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  #1  
Old February 23rd, 2009, 06:22 PM
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SyntheticSmile SyntheticSmile is offline
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Question Don Sullivan

What do you guys think of him? Has anyone here had any personal experiences with his program? Were you satisfied with the results? I'm seriously considering buying his dvd's and just want some feedback that doesn't come from his site.
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Old February 26th, 2009, 05:52 PM
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Sorry, I've never heard of him....
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Old February 27th, 2009, 09:45 AM
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No experience with him, but if these people are not invented, his methods sound pretty good.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Does_the_D...ng_method_work
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Old March 12th, 2009, 11:26 AM
Bogie Bogie is offline
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Don Sullivan training system

We ordered the Don Sullivan (He is from our home town, Victoria, B.C. Canada, some of the sites where the tape was filmed are the same parks where we go.) tape and command collar for our 150 lb. Malamute/Shepherd cross. The training methods are good but the collar broke the first time our dog pulled. The metal ring does not hold under the weight of this big dog. We then bought the pinch collar at the local pet shop. This collar is recommended for large breeds and is mentioned in the Don Sullivan tape. It is recommended for owners that are small or disabled but I (5') and have arthritis in my hands can not put enough pressure on the prongs to put it on the dog. My husband has used it and has gotten great results. I only take the dog to off leash parks.
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Old March 12th, 2009, 06:30 PM
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He used to have a show called "doggin' it" a number of years ago.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 10:19 PM
Arden Arden is offline
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Thumbs up Don Sullivan Training

I truly have never done a forum of any kind, but I felt the need to report the results I've had with Don Sullivan's training system.

I own an 11 year old Maltese named Miss. When she was a pup, I attempted to "train" her with treats etc., but found that Miss had some wonderful manipulation strategies of her own, and I couldn't afford to hire a trainer or take classes over a number of weeks or even months.

In the last two years, Miss' behaviour had worsened. She had developed some serious behavioural problems. She's become more aggressive, barked incessantly, charged and barked at other dogs (bigger dogs), urinated in the house, licked her paws, and suffered from horrible separation anxiety. I found myself on the defensive trying to come up with ways to stop her from causing trauma to herself, and my house! Baby gates, taking her out to urinate 2 or 3 times a night, and giving treats as rewards when she was good. All band aids for a much bigger wound.

I didn't realize the root of my problem until I got Don Sullivan's training system. I was very skeptical about ordering something from an infomercial, but I figured a $70.00 loss was worth the risk if it meant putting to an end my dog's continued suffering and anxiety. I am happy to say that over her 11 year life span thus far, this is the best money I have ever spent on her.

In the last eight weeks since buying the system, my dog now walks off leash in busy downtown Toronto watching every move I make for direction. She no longer licks her paws, has not had an "accident" in the house in the last 5 weeks, she no longer cries and scratches when I leave the house, and if she does bark, she stops when I tell her to. She is socialized, knows how to greet other dogs, and is confident.

Don taught me the importance of gaining respect from my dog. He taught me how to become the pack leader in our relationship, and all of the anxiety that Miss suffered from due to her self appointed pack leader status, is now 90% gone.

Don's methods of correction never caused Miss pain and are not abusive, but the transition from pack leader to follower was a difficult one for both of us. Don's methods are not time consuming, but they do require commitment and dedication. You must be willing to see the bigger picture, and to stick with it. I learned to adjust the program to Miss' needs, (as Don suggests) and eventually downgraded her correction collar to a Martingale.

I didn't agree with everything that Don said, particularly his advice on dogs and barking, but 95%of it was logical, and effective. I also began to incorporate other methods from "pack leader" dog trainers like Brad Pattison. I believe that pack leader training is the only method that truly works, and is the only method that will give your dog the true freedom they so crave. Clicking and treats just won't get these kinds of results.

I am truly thankful to Don Sullivan!
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Old May 1st, 2009, 10:38 AM
Promethean Promethean is offline
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I had seen his commercial a while back and managed to get a handle on his DVD and it's the same old jerk and choke approach that other less informed trainers use. In his DVD we get the usual lies about food making dogs fat, aggressive and dog only working when there is food around. Needless to say this is wrong and false and given the amount of evidence I am tempted to say that Sullivan in intentionally lying to sell his methods.

Plastic prong collars = "Command collar"
Long leash = "Freedom line"
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Old May 1st, 2009, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Promethean View Post
I had seen his commercial a while back and managed to get a handle on his DVD and it's the same old jerk and choke approach that other less informed trainers use. In his DVD we get the usual lies about food making dogs fat, aggressive and dog only working when there is food around. Needless to say this is wrong and false and given the amount of evidence I am tempted to say that Sullivan in intentionally lying to sell his methods.

Plastic prong collars = "Command collar"
Long leash = "Freedom line"

Do you have something to back up that statement, or are you just making generalized comments without any real advice. Where's this "amount of evidence" you speak of? And unless every dog that is overweight has a thyroid problem, it's not a lie that food makes a dog fat.

Arden, I think it's great that you have found methods that work for you and your dog. I was in street safety classes with Brad Pattison, and it worked great for us. I don't know anything about Don Sullivan, but I'm glad it worked for you.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 02:30 PM
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Rudeness will not be tolerated here - please keep it civil and do NOT reply to this comment here. Members are free to PM me at anytime.
Let's move on please.

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Old May 1st, 2009, 02:51 PM
Promethean Promethean is offline
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Originally Posted by Lynne_B View Post
Do you have something to back up that statement, or are you just making generalized comments without any real advice. Where's this "amount of evidence" you speak of? And unless every dog that is overweight has a thyroid problem, it's not a lie that food makes a dog fat.

Arden, I think it's great that you have found methods that work for you and your dog. I was in street safety classes with Brad Pattison, and it worked great for us. I don't know anything about Don Sullivan, but I'm glad it worked for you.
It is a lie that food makes a dog fat, a lie perpetuated by those who find it necessary to justify their backwards training methods.

I've seen the so-called street safety and they are the very opposite of that. There is little safety in running your dog into a lamp post because you decided to swerve at the last moment.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
"It is a lie that food makes a dog fat, a lie perpetuated by those who find it necessary to justify their backwards training methods......."

I usually don't get involved in many threads but how is that a lie?
Training methods aside, if a dog overeats and under-exercises, just like a human, it gets fat. How is this incorrect? Without a doubt trainers see tons of dogs that fit this exact description. How they choose to train based on body type is another issue.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 04:48 PM
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Food does not make dogs overweight anymore then it makes us humans fat. Well meaning, under-educated people practicing methods they do not understand and underlying health issues, make dogs fat. As well as a variety of other factors, of course...

I see nothing wrong with using whatever motivates the dog, you have to work with the drives presented to you. Sometimes this means using food rewards.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 11:28 PM
Promethean Promethean is offline
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I usually don't get involved in many threads but how is that a lie?
Training methods aside, if a dog overeats and under-exercises, just like a human, it gets fat. How is this incorrect? Without a doubt trainers see tons of dogs that fit this exact description. How they choose to train based on body type is another issue.
It's a lie because according to Sullivan, training with food makes a dog fat. He's not arguing that overeating makes a dog fat, but rather that training with food makes them fat. This is clearly false.
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 12:40 AM
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I train with food, and my dog is anything but fat. Mind you most of the pieces she gets are nothing more than a teeny taste. Personally for Agility training I'd much rather lure her across a new piece of equipment with a treat than forcefully drag her across it. Now some things she doesn't need a reward, tearing through a tunnel is reward enough, but things that are scary like to her the teeter, then I use the best tasting thing I can find that she likes. As she gets better and less nervous, then I reduce the number of treats.
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 08:44 AM
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It's a lie because according to Sullivan, training with food makes a dog fat. He's not arguing that overeating makes a dog fat, but rather that training with food makes them fat. This is clearly false.
Thanks for clearing that up, it makes sense now.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 01:59 PM
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Just to clarify - weight = calories in minus calories burned. NO matter where the calories are coming from.

Just out of curiosity , what would you do if your dog was not treat motivated? This is not a challenge, but when I asked this question of the members of a certain training assocation I was floored by their answer. I pray you can give me a better one.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 05:46 PM
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I work with whatever motivates the dog, this really depends on the dogs drives.
My dogs both have high prey drive and are motivated by toys, balls and tugs. They will work for food, but they are definately more enthusiastic with toys and more responsive. They lose interest after a while with treats, whereas a ball or tug never ceases to get an animated response from them.
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Old May 24th, 2009, 10:39 PM
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I work with whatever motivates the dog, this really depends on the dogs drives.
My dogs both have high prey drive and are motivated by toys, balls and tugs. They will work for food, but they are definately more enthusiastic with toys and more responsive. They lose interest after a while with treats, whereas a ball or tug never ceases to get an animated response from them.

That is funny you say that. My great dane is also that way. he will work for his stuffed turttle over treats anyday. lol
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  #19  
Old May 25th, 2009, 04:11 PM
Bishops_Mommy Bishops_Mommy is offline
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Smile Don Sullivan's Perfect Dog

I'm training my 4month old Siberian Husky boy with this system right now. I don't know if it's working, due to the fact that he's as stubborn as his "Father" but... I can lend any information if anyone is looking to purchase it
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Old July 16th, 2009, 11:15 AM
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I just orderd the don sullivan training dvds and such I don't have it yet but I 3dogs and 1 of my dogs when we first got him he was a holly terror. He was agressive towards everything and sometimes even the family like my parents and even me he bit me once and my mom told me if he does it again that we would have to put him down and guess what he bit me again and I had beg my parents not to put him down that he shouldn't be uthenized.
About a month ago i watched this show called the dog whisperer with Cesar Millan that is when I reallized that it our faults for our dogs misbehavior that we didn't become the pack leader so our dogs took that role back then. And what made it worse was that we didn't have that calm and assertive energy it was more nurvis and worried energy. So I started using Ceaser's meatheds like stay calm and assertive set the rules, bouderies and limitations and have exersize, disapline and affection in that order and much more and I can't wait to get that Don Sullivan training thing and use everything that I learn to make our dogs form unstable to become a stable pack.

Oh and one thing to people who are training their dogs it's all about the energy you use don't be tense just stay calm & Assertive cause that's what dog's feed off of not what you say to them. Also gain trust and respect form your dog that will also make it a bit easier to train and soon enough you will become the pack leader.
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Old July 16th, 2009, 11:25 AM
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I am skeptical of a trainer who feels the need to create informercials just to get the word out there. It appears to me as if he is just out to make money- no different than the creators of ShamWow, MightyPutty, OxyClean... I could go on.
Most of the people who have posted on this thread have only posted once, and don't appear to be very educated when it comes to training methods.
A word of advice before you buy this "miracle product"- do your own research, read up on all types of dog training before you buy into something you saw on TV once. You may just learn something new!
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 08:28 PM
Me&Harley Me&Harley is offline
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Hi, I have a 10 month old boston terrier with high energy. I have had him since he was 4 months old. I just received the Don Sullivan Perfect Dog DVD and Kit. I have also watched it a couple of times. I have been out with him for the last 3 nights and he is still pulling on the line? Is this normal? I guess I am a little fustrated being that it is very disheartening to keep watching all these examples of dogs that take 5 minutes to correct? Am I doing something?
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Me&Harley View Post
Hi, I have a 10 month old boston terrier with high energy. I have had him since he was 4 months old. I just received the Don Sullivan Perfect Dog DVD and Kit. I have also watched it a couple of times. I have been out with him for the last 3 nights and he is still pulling on the line? Is this normal? I guess I am a little fustrated being that it is very disheartening to keep watching all these examples of dogs that take 5 minutes to correct? Am I doing something?
No. You are not doing anything wrong. Anyone who tells you that you can train a dog to do something consistantly in 5 minutes is a liar. Yes, you can teach a behaviour in 5 minutes - but consistancy takes a lot longer.

I haven't seen the video and don't know anything about Don Sullivan so I can't speak to his methods.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 05:13 PM
SbrbnHstlr SbrbnHstlr is offline
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I have a very limited knowledge of Sullivans methods, though am fairly knowledgable about the ideology behind it.

So you're attempting to teach your little Boston to "heel," correct?
If that is the case, start inside. When walking around with the dog, any time the dog forges forward bring the dog back to your side with a leash correction, while continuing to walk with the dog. Once he has stopped forging past your left leg start the excercise outside.

I cannot stress that you should be in control when you leave the house. Wether that be a SitStay, DownStay or a calm dog. I've got 2 Bostons myself who are extremely energetic motivated animals. For control to exist you need to solidify and excercise the control before you move on with any other excercises.

It's hard to tell without seeing the little bugger, where exactly you're going wrong with the training. Sorry, wish I could help more
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Old September 8th, 2009, 09:23 AM
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Don taught me the importance of gaining respect from my dog. He taught me how to become the pack leader in our relationship, and all of the anxiety that Miss suffered from due to her self appointed pack leader status, is now 90% gone.
This is the number one most important thing to establish with any dog.

Ever.

Period.

Everything else becomes easy after this.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 12:00 PM
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This is a case where results don't justify the means. I have witnessed first hand Don beating a dog with a club to get it to submit. There are far more human methods that will get you the desired results. Contact your local veterinarian or Humane Society for recommended trainers/classes. I strongly recommend against supporting this man in any fashion.
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  #27  
Old October 22nd, 2010, 03:13 PM
DogTrainer1 DogTrainer1 is offline
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Dog Friendly Solutions

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Originally Posted by Arden View Post
I truly have never done a forum of any kind, but I felt the need to report the results I've had with Don Sullivan's training system.

I own an 11 year old Maltese named Miss. When she was a pup, I attempted to "train" her with treats etc., but found that Miss had some wonderful manipulation strategies of her own, and I couldn't afford to hire a trainer or take classes over a number of weeks or even months.

In the last two years, Miss' behaviour had worsened. She had developed some serious behavioural problems. She's become more aggressive, barked incessantly, charged and barked at other dogs (bigger dogs), urinated in the house, licked her paws, and suffered from horrible separation anxiety. I found myself on the defensive trying to come up with ways to stop her from causing trauma to herself, and my house! Baby gates, taking her out to urinate 2 or 3 times a night, and giving treats as rewards when she was good. All band aids for a much bigger wound.

I didn't realize the root of my problem until I got Don Sullivan's training system. I was very skeptical about ordering something from an infomercial, but I figured a $70.00 loss was worth the risk if it meant putting to an end my dog's continued suffering and anxiety. I am happy to say that over her 11 year life span thus far, this is the best money I have ever spent on her.

In the last eight weeks since buying the system, my dog now walks off leash in busy downtown Toronto watching every move I make for direction. She no longer licks her paws, has not had an "accident" in the house in the last 5 weeks, she no longer cries and scratches when I leave the house, and if she does bark, she stops when I tell her to. She is socialized, knows how to greet other dogs, and is confident.

Don taught me the importance of gaining respect from my dog. He taught me how to become the pack leader in our relationship, and all of the anxiety that Miss suffered from due to her self appointed pack leader status, is now 90% gone.

Don's methods of correction never caused Miss pain and are not abusive, but the transition from pack leader to follower was a difficult one for both of us. Don's methods are not time consuming, but they do require commitment and dedication. You must be willing to see the bigger picture, and to stick with it. I learned to adjust the program to Miss' needs, (as Don suggests) and eventually downgraded her correction collar to a Martingale.
As a professional dog trainer and behaviourist, I feel the need to comment. There is no doubt that you love your dog, but unfortunately using a technique like this is not a solution for the dog, but only the human.

Behaviour problems that suddenly 'worsen' paired with Separation anxiety, aggression, licking the paws, urination in the house, etc are signs of a bigger problem, and confused pack leadership is not it. Sadly, dogs can develop anxiety disorders just as humans can and using punishment to suppress these behaviours doesn't change the underlying emotion that is deep inside, it only suppresses the dog from showing the behaviour, but he most certainly feels it.

When your dog is showing signs like this, you should never ever use punishment, prong or command collars etc. In fact, when your dog is showing signs of profound anxiety like that you need a Veterinarly behaviourist-not just a dog trainer.

See this article by world re-knowned Veterinary Behaviourist Dr. karen Overall:
http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/dvm...l.jsp?id=43492

Its important for the world to know that pack leadership isn't the root of the majority of dog behaviour problems. Fear/Anxiety is much more of a cause, and these dogs really need our compassionate help.
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  #28  
Old January 17th, 2013, 12:56 PM
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Punishment versus correction

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Originally Posted by DogTrainer1 View Post
As a professional dog trainer and behaviourist, I feel the need to comment. There is no doubt that you love your dog, but unfortunately using a technique like this is not a solution for the dog, but only the human.

Behaviour problems that suddenly 'worsen' paired with Separation anxiety, aggression, licking the paws, urination in the house, etc are signs of a bigger problem, and confused pack leadership is not it. Sadly, dogs can develop anxiety disorders just as humans can and using punishment to suppress these behaviours doesn't change the underlying emotion that is deep inside, it only suppresses the dog from showing the behaviour, but he most certainly feels it.

When your dog is showing signs like this, you should never ever use punishment, prong or command collars etc. In fact, when your dog is showing signs of profound anxiety like that you need a Veterinarly behaviourist-not just a dog trainer.

See this article by world re-knowned Veterinary Behaviourist Dr. karen Overall:
http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/dvm...l.jsp?id=43492

Its important for the world to know that pack leadership isn't the root of the majority of dog behaviour problems. Fear/Anxiety is much more of a cause, and these dogs really need our compassionate help.
As a person who has used both a behavourist and a trainer I feel I must comment here. I have a dog that was fear aggressive and can still be to some degree. I sought the help of a behavourist for this problem and for almost a year I used the methods taught by the behavourist without any success.
I then took my dog to a trainer who uses what you call punishment, however I believe they are properly termed as corrections. In less than a week of using corrections my dog no longer lunged and barked at people as they passed by me on the street. She actually walked by them with curiosity and instead of being afraid all the time she relaxed on walks.

I don't believe that bribing a dog to get results is the answer. It's like our society is to afraid to use discipline anymore. And by discipline I don't mean hurting an animal. Nature shows you the perfect way to discipline a dog. Just watch any pup and mother interact. The mother will discipline the pup if it acts up in any way. And the pup soon learns that such behaviour is unacceptable. Sorry for the sarcasm but I don't think mommy takes into consideration the feelings behind the pups actions.

Dogs are animals not humans and human phsycology has no place in the animal world. It's almost as if you are seeing human emotions in the animals and trying to find the underlying cause of those emotions to correct their behaviour. However if a dog learns that a certain behaviour will get them attention they will continue with that behaviour if not corrected.
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  #29  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 06:45 AM
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Ripped, too bad you obviously found the wrong type of ''behaviourist''. Unfortunately, anyone can call themselves that with no real education in the field at all. And there are some people out there that offer sham dog behaviour courses on top of their so-called training courses. There are good ones out there but they seem to be few and far between. Sounds like you picked a hack.
I too have fear-aggressive dogs. Three actually. All have responded amazingly well to counter conditioning coupled with tiny rewards of liver chips and other highly nutritious bits, subtracted from meals. One dog had been physically abused by a previous owner, had an extensive bite history and was a particularly hard case. The other two had insufficiant socialization as pups and were just fearful of new situations and other dogs. None are overweight. All three approach other dogs in a civil, polite manner now. And it hardly took any time at all.
I agree that people are not dogs, but we are both animals and both mammels, therefore have a lot in common. Of course there are some pretty major differences, brain structure and capasity, body structure etc, etc. But overall, we are similar in more ways than not. Relating to a dog as if they share some common atributes as humans has been my way to having a successful relationship with my current and past dogs. They have so much to teach us, it's a shame when we don't listen.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 02:21 PM
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@ripped -

"I used the methods taught by the behavourist without any success."

"In less than a week of using corrections my dog no longer lunged and barked at people"

"I don't believe that bribing a dog to get results is the answer."

Learning theory is not simple or easy. It actually requires a decent amount of theoretical background and skills/ability. Positive reinforcement, desensitization & counterconditioning, learning by association - they work, that's not even up for debate. The variable is the handler. If they don't understand what they're doing (eg thinking that food rewards are "bribing") they are very likely to be unable to carry out even a simple task (like teaching a dog to sit) using food rewards. Timing is a huge culprit. Many dog trainers don't understand timing - it's not difficult to find dog owners who say their dogs won't learn but the dog is learning things no problem as soon as they're put with a handler who has the knowledge and skills to train dogs. They also take time - because you are changing the dog's emotional response to a trigger, so that they choose on their own not to produce the undesired behaviour. It's fixing a problem, not suppressing a behaviour that's really a symptom of the problem. The methods work - that's tried and true (and if you say that's not true, you are saying that virtually 100% of all the experts in the field of animal behaviour are wrong). That doesn't mean that someone can do it wrong, and get results. If you used these methods for a year, then I might take another look from scratch and find out where you're going wrong.

Aversive-based methods on the other hand are very unsophisticated. They all can be summarized pretty quickly - "correct" the dog every time it does something you don't like. Pretty basic. Hit, jerk a collar, yell, threaten, kick, choke, drag, etc. Dog barks, yell or "correct" (punish). Dog pulls on leash, yell or "correct". Dog jumps up, yell or "correct". Everything is treated the same. Very easy. It requires zero ability to figure out why the dog is engaging in an undesired behaviour (fear, territory, prey drive etc). It requires zero understanding of even the basics of behaviour modification and extinction (e.g. the fact that how you cure - not suppress - fear aggression, and how you cure - not suppress - dominance-aggression, are different). Just yell or "correct". All undesired behaviours are treated the same. The dog does something you don't like, punish it (corrections are punishments). You are not changing the dog's negative association with the trigger, you are not changing the dog's emotional reaction. You are simply wanting them to stop xyz right now. In most cases, aversion-based methods make the negative association and the emotional reaction stronger. However, fear is a powerful thing. Being hit, kicked, even yelled at is something distressing for most dogs, and they will do a lot to avoid it. So their fear of punishment is greater than the negative emotion that has caused the behaviour - they learn that humans are volatile and yes, they will often cease the behaviour you don't like. The behaviour is not extinguished, it's suppressed. The dog's fear of the consequence is greater than the emotional response that's causing the behaviour - which should tell you something.

There are many different techniques in training. Aversion-based trainers (eg Cesar Millan, Brad Pattison, Don Sullivan), who are not respected by the behaviour community, basically use one. Flooding and punishment. Cue them to do something you don't want the dog to do so that you can punish it for doing what you don't want it to do. Very easy. There are still people raising kids that way too. A human equivalent would be luring a 3YO onto the road by putting it's favourite toy in the middle of the road, then giving them a spanking for going on the road. The child will probably stop going on the road pretty quick. The question is, is the child educated? Or are they scared of another spanking? Have they learned that roads are dangerous? It takes a lot longer and isn't as easy as just spanking, to explain cars/traffic to them, get them to understand that roads are dangerous, and show them the behaviour you want (look both ways, stay in a defined area). They are avoiding punishment. When the parents aren't around, is that child going to stay off the road the same way as the child who was taught about road safety? This is what behaviourists mean when they say that these methods cause aggression. You yell at a dog for growling, he may stop growling at you. Then when the 6YO neighbour is over and grabs for the dog's rawhide, they are MORE likely to get bitten - because the dog has not learned that they don't need to guard their resources from humans, they've only learned not to growl at that guy who hits them for it. If this is "these methods work" to you, then you have different goals for your dog than I do. To me, "working" means extinguishing, not suppressing a behaviour. Doing it in a way the dog enjoys (like the child being read a road safety book as opposed to the child lured onto the road and spanked) is also important to a lot of dog owners.

"Dogs are animals not humans and human phsycology has no place in the animal world. It's almost as if you are seeing human emotions in the animals and trying to find the underlying cause of those emotions to correct their behaviour."

Well, I don't know any animal behaviourists who use human psychology, although there are a ton of similarities. They do recognize however that humans are animals, and learning theory works the same way for humans and animals. With the obvious difference that humans are capable of more sophisticated cognitive functions, we do still learn the same way. Google "exposure therapy" or "systematic desensitization and counterconditioning". The experts in human behaviour modification and dog behaviour modification are using the same methods. It doesn't appear you have any background in psych or behaviour modification so I'll leave it here and not get too complicated but animal behaviour is animal behaviour, learning is learning, with many more similarities than differences between species - the main differences being simply levels of complexity. This is one reason that one of the TV "trainers" recently had behaviourists shaking their heads when he said chicken camp had nothing to do with training dogs and was "stupid". Just wow. That should tell you tons.

Good behaviourists know that dogs do not have the same emotional range that humans do, but a pretty significant cornerstone of dog behaviour is understanding the root of the behaviour, and while their emotional range may be more rudimentary than ours, it's naive to think they don't exist, or that they aren't the motive for various behaviours. To not understand/accept that is like treating a medical condition by medicating symptoms and not doing anything about the actual diagnosis. For example, treating a dog with advanced heartworm for his shortness of breath, etc. You may get a suppression of that symptom temporarily, but if the heartworm is not treated, it's still there, and treating symptoms will only get you so far. The shortness of breath will come back. It's not "fixed". This is not a perfect analogy however, because heartworm is a fatal disease, whereas for example fear of strangers isn't, and you can suppress behaviours more easily and longer than serious medical symptoms.

When people defend fear-based training methods with "but they work!" and I answer as above, I usually find what comes next is "my dog is not scared/damaged at all, he loves me". It is the nature of many species, a few in particular (humans, dogs) to be subject to even horrific abuse and to continue to try to earn approval from their abusers. Abused dogs continuing to return to owners for abuse, children clinging to and even defending the parents or others that have abused them. Because the dog doesn't have a sign on it saying "obviously, I'm hit" does not mean they're not abused or even happy. For those who understand behaviour (behaviourists - not actors with dog training shows on TV or people who say they don't need to go to school, they "watched dogs" and do what dogs do) it is very obvious when dogs are stressed, anxious, fearful, avoidant - and it's very obvious that those are the primary body languages you see in dogs trained using aversion-based training methods.

Last edited by doggirl; January 23rd, 2013 at 04:13 PM.
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