The Intrinsic Value of Correction

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Postby furever_pit » August 2nd, 2010, 10:32 pm

Correction....what does it tell us? Does it tell us anything at all?

The use of correction (notice I did not say compulsion) shows what a handler really has at the end of their leash. It demonstrates what a dog can take in the form of stress from a handler. It lets us know how sensitive that dog is to the handler. It can demonstrate handler reactivity. It can show the recovery ability of the dog. How difficult is it to build the dog after correction (if it is difficult at all)? Correction and that stress can be used as part of a training program to teach the dog that it has the ability to overcome stress and work through it successfully - kinda like teaching a dog that it can work through fatigue.

If one does not use corrections, how do you determine these things about your dog? Can you determine them?
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Postby TheRedQueen » August 2nd, 2010, 10:44 pm

Of course I can. ;)

My dogs occasionally get verbal corrections...and they vary in their reactions...Score and Xander slink away, Inara wiggles her nub and grins. Sawyer growls at me. Fig hits the ground. Ripley ignores me...(but then again, he's deaf mostly now. :P

I know how well my dogs handle different forms of stress, their "bounce back" from things, and how tuned in they are to me...I know this by observing them as they work with me, and observing how they react to the world at large. They experience a LOT of different things in life, living with me...and every experience is worked to be as positive for them as possible. We build on things, so I end up with a confident, happy dog that trusts me. I want my dogs to know that no harm will come to them (if I can help it at all)...so they are supremely confident.

That said, there are things that I don't mean to be aversive...so we try and work through it if it happens. For instance...funny story from the pin-up calendar shoot in NY this summer. I had Figment with me (the Wiener). Liz, Fig and I were all hanging around in Michelle's friend's yard...while Tina was getting her photo taken. I was going to do a fun pic with Fig on top of this friend's outdoor BBQ grill...with Score looking on...just for grins and giggles. So I took Fig and plopped him down on top of this grill (big, stone structure with a metal grill on top). He started acting all funny...lifting his paws, kinda hopping around. Wouldn't stand still. I wanted him to stand still for the photo...so I could have corrected the behavior I wanted. Instead I touched the grill...realized it was BURNING hot, and scooped him off. He didn't complain, he didn't get off the grill...he just gritted his teeth and took it. I felt horrible...I had't meant to hurt him! So after this, we found some wood (plywood sheet) to put on top of the metal, and put him back up on there...after some click/treats, he was lying down quietly on the grill top (with wood still). We worked through it...with no corrections, and it was all good...he trusted me still, and he recovered just fine. (the same shoot, we stuffed him backwards into a mail box for a picture...you could hear his tail banging away inside...he was so happy to work!)

My Inara runs flyball...and is VERY good at what she does. She's an HA dog that is extremely fearful, but can not only function but excel in the flyball ring...all trained with NO corrections, all positive reinforcement and negative punishment.
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Postby TheRedQueen » August 2nd, 2010, 10:50 pm

Here's a question back atcha...

How do you determine the appropriate level of correction for each dog, and for each circumstance? How do you know that it's the right amount, not too much (that might shut the dog down) or not enough (the behavior is not suppressed?).
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Postby furever_pit » August 2nd, 2010, 11:20 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:Of course I can. ;)

My dogs occasionally get verbal corrections...and they vary in their reactions...Score and Xander slink away, Inara wiggles her nub and grins. Sawyer growls at me. Fig hits the ground. Ripley ignores me...(but then again, he's deaf mostly now. :P


Okay, this is good. They are having different reactions to the verbal correction and this tells you something about their temperament. The one I would be most interested in would be Inara and having a heavier/more stressful correction would provide more information about how she takes correction from her handler. Sawyer I am semi-interested in but it would depend on the rest of his body signals. Ripley I am ignoring because of the deaf comment.

While your dogs' reactions to verbal correction do tell you something about them, you will never know how they react to more stress from the handler until you try.

TheRedQueen wrote:I know how well my dogs handle different forms of stress, their "bounce back" from things, and how tuned in they are to me...I know this by observing them as they work with me, and observing how they react to the world at large. They experience a LOT of different things in life, living with me...and every experience is worked to be as positive for them as possible. We build on things, so I end up with a confident, happy dog that trusts me. I want my dogs to know that no harm will come to them (if I can help it at all)...so they are supremely confident.


But stress from the handler is different than stress from the rest of the world. No?

Also, all three of my dogs are confident, happy dogs who trust me. In fact, I most frequently hear the comment that my dogs are SOOO happy when we are working (and not) and people want to know how to achieve the same with their dogs. Dylan has even been called "too happy to compete." lol

TheRedQueen wrote:That said, there are things that I don't mean to be aversive...so we try and work through it if it happens. For instance...funny story from the pin-up calendar shoot in NY this summer. I had Figment with me (the Wiener). Liz, Fig and I were all hanging around in Michelle's friend's yard...while Tina was getting her photo taken. I was going to do a fun pic with Fig on top of this friend's outdoor BBQ grill...with Score looking on...just for grins and giggles. So I took Fig and plopped him down on top of this grill (big, stone structure with a metal grill on top). He started acting all funny...lifting his paws, kinda hopping around. Wouldn't stand still. I wanted him to stand still for the photo...so I could have corrected the behavior I wanted. Instead I touched the grill...realized it was BURNING hot, and scooped him off. He didn't complain, he didn't get off the grill...he just gritted his teeth and took it. I felt horrible...I had't meant to hurt him! So after this, we found some wood (plywood sheet) to put on top of the metal, and put him back up on there...after some click/treats, he was lying down quietly on the grill top (with wood still). We worked through it...with no corrections, and it was all good...he trusted me still, and he recovered just fine. (the same shoot, we stuffed him backwards into a mail box for a picture...you could hear his tail banging away inside...he was so happy to work!)

My Inara runs flyball...and is VERY good at what she does. She's an HA dog that is extremely fearful, but can not only function but excel in the flyball ring...all trained with NO corrections, all positive reinforcement and negative punishment.


I would have checked the grill first before correcting my dog for not following through on a behavior, particularly if the dog is not staying still. I would not have killed my dog for what happened with Fig either. So I don't think that has much to do with whether or not you are training with correction.
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Postby amazincc » August 2nd, 2010, 11:29 pm

I guess I don't understand the question/topic... why would you WANT to stress out your own dog? If a verbal correction does the trick, why go further/beyond that? :?
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Postby furever_pit » August 2nd, 2010, 11:30 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:Here's a question back atcha...

How do you determine the appropriate level of correction for each dog, and for each circumstance? How do you know that it's the right amount, not too much (that might shut the dog down) or not enough (the behavior is not suppressed?).


This all has to do with gaining experience and working with tons of different dogs.
I use a correction level that is equal to or greater than the level of infraction - depending on which of my dogs you are talking about.
Of my three dogs, I have a very wide spectrum. One who will shut down pretty easily, another that will shut down if you bring WAAAAAAYYY too much correction and he doesn't understand the task (which only happened once and the dog has never shut down since then), and a third who has never shut down and honestly probably never will. I treat them all differently and train them all differently. I use more food with one dog than I do with the other two. I use more play to reward one of my dogs.
You learn the individual dog and you go from there.

If the behavior is not suppressed, well depends on the behavior and what you are working on. And the dog. haha.
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Postby furever_pit » August 2nd, 2010, 11:38 pm

amazincc wrote:I guess I don't understand the question/topic... why would you WANT to stress out your own dog? If a verbal correction does the trick, why go further/beyond that? :?


If a verbal correction did the trick then I would not go beyond that. There is no point. But a verbal correction does not work for all dogs. And some dogs need to be taught to respect that verbal correction.
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Postby TheRedQueen » August 2nd, 2010, 11:43 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:Of course I can. ;)

My dogs occasionally get verbal corrections...and they vary in their reactions...Score and Xander slink away, Inara wiggles her nub and grins. Sawyer growls at me. Fig hits the ground. Ripley ignores me...(but then again, he's deaf mostly now. :P


furever_pit wrote:Okay, this is good. They are having different reactions to the verbal correction and this tells you something about their temperament. The one I would be most interested in would be Inara and having a heavier/more stressful correction would provide more information about how she takes correction from her handler. Sawyer I am semi-interested in but it would depend on the rest of his body signals. Ripley I am ignoring because of the deaf comment.


Well, you can just have to wonder, because Inara won't get more than that from me...;) We've come a long way from the fearful dog that wouldn't come near me when I first met her...took a long time to gain her trust.

While your dogs' reactions to verbal correction do tell you something about them, you will never know how they react to more stress from the handler until you try.


But I do know how they react to stress from me...they run flyball with me...where I'm often stressed about things that have NOTHING to do with them. Xander used to turn around and stare at me when I released him to run. We couldn't figure it out for the longest time...everyone on the side-lines had reasons to give me...(I was banging the tug on the ground too soon, too late, too noisily, etc). I finally realized that he was feeding off of my stress...and if I was annoyed/stressed by someone/thing else...he'd turn and check..."is it okay to go...you seem upset..." lol Score could give a crap how I feel when he's playing flyball...same with Sawyer. Inara will slow down a bit if I'm stressed...and be more hesitant. Ripley...again, he had more issues running agility with me when he was younger, if I talked throughout the course...lol. He'd run better if I shut up. ;)

TheRedQueen wrote:I know how well my dogs handle different forms of stress, their "bounce back" from things, and how tuned in they are to me...I know this by observing them as they work with me, and observing how they react to the world at large. They experience a LOT of different things in life, living with me...and every experience is worked to be as positive for them as possible. We build on things, so I end up with a confident, happy dog that trusts me. I want my dogs to know that no harm will come to them (if I can help it at all)...so they are supremely confident.


But stress from the handler is different than stress from the rest of the world. No?


Sure...not disagreeing...but I can see how they handle stress in general by observing them. They also work for LOTS of people...so they have to handle working for others, not just me...so they have the added issue of having to adapt to different handlers.



Also, all three of my dogs are confident, happy dogs who trust me. In fact, I most frequently hear the comment that my dogs are SOOO happy when we are working (and not) and people want to know how to achieve the same with their dogs. Dylan has even been called "too happy to compete." lol


I wasn't implying that your dogs were *NOT* happy confident dogs...I was just stating that my dogs were, despite not using corrections. :dance:

TheRedQueen wrote:That said, there are things that I don't mean to be aversive...so we try and work through it if it happens. For instance...funny story from the pin-up calendar shoot in NY this summer. I had Figment with me (the Wiener). Liz, Fig and I were all hanging around in Michelle's friend's yard...while Tina was getting her photo taken. I was going to do a fun pic with Fig on top of this friend's outdoor BBQ grill...with Score looking on...just for grins and giggles. So I took Fig and plopped him down on top of this grill (big, stone structure with a metal grill on top). He started acting all funny...lifting his paws, kinda hopping around. Wouldn't stand still. I wanted him to stand still for the photo...so I could have corrected the behavior I wanted. Instead I touched the grill...realized it was BURNING hot, and scooped him off. He didn't complain, he didn't get off the grill...he just gritted his teeth and took it. I felt horrible...I had't meant to hurt him! So after this, we found some wood (plywood sheet) to put on top of the metal, and put him back up on there...after some click/treats, he was lying down quietly on the grill top (with wood still). We worked through it...with no corrections, and it was all good...he trusted me still, and he recovered just fine. (the same shoot, we stuffed him backwards into a mail box for a picture...you could hear his tail banging away inside...he was so happy to work!)

My Inara runs flyball...and is VERY good at what she does. She's an HA dog that is extremely fearful, but can not only function but excel in the flyball ring...all trained with NO corrections, all positive reinforcement and negative punishment.


I would have checked the grill first before correcting my dog for not following through on a behavior, particularly if the dog is not staying still. I would not have killed my dog for what happened with Fig either. So I don't think that has much to do with whether or not you are training with correction.


But I know MANY handlers that would have corrected without checking the grill first. I'm not saying that everyone that uses corrections would be like that, but I know many that are. Personal experience and all. I was just using it to show that my dogs are happy and confident in the face of stressors from me the handler, and from the environment. And the story was about a dog that was NOT bred to be a working dog or anything...just a little wiener rescue. ;)
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Postby TheRedQueen » August 2nd, 2010, 11:51 pm

BTW, Score responds to raised voices by retrieving...(John and I were just talking heatedly about this thread...lol) Score went and brought me a magazine. He knows it makes me smile...and he likes that better than loud voices.

He usually brings me a stuffed animal or blanket.
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Postby furever_pit » August 2nd, 2010, 11:59 pm

I was not at all asking you to correct Inara more. I am sorry if it came off at that way. I was really being hypothetically curious I guess.

Again, stress from the handler they live with is very different from stress from a different handler, a decoy, the environment, etc. One of my dogs will run off the field because of environmental stress long before he will run off because of stress from the decoy. They are different processes and reactions, and will represent themselves differently genetically.

I don't think that noting general stress of the dog or how they respond to picking up on your stress (which any dog who lives with you will do) has much to do with how they respond to the stress of correction. They are different sources. And just because you are correcting the dog does not at all mean that the handler themselves are "stressed".

PS - I work rescues too. :dance:
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Postby furever_pit » August 3rd, 2010, 12:03 am

TheRedQueen wrote:BTW, Score responds to raised voices by retrieving...(John and I were just talking heatedly about this thread...lol) Score went and brought me a magazine. He knows it makes me smile...and he likes that better than loud voices.

He usually brings me a stuffed animal or blanket.


So why do you think this is? Why does he go into a retrieve when he is stressed? Is that his "safe spot"?
I'm really really not trying to be critical. I just like talking about this stuff. Dylan's safe spot is his attention heel. I blame it on spending way too much time teaching it and using too much food to do it. But that's not what he does if I am arguing with someone - in which case he gets between me and that person and barks. Even though he will never do anything. :crazy2:
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Postby TheRedQueen » August 3rd, 2010, 12:05 am

I was not at all asking you to correct Inara more. I am sorry if it came off at that way. I was really being hypothetically curious I guess.


No worries...I wasn't really taking it that way. ;) I was just being a smart-ass. 8)

Again, stress from the handler they live with is very different from stress from a different handler, a decoy, the environment, etc. One of my dogs will run off the field because of environmental stress long before he will run off because of stress from the decoy. They are different processes and reactions, and will represent themselves differently genetically.

I don't think that noting general stress of the dog or how they respond to picking up on your stress (which any dog who lives with you will do) has much to do with how they respond to the stress of correction. They are different sources. And just because you are correcting the dog does not at all mean that the handler themselves are "stressed".


But if I have no plans on correcting my dogs physically, why do I need to know how they'll handle something that they won't get? :dance:

PS - I work rescues too. :dance:


I was just mentioning Fig's beginnings to show that it's possible to get a nice stable dog regardless of breed or breeding. :D
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Postby TheRedQueen » August 3rd, 2010, 12:07 am

furever_pit wrote:
TheRedQueen wrote:BTW, Score responds to raised voices by retrieving...(John and I were just talking heatedly about this thread...lol) Score went and brought me a magazine. He knows it makes me smile...and he likes that better than loud voices.

He usually brings me a stuffed animal or blanket.


So why do you think this is? Why does he go into a retrieve when he is stressed? Is that his "safe spot"?
I'm really really not trying to be critical. I just like talking about this stuff. Dylan's safe spot is his attention heel. I blame it on spending way too much time teaching it and using too much food to do it. But that's not what he does if I am arguing with someone - in which case he gets between me and that person and barks. Even though he will never do anything. :crazy2:


It is a safe spot for him, and it's a visual cue for me to smile and laugh...I've never been angry at him for retrieving (he LOVES to retrieve stuff)...so it's a happy thing for him. The most I'll get is exasperated when he knocks stuff off the shelves to bring to me (like tonight). lol
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Postby furever_pit » August 3rd, 2010, 12:16 am

TheRedQueen wrote:But if I have no plans on correcting my dogs physically, why do I need to know how they'll handle something that they won't get? :dance:


You don't. It all depends on the dog and your goals.
But I would also never argue that all dogs need correction. Just like you don't argue that all dogs need all positive reinforcement.
I just think that for some owners, some venues, some dogs...that correction has its place and that it has a value as a tool.
And I think that correction should be discussed with owners as a way to work their dogs - pet or working or whatever. Same as reward.

PS - Score sounds funny. I love a dog that likes to retrieve, Cairo is like that.
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Postby LisaM » August 3rd, 2010, 2:51 am

Good topic! I have noticed that the importance of positive reinforcement is brought up frequently on this board but I rarely, if ever, see anyone refer to the value of correction. It's usually referred to as "compulsion" like it's some evil thing...

IMO the best trainers use a balanced approach, utilizing both ends of the spectrum...using food or toy to shape behaviors is no doubt the best way to approach a puppy or green dog...stress free and fun, just the way LEARNING should be . However, I think there comes a time where we need to show the dog that there is a price to pay for non compliance. Without that hanging over their heads, what's stopping them from ignoring their handler in favor of something else? Some dogs want to please more than others, and some are just downright afraid to leave their owners side so therefore a physical correction is rarely if ever needed, even in times of distraction. Take this type of dog which is in a pet home where speed, precision, and reliability isn't all that important or consider the owner who doesn't care if they need 5 commands to get a response from their dog then maybe in that case its ok to leave the corrections out. but try this approach with an outgoing, strong willed dog (maybe dominant) with the genetic predisposition to want to do things "their way" and good luck with the "positive only "approach. A lot of dogs will walk all over their handlers if they are never shown that there is a price to pay for non compliance..forget about the whole notion that corrections allow us to evaluate the dogs ability to over come stress, this is more for people with breeding prospects anyways (people who have no plans on breeding don't care about how their dogs are able to handle and recover from stress) and just think about the whole training aspect of this...without ever putting a dog in a situation where they are going to screw up and CORRECTING them when they do, what's to stop them from screwing up the next time? A verbal correction? Maybe with a really soft dog...

furever pit, I do agree with the premise of your post...any dog I bring into my home is a breeding prospect, therefore I want to know they can handle a little bit of pressure (in my world that means more than verbal corrections) without folding like an accordian..I own bulldogs which are typically described as "bold" , "confident", "courageous" "resiliant" etc..they SHOULD be able to handle some stress, both mental and physical. If they crumble like a cookie under pressure, and have a slow recovery rate to boot, then I want to know about it so I can wash them from the gene pool. Coddling them through with positive only methods is not going to expose those weaknesses. Now, with all that being said, and breeding put aside, reliability alone "should" be enough reason to want to use physical corrections when a dog chooses not to comply. As long as you are fair, and give the dog a good education first, there is nothing wrong with making a dog think twice by using physical corrections. It's when people attempt TEACHING commands and positions using force and corrections that it's a problem..totally unfair and it usually results in a dog that is not really clear in what they should be doing and has conflict with their handler.
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Postby katiek0417 » August 3rd, 2010, 5:58 am

Good topic, Alison!

Okay, this is my opinion. I use corrections. I use them both in terms of a pinch collar correction and in terms of an e-collar correction.

My dogs don't see pinch collars until they are a year old. They don't see e-collars until much later than that (I think Nisha was introduced when she was 3, Nemo is 3 and has yet to see one) because I use them more for proofing. (More on this later).

When I first introduce the pinch collar - I attach the leash to both rings (so it's a dead ring). This will give a slight pinch if the dog pulls - this starts to tell me what the dog can handle and what it can't. Also, however, if I've raised the dog (from a puppy), then I already see (somewhat) how sensitive the dog is to me. So, once I start using the live ring on the pinch collar, then I can start actually giving corrections.

I tend to like to start my sessions with a harder correction, then lighten up from there. Why? I'd rather do that as compared to nagging my dog which just builds up their tolerance to correction. This gets them listening to me so that hopefully I don't have to give them a correction at all later. This also prepares them for trial day. Remember that dogs are creatures of habit. So, if I can build the habit in my dogs that they get a hard correction early, then when I give a good correction going on to the trial field, when that correction collar comes off, I'm still getting good obedience from them. Unlike most people, Greg and I almost NEVER work our dogs off leash (with just an e-collar). In fact, when I recently showed Nisha, she had a leash on her every day of her life until trial day. I went on that field saying "I'm not really sure what my dog is going to do when this leash comes off." Why? Because, again, dogs are creatures of habit. If they're used to me having the ability to correct them, then they shouldn't expect me to NOT be able to correct them. Also, though, if I've always trained with a leash, and progressively have allowed more slack in the leash, then they shouldn't really know if that leash is on or it isn't...the difference is that when it is on, I can give a correction.

However, the level of drive the dog is in also determines their level of correction. If I'm doing obedience for food with no decoy around (like with Axo), then the dog probably doesn't need as much correction as a dog that is doing obedience around agitating decoys (like Nisha and Cy). The higher the drive that the dog is in equates to a higher level of correction. I compare it to driving down the highway doing 60 or 70 (not that I'd ever do 70 :wink: ) and all of a sudden, the person in front of you brakes. Well, you have to apply a higher level of pressure to your brakes to stop in time in that situation than you would if you were only doing about 20.

Yes, I like to what kind of pressure my dogs can take from me. However, I don't know that that has any predictive power in how "hard" of a dog they are. Personally, I like a dog that is a little more sensitive to me. It means that on that trial field, I can change the volume and tone level of my voice to get certain things from my dog. That being said, Cy is extremely sensitive to me, but is successfully competing in the Level 3's...same goes for Asja. She is very sensitive to Greg, but is successfully competing in the Level 3's. They take environmental pressure. A lot of it. Jue, on the other hand, not AS handler sensitive as Cy or Asja (he is to a degree, like you can hurt his feelings, but he's much more willing to give you the middle finger), and although retired now because of age , Greg couldn't get him past the lower levels. He'd go through any environmental pressure you could put in front of him, but really wasn't consistently handler sensitive enough to get through the upper levels (that darned call off was the bane of Greg's existence).

Now, I always pair a verbal correction with my pinch collar (or e-collar) corrections - so my dogs associate them...again, very helpful on trial day...and, again, dogs are creatures of habit...

I've said this before, and I'm going to say it again. If there is an agitating decoy on the field, my dogs WANT that decoy MORE than anything good I can give it. I have to teach my dogs that you CAN'T just have the bite because you WANT it. IMO, there has to come a time when I teach them that...I never use corrections with puppies...I never use corrections until my dogs know the behaviors with NO DISTRACTIONS (I don't believe in correcting for something the dog doesn't know)...but if my dog is reliably doing the behavior, then I have to let it know that there are consequences for doing the wrong thing.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » August 3rd, 2010, 7:38 am

(people who have no plans on breeding don't care about how their dogs are able to handle and recover from stress)

This just seems wildly condescending, at least to me. Though Inara is never going to bred (though she'd make cute puppies! :wink: ) I absolutely do care how she's able to handle and recover from stress. I don't think I know anybody who DOESN'T care about that. :|

I consider myself a crossover trainer. I used to use corrections, compulsion, whatever you want to call it. It made Inara worse, more reactive, less able to quickly recover from stress. Perhaps it was bad timing on my part - don't know, don't really care. All I know is that it made her worse. When she was in full drive mode I could have ripped her head off with the prong (and nearly did several tims) and she wouldn't have cared. She'd ignore me and get more ramped up.

About a year ago I switched to the clicker and haven't looked back. I will be up front and say that she still wears her prong on walks but it's on the dead ring and I don't pop it at all - she just knows to behave with it. I only use it because we're still working on LLW skills and I don't want her to be able to pull on her flat collar at all. I consider it management only at this point. That being said, I try to avoid using positive punishment with her. I will verbally correct her and that's usually sufficient these days. But more often my mode of correcting when she's acting like an ass is to remove her from the situation. Take the fun out of it. And that has worked better, FOR HER, than any correction I ever gave her.

Now that we're doing touchy feeling training ( :giggle: ) I cannot rave enough about the improvements in her. Michelle and Erin have met her both BC and AC (before clicker and after clicker) and I'm sure they'd both say that she's an entirely different dog. She's much more responsive to me, MUCH less reactive, recovers extremely quickly from stress (like being tossed into a metal washtub and ripping her leg open without us knowing, but still being willing to be tossed several more times *ahem*), and is much more outgoing and willing to try new things.

P.S. Great discussion!
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby katiek0417 » August 3rd, 2010, 8:08 am

pitbullmamaliz wrote:
(people who have no plans on breeding don't care about how their dogs are able to handle and recover from stress)

This just seems wildly condescending, at least to me. Though Inara is never going to bred (though she'd make cute puppies! :wink: ) I absolutely do care how she's able to handle and recover from stress. I don't think I know anybody who DOESN'T care about that. :|




I'm glad you tackled that comment Liz! lol

I wasn't sure if I was taking it the right way - so I wanted to see what someone else said - and your response reflects that you took it the same way I did...

I would say that a MAJORITY of "pet" people (again, not using that as a derogatory term), who have dogs that are fixed (and, therefore, can't breed) care immensely about their dogs' stress level - and their ability to handle and recover from it. That's why we have such drugs as clomipramine, prozac, etc for pets.

Now, to take it a step further, I do breed my dogs. And I would say that I put more value on a dog's ability to handle (and recover from) environmental stressors than from the stress place on it by a handler. There are plenty of dogs that are handler sensitive but are extremely strong at what they do...I breed for a balance of temperaments and drives, and I also look a lot at lines...personally, I won't breed a truly handler aggressive dog (and I'm referring to a dog whose handler aggression wasn't created - because I do know dogs who, in the wrong hands, develop handler aggression - so it was created). At least in mals and dutchies, I've seen handler aggressive dogs that are bred, and their pups tend to be a little more than sharp. That's just a choice I make - many respected breeders do it...I don't (I don't want to create dogs that no one can handle)...

So, to me, I worry less about a dog's ability to recover from the stress put forth by a handler than I do about it's ability to recover from an environmental stressor....But, again, it's about balancing. If I have an extremely handler sensitive dog - I might breed that back to a dog that isn't as handler sensitive...

But, to get back on topic, I think most dog OWNERS care about stress and their dogs...
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » August 3rd, 2010, 8:16 am

I have a question - I'm not sure I understand why how a dog handles stress from a handler is important? I guess what I'm not understanding is what you mean by stress. Are you talking normal stress of "holy crap, I'm at the Dog Sports Open and I feel woefully unprepared!" or stress as in corrections from the handler? I guess I never try to purposefully stress Inara out - my goal is to teach her to trust me and keep her under threshold. Granted, she's not a protection dog, and I'm seeing that's where a big difference is coming in, but she has competed in obedience trials (one very scary one) and I'm planning on competing more with her. But I would think in any sport, you want the dog to trust you, not be stressed because of you. Am I just misunderstanding the whole "stress from the handler" aspect?
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby TheRedQueen » August 3rd, 2010, 8:20 am

pitbullmamaliz wrote:I have a question - I'm not sure I understand why how a dog handles stress from a handler is important? I guess what I'm not understanding is what you mean by stress. Are you talking normal stress of "holy crap, I'm at the Dog Sports Open and I feel woefully unprepared!" or stress as in corrections from the handler? I guess I never try to purposefully stress Inara out - my goal is to teach her to trust me and keep her under threshold. Granted, she's not a protection dog, and I'm seeing that's where a big difference is coming in, but she has competed in obedience trials (one very scary one) and I'm planning on competing more with her. But I would think in any sport, you want the dog to trust you, not be stressed because of you. Am I just misunderstanding the whole "stress from the handler" aspect?


Good questions...:) That's what I was trying to say in my posts...but I was tired last night and rambling. ;)

Also...just another thought I had...the way my dogs react to stuff DOES depend on the environment. Score can be a big baby (just ask Michelle and Liz...he screamed bloody murder last year when Michelle picked up his front end)...and in some cases won't take any physical contact without a huge reaction (he stresses at Michelle's house...last year Liz's Inara scared him)...but at flyball tournaments you could beat him upside the head with a 2x4 and he'd barely blink. He handles stress WAAAAAAY better when he's in an comfortable environment.
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