Fall out from Dominance Theory
#1
Sadly I still see way too much of this. Especially from people who have been involve in dogs for years. They have not bothered to keep up to date and defend there point so strongly.
They use their "been in dogs" attitude to give them rights on "helping" people with dogs. Some are instructors, trainers or "in dogs"
They have no knowledge other than to bully dogs and people. Both dog and person are belittled.
I have recently watched a said trainer who constantly told people their dogs are dominant and giving them the bird. In actuality what the dog was giving was very clear signals of avoidance, submission and stress.
I have on too many occasions had to try and fix the damage done when Dominance doesn't work, or when the dog had no other alternative but to defend itself.
I mentioned in a post recently that I have had a lady and her Doberman who has been under such a Dominance trainer. The lady has quit on her dog, she has nothing left because she has failed, been set up to fail and so has her dog.
Usually when I work with people and their dog I need to consider many things.
How I would rehab the dog but it is not a straight forward as that. I have to look at the person. And the relationship between the dog and person. These are 3 crucial elements.
I have not given up on this lovely lady and her sweet goofy broken dog. I will give her and her dog something simple initially a foundation skill because both her and her dog desperately need to hear and feel a "yes". Both need to feel a success.

I know this is a rant but it upsets me so much

DOMINANCE Trainers break people as well as their dogs.
Think about that, these people feel powerful by aggressively bullying both. They get off on this. It is abuse.
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#2
Oh that poor woman and her dog, I can well imagine how she is feeling. DT mindset and proponents are also very good at attaching blame. Whatever the problem is, it is inevitably said to be a result of something you did "wrong". She already deserves a "yes" for be prepared to take new ideas on board, good on her and I hope you can pull her back from that point of giving up.

Yeah, you are right, instructor, trainer, in dogs, means absolutely nothing without a willingness and capacity to learn and keep moving forward. This was another lesson I learned the hard way. I value the knowledge of those who have been "in dogs", it can carry great knowledge but only when the willingness to learn goes hand in hand. My neighbour made the "I've been in dogs" statement. Yes, 11 dogs in the 25 years I have known him, none of which survived past 2 years.

DT's DO break people as well as their dogs and although it isn't easy, it can be turned around. I totally agree on your three crucial elements, they rely heavily on each other.
I hope we get the chance to hear of a few "YES's" Good on you for your commitment to helping them, they are very lucky.

EDIT I think a lot of the battle with DT is that it is ingrained into cultural mindsets simply because it has been around for so long. Even non-dog people will come out with things that are representative of DT mindset and all it's extended craziness. They may have heard things in respect to how to handle dogs amongst family and friends throughout their lives and they are fair game for the many DT trainers etc that are still around.
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#3
Quirkydog, your post really made me sad. ;( I hope that the lady with the Doberman can forgive herself and not give up on her dog. She did what a good dog owner does, consulted a trainer to help with her dog. She shouldn't blame herself for getting a bad trainer.

I have a friend and across the street she had a neighbor (they moved last month). The neighbor is the type of person who should never own a dog and had a few very bad results from owning dogs. Neighbor decides to get a GSD for "protection". Beautiful sable puppy. I don't proclaim to be an expert but I knew at once that this was a really nice puppy. Nice movement (not show dog), lovely temperament, I would have loved to have this dog. My friend had a terrible time with the puppy. He got into her garbage and into her garage and ate the feed for her livestock. He was never supervised and ran about the neighborhood. The owners had a "trainer" that they were working with and got a shock collar to train the puppy. Five months old. Swearing-smiley The owners finally gave up on the shock collar because every time they hit the button the poor pup would pee all over itself.

I would like to say that this ended well but eventually the puppy was killed, owners fault in my opinion. I wish they had come in contact with a trainer that instead of handing them a shock collar had told them they shouldn't own a GSD pup.
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#4
T&Mmom
That is awful. Poor pup.
The lady is truly broken, she is not committed, her last comment to me via text was he is a nice dog at home, so she thinks she will stay home.
This is a pretty isolated life for her dog and what if he needs the vet. She is in tears. I can't persuade her to give it one last try. She really loves the dog, but feels she can't handle him outside the house. He hasn't been walked for 3 months and that was with the "trainer". Who told her she was not allowed to walk him at all because she would undo all the work the trainer had done!!!! I think the lady is more damaged than the dog.
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#5
That's terrible! How horrid! What good is a trainer to teach your dog how to walk if you can't walk?!
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Gotcha Day: November 14, 2015
Vet-Listed Birthday: May 2, 2014
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#6
Quirkydog, I wish I lived near. I would love to try to talk to the lady with the Doberman. I feel so horrible for her! I know a few Dobermans and they are the sweetest dogs. The thing about Dominance Theory that I despise so much is the owner gets blamed. What if someone had blamed me for Mattie's fear?
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#7
Dominance training with dogs reminds me of the old-fashioned "breaking" a horse by hobbling, jumping onto it's back, riding the frightened animal until completely exhausted and no longer able to fight the fear. It does nothing for the poor animal but frighten them into submission. Yet along comes someone like Monty Roberts (often known as "The Real Horse Whisperer") who trains "difficult" horses with gentle methods and communication; his results are astounding...but still many old-timers insist that breaking a horse into submission is better. This can be because they are so ingrained in what they learned when they were young that there is no convincing them that another way is better...and sometimes, it's simple laziness. Take the fast, quick-fix route instead of working with the animal to show them that there is nothing to fear.

With dogs, using the dominance method is (to me) a misinterpretation...by someone who doesn't know how to communicate properly with the dog and understand what they are trying to say. Using the dominance method can often backfire and create a monster along the way...as the dog learns to no longer use their warning signals when they feel threatened...they are taught to suppress their instincts. And the result often leads to a sudden, unexpected lashing out when the dog can't take it any more. Then they are wrongly labelled as unpredictable or vicious, and the ending is never a good one.

It's very sad, indeed.
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"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." ~ Will Rogers
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#8
I got to practice the opposite end of this today, when I took Ember out. Part of the exercise for me was really learning to be direct with people who want to approach the "very good dog!".

At one point, a rather loud-voiced lady leaned over and reached in AS SHE ASKED if Ember was friendly (why even ask then?!). I didn't want to make any quick movements so I just said "Yes, but she's shy." This caused her to pause, so I added in "She may not want to be touched." As I said this, Ember sat up, scooted back (literally half an inch, it was the most half-hearted attempt I had ever seen), and gave the softest, shortest, least threatening growl I have ever heard from any dog.

Lady stood up and gave a soft chuckle. "I smell like two other dogs and several cats, I bet! She really is a good dog though!". As she turned to leave I reached in and rewarded Ember with a single little treat for being so patient and very kind in her communication. That is the first time I've ever rewarded a growl (besides removing whatever was not fun for her, which I guess is a reward in itself). But it was the most patient "Hey now, don't do that" I've ever heard her give, and I want that communication to remain there.

From that point on Ember was even more relaxed.

That is something I don't understand about the DT community. Most of them want to squash those warning signs (unless working with a protection dog). But what I saw with Ember today was that, when I let her communicate and then I took control of the situation for her, she relaxed even more. It really is a teamwork thing. As long as she lets me intervene on her behalf, I will allow her to say whatever is on her mind. And it is MY job to see that she never gets beyond a growl!
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Gotcha Day: November 14, 2015
Vet-Listed Birthday: May 2, 2014
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#9
Ha Ember, that is a whole other subject, people approaching your dog.
I have had people and their dogs try to approach my nice dog while I am obviously training, at some points I have had a clicker with me, Working on keeping focus on me not on the idiots oops I mean distractions going on.
Just one thing I think we need to be very aware of how our dogs are feeling about this approach, particularly a sensitive breed like the BC. Remember most dogs bite out of fear
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#10
You proved to Ember that her trust in you was not misplaced. She knows you've got her back.
Gotta love 'em.
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