Question by Marna O: More thoughts on dog training “methods”; in relation to our individual choices of the “type” and “purpose”?
of the dog we choose.

There is a wide cross section of who I consider very experienced and knowledgeable “dog people” here. The “purpose” of their dogs vary too. The amount of training necessary to achieve the dogs’ purposes again vary. As well as what “methods” may work the best to achieve the “purpose”.

Simple pet/companion: just around the house or hiking and camping and such. Competition dogs: obedience and rally. More sport/competition dogs: agility, dock dogs, frisbee etc. Hunting dogs. Herding dogs. Protection dogs. and all the others….

To best suit each purpose, there are specific “traits” that are virtues and traits that are faults. There are “instincts” to be considered, there is temperament… “bravery”, sensitivity, willingness/biddability, and variations of “prey drive” (would that actually be instinct? hmm…)

This has been tumbling in my head for some time, originally inspired by particularly by you, Greekman, quite some time ago for all your “outspokeness” ;) then added to by the “temperate” Dutchman, and lastly by Curtis’ (who seems more contemplative) recent question on training “methods”

I think we must understand that we are all very different people, with different personalities and interests. Although we feel our chosen “breed(s) and purpose(s)” is/are the best, it is so only to us. A reflection of who we are. What we want in a dog is very different from another. Greekman admits he is a warrior, and he is doing what he wants, with the dogs he wants. And his method of training obviously is what works for his dogs and their purpose. I assume, from what I recall from his posts, that he LIKES the challenge of a “driven, pushy” dog from the start. I am not a warrior, I dislike arguments, confontations and battles. I like to “work with” and share, not necessarily “win”. And hence, I have a Border Collie. Her “instincts” are to be a working partner, to look for direction, to be “subtle”. Her first time, and every time, she has been on sheep, she is keen, quiet, careful, will drop and call off immediately. When challenged by a ewe, her first exposure at about 4 months old, she did not hesitate to charge its head and force it to turn. If a sheep breaks, she will take off after it to try to turn it, but she does not attack. She does the job, with the amount of courage she was bred to have. Would she make a protection dog? Heck no! If someone shook a stick at her, she would take it as a correction and drop to the ground! However, I have seen many “herding breeds” over the years (many who are actually protection breeds) when presented with sheep, simply charge, chase and attack, ripping the wool out, going for the throats and having to be literally beaten off the stock. That is not a type of dog I would want. Doesn’t suit me. And I totally accept you, Greekman, would not even feed my Border Collie. Not at all what would suit you. I am ok with that. But we should be understanding that either extreme, as well as the in between dogs and jobs, do have merit.

I believe when discussing “training methods”, we all must understand that the “end” result, the “purpose” of the dog is going to partially determine the basic training method. Because the dog (breed, temperament) we have chosen to best suit our purpose is going to be very, very different from someone else whose dog is for a very different purpose.

I am not, with this, challenging anyone’s training methods. I am not criticizing the use of pinch collars nor electric collars ( I have used the latter when I felt I had to resort to it). Nor “operant conditioning”, nor…….. I have admiration for effective trainers of field dogs, as I do protection dogs, as I do…. If I had a more “independent” breed, I know my training would need adjustment. If I had a “harder” breed, I know my training would have to be greatly adjusted!!

I do, secondly, want people to realize and accept that methods that are used by the “experts” here, for their “chosen purpose” dogs may not be the “best” for someone else.

NOW!!! The questions! If you are still here.

DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR “METHOD OF TRAINING” TO SUIT YOUR DOG’S PURPOSE? HAVE YOU ALTERED PART OF A METHOD?

AS TRAINING IS A CHALLENGE, HOW MUCH CHALLENGE DO YOU, PERSONALLY LIKE? ARE YOU REWARDED BY OVERCOMING CHALLENGES? AND WHAT SPECIFIC CHALLENGES DO YOU LIKE? DO YOU FEEL THESE TRAINING CHALLENGES ARE PARTIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE METHOD OF TRAINING YOU HAVE CHOSEN? Please include your dog’s breed, and “purpose”.

Thanks for being patient. Sure wish I could have gotten one of you to edit this for post!

Yes, yes. It seems like this is a lecture…it is prelude to some questions. I just can’t help but ramble. Fortunately I find communicating with dogs much easier.
Infinitely Superior: Ah ha! Here is the wisdom hiding behind your oft-times rude comments! Thanks! Excellent reply, succinct. unlike me ;( I particularly appreciated “you might be on your dawg like a chicken on a junebug for the same thing I would be praising.” SO true!!! and the very important note on balance of training: may need “big cheering and equally firm correction”

Bcdawgma: ah! you sound just like me! oh oh, may not be a compliment….

memphis belle: excellent example of needing to go “harder”

ms manners: thank you for your great answer, specifying the “challenge” of training you most enjoy and want to put the work into is seeing “the foster dog as a puzzle to be solved”.

ah Greekman! Aren’t you glad you don’t have to have a conversation with me ;) Thank you for answering. Despite seeming to pick on you, I usually give your replies a thumbs up!

Dutchman: yes! yes! Thank you for finding the “challenge preference”. I find this consideration thought provoking.
rescue member: only praise and treats? No consequences? I think this may be the reason our human society is in dire straits.

Edit; I will not be awarding a best answer. You guys can duke it out!

Best answer:

Answer by rescue member
“Yes, yes. It seems like this is a lecture…it is prelude to some questions. I just can’t help but ramble. Fortunately I find communicating with dogs much easier” ===

Good thing too, dogs might have more patience to sit through all that than I do – but then unfortunately, dogs can’t read.

You train ANY dog with positive reinforcement – praise and treats — that’s it. All the rest is talk, talk, talk.

Note: you are comparing our “human society” with the way people train dogs???
Wow — interesting thought.

As to “no consequences”, I should think anyone with an ounce of brain could figure out that undesirable behavior on the part of a dog is obviously met with a stern “no” and no reward – doesn’t take more than that to get the idea across.
Haven’t ever had to wrestle a dog to the ground and roll him over like the much praised “dog whisperer”, and I sure don’t have to smack dogs to get them to behave – a spray of water stops aggression fast enough. Key is not to let any nonsense start.

What do you think? Answer below!

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