Karlin, thanks for the soapbox, perspective and info. I created a new thread to respond to what you said, it's such a big topic.Originally Posted by karlin
On the Dog Whisperer TV show, they don't show actual abuse of a dog (of course), just persistent blocking of behaviors, for example, a dog pulling on the leash is countered by the "pack leader" pulling up on the leash/collar (i think--if i'm remembering right) and it doesn't appear brutal.
BUT, i cringe at the idea of doing that, especially with a cavalier or small dog. I use a harness on Zack, not a collar, especially because of the risk of SM, if he does have any tendency toward it, trauma to the neck and base of skull would seem to create a risk of worsening it or hastening its development.
A guy at the dog park has trained his own dog (yellow lab) mainly based on Cesar Millan's methods, and he showed me how to get Zack to heel, he said it takes at most less than a minute. He took his nylon leash and made it into a noose or slipknot, and put it on Zack, and i was cringing because i'm just freaked by him having a collar on at all, or stress put on his neck, and the guy pulled up on the collar to make zack sit down, and zack fought it for a few seconds, and the guy said that was good for him to fight it, and then Zack sat down, in less than 10 seconds. The guy then started walking around with zack on the leash and zack was heelilng nicely, just like that, he followed the guy round and round. but i still can't get over a feeling of dread that his neck or skull was damaged, however slightly. It happened so fast, i didn't voice my objection. He was a very nice man who adores his dog (he has given his dog a website! the dog is some kind of frisbee champion. he has a webcam on the dog so that he can check on him when he's at the office during the day. He clearly loves his dog, and his cat, very much).
I am worried because Lisa has enrolled Belle in an obedience class and the trainer had all of them buy pinch collars (prong collars). They're choke chains with prongs on them, and Lisa said they are supposed to be safer than regular choke chains because the prongs prevent the dog from fighting the pressure, so there aren't any trachea injuries. But because of the risk to Cavaliers of SM, I don't like to see training that uses pressure on the neck. I expressed this to Lisa. That's all i can do. Are there any articles on dangers of using collars on small dogs?
Thanks for the link on Dee Ganley. I will buy one of her training manuals. I wonder how much it would cost for her to produce a DVD of a seminar, or private training lesson clips, to demonstrate what she's doing in action. There seems to be a huge market for these things.
The more diverse dog training approaches I come across, the more i see that there is overlap with all of them, and there are certain core things that are shared. It's like child raising. I think what Cesar Millan has going for him that he shares with other prominant trainers is an air of self confidence with the dogs, i don't think it's the dominance methods so much as the putting out of a strong quiet relaxed persona, clear simple communication without analysis, just dealing directly with behavior in a straightforward way. Not so easy to do for everyone, not always something i'm good at. And the other thing that these different approaches seem to share is good knowledge of dog nature, the way dogs think and what motivates them, etc. These are both traits that actual dog pack leaders have, or that mother dogs have in relation to their pups. Things aren't complicated. Communication is direct and immediate, there's no emotional baggage.
The dogs on TV, and Zack heeling in the park, did not appear fearful in their submission. They appeared relaxed and content. Like dogs hanging out with their pack i suppose. But as you say, because Cavaliers are gentle and also because they are small and delicate, i can't imagine using any kind of rough training, even if it works and even if it doesn't seem to work through fear. And if there are positive friendly methods that work at least as well in attaining dog cooperativeness, then it seems a no brainer that this would be the superior way to go for the sake of a loving relationship.
Jan Fennell also seems to emphasize dominance. I've barely scratched the surface of her book (The Practical Dog Listener), but this morning i read that she advises against letting dogs control their toy box.
I used to control Zack's toy bin. i'd get the toys out for him. then he began figuring out how to knock it over so he could get inside it and pull his toys out himself, and i thought "Should i discourage that so that i will have control over whether he can get toys or not, or should i let him experience the feeling of efficacy of mastering new skills?" and i opted for the latter--i wanted to empower him. But Jan encourages dominance, apparently for the same reasons Cesar does, but she goes for it by different methods, apparently, more positive and gentler? I have barely looked into either of these so i can't really say. i had to laugh when i saw her bit about the toy box control. LOL, i guess i really blew that one.
I was just looking at a book on amazon.com called The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell. that seems to be a positive approach. Any opinion on that approach? It's very helpful to hear criticisms of approaches, very informative.
the first dog training book i got, on recommendation from someone on one of the cavalier email lists, is Puppy Preschool by John Ross. It was very helpful to me in the beginning, by giving me a very effective and gentle way of correcting and redirecting zack that took no training at all, it worked the first time: the word/sound "Naahh." I dont' know why it works, Ross said it's because it's the sound the mother dog makes. Whatever, it sure has worked.
It seems another training controversy is the use of food treats. There seems to be some strong division over this.
by the way, about the Horse Whisperer, the author of the book, Nichoas Evans, has another book which deals with wolves and peoples' relationships to them, it's called The Loop (whcih is a kind of trap which is very inhumane) i loved that book and can recommend it as a good fiction read.