being friendly!"
Let's not start on "dog moms" and "people moms" - there are some people out there (a LOT actually) who really don't have a grasp on what it means to live in a community and would benefit from a shock collar themselves, rather than their kids or dogs.

I would be mortified if my dog jumped on someone or if my (theoretical) kid ran all over a full airplane, screeching for 10 hours and snatching stranger's spectacles (well, mine on that particular occasion). Nope, it cute - according to a lot of people.
 

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I work at a small animal veterinary clinic. I get to see a lot of out of control dogs. There's been a major movement that any training a dog may receive is considered cruel (leash training, crate etc.) and that the dog should run the show. Add in high profile dogs (Pits, Danes, Huskies, GSD) and clueless owners--fun times to be had! It can make a dog's veterinary experience even worse because they're already nerved up but are then having to "behave" (hold still, be restrained) and have never been asked that before. The best thing owners can do for themselves, the dogs and the community is leash and obedience train their dogs!
 

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^ and MUZZLE TRAINING. It's so much easier to deal with a nervous dog if it's been properly muzzle trained.

Similarly, crate training is beneficial for all stays at the vet, because the kennels most dogs are put in are roughly crate sized and a dog that knows its way around crates will be much more comfortable.

There's so much that we can do to make the vet's office/groomer a more positive experience for our dogs, and so few people seem to actually do it
 

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I'm not going to say I have never hit one of my dogs b/c I have. But the recent dog we have added to our family about 2 years ago I have used mostly positive reinforcement for training her. It works really well. She still knows what "NO" means, and I believe any dog should grasp the meaning of that word.

We go through a lot of treats with our training; I try to make sure I"m always carrying treats around with me in the yard, on walks, etc. No shock collars, e-collars, chokers, prong collars etc. I use a flat nylon collar and will probably get her into a decent harness at some point. I am in the process of taking a 'manner's class' with her and the lady teaching the course is part of the "Force Free Alliance Trainers" in my province.

It grosses me out when I see people using those prong collars on their dogs, when enrolling their dog in an obedience course would probably do wonders.

I agree that some people probably treat their dogs a lot differently in real life than what they claim to do. I treat my dogs with a lot of respect, and in return they respect me. I don't let my dogs jump on me, and we have some clearly set boundaries. But they get a lot of praise, a lot of treats and a lot of attention.

I also think a lot of people get a dog, but then either have no clue what to do with them, or don't have the time for them. Or they get a dog they aren't equipped to handle...and then they lash out due to frustration.
 

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I have a 4 year old European bloodline German Shepherd with 211 Schutzhunds in her genetic woodpile. She knows and obeys over 30 commands (the latest is Vacuum, she lies on the floor and alows me to vacuum her loose fur with a shop vac). Some of her commands are circus tricks, like Jump (through hoop) or Climb (a ladder) or Cross a 2x4 placed between two tubs or a log across a creek. Other are Bring him (which ever livestock we point at) or Up (jump up on a table or hay stack) or Crawl (under something).It is quite a list- Cross, Wait, Enough (barking) Sit, Stand, Eat Eat, Down, Stay, (these last seven are also distant hand signals) Load Up, Off Load, Jump, Get It, Bring It, Kennel, Off (get away from that person) Foot (give foot I point at for nail trimming), No!, Come, Heel, Lets Go, Relax, Find it, Leave it, Drag (drag something), Snake! (jump away from copperheads and rattlesnakes, we used harnless snakes that will tag a dog on the nose to train this) Guard, and the very serious and very seldom used What Is It and Get Him. Inga has never bitten anyone, they retreated when she showed fang. I am fairly certain if they laid a hand on me she would attack.

My husband and I trained her. We did not know anything about training dogs. Previously all our dogs were soft tempered dogs. All my dogs have been greyhounds, Russian wolfhounds, whippets. All they need to do is lie on a pillow and go with the horses. My cowboy husband has always had Pugs tied riding on his flatbed truck, other cowpersons passing by pointing and laughing. Now we had a puppy of a breed that MUST be trained. So we found the internet trainer Don Sullivan. He has training DVDs and equipment. He is not all positive. He does not use food bribes. The dogs are rewarded with praise and play because dogs really do want to please us. So when they do the thing asked they are instantly rewarded with pets. Not over petting either. A couple of loving strokes on the shoulder, you don't want to distract them by flooding their brain with oxytocin. Or instantly produce the beloved ball or squeaky toy with happiness and joy. Once a dog learns the command and knows the command and you know for sure they know it, willfull disobedience is not an option. There is a plastic pointy linked collar you say No and give a little correction jerk on the leash, then ask them again.

Inga is a serious , hard dog. She can be run over chasing deer, or shot by ranchers for chasing cattle, she is a big strong dog that can knock people down. When she was a year old there was some willfull disobeience. Don Sullivan emailed us and advised to use a metal prong collar and for her distance work an e collar. We really liked the e collar. It is not just a shock. You can put it on your hand and on the lower settings you can barely feel it. Level I is like a tickle. Level 7 is a yikes. One time Inga ran off at night and fought with a sounder of wild hogs. The boars have razor sharp tusks that can eviscerate a dog. You could hear the snarling and screaming out there in the dark. Come! and level 2 or 3 did not bring her back. A size 7 brought her back and probably saved her life. The collar also can make a tone that means come right now at 500 yards or a vibrate. It is a great traing device. It is a communication device. And yes they get collar wise which is not a bad thing. Just by having it on their neck they know blowing you off is not an option.
 

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@AragoASB Russian Wolfhound isn't really a soft breed at all. I think either you got lucky with yours or the breed has been softened down in your country. Proper Russian lines aren't for the fainthearted people and are very difficult to train. To hunt wolf and bear, they needed to be very independent of people and very brave.
They don't typically attack people as they aren't territorial but getting one to obey commands consistently is difficult. That is because obeying commands is not needed when hunting the way they were bread to hunt. They range far from their owners and generally operate out of sight of the hunter. Hunting instinct is very strong in them and almost impossible to curb reliably.
 

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" Ivan Putski " was a gentle, soft creature. Like most sight hounds, just a hard look was enough to chastise him. Once, he was captured by Animal Control and put in the pound. They would not let me bail him out unless he was neutered. I knew that Ivan Putski would curl up and die without his testosterone. So I got my vet to do a vasectomy. He signed a paper that he had 'sterilized' the dog.
 

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"She can be run over chasing deer, or shot by ranchers for chasing cattle, she is a big strong dog that can knock people down."


Rant warning!

The thing I hate most about dogs is that they don't mind their own business and chase other people's cattle, horses and wildlife. I know this will be unpopular, but if they are chasing cows and get shot, perhaps the punishment fits the crime. PLEASE don't let your dog chase other people's animals!

If I am riding and a dog chases my horse, if that dog gets kicked or run over I will feel no remorse because it's self defense! An aggressive dog could get me killed. And it's completely the dog owners fault that either me, my horse or their dog was put into that situation. Dogs don't have the right to terrorize other people and animals, at least ones not on their own property. Would you want a strange dog terrorizing YOUR horse? Cows? Even wildlife?

Okay, said my peace, continue on!
 

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I know people who are very successful with e-collars. They are essentially a way to say to your dog, Hey! HEY! Listen! NOW! They can be a great tool for very high drive aggressive dogs who can go deaf with adrenalin, who are working off leash at some distance. I met a rancher who had Hangin Tree Cowdogs, which are notoriously fearless and aggressive on range cattle. He showed me how his dogs would jump up and down with excitement when they saw the e-collar because it signified they were going to get to work. I've rarely seen better working cow dogs than the ones he had. E-collars are also more abusive in the wrong hands, than almost anything I can think of. They've ruined many a good working dog. That's the other side.

I have a dog right now with a true instant recall. By "true" I mean, if she is say chasing a rabbit, if I call her she will slide to a stop, spin, and come racing back to me. How did I teach this? I didn't. I've never had a dog with this kind of recall before and probably won't ever again. My point here is that many people, myself included, pat themselves on the back about the great training job they did with their dog, through this or that method. One of my friends had a Border Collie who wowed a prospective landlord with a no pets policy by, on command, rolling the length of the hallway and then walking back on her hind legs. It was years before my friend realized that it wasn't her training methods that were so great, it was her dog that was so great.

The trainers I really respect are the ones who have a vast and deep toolbox, who are neither wedded to any philosophy nor dismiss any training method, because sometime, for some dog, it might be exactly what is needed.
 

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"She can be run over chasing deer, or shot by ranchers for chasing cattle, she is a big strong dog that can knock people down."


Rant warning!

The thing I hate most about dogs is that they don't mind their own business and chase other people's cattle, horses and wildlife. I know this will be unpopular, but if they are chasing cows and get shot, perhaps the punishment fits the crime. PLEASE don't let your dog chase other people's animals!

If I am riding and a dog chases my horse, if that dog gets kicked or run over I will feel no remorse because it's self defense! An aggressive dog could get me killed. And it's completely the dog owners fault that either me, my horse or their dog was put into that situation. Dogs don't have the right to terrorize other people and animals, at least ones not on their own property. Would you want a strange dog terrorizing YOUR horse? Cows? Even wildlife?

Okay, said my peace, continue on!
As a rancher's wife, horsewoman and wildlife lover I agree. People's dogs that they allow to run loose and chase livestock should be shot. It is legal to shoot dogs chasing animals on your land in almost every state. If Inga had been chasing someone's livestock and had been shot I would say I'm sorry but it had to be done. That is why we train her.

Once on the ranch in Texas there was a pack of coy-dogs terrorizing the area. They were great big and fearless and would come right up near the house looking for something to kill. By the time you got and loaded your rifle they would be gone. I was glad my husband bred his cows to have horns and a strong protective instinct.

German Shepherds were originally bred to be livestock guardian dogs. People would leave them with the sheep while they went and did other farm work. At night they would bring the sheep into the fold and the dogs would stay in the house with the people, guarding their home. That is why they are a people focused breed unlike other LGDs breeds that prefer to stay with the livestock all the time.

Inga likes to chose a high place where she can lie down and see all the residents of this farm. She watches over the chickens. She likes to be able to see the cows and horses and us working on the fences. Charmingly, she lies there with her front legs crossed.
 

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I am always interested in how other trainers work and recently have been watching a lot of Upstate Canine Academy, I love the way this guy works with the animals.

He will watch the dog, has an instinctive (and learned) understanding of the dogs and it takes him moments with totally unruly dogs to have them walking nicely with him.

Majority of the owners have been to several dog trainers, nearly all of them 'positive' trainers who believe in no corrections. This might work with thensofter breeds but certainly doesn't work with the more solid type of dog.

A heck of a lot of these dogs, ones that lunge at other dogs and often people too, come in wearing a harness. This gives the handler no control at all. He will swap to a slip chain, a prong or an e collar. There is nothing cruel about the way he works, when the dog doesn't walk with him he will correct with the collar, a couple of corrections and the dog is happy to comply and take leadership from him. His biggest problem is training the owners.

Majority of the dogs going to him are aggressive through fear, very few dogs are actually red zone. It is surprising how the former dogs are restless, panting and stressed bit after working with Tom for a few minutes they are relaxed and settled.

He uses a lot of vocal praise and corrections, gives the odd treat for praise with the intention of having a confident, happy and obedient dog.

The 3/4 Boxer 1/4 Great Dane that comes to me every day whilst his owner is at work, is a big solid lump of a hooligan! He was a fighter, would chase livestock and loved nothing more than a fight. He wears an e collar and has every respect for it. I use the beep as a warning, the vibrate as a follow through and lastly the shock. My timing is right on the spot. He knows what the collar is but has no resentment of wearing it and now he is no problem to exercise. He ignores livestock, doesn't try to fight other dogs and is happier being able to run off leash.

His owners did take him to an all positive trainer who insisted on him wearing a harness. Cass, who had a broken neck at the time, said she would never hold him on a harness (they were trying a haltie which he hated) The trainer said he would take him. Once in a field the dog took off with the trainer holding on for dear life at the end of a long leash then insisted anharness was the way to go. For this they were charged £60 for an hour.

What a waste!
 

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These 'haltie' halters for dogs make me laugh. Do they secretly wish they had a pony?
I had a big extremely strong and aggressive dog who used to have to wear a haltie halter because he would lunge at other dogs (and people sometimes, and, well, a lot of the things, and there was no way any collar, prong or chain or anything, would hold him. Believe me. He dragged me on my face quite a few times. I still have him but he's an old coot now and can't do that any more. Anyway that haltie thing was a godsend. Just like with a horse, it enables control over an animal by controlling the head.

I'd much rather have a pony than an aggressive dog with zero impulse control....
 

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I train dogs for people as some of you may know

i was asked to work with this corgi about a year ago on obedience, barking and nipping at peoples heels when the owner would run he was a year old when I started working with him the first thing i did was see how bad the nipping was more biting than nipping, i first worked with him in tennis shoes but later put on rain boots after he nailed me 3 times and snapped at a kid i was REALLY mad about that he snapped at a 5 year old so i put on my boot and started jogging tried to nail me again and all he got was a sleeve of rubber that slapped him he got hit a few times but learned fast,

other than that I will smack his butt when he jumps at kids to let him know that thats NOT okay, but that at most i have ever layed my hands on a dog.

It has been a little over a year of working with him and hes stopped all those habits, he walks at a heel for a loop maybe a reminder when he sees other dogs, but i hope to take him to the ACK local show ring this winter!
 
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