SO! WHY READ THIS….. When you learn to drive, you would ― READ & LEARN The Highway Code “Safety” because cars and highways are dangerous, the LAW demands it. If you are in the military you are not just given a gun and off you go on a jolly shoot. You just don‘t jump in a car either with no knowledge. You will cover many aspects ― RULES before even touching a gun or before driving on the motorways. For a start you must recognize who you are shooting at or know what threats are, stick to the road ― BOUNDARIES and speed ― LIMITS (observation & recognition) just like training a dog. My point is you have a big responsibility to yourself, the public and your new furry friends life. There are more serious dog bites in the UK than serious car crashes and gun crimes. Dog training does not necessarily have to begin when you buy an 8 week old puppy (although it should) or when your 10 year old dog bites a child. In reality it begins on the day you make up your mind to learn how dogs think and how they relate to the world they live in, our world. It begins when you “make the decision” to relate to your dog in a manner that both you and your dog respect and understand. It begins when you make up your mind to develop a meaningful relationship based on trust, communication and control. So why should you not read on? Well I think that‘s obvious.
In living with dogs for 41yrs: I was living along side animals from a very young age working on a family farm in Yorkshire with dogs and livestock. But I was seven when I first had a very serious dog lesson, Why? Because I was hospitalised from a GSD attack. This is when my thirst for knowledge, research reading endless amount of books, attending lectures and thinking why the dog did what it did. Also maybe had something to do with the pain I felt when my father put me in a bath of Dettol (antibacterial disinfectant) Ouch!. I made my mind up to serve our country in the parachute regiment as an protection and (active and passive) detection handler (sniffer and tracker dogs) and K9 first Aid. When I left I studied a degree at Plymouth University, also by this stage and after I had completed many courses like animal ethology, advanced dog Behaviour and Psychology, whilst working as a learning and development councillor. To absorbing hundreds of books, training seminars and working in the professional industry for 25yrs here is what you must understand broken down in to a nut shell..
Dogs: like Children, they don‘t know how to be good unless we show them.
Dogs: must have a reward and discipline system they start to understand.
Dogs: can be feed, rewarded and loved, they will like you at times, but they very well may not trust or respect you and listen if it‘s for free.
Dogs: observe you 24/7 do you observe them? They know what you know and they know what you don‘t know about them.
Dogs: are born to follow, if you stick to these rules, with patience and love, you will be a “decision maker”. You have a responsibility to the dog/puppy the day you got him or her.
A social unit of dogs is simply called the "pack", some people still find this hard to believe like a Fox Terrier. You can observe any breed and see the same characteristics with the mother raising her pack. It has been proven “FACT” with DNA sequencing the domestic dog is also a subspecies of the grey wolf pack animal (Canis lupus), and shares many of its behavioural characteristics, unlike a Wolf thou a dog can process starch (not a out and out predator). Although certain aspects go on being questioned, the main body of evidence confirms it is “fact”. Although there are important and distinct differences between dogs and wolves, fashionable latest philosophy views from behaviourists and ethologists can blur and contradict this scientific fact that most dogs have pack mentality and these innate behaviours. Dogs rely on instinct and the pack leader = "decision maker" in the wild. Domestic house dogs have no pack leader from the moment they enter your life, but was born with one and taken away from decision maker who has been teaching discipline by setting rules from a young age. The day we get our new friend, if we left them to that dog instinct many would be euthanized for eating a neighbour's cat or small dog, biting a child or being run down on the road chasing cars. We have to be firm calm assertive leader and more, for many of these and other reasons. Even though a dogs impulse thinks they are making an intelligent decision to cross a river at the shorter distance point, they do not have the human knowledge of choices, free will and can rationalise, they even probably only know how to react one way at first, which is ALWAYS what they see as positive consequence. They will always turn a negative consequence into what they see as a positive. Biting you is a positive consequence if it stops the pain or fear. In the river they could have fatal injury or drown in the rapids, pollution in the water or the fast speed boat approaching. No means no and the owner needs to form a relationship bond with trust and respect to achieve this. Modern day life has many obstacles that we need to introduce our beloved K9 to in the correct manner to achieve balance and leadership. The dog needs to follow calm pack leader "someone in charge the decision maker" AKA the boss and look for instruction. All dogs are born with social status & to follow.
The vast majority of behavioural problems are caused by mistakes that were made in building the DM foundation (groundwork) of how relationships were set up between us and the dog ― BOND. Not knowingly we are making these mistakes daily. So we need to establish structure, routine by creating our rules, boundaries and putting limits on certain behaviours‘ to modify what we want and don‘t want. Love has conditions and boundaries along with mutual trust and respect. Unless humans deal with the respect issue in love they will never have the correct bond with a dog in which the dog looks at them as ― The Decision Maker. Members of our family pack must trust you, feel relaxed around you, and be comfortable in your presence. The only way this can happen is if they know the rules and anticipate our expectations. When that happens they know they will be treated fairly. They also know that if they ignore the rules they will suffer the positive or negative consequences. This DM leadership relationship is a learned endeavor. It‘s learned through the day to day experiences of living with an owner who establishes and enforces rules, not just in training class (never works). It‘s also learned through formal obedience training. But with this said, I tell people that hundreds of thousands of dogs go through obedience classes in the UK country every year. The vast majority of dominant dogs come out of these classes just as dominant as when they went in, or if not worse and kicked out. That‘s because the owners were not trained with decision making with regards to our human dog bond. Puppies who grew up and became dominant, fear bitters and aggressive dogs were always raised by people who did not establish the correct family pack structure and human dog bond.
Free will has been at debate with philosophy, psychology and dog trainers for decades. For some reason we want to think of our dog as a free spirit with free will not just a personality is enough. To understand the term Free will we need to go back. Free will was earliest seen and documented in the bible. This section of Scripture clearly shows man's free will to accept or reject God's calling, to do good or Evil. Does a dog know he/she is doing, good or evil and accept doggy heaven? Behaviour is behaviour to them. In holding that free will is a feature of a human's soul, and thus that non-human animal's lack free will. Humans have a habit to manipulate words, meanings and over complicate to feel self worth, to be known has educated. Give long explanations but really are trying to take another one's free will and condition other humans not to think but follow. Having the intelligence to act without the instruction of others and stick to facts. Food for thought as many don't like to be wrong and see the simple facts. Many trainers say Cesar Millan as put back dog training forty years and many say that just (R+) lure-and-reward trainers like Victoria Stilwell or even Ian Dunbar have done the same. Fortunately for some, a dog can't speak and debate theory or fact and have this free will. Unfortunately lure-and-reward does not always work with all dogs and is much more suited to puppies from the day you get them with marker training off leash and correctly socialised, because this is where problems start. I'm not in any camp. I have always been flexible with dog and owner depending on behaviour. Taking in to consideration, instinct, innate behaviour will to serve (WTS), will to power (WTP) and that dogs live in the moment, as human we also need to be flexible with a more democratic in natures leadership and takes a dog's specific issues and needs into account. Dogs should have fun and reward training but with rules and structure.
People argue between Victoria Stilwell Positive Reinforcement (R+) method and Cesar Milan Dog Whisperer who uses certain leadership methods. At times people will label a canine issue as requiring dog training or dog behaviour rehabilitation, when dogs always need both. Also using pet care services like our Plymouth
dog walking for regular exercise, or Plymouth
Dog Boarding for nervous dogs that don’t like kennels or even our Plymouth
Dog Sitting visits can be less stressful which gives us the opportunity to access the dog without owners influence.
Victoria Stilwell is a well respected dog trainer while Cesar Milan is considered a dog behaviourist. There is a vast difference in these two titles and a fine line in my opinion when these methods should be used. Both trainers often don’t use the full potential of Classical, Operant conditioning and quadrants.
Victoria Stilwell uses Positive Reinforcement (R+) occurs when an unwanted behaviour is followed by a stimulus to redirect and condition a new wanted dog behaviour (commonly seen as a pleasant reward), in turn increasing the frequency of the new behaviour. Cesar Milan's immersion therapy or "flooding" is a psychological technique which allows a dog to overcome fears (phobias). Cesar's general method consists of humans being a dog's "Pack Leader" with calm assertive energy (CANRG) to achieve balance. Dog training does not achieve balance and the behaviour can often still be in round the corner. Unfortunately most owners do not know how to lead and achieve balance to get better outputs from training. If a dog as no drive, motivation or is nervous and fearful, the last place it wants to be is training class, but Plymouth Pet Care can show you how.
I will now give a breif some examples to understand these methods.
Stilwell's Positive Reinforcement (R+) dog training, like a lot of dog trainers, often use distracting tools and reward systems to influence a dog's behaviour or bad habit. For instance, if your dog is overly excited or aggressive when he sees other dogs, Stilwell's approach would be to wave food or a favourite toy in front of your canine's nose in the hope that he will choose to pay attention to food over fighting with a dog. This type of lure training should be used in marker training first to shape and under threshold. Repetition can eventually lead to your dog to wait for treats when he sees other dogs, rather than go after them. However not all dogs can be redirected by treats and toys once in a higher state of flight or fight without a professional trainer honing your technique. I have seen many dogs break free from the lead or yard and no treat or toy will redirect the higher stage of flight or fight. Possibly due to the owner's timing and not recognising signs such as ears, eyes, tail and body language. Not every dog responds to these methods because every dog is different as seldom the problem is in the owner dog relationship. Not every dog can be influenced by food or a toy 100% of the time. Also if you can't reconise a dogs state of mind and forms of flight you can be rewarding, nurturing and reinforcing bad behaviour with this method or poor timing. Stilwell's methods in my opinion are great when training a puppy and/or a young dog to condition and redirect behaviour with repetition.
Cesar Milan 'Dog Behaviourist' method is quite different in such a circumstance from above we call it the calm assertive energy (CANRG) and not excitement that can increase a dogs threshold to make them reactive and aggressive. Instead of distracting your dog from other dogs while on a walk with food or a toy, Cesar would bring your problem canine right to the other dog and correct each and every moment of aggression, fear or anxiety using precise timing. The exercise would not be considered complete until your dog can sit calmly in the presence of other dogs. Repetition of this type of method can result in a dog that is actually rehabilitated, not simply distracted with food or a toy. This however does not mean Milan will not use the latter. Cesar uses (R+) most of the time in appropriate circumstances to build trust and respect with is calm assertive energy (CANRG). In the dog's natural world, their fellow canine pack members don't lure or bribe them to get them to stop unwanted behaviours. This would most certainly be detrimental to the pack. Pack leader will give them a warning, setting rules, boundaries and limitations and finally a correction, the problem is solved. However we are not a dog and can simply take this approach.
Many say Milan's method is putting a dog in the very situation that it fears in order to show it as harmless thus believing it may intensify the fear and anxiety of the animal. People feel it puts more stress on a creature that cannot understand why it's being forced into scary situations. I do agree his methods may intensify fear and anxiety, but a dog will always respect and trust its pack leader this is not a punishment like some people think but rules, boundaries and limitations; the same any mother or animal would give to its offspring, its just that we need to take things much slower, dogs can communicate with each other far more easily than we can.
We as humans have created the fears and anxiety in our dogs. You never see a tramp with an uncontrollable dog but a strong pack leader with his dog in tow ignoring the local pooch. With using leadership management with structure everyday and leading your dog into every situation you are becoming leader. But you must look at prevention and management on how to handle a dog, before yuo become Rambo, taking on the wolrd.
I feel Cesar's method deals with the problem at hand with some dogs, but in the same breath you can say Victoria Stilwell deals better with the minor problems. So it is important to understand the differences in their methods and when to apply the correct method. BUT before applying any method you cannot take the simple things for granted like groundwork where 90% of owners go wrong.
So you could say methods like those taught by Cesar Milan, rehabilitate unwanted behaviour from dogs, but then I believe training tools like those from Victoria Stilwell can be very useful, every dog is different with what is being treated. Whatever is being treated the dogs needs to learn focus and we need to learn to engage our fluff ball.
Stillwell respects the dog's nature and its willingness to please its master, like many trainers teaching the dog to follow. She does use strong calm energy and takes no prisoners. Some people say a trained dog perceives you as pack leader and some say it's a 'broken spirited' animal but my question is, is this true? Stillwell introduces the fear-producing situations gradually and uses distractions without causing it more stress, but the anticipation and anxiety is still there and we would be arrogant to think otherwise, so you must know your dog and observe.
Mother - nature does not introduce fear invoking situations gradually and in our life we cannot be at home 24hrs a day. We have free will and choices a dog does not have. Both trainers alternate methods at times, but it's a fine line when to do so because of the wrong messages you can give a dog in a second.
If all humans acted and trained in ways that brought balance to their dogs, we would have far less problems with dogs that are out of control. This is my aim, Milan, Stillwell and other dog trainers. From a young age in school we should also learn the Dog Safety Code, i was lucky to only go to hospital. From firsthand experience I know far too well how many problems we humans create in our dogs. Milan's method of 'getting back to nature, back to basics, and back in touch with our energy' are positive ways of getting any dog to follow you willingly and have total trust and respect in you. It can be perceived that Milan's method is punitive and forcing a dog to behave, but I believe this is a case of misinterpretation and misunderstanding. He is not forcing the dog to do anything but to stop doing what its doing. Milan's method calm assertive energy (CANRG) emulates mother-nature in the way it was intended. Stillwell's method, positive reinforcement (R+) enhances the dog's ability to learn while increasing confidence, results in a healthy, well-adjusted pet. Nature's pack leader rewards in the same way but we humans have to use our head, because there is no training method that can break a dog from dominance, obsession, or any number of very serious unwanted behaviours if you are not the pack leader = Decision Maker. To rid a dog of these things, it takes a Decision Maker.
I hope owners can appreciate the difference, and realise they can expect more from their dogs without feeling defeated with just one method or trainers belief. I have trained in all methods to suit dog and owner. There is a fine line between all trainers methods which all normally over lap. Trainers can get stuck in their ways and just train a dog but not address the behaviour. We want the dog to follow from trust, respect and unconditional love for the owner, but you could argue we are conditioning this love for both dog and owners benefits. I personally feel long term use of treats or lures to keep a dog's attention actually demonstrates a lack of implementing these skills correctly. Before dishing out treats and correction there is much to understand. That's not a healthy human/dog relationship if we constantly have to rely on a vice. Knowledge of observation, reading and handling a dog, using the quadrants, creating a communication system with structure is much more than these TV programs. We have 100% success with owners who follow our (PPC) Positive Decision Maker leadership program and don't punch out on any behaviour.
Plymouth Pet Care Positive "Decision Maker Leadership & Training Program" effective training approach establishes and enhances communication, by calm assertive energy (CANRG) leadership, positive and negative consequences but in the appropriate circumstances with structure, setting rules, boundaries and limitations with understanding a reward and discipline system. If owners are consistent with our approach, the dog will learn that he must look to them to obtain anything he needs or wants, such as food, freedom, play, and social interaction. If the dog learns to respect and trust his owners in this way, he will be more likely to turn to them for direction when he's feeling challenged or fearful and will be more likely to need directions or you can also stop unwanted behaviour by command. With any Behaviour, exercise, stimulation and diet is key to ensure that the dog is being fulfilled. If you can exercise round your breeds requirements, the better.
Let me help you be the "Decision Maker"
P.W.James BSc (Hons) - Please contact me for any advice click here.
Dog Behaviour Psychologist & Trainer.
Protection, Active & Passive Detection (sniffer and tracker dogs) Trainer.
Dog will work without pay. Being a family dog isn't a job, it's a relationship