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Originally posted by adorableaccentsdogbows.com@Jul 25 2005, 07:59 PM
A very good trainer friend of mine gave me the best advice in the world for dominence problems in small or large dogs. It's called the dominent down and it works like this.Go to your dog and lay him on his side, (dont make any reasuring sounds or talk to him during this whole process by the way. Don't even look at him) He'll probably fight you on this but be persistant,(Don't Let Him Win!) Hold him down, (gently of course) until he stoppes fighting you and lays still. Then let him up, (still without looking at him or talking to him) Start out doing this a few times a day in short intervals. After a while he should let you do it and not resist you in any way. Some dogs are more dominant than others and take a longer time to come around. I have seen this do wonders with dominent or aggressive dogs. For tougher dogs you may need to increce the time you hold them down. As your companions actions improve you can cut it down to twice then once and then not at all. If at any time the behavior starts up again go back to three times a day. It's a way of showing them where they stand without showing any aggressive yourself. I believe that showing aggression to a dog only breeds fear which in turn breeds more aggression. It's a vicious circle.
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I would NEVER recommend physically forcing a dog down to establish your position in the pack.
- It doesn't work. An alpha never uses physical force to take their position. Only lower ranked pack members use force to try to fight for status.
- You're asking for trouble. Forcing a dog down is a threat to the dog...a deadly threat to a dog. Speaking from experience of restraining dogs in a veterinary practice, this is not something to do on your own if you don't want to be bitten.
Hitting a dog does absolutely nothing other than make them hand shy. Punishment has to be done very precisely to work. It must be done at the exact time of the behavior you dislike. It must be strong enough to get a reaction. It must be followed by an opportunity to do the correct behavior and be rewarded for it. If you can't do that, then you shouldn't punish the dog.


Now back onto the subject of dogs growling at you:
Usually, this is an issue you can think of as insecurity. The dog is not sure of things and has learned to address them himself rather than look to you for guidance. He is the leader of the pack. It works. He growls, you back off. He growls, he doesn't lose his place on your lap/the couch/etc.

I have a few general recommendations I'll post, but I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend you seek a veterinary behaviorist or a trainer experience in using positive, motivational methods based on learning theory for treating behavior problems.
1. Leading the Dance/NILIF/Boot Camp Program. Basically the dog has to do something beore any attention, food, petting, etc. Susan Garret's book Ruff Love is good. This link is also wonderful. http://www.shirleychong.com/keepers/dance.html
2. Get into obedience class. Find one that is based on positive, motivational methods. Clicker training is great fun. Take a basic family dog class and 2-3 more sessions (either more advanced obedience or even just a tricks class). This is a great bonding experience. This is a wonderful relationship-building experience.
3. Take up all toys. You start and end all games with good toys. I'd leave down a couple of boring nylabones/sterile bones and kong-type toys to chew on.
4. All food comes from you. Hand feed meals. Make the dog do something for each piece of food. You can also use special food toys that come from you. They're mentally entertaining - a tired dog is a good dog.
5. Set a schedule. You lead the game and the dog will catch on. Dogs thrive on a schedule and it has them looking to you rather than them deciding when to do what.
6. 2 short training sessions daily. It is fun, builds your relationship, and exercises your dog.
7. Daily long down (this is in Leading the Dance) 15+ minutes.
 

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Originally posted by Kallie/Catcher's Mom@Jul 25 2005, 08:42 PM
Wow, ... what great info!! Even for some of us without the problem, this stuff is good to know.

Jackie... I have a question. When you say "punishment" in this context: "Punishment has to be done very precisely to work. It must be done at the exact time of the behavior you dislike. It must be strong enough to get a reaction," what sort of actions would the "punishment" consist of?
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I was meaning generic punishment that most people think of - adding something aversive to stop a behavior.

In learning theory we have:
positive reinforcement - add something to make a behavior occur more often
negative reinforcement - take something away to make a behavior occur more often
positive punishment - add something to decrease the occurance of a behavior
negative punishment - remove something to decrease the occurance of a behavior

The 2 I like to use and can most effectively are pr - like clicker training or giving treats to rewards a behavior and np - removing something like myself when a puppy bites or ignoring the dog who isn't paying attention to me when I want their focus.

Positive punishment is what most people think of when they think of punishment - a spanking, yelling, saying no, etc. This is actually quite hard to do effectively (think of how many times you tell your dog to stop barking or hear a parent tell their toddler no) so I don't recommend it. It tends to make you and the dog frustrated and get you nowhere.
 

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"Dogs that try to be domineering are lower pack members. That's why they're being aggressive and trying to attack. Her dog believes her parents are in the alpha position. She's the next in line and he wants her position.
You can't tell me that if a lower ranked animal tried to to fight an alpha for status that the alpha wouldn't use force to retain his position in the pack.
And as far as this training tecnique goes. It does work and iv'e seen it with my own eyes. You make it sound like a violent act and that's the farthest thing from the truth. There have been many times that i've agreed with your opinions but this is definately NOT one of them."
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The alpha does not regularly use force to maintain his position. If another pack member starts a fight, they'll defend, but they don't start with physical force. Other dogs roll over and submit to them.
I've seen it done too. And I've also seen people bitten in the face doing it. I'd never recommend it.
 
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