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Dog aggression

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by stburns04, Feb 1, 2020.

  1. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    The traditional 'pack leader' concept goes against my experience, and there is a danger if you equate 'not listening to owner' with 'not seeing owner as leader' - for one, it encourages the owner to be 'more leader' which can lead to harsh methods which are simply going to fuel a dog's anxiety. I have a dog who, if I commanded him to get of the sofa, would become defensive and possibly aggressive, but if I ask him, will pop off like a lamb. And we all - or most of us - know a 'happy' recall voice is more effective than a commanding one.

    To me, a natural leader would be the Fonz from Happy Days. He doesn't use force, stern commands, boot camp methods and so on - he simply earns respect because everyone recognises that it's a really good idea to follow him.

    I used to know a greyhound who all the other dogs worshipped - it was amazing to see. He could break up dog-dog aggro just by standing there. One day a man came into the woods with two wolf-dog hybrids and was spouting about how alpha he had to be to dominate these dogs because they were such dominant dogs. One put a pad-mannered paw on the back of the greyhound. The greyhound looked at him, curled his lip ever so slightly and cleared his throat... immediately the wolf-dog fell into line, and proceeded to follow the greyhound around almost grovelling in his footsteps. The best thing was how annoyed the owner was by his grovelling 'alpha' dog!
     
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  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    I agree that a lot of it is semantics and, in any leadership, there will be situational elements too. Like at work, there were times when I listened to my team, deferred to their better experience, overruled their suggestions (either because I had other priorities or because I was responsible for the outcome and didn't agree with them), or simply dictated (you don't debate what needs to happen when the fire alarm is ringing).

    Some people - tv presenters come to mind - have contaminated the language to a degree. Leadership is a term I feel ok with provided it is in the context we are discussing. Alpha, dominance etc. as terms make me extremely uncomfortable because they bring to mind the appalling tv shows where the 'trainer' engaged in brutal behaviour like alpha rolling, deliberately baiting a dog until she bit purely for the drama, and held a dog up off the ground by a tightened choke chain until he fell unconscious. For tv, and to make him look powerful and dominant. That's not leadership, that's bullying and assault, yet he labelled it as being 'pack leader' and that has, in my view, caused a lot of this controversy over the language.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
  3. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Mulling on this morning's walk I decided that my motto is 'It's not "being a leader" that makes you worth listening to, but being worth listening to that makes you a leader' ;)
     
  4. DixD

    DixD Guest

    Hi, Finsky, I’ve never had a terrier, except in sighthound mixes, for exactly the reasons you mention. I like a fairly quiet life. The mad eyed dogs I’m thinking of are the sorts of dogs that shouldn’t be, like labs. We met one the other day, Hugo and I, and he stood quietly, as we tried to allow the woman to go past. Eventually, we had to move because she said, if she moved, it would pull her over to get to us. In fact, her partner had to help her hold on to the lead. It was barking fiercely at one end, and wagging its tail at the other. It was very stressed and conflicted. It’s just as well Hugo isn’t reactive, or it coukd have been quite a serious situation. It didn’t look fun for either dog or owners. That's the kind of mad-eyed look I’m talking about! Terriers are ratters, they have to be mad! ;)
     
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  5. DixD

    DixD Guest

    Don’t forget Barbara Woodhouse and her choke chains. :(

    with Cesar Milan, I think sometimes we throw out the baby with the bath water. I tend to agree with his observations that dogs need a job to do. With my sighthounds that was agility, with my little dog it’s about being a companion. And I also like his migration theory that dogs should migrate with purpose to a place where they then relax. Too many dogs are run to the park in the car, taken out, allowed to run about mad, and then taken home again. A lot of people think, when dogs are playing with each other, it’s all about fun, but, as you’ll know a lot of it is “killing” practice. With the two sighthounds, Hugo was always prey. Ilse would chase him round in circles, till she could knock him off balance with her shoulder. If they were playing with the retriever, Ilse knocked her off balance, Hugo “went” for the soft underparts. Dogs are a lot more serious about life than a lot of owners give them credit for, and it’s unfair on them to regard them simply as pets.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2020
  6. Finsky

    Finsky Active Member Registered

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    They say 'the dog like its owner' ;):D
    I'm glad to report that my mad ones are not quite like that, they don't yap or bark other dogs..maybe a little when they are playing with tennis ball but it is not the norm. Good 'worker' goes quiet when it is on a job or if it doesn't, it will alert the pray. But to get nicely behaving terriers, their mad urges had to be correctly directed very early on to right things or they become hard to handle...and it takes some doing and I would not recommend these sort of beasts for first timers or families with young kids. Not because the dogs would be nasty, but the amount of attention and work they take to make them nice pets can be quite overwhelming. Yes, I am truly knackered some days just doing basic day to day stuff with them. But it gets easier each week as they get older.
    Mine are VERY friendly sort of dogs, keen to meet and greet other dogs as well as fellow humans..more the merrier and the madness comes out when they get their adrenalin up. Pullin on lead..hmm...yes, we are working on that side of things, but one has to have something to improve with, they are not born with the knowledge...unfortunately :rolleyes:..otherwise they are just perfect, lively little things! :)
     
  7. Finsky

    Finsky Active Member Registered

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    Just to add...what you describe with that dog, it sounds just like one we have next door. When you look at into their eyes, 'there is nobody there'. And in case of our neighbours dog, I know how that has happened....they never really talk to the dog...there is barely any interaction..the dog just exist, like a painting on the wall. And my neighbour has few cats too and they are all same...just empty looks, there is no intelligence that they would understand what is being communicated to them. It is so sad....and try to then train a animal that is plainly stupic because of their owners haven't bothered to connect with them :(
    I had one of 'those', she was 1.5 year old when we had her...totally 'wild'..never walked on the street or been on lead, her life was just either in a cage or in a back yard. She didn't register when I tried to talk to her and it took 6 months the light starting to shine behind her eyes and realize I was talking to her and she would try to understand what I was saying. But despite her short falls from for the early years, she did catch up and turned out to be SO LOVELY and well behaved little terrier. Everybody could see mile away when approaching she was friendly sort and she couldn't physically wiggle her bottom (the tail would stay almost still!) anymore than she did to show how exciting it was going to meet you...and she gained SO many doggy friends too. 'sigh'.
     
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  8. DixD

    DixD Guest

    Actually, you’ve just brought to mind that’s what I often think, when I see the lack of bond between dog and owner. It’s the most lovely thing to have that connection with your dog, a real privilege, but maybe, if you haven’t experienced it, you don’t even know it can exist. And you’ve shown with that wee dog the difference it can make to the dog itself. <3
     
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  9. Finsky

    Finsky Active Member Registered

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    Hmm..never thought of it that way. I supposed I've always assumed gaining that connection is the whole point having a dog..or cat..or..
     
  10. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    True, and not just with CM - there are plenty of others. But my concern is the average viewer can't always distinguish between good and bad practice, so they assume, not unreasonably, that a quick tsssk and yank on a collar will cure all their problems, when in fact these tv programmes are all heavily edited because (a) they are very selective in which cases they accept and (b) nobody wants to watch hours worth of a behaviourist sitting in a room not even making eye contact with a fearful dog. And there is also the degree of good and bad practice. If a provider of any service was 90% ok and did one poorly judged thing, they might be cut some slack. Depending on how bad that one thing was, and when in the relationship it happened, they might not.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
  11. DixD

    DixD Guest

    My concern is that, as you say, the need for watchable tv affects R+ dog training methods too. Someone comes in, rewards the dog for good behaviour, or whatever, which tge dog usually adopts pretty quickly anyway because the trainer exudes confidence and also interacts with it properly, and the dog turns into a gem. Viewers are led to believe things can be fixed quickly. Nothing’s mentioned about building a bond with your dog. Anyone with experience also knows a lot of reward based training is in the timing, so, for example, you now see dogs being treated for barking at other dogs, the timing is so out of synch. As you are aware you really have to start WAY back before you get near the dog, and offer the dog other choices of interaction with you, for example. Dog training is complex, and, if on television, should be taught by qualified trainers, which would be a real start as the whole dog training field is unregulated, and more like a simpler version of Open University than Pimp My Ride. :(
     
  12. DixD

    DixD Guest

    imagine how much different your dogs’ lives would have been if you hadn’t naturally made that connection. There’s a wee dog goes down the road with a chap here, friendly wee thing, but it looks everywhichway but at the man, and the chap never interacts with it, though I imagine he’s fond of it in his own way. But I don’t think it even crosses his mind, he could develop a goor bond with it, or maybe that’s seen as a soft thing to do. Don’t know... :(
     

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