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  #1  
Old 08-20-2008, 02:32 AM
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Default Very interesting article. What do you guys think?

http://ca.lifestyle.yahoo.com/pets/d.../fairy-tales/1
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Old 08-20-2008, 07:27 AM
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I think they make some very good points, but some of those points do need to be modulated, like the thing about tug. I don't think tug will make your dog aggressive, per se, but if you don't play it properly, it may teach your dog to snatch things from you, which is definately undesirable. So the points are good, but not always precisely accurate.

Edit:

Let me go down the list with my understandings of some of these points:

Quote:
1) Dogs are naturally pack animals with a clear social order. This one busts coming out of the gate as free-ranging dogs (pariahs, semi-feral populations, dingoes, etc.) don’t form packs. As someone who spent years solemnly repeating that dogs were pack animals, it was sobering to find out that dogs form loose, amorphous, transitory associations with other dogs.
My understanding of this, from the research I've read, is that feral dogs will form wolf-like packs IF RESOURCES ALLOW. Otherwise, they are more like coyotes, forming alliances, splitting up, joining another group. If resources are really low, they are largely solitary.

Quote:
2) If you let dogs exit doorways ahead of you, you’re letting them be dominant. There is not only no evidence for this, there is no evidence that the behaviour of going through a doorway has any social significance whatsoever. In order to lend this idea any plausibility, it would need to be ruled out that rapid doorway exit is not simply a function of their motivation to get to whatever is on the other side combined with their higher ambulation speed.
I have to admit, this always struck me as strange. However, its a good idea to prevent your dog from charging out the door for safety reasons.

Quote:
3) In multi-dog households, “support the hierarchy” by giving presumed dominant animals patting, treats, etc., first, before giving the same attention to presumed subordinate animals. There is no evidence that this has any impact on inter-dog relations, or any type of aggression. In fact, if one dog were roughing up another, the laws governing Pavlovian conditioning would dictate an opposite tack: Teach aggressive dogs that other dogs receiving scarce resources predicts that they are about to receive some. If so practised, the tough dog develops a happy emotional response to other dogs getting stuff – a helpful piece of training, indeed. No valuable conditioning effects are achieved by giving the presumed higher-ranking dog goodies first.'
No comment on this one. I've heard it, took it as gospel, and have to admit that there's not reason to believe it.

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4) Dogs have an innate desire to please. This concept has never been operationally defined, let alone tested. A vast preponderance of evidence, however, suggests that dogs, like all properly functioning animals, are motivated by food, water, sex, and like many animals, by play and access to bonded relationships, especially after an absence. They’re also, like all animals, motivated by fear and pain, and these are the inevitable tools of those who eschew the use of food, play, etc., however much they cloak their coercion and collar-tightening in desire to please rhetoric.
Dogs have an innate desire to make you happy and get rewards and affection. They do ths by pleasing you. That's how I always took this. But the interpretation she is discussion . . . yeah, that's bunk.

Quote:
5) Rewards are bribes and thus compromise relationships. Related to 4), the idea that behaviour should just, in the words of Susan Friedman, Ph.D., “flow like a fountain” without need of consequences, is opposed by more than 60 years of unequivocal evidence that behaviour is, again to quote Friedman, “a tool to produce consequences.” Another problem is that bribes are given before behaviour, and rewards are given after. And, a mountain of evidence from decades of research in pure and applied settings has demonstrated over and over that positive reinforcement – i.e., rewards – make relationships better, never worse.
To me, bribing means that you always have a treat ready whenever you ask them to do anything. We all know dogs that will only do something if they see the reward. So . . . not quite accurate. Rewards are not bribes, but there is such a thing as bribes.

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6) If you pat your dog when he’s afraid, you’re rewarding the fear. Fear is an emotional state – a reaction to the presence or anticipation of something highly aversive. It is not an attempt at manipulation. If terrorists enter a bank and order everybody down on the floor, the people will exhibit fearful behaviour. If I then give a bank customer on the floor a compliment, 20 bucks or chocolates, is this going to make them more afraid of terrorists next time? It’s stunningly narcissistic to imagine that a dog’s fearful behaviour is somehow directed at us (along with his enthusiastic door-dashing).
Took this one as gospel too. This makes sense. Perhaps the problem is people who themselves act afraid when the dog is afraid, rather than those who give their dog a nice confident pat.

Quote:
7) Punish dogs for growling or else they’ll become aggressive. Ian Dunbar calls this “removing the ticker from the time bomb.” Dogs growl because something upsetting them is too close. If you punish them for informing us of this, they are still upset but now not letting us know, thus allowing scary things to get closer and possibly end up bitten. Much better to make the dog comfortable around what he’s growling at so he’s not motivated to make it go away.
Amen.

Quote:
8) Playing tug makes dogs aggressive. There is no evidence that this is so. The only study ever done, by Borchelt and Goodloe, found no correlation between playing tug and the incidence of aggression directed at either family members or strangers. Tug is, in fact, a cooperative behaviour directed at simulated prey: the toy.
See my first answer.

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9) If you give dogs chew toys, they’ll learn to chew everything. This is a Pandora’s box type of argument that, once again, has zero evidence to support it. Dogs are excellent discriminators and readily learn with minimal training to distinguish their toys from forbidden items. The argument is also logically flawed as chewing is a ‘hydraulic’ behaviour that waxes and wanes, depending on satiation/deprivation, as does drinking, eating and sex. Dogs without chew objects are like zoo animals in barren cages. Unless there is good compensation with other enrichment activities, there is a welfare issue here.
People believed this?!?!

Quote:
10) You can’t modify “genetic” behaviour. All behaviour – and I mean all – is a product of a complex interplay between genes and the environment. And while some behaviours require less learning than others, or no learning at all, their modifiability varies as much as does the modifiability of behaviours that are primarily learned.
A terrible, dangerous thing to believe, and part of the reason behind BSL. Thanks for hitting it.
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Last edited by Lilavati; 08-20-2008 at 07:40 AM.
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  #3  
Old 08-20-2008, 08:18 AM
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It is an interesting article. I may not agree with all of it but I do agree with most of it.
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Old 08-20-2008, 08:33 AM
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Its IMO a very good article. There isn't much that stands out that I don't agree with. The studies in Pariah dogs that I have read show that while they may travel in packs they are not really 'packs' the individuals change from day to day. They don't form life long bonds like wolves do.

This is the main reason I HATE it when people try to run their dogs on pack theory.

I prefer my dogs to go out doorways a head of me, I do ask them to sit first if they are over stimulated. I have always wondered at the people who are huge into pack theory and buy this one. How many doors have you seen a wolf go though? (that and the fact of my most 'alpha' dog always goes through doorways last.

Tug is a cooperative game..if it made dogs aggressive then almost all agility and flyball dogs would be HA.

Great article!
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Old 08-20-2008, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
6) If you pat your dog when he***8217;s afraid, you***8217;re rewarding the fear. Fear is an emotional state ***8211; a reaction to the presence or anticipation of something highly aversive. It is not an attempt at manipulation. If terrorists enter a bank and order everybody down on the floor, the people will exhibit fearful behaviour. If I then give a bank customer on the floor a compliment, 20 bucks or chocolates, is this going to make them more afraid of terrorists next time? It***8217;s stunningly narcissistic to imagine that a dog***8217;s fearful behaviour is somehow directed at us (along with his enthusiastic door-dashing).
But haven't many, many people here on Chaz said that petting a dog when they are afraid is reinforcing being afraid? Perhaps I'm not understanding this one.

(With Daisy at the vet, I've tried ignoring her fearful behavior and I've tried patting her when she's afraid, and neither seem to make a difference.)
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Old 08-20-2008, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Sweet72947 View Post
But haven't many, many people here on Chaz said that petting a dog when they are afraid is reinforcing being afraid? Perhaps I'm not understanding this one.

(With Daisy at the vet, I've tried ignoring her fearful behavior and I've tried patting her when she's afraid, and neither seem to make a difference.)
Its a very widespread belief, but I'll buy that its a myth. I think it started with telling people not to talk in a comforting, baby voice or make a huge fuss when the dog was afraid (because the dog will think YOU are also anxious) and progressed to the idea of not rewarding the dog for being afriad. I always believed you shouldn't, but I'll buy this as a myth. The explanation makes sense to me.
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Old 08-20-2008, 04:41 PM
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I have successfully worked with dogs to over come fear by exposing them to low levels of what freaks them out and rewarding like crazy.

my oft used example..
Lets say you are terrified of men in big black hats. And you are in a strange land where no one understands your language nor most of your gestures. This land has many men in big black hats (MIBB) they wander around. As a child you had a horrible experience with a MIBB and now have a real fear of them. Now if people passed you chocolates and money when a MIBB was hovering over you, would you still freak out. YES. (if the people around you whacked you and jerked you till you stopped freaking, you may learn to to freak but would still be terrified..but that is another example)

Lets say people took you out to where you could only see MIBB from a great distance. Every time you spotted one your friends smiled and passed you fifties. You might feel a little nervous but like the money so you start looking for MIBB cause they mean money!

Then the money only comes when you are a little closer to the MIBB etc etc.
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Old 08-20-2008, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dekka View Post
I have successfully worked with dogs to over come fear by exposing them to low levels of what freaks them out and rewarding like crazy.

my oft used example..
Lets say you are terrified of men in big black hats. And you are in a strange land where no one understands your language nor most of your gestures. This land has many men in big black hats (MIBB) they wander around. As a child you had a horrible experience with a MIBB and now have a real fear of them. Now if people passed you chocolates and money when a MIBB was hovering over you, would you still freak out. YES. (if the people around you whacked you and jerked you till you stopped freaking, you may learn to to freak but would still be terrified..but that is another example)
Lets say people took you out to where you could only see MIBB from a great distance. Every time you spotted one your friends smiled and passed you fifties. You might feel a little nervous but like the money so you start looking for MIBB cause they mean money!

Then the money only comes when you are a little closer to the MIBB etc etc.


I've heard of that, and that's one reason why I think the article is right . . . if rewarding in the presence of a fearful thing can make the dog less afraid, then why would pats hurt. No, I think it came from people freaking out because their dog was freaked out and making a huge fuss over Fido "Oh Fido, its ok, baby, oh fido, no its ok" and thus convincing the dog that their human friend was also afraid . . . which means they should continue to be afraid of the MIBB, because the human is afraid of the MIBB. But I'd never really put all that together before today.
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  #9  
Old 08-20-2008, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Lilavati View Post
I don't think tug will make your dog aggressive, per se, but if you don't play it properly, it may teach your dog to snatch things from you, which is definately undesirable.

I don't play tug, because in my experience, if I haven't, teaching the "drop" command is 100% easier, and it seems not even to occur to the dog that resisting the removal of something from its mouth is even an option.

Plus, I just don't enjoy it. Having my arm reamed on by a tugging 60+ lb dog is far from the top of my list as far as fun games with my dog.
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Old 08-20-2008, 05:26 PM
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articles like this are fun to talk about on the interent, but in reality the whole do I pet, or not, or do I reward or not, or do I sooth or not, or what to do in a "fearful" situation for dogs is rather complex and in any one case what is right for one might not be right for the next.

Most of my dogs don't need or get soothing, pets or anything like that. They've never been that afraid of anything. I've met plenty of dogs that soothing helps them overcome. With my personal dogs if the situation ever arose I ignored their behavior for the most part (ignored from a standpoint I didn't acknowlege their reaction with a reaction of my own) acted like nothing mattered and went about my business. It's never taken more than a second or two and they were over whatever it was.

But you also have to take into account how is the dog reacting to its fear, growling, snapping, avoidance, shaking, trembling, tail tucked and trying to hide, hackles up and growling. I'm not going to move away from fearful stimuli when they are acting aggressively, that would only reinforce their aggressive displays that is entirely based in fear. Just like I wouldn't give them treats either.

about the dogs and pack stuff, I disagree. Just because some might make a whole bunch of training methods based on "pack theory" that don't really seem to make a whole lot of sense and makes some pretty loose assumptions, like a dog running out the door first is because of dominance when it just as easily could be because of excitement, doesn't mean that dogs aren't pack animals. It just means that some have made incorrect observations. Dogs display are huge array of pack behaviors everyday, and mine remind me that they are indeed pack animals everyday in the way they interact with each other and myself.
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