Training dogs should be fun. When you lose your temper you lose. Overambitious dog owners, who expect miracles and don’t give anything in return are free to have a taster of how it feels when you haven’t got a clue what is expected from you and the less you understand the louder your teacher shouts: I can give them a language lesson, Icelandic, to make it properly ‘fun’, using grammar-translation and a cane. No praise, just punishment. And yes, I can shout, I just don’t shout at the dogs. I promise it will be boring, scary and you’ll learn nothing except how to despise me.IMG_1671

It really is easy. If you want your dog to learn, praise, if you want to be despised, punish.


12 thoughts on “Frustration

  1. Fergus was 10 months old yesterday. We have just, successfully, completed a 6-week beginner obedience class. I walk around with a handful of little treats much of the time because we’re still working on things and maybe always will be.

    He’s nearly perfect on the house training, or maybe I should say that _I_ am, having learned his rhythm and signals. But. There is still the occasional “accident” on an area of my bedroom carpet (it’s white), usually when
    I’m back there doing something like putting away laundry. He has an alternative — a litter box if I’m not attentive, or like last night there is nasty weather preventing walkies — but this is a message and I don’t yet know what he’s trying to tell me. He knows it’s wrong and acts contrite, but still can’t help himself it seems. I praise all the _good_ results and act very disappointed indeed when I have to clean up these misses.

    I harbor hope that, eventually, he and I will have a meeting of the minds about this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He will learn – it’s actually proven dogs do, even left with no training whatsoever (they simply prefer going outside). He might actually not think it’s ‘wrong’ but that you don’t like it. The more you praise him for going outside, the better. Don’t do much about the occasional accidents, clean up as well as possible, try not to leave any lingering scent. Lack of reward is a form of punishment (it really is). Dogs only understand what the reward or punishment is for when it’s instant (within 2 seconds of the act itself). The older they get, the less likely they are to wee near their food/bed πŸ™‚

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  2. One of the reasons I adopted a Cavalier King Charles is because they want to please their humans. So, I agree. I think he’ll “get it”, eventually. And, no, I don’t punish. I do a lot of, “oh no” with a disappointed tone and he knows. Bless his little heart. πŸ™„

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    1. I wasn’t always like that. Some 20 years ago I was taking my dogs to ‘obedience classes’ where punishment was the norm. I didn’t like it, but I thought it was the only way. It was my first badly abused dog (found by accident) who changed my approach. I was a teacher trainer then (for humans) and I knew there must be another way. So I started learning about dogs, then did some courses (behaviourist courses were better, more ‘positive’). And it worked so much better. All my ‘lost cases’ are quite well-trained, they might not suit everyone, but then, no dog does. My own dogs (my home dogs) have always been doing very well, though they can be somehow ‘special’. The dogs I adopt have serious issues, but I don’t have children and I kind of know what to expect, so we manage. I wouldn’t adopt a big aggressive dog because I’m 5’2” and under 7 stone -so if a dog that is bigger than me wanted to pull on a lead I’d have no chance πŸ˜‰

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  3. Sometimes worry about my mother, she’s your height and her GSD must be about 9 stone…luckily she’s very good and behaves beautifully for Mum. Do you remember Barbara Woodhouse? I do like today’s more empathetic methods…my dad was a vet, someone brought him a lab gundog to be put down as it was gun shy…my dad re-homed him and he had a long and happy life as a family pet!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wouldn’t worry about your mum, it’s not really the size of the dog that matters. And bigger breeds have the strongest bonds with the owners (according to Dognition/ ‘the Genius of Dogs’ by Brian Hare). I love your gundog lab’s (and dad’s) story-I like happy endings πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love that special moment in training when you can actually see the lightbulb click on above their little heads. You can almost hear them say ‘Oh-OK, that’s what she wants me to do!’ They are so pleased with themselves to have got it right and so pleased to have made you happy – it’s worth all the hard work you’ve all put in. And once they have ‘got’ it, they rarely forget (although they may need a gentle reminder every once in a while . . . )

    Liked by 2 people

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