Bullies come in all forms and all walks of life.

I’ve been called a fluffy, cookie pusher/treat dealer, briber, wimp, and the oddest of them all a hippie pot smoking trainer, among other terms, but those were the ones that stood out in my mind.  I have been told our methods (positive dog trainers) are CRAP right to my face (as well as had people laugh at me, and belittle me), or have people state my line of work is a wish wash of a method that only works if you have a treat in hand….I have been told that dogs forget our training methods after a short time and never remember the command. And also that our methods only works on certain dogs. I have been bullied around because I am a Positive Reinforcement trainer (Online and offline).  I have even had people try to claim I do not understand dog behavior due to the fact I use Positive Reinforcement, even though I have gone through school for it as well as working towards my PhD in animal behavior, not to mention years of hands-on experience.   Yet I for some reason do not know a thing because I decided to go with up to date science when it comes to dog behavior. But you know what? When it comes down to the truth, it’s about a lack of education for those who would call positive reinforcement any of the previously mentioned statements. But that can be remedied.

I would like to point out some quick facts/statements about Positive Reinforcement:

1: It DOES work with all dogs… if it did not work you are doing it wrong.  This even means aggressive, fearful, man eating dogs can be worked with and become a better member of society.

2: Dogs do NOT forget everything you train them with Positive Reinforcement.  There have been award winning dogs in competitions that are only trained with Positive Reinforcement.

3: No I do not need a treat every time I ask for a command.  Treats (could be a toy praise or yes even food) are weaned off from the dog over time and eventually the dog responds to the command without the treat.

4: When we compare dogs to humans we are not saying the dog is a human or should be treated as such.  We are referring to the fact that science has PROVEN dogs have the brain power of at least a child of 2-4 years of age.  We then ask owners/ trainers to ask themselves how do you educate a being with that kind of thought power and have the best results with no fallout issues. With dedication, that intelligence can get to that of an adolescent human.

5:  We are not telling owners to let their dogs walk all over them.  Positive Reinforcement doesn’t mean you be a push over.

6: Positive Reinforcement is working towards getting your dog to think on its own, to work out the issues and gain a reward for figuring it out.  Out in the wild dogs will avoid pain, and other harsh things that are used in pack theory/negative Reinforcement, but dogs will WORK HARDER and longer to gain something that increases something good such as a food reward… Think of it this way; you go to work to get paid so you can feed yourself, cloth yourself and so on. This same theory works for all dogs.

7:  There is a difference between a leader and a bully; a Leader shows and teaches a dog what to do, while a bully uses force and pain in many forms to get what they want.

8:  Your dog does NOT view you as another dog. Do you look like a dog? No, thus your dog will not be eyeing you as a “Pack leader”.  Dogs are also social groups, not pack groups. They have different learning styles and living styles than that of a wolf pack.  Your dog looks to you for guidance and to show them what behavior you want out of them. This is the leader they are eyeing you to be.

9:  Positive Reinforcement has been around for a while now, sadly there are some “celebrity” T.V trainers who are unable to get with the times and the science so they can spread the word worldwide of what truly is fact.  It is stated that it can take 10-20 years for newer theories to catch on with the general public, for that theory to be general knowledge.

10: Yes, science has backed us up and will keep on backing us up. Science is the mainstay of our modern world for finding out all the answers of the world and the lives in it, including behavior. There is no sense in denying it.

11: We are NOT saying negative training does not work (shock, prong, choke), it’s more so the execution of the method that matter’s most, as well as the outcome.  On the surface it works, but at what cost?  Health issues have been linked to these types of training methods as well as massive fall outs in behaviors leading to aggression, fearfulness and feelings of helplessness.   There is no real fall out if I miss a click with my dog clicker or miss a food treat, but giving a nice shock or “pop” will give a negative association to whatever you were trying to train the dog with in negative terms.  It is easier to retrain a behavior if a client or I messed up with positive methods rather than the opposite, where we could end up getting a dog that is willing to bite my face off for it.

12:  Have I been bitten? No, does that mean I must suck as a dog trainer?? NO, it means I do not push the dog over its limit when it comes to their flight or fight mode.  I have known trainers or even dog walkers to state they have gotten aggressive dogs to bloom and they have the “Bites” to prove it.  If they had updated their education they might have been able to get the same results if not better and without getting bitten.  Is there a chance I could get bit?  Yes, but most likely that will be because it was an off day and I was not paying attention to what the dog was trying to tell me.

13:  We understand your dog is a living breathing thing and as such you cannot find a quick cure/rout when it comes to educating your dog.  Yes, shock collar trainers can get your dog to stick around (though I have seen dogs run away from their owners … (wouldn’t you run away?)- But a lot of times when a shock collar trainer or owner removes the collar the dog couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the human, owner or otherwise.  However, with Positive Reinforcement we have dogs coming back to us because they want to.   Yes, we are able to train for snake avoidance and deer avoidance and that is not using slave like training methods.

14: Are our dogs perfect?  No, and nor are the negative trainers’ dogs… Once again they are living beings; they have their off days just like humans.  No human is perfect, but nor is any other dog. There will be those days where a behavior that needs changing keeps on happening, but then you just need to refresh the training of the behavior you want (and yes that happens with the negative training methods as well.. if you don’t use it you lose it).

As a trainer and as a human being I want people to know that yes we do keep up with the science that is WHY we are Positive Reinforcement trainers.  We believe the human race is or at least should be evolved enough to move pass using painful methods when there are OTHER methods out there in the world proven to work.  And most of all we are here because we care about animal behavior and want to encourage a healthy education for your dogs.  Positive Reinforcement does not mean passive.  We work hard and we get the results.

So please bullies, whether you are an owner or a negative trainer don’t waste your time on bullying me; go read a book that has updated education about dog training.  I don’t need to hear you yell or even type yell as you try to force your outdated methods down my throat.  This doesn’t mean you can bully the people who are trying to cross over, or has started off right away with Positive Reinforcement.  We are no less of a trainer because we may use clickers, toys, or some form of reward to initially mark a behavior we want.  And our results are no less than the results you are getting by kicking, hanging, popping, shocking, rolling and god knows what else you use in your “tool box”.  I am happy that Positive Reinforcement is getting more of the spot light and the more it does bullies/negative trainers will have to catch up with the times or be left out on the side lines.

Yes, I know it has been a while-updates

I am sorry for those who have been stopping in and not seeing a new  update.  During the winter, the pups and I kind of go into deep freeze.   My once hyper pups  slow down and hate going outside.  Aya will even roll on her back and cry or hold her paws up within five minutes of being outside for a walk.  I will have to find a new place to start my videos.  After this winter our fence was attack by the evil Ice doers taking down large parts of my fence.  So hopefully we will get that fixed or I will find a safe place to work videos.

On other news Concord New Hampshire dog owners, or towns nearby.  E-mail the head of the local dog park/ facebook them and let them know you would like group classes!! I am trying to work with the local dog park, and give 50% of my profits back to the park itself for repairs.  The more people who ask for it the faster it can come.  This is a great way to support your dog park and have affordable classes.  Classes will be once a week, unless we have large group then we will have to look into setting up a second day.  It will take place in the small dog park area and each class will be an hour long.  Feel free to check out and leave messages on their face book at:http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/group.php?gid=292039794761  If this link does not work look up Friends of the concord dog park!

Shortly I will be adding another toy review as well as talking about natural ways to keep the ticks and fleas away; I will also be adding some more blogs on training within the week as well as some hot topics for dog owners.  Hopefully the interview of “Tommy” will be added soon as I feel it is a story that should be told and hopefully open and change minds of some owners who is using outdated treatment towards dogs.

Social Time- Not just for humans

“Dogs should be left at home on the couch, not in public.” Too many times I have heard this or some other variation of this statement. We as dog owners are lazy at times, not willing to put the time in that our dogs need for socialization. In turn we have dogs that are not socialized, high strung, and unable to deal with changes in their settings, which leads to a very unhealthy dog. This leads to destruction of property, dog bites, higher vet bills, and a dog who doesn’t understand the world. Here are the top questions about socializing your dogs.

1: When should I start to socialize my dog?
A: The very first day you get your dog/puppy. If you are getting a puppy from a responsible breeder ask the breeder what type of training or socialization the puppies are getting during week 7 of it’s puppyhood, as this is when the first fear imprint period takes place. You want a breeder or foster home of the puppy to be working on positive environmental experiences. This is important as this can lead to how your dog reacts to everyday things in his or her life.

2:My dog meets people/dogs who come to my house and is fine. I don’t really need to do anything else do I?
YES! Dogs who may be fine with being in his or her own den (House) are most likely more confident, but as soon as your dog leaves your home, everything is brand new and that confidence will quickly turn into fear, which can lead to issues such as dog fights. This is also true about training; just because your dog is perfect at your home, as soon as the settings change it will feel as if he left his brain somewhere not understanding what you want from him/her. Dogs are contextual animals, meaning even though you were able to train the dog to sit perfect in your house or somewhere else as soon as you move him/her to a different surface, your dog will need to be retrained to sit, or any other command on that different surface or area.

3: What Social Activates can I do with my Dog?
A: There are many different things you can do to help socialize your dog, such as: Car rides, sitting outside of a store (training it as people come and go), puppy play groups, or professional canine sports such as Dock Dogs, Fly Ball, or Disc Dogs. There are also breed clubs (which do different activates for the breed of your dog), hunting (depending on breeds), walks, hiking, sniff and rescue, professional dog training classes, and much more! Check out Spirit of the Okami Blog “The Green Paw” for updates about different activities you can enjoy with your dog.

The main thing to always keep in mind is DO NOT rush your dog into something that he/she may be scared of. If the dog is showing fear, do not baby the dog, but instead slowly encourage the dog to make improvements, this means no yelling, hitting, or any negative actions from you as this will only imprint the fear even more so.
But most importantly, have FUN with your dog!

Responsible Dog Owners- We all need to play a part

Spirit of the Okami Responsible Dog Owners 101 – Out in Public

 

Often, I tell dog owners that we need to make sure we are responsible. As dog owner’s we have little rights, and pleasures we can take part in with our dogs are few for now. Here are some common things that all dog owners should go over and remember.

 Out for a walk: Do I have extra poop bags- It’s the law. If your dog poops on your walk clean it up and make sure you have extra bags, seeing some dogs poop multiple times in one walk. If you see someone else’s poop and have extra room in your poop bag, PICK IT UP. It may not be yours, but it will be you and the rest of us who lose rights to walk in that area with our dog if not maintained. Poop from a sick dog can and will pass onto a healthy dog, and the sickness can last up to 9 months! Keep your area clean and keep your dog’s healthy.. Give a woof and clean up after you and your dog!

Leashing your dog: Many things can happen with an off leash dog. Unwanted confrontations with pedestrians, children, other dogs, or other animals are on the list, and they may all not end that pleasant. In addition, if you have your dog off leash and he/she is running around, you may not see where he or she is pooping or control where they are peeing. Example of this: we as dog owners may not be welcome to walk through Concord cemetery’s due to owners letting their dogs off leash and letting them pee/poop on grave stones, and all the while not pick it up! This has already happened for beaches in N.H. We can’t even take our dogs to some of the best beaches! Keep an eye on your dog, and keep him or her leashed at ALL times.

Everyone loves your dog: This is not always the case. Having a leash will make sure your dog doesn’t jump up on people, but if your dog is in training you may want to ask people not to touch your dog! This will protect your dog if he/she is afraid of other humans and also train your dog that they don’t need attention from every human being. Some people also really don’t understand the dog language and your dog may not want to be touched at that time. Stick up for your dog, and do not worry what others may think when you ask them not to touch.

 My Dog loves every dog: Far from it, while your dog may get along with many others, there will be some dogs that yours just doesn’t feel right around. Learn your dog’s body language heck learn what they are trying to tell you dogs have their own language and many dog owners do not look into this.. This leads to fights that could have been avoided!

 Fix or not to Fix: It doesn’t hurt to fix your dog, for a variety of reasons. But if you’re a dog owner who wishes to keep your dog how he or she was born, you need to be responsible!! Your dog should never be left alone in public, and a female in heat should NEVER be off leash. You don’t want your dog coming home pregnant!

The Kong Wobba

Yes, I know this post is late… and I am sorry for that.  First of all I had to do more testing on the wobba.  This time around I had gotten two toys, each for one dog.  I can face it… my dog Nyssa is a Diva, and she demands her own of everything.  On top of that I had a loss the in the family which is why I did not post the other night like I was planning onto.  Any who, on with the show as they say.

The Kong Wobba is made of two Balls; yes that is right two balls.  One is a large white while the other is a tennis ball.  How could I know without pulling it apart, well I will get to that in a little bit.  Like I said before I had gotten two, Mr. Pink and Mr. Purple.  Everything was going well with the toys each dog would take turns pulling on the tentacles as the other pulled on the top… Sometimes I would catch them sleeping with their wobbas.  One day I went out for work, Aya with her Mr. Pink had it in her mouth as she was saying goodbye.  By the time I had returned home I had found Mr. Pink fur covering ripped open. Oddly enough it wasn’t the fur itself she managed to open however, right around the label that the company had placed on the toy itself.  I then started to do a little cut here and there to find out that even though wobble Pink was gone his spirit or balls could live on.  Both balls are still in use, and Mr. Purple is still going strong.  I honestly do not know if there was a defect with Mr. Pink the reason why I say this is because both Nyssa and Aya both really beat on Mr. Purple.  I can even join in on a bit of a tug of war between my two dogs and myself and it still doesn’t seem to bust open.

            Would I say go for the wobbas… It’s a 50/50 chance really… So far it has been a good five months with these Wobbas and at least one is still going strong.  On top of it what I like about these toys is even when the dog breaks into them they are still a lot safer than your normal stuffing toys.

Rating 1-4 paws

 Up for safety

 Up for life of the toy (mainly because one of the two has R.I.P)

Up for price (depending on the size you get)

 Up for play time (My dogs still go back to the Wobba)

½ Up Overall rating

Keep a look out on 9/26/2010 Spirit of the Okami will be at the SPCA Walk for the Animals in Concord NH.  Feel free to stop by ask me some questions.  Put your question of the month in the jar as well as a chance to win free two in home classes with the Aya Bundle.

Also next time on the Green Paw

How to be a responsible dog owners

Dog Parks

Out and about in town

Why do we have to clean up after our pets

The Dog Father–” The Perfect Dog” Or as I call it -The Perfect lie

No, do not worry I will not keep yacking or talking trash about other dog trainers though out this blog.  However, when I did see his ad on tv (ran close to 24 hours on one station), it was clear that there are a few things that need to be said.  While yes I understand to sell your items you may want to bash other ways of training there is however, a way to make your training look good without telling a lie.  Believe me, do not believe EVERYTHING you see on T.V, most of the time the people who are selling these items are just wanting to make a fast buck.  It amazes me how negative dog trainers are forceful in their adverting, while you have a better ways of training and the positive trainers aren’t in your face 24-7.

First of all the so-called “Dog Father” is working on out dated ways of teaching a dog, he is one of a few trainers who just really do not want to learn anything new.  To these trainers, scaring or hurting your dog to get the behavior you want quickly and fast is better than taking the time and doing it the right way.  But, let us forget and not mention the mental and physical damage you are causing your dog…

Dog Father: ” The Command Collar® is NOT an electronic collar, shock collar, or noise emitting collar. It is manually operated and it is simply designed to emulate a mother dog’s natural corrective process.”

FALSE

This is no longer true, it has even been proven in wolves in the wild.  The mother dog or the alpha dog does not bite down with ANY pressure on another dog’s neck.  What happens is a muzzle( or neck) touch, and when I mean touch it is lightly done, and the lower ranking dog rolls onto  his or her back on his or her OWN, without force (or quickly stops the behavior).  The other dog will also get up (if the pup is nipping hard) and walk away from the pup who is causing trouble.  Thus not rewarding the behavior with ANYTHING negative or positive.  They see the more aggressive version that he speaks of when its wolves trap in a zoo area, with little land and free range food for the pack.

Dog Father:” The Command Collar® is NOT an electronic collar, shock collar, or noise emitting collar.”

False:  While yes, it is not an electronic collar/shock (By the way same thing) or noise collar this collar is just ANOTHER version of a prong collar.  It causes pressure on the neck which can easily lead to neck issues, eye sight issues, back issues, as well as even causing blood clots and strokes.  Yes this has happened and does happen all the time.  Sadly while our dogs are trying to please us they can not stand up and state “hey this is hurting”…  Let us remember dogs are not our slaves and should not be treated as slaves… THEY are living breathing beings which means they have nerves, blood vessels and muscles that can be damage by these types of collars…  Lets put it this way… would you want  a school to start using prong collars on your kids??  “Well, little Billy was talking with a classmate so I gave a quick pull on his prong collar…he doesn’t speak anymore and don’t worry those buses will heal…”  Yeah, I didn’t think you would want to see schools doing this to human children, why should we be doing this to dogs.  Who by the way have been proven to at least have the metal status of a toddler.

Dog Father: “No more use of fatty treats, that do not train your dog to respect you!”

FALSE:  Reward based training… ok I have had many questions about this… A good positive reinforcement trainer will right off the bat tell you that treats are not ment to be used as a life long thing.  The treat size you should be giving your dog as a reward should only be the size of a pea.  No bigger, you can even go smaller as well if need be, and on top of that treats are shortly phased out of the dogs training( Let us not forget some dogs are not even food motivated, this leads to other rewards such as: Pets, toys, and even sometimes walks).  They are only there to first reinforce the behavior you want and are soon replaced with voice praised and rubs, or even a toss of a toy.  None of the dogs I have trained have gotten “Fat” and my own dogs are all very fit and lean.  Most of the time a reason why a dog is gaining a lot of weight is he or she is getting the wrong type of food for that time in their life.

I also didn’t know you had to cause pain and rough up any living being to earn his or her’s respect  I guess Ghandi really did a beat down with anyone who did not see eye to eye with him…

Even the vet association is speaking out and stating it is time to get away from the negative training , for the betterment for the dogs health, and treatment of the dogs.  Some countries are even banning these collars (prong,choke,shock and so on), myself I hope to see the USA to catch up with these other countries.  Many countries will even fine you thousands of dollars  if the collar is even found in your home.  Humans need to learn that not everything has to be instant. It’s important to put the work into making a better dog.  Why are humans so in need of causing pain to get what they want? It’s a sad fact, and I think we need to start looking at ourselves and what we are doing to another living being and ask why do we need to use painful methods even though there are better ones out there.

Dog Father: “Will even stop aggression!”

False:  This doesn’t stop it, but instead covers it up… which can lead to bigger issues down the road.  Your dog, when he or she is being aggressive,  gives you signs before the aggressioon occurs.  You start pulling on his or her neck using aggression you are just cause the dog to stop all the signs and will one day snap and this leads to the common saying “There was NO signs or warnings”. Yes…yes, there was however, you did not train yourself to see it and you just trained your dog to turn off his or her warning signs.  “Aggression against aggression is only going to cause more aggression.”   To put it in a picture we could all understand as humans:  a woman was beaten every day of her married life, one time her husband came home from a bad day and decide he would take it out on her.  This time however, the wife with her kitchen knife in hand killed her husband.”  Aggression was brought out in this woman who  might have easily been a mellow person, however was pushed her to the edge.

I have seen owners place prong, and shock collars on their dogs to “Stop them from growling or going after people or other dogs”.  I have then seen those dogs at the fence collar wise and growling soft enough so the collar does not go off, and some dogs didn’t even care about the highest setting.  After all they are now thinking the pain the collar is giving them is from the thing they are looking at… So its best to kill whatever, is causing that pain.

So before you throw on that easy collar of pain wether it be shock, prong, sound, spray think about this… Would you want this on you all day or when you go out of the house… Some say I test out the shock collar it doesn’t hurt me… Well, why don’t we up the shock to the point it would feel like what the dog would feel it meaning, the shock maybe low for humans however, for a dog it is very painful, if it wasn’t why wouldn’t they just keep on going…  Just think about it this way, do I want to be that type of person who is so lazy that I want the quick way out insted of putting the time and CARE into the dog who is a family member that I would put into a human child.  And if you are the type of person who says that he or she doesn’t have the time to put into the training, maybe its time to find the dog a new home, after all they aren’t just  a tv or a game- they are in fact a living being with feelings, and needs.

Websites you may want to read more about:

http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/shockcollars.html

Prong collar”They do not cause any harm” haha yeah sure… here is a light pull to med pull:

I have even seen dogs with black and blues all over their neck from these.  And by the way can you say mid evil much, I think as a whole the human race could do a little bit better than using something like this.

Till next time -Green Paw-

Next time on the Green Paw:

Clicker training.. wha?

The Wubba toy

Breed of the Month: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

 

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever 

History:
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was developed in Yarmouth County, at the Southern tip of Nova Scotia during the early nineteenth century. It was crossed between: red European decoy dog (Or so to believe), spaniel, setter, or retriever as well as the farm Collies. The first Toller came into the USA during the 1960s.

  

  

Temperament:
These dogs have a lot of energy being alert but, not hyperactive and can adjust too many circumstances. They are good with children, other dogs and pets. They are willing to please and wanting to learn. But bore easily and then can be a bit stubborn. 


Health:
Major concerns: none
Minor: CHD,PRA
Life Span: 11-13 years
Males: 45-52Lb Females: 35-42Lb
Height: Males: 18-21” Females: 17-20”

  

  

  

Training Tip: Start as soon as  you get your puppy.  This means as soon as you pick him or her up from the breeder start leash training as you are walking to the car with the puppy.  With treats in hands and being positive with getting the puppy to come to you, he or she will have a better start and understanding about the leash and what needs to be done.  

Different dogs, have different drives, one Nova Scotia may be more food driven, while another puppy maybe more into toys.  Bring both toys and treats and see what the puppy reacts to the most.  You will now know what the puppy will want to work for to please you.  

Gear tips:  While collars are pretty and a nice place to hang your doggie tags on, collars can lead to damage within the thort of a growing and older dogs.  I would highly recommend using an easy harness the body  version.  By using this kind of harness you know there will be no trauma to the thort while there is tugging or pulling.  The harness itself allows the body weight of the dog to be more even out around the whole body.  By also using this it allows you to also train your puppy and older dog that walking next to you will get them further down the road.  So keep the collars for the tags, and use the harness for walks, it will give you more control in a more humane way. 

   

   

Next Time on The Green Paw: 

The Dog Father–” The Perfect Dog”  Or as I call it -The Perfect lie-

Lets clear somethings up as it seems a lot of his information is out of date, and way off track.. His attack against Positive Reinforcement…

As well as an Intro about clicker and Positive Reinforcement-  The need not to be aggressive to your furry family member.