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Old December 29th, 2004, 10:43 AM
heeler's rock!'s Avatar
heeler's rock! heeler's rock! is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Calgary, AB
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Vivilee, I hope you don't mind, but I'm gonna disect what you just said.

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Just because your dog is working for treats doesn't mean he doesn't love you. What motivates humans to work? Isn't it money, fun, happiness, etc.? What's fun and like currency to a dog? I would say it is food, recognition for doing a good job, praise, and the love of their human/pack leader.
It is true that your dog still loves you, but they don't respect you and your word. I have seen HUNDREDS of dogs at offleash areas that DO NOT listen to their owners, because the owners treat train. What does someone do when they forget their treats at home? I've also seen dogs get into fights over treats at offleash parks, because the owner whips out a bag of goodies to get their dog back to them, and then all the other dogs come crowding around to get one, and they fight over it! That's ridiculous! If my dog isn't going to listen to me because it respects me, then I haven't done my job of being the Alpha pack member.

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The best way to reward good behaviour is a food treat because it is a shared resource. Your dog doesn't know that you don't also eat the same food as he does. He thinks you are sharing your food with him. That is pack mentality.
The best way to motivate and reward your dog, is praise. Lots of chest massaging and kind words, not food. I've never seen an Alpha male of a wolf pack, give a cub a treat for good behaviour. That is most definitely not pack mentality. When wolves communicate, they are efficient and they do not negotiate. When a cub steps out of line, the Alpha corrects him quickly and efficiently. There is no room for negotiation where as treats leave TONS of room for negotiation. When I see people treat train, and I have treat trained my oldest dog, if the dog doesn't listen, you keep trying and the dog keeps blowing you off. The dog learns that you're not serious, and it doesn't have to listen to a word you say. The training I do now, corrects the dog immediately so the bad behaviour doesn't repeat itself, and the dog knows I mean business.

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To get a really good idea of what clicker training is all about I would recommend the book by Karen Pryor called "Don't Shoot the Dog". She is the pioneer of clicker training and the book is not only a book for dogs but for all aspects of life in general. It's all about positive training and how being positive works faster and more efficiently than all other methods.
You are right, treats are a quick way to get your dog to sit, rollover, shake a paw, and lie down, but it is not how you get your dog to listen to you. Treats only mask unwanted behaviours, and they only work for a limited amount of time. Proper training involves a lot of time, energy, and dedication, but the results last a lifetime and the rewards are immensely worth it. It gives me great pride when I can call my year and a half old puppies once, and they come running back to me immediately, while someone with an older dog, has to chase it all over the park because the treats aren't as good as the pee on the branch. The other great thing about establishing Alpha and not using treats or clickers, is that it will work for any dog, no matter what. The methods are clear, simple, and direct, and because dogs do work in packs, all dogs are capable of learning the desired behaviours. I can get a dog to sit on a snap within the first hour of ever seeing it, without talking to it once. That's because I leave no room to negotiate what I'm asking the dog to do. People are way too talkative with their dogs! The more you say your dogs name, the less importance it will have when you need it to. I only talk to my dogs when absolutely neccessary.

Too many people opt for the quickest route possible. Treats, clickers, and haltis don't solve any issues, they only cover them up. People need to invest more time correcting the unwanted behaviour, and only praise the dog with love and affection, not treats.

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Clicker training is perfect for most dogs but perhaps not for an extreme alpha dog or a dog that is food aggressive.
Most dogs become food agressive and Alpha because of treat training. The top dog gets the treat! My oldest became food agressive after she was treat trained. I would have to say the treats and clickers don't work. They only look like they do.
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