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This is a discussion on glad to see PPG getting in gear - 'Shock-Free Coalition' within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Originally Posted by busannie I have a dog that will fetch (sometimes MASSIVE) items other than those that were thrown into the water if he ...

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Old 09-30-2017, 04:49 PM
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Question How likely or unlikely is it?

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Originally Posted by busannie View Post

I have a dog that will fetch (sometimes MASSIVE) items other than those that were thrown into the water if he is unable to find the original.

He has also nearly drowned (as in submerged, requiring rescue- 2 times, in fact) trying to retrieve an item which was "unrecoverable" either due to being too large or being a fixed part of the landscape.
... He's NEVER experienced punishment for returning without a find.

I'm not sure that it's fair... to cite something like the incident you describe, without proof as to the reason for this dog's behavior.
...
@busannie -
I haven't heard B4 of a dog who tries to retrieve objects that are fixed parts of landscape [a root, a shrub or tree, a rock, etc]. Even worse, it would be terrifying, to see my dog drowning while s/he tried to fetch an underwater object. I'm glad he was rescued, & hope it doesn't recur.

But Urs is the 1st case of that sort that i've heard of - in contrast, i've seen many shock-trained dogs who act as tho they *MUST* bring back something, presumably b/c they anticipate severe punishment. It's not at all rare.
The vast majority of gundog trainers & handlers who compete in the U-S either use shock-collars themselves, or send their green dogs to a pro to be "finished", & they pay the pro - who uses shock collars. It's more common than any other training-tool among U-S trained gundogs.

In the UK, the reverse is true - the vast majority of gundogs, whether amateur / hobby or contenders, are pos-R trained.

- terry

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Old 09-30-2017, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by leashedForLife View Post
I haven't heard B4 of a dog who tries to retrieve objects that are fixed parts of landscape [a root, a shrub or tree, a rock, etc]. Even worse, it would be terrifying, to see my dog drowning while s/he tried to fetch an underwater object. I'm glad he was rescued, & hope it doesn't recur.
Well, rocks are his preferred water landscape item to fetch (he charmed me the day I brought him home by diving under and pulling a rock out of our boat ramp, then gently placing it on shore ), but he'll try to drag out pretty much anything he can get his teeth around. He doesn't pick up random items on land- only in water, and submerged items only if he can touch bottom (he feels them with his feet, then ducks under to grab them); though he does retrieve toys both on land and in water. I suspect his rock "saving" activities are a sort of displacement behavior because he's so over the top crazy about water. His previous owner didn't take him around water, or really encourage his fetching behavior, so I know it wasn't learned/trained prior to my acquiring him. After his last incident, he's been sentenced to wearing his life jacket for ANY swimming, even in shallow water or close to the boat ramp. He's a great swimmer, until he's sinking (the first time he got cold/tired trying to grab a toy that he couldn't grip, the second he grabbed the stick, got off balance, and wouldn't let go to right himself, so neither item was under water), so better safe than sorry. It's not foolproof, but at least gives more time to retrieve him if he gets in trouble.

My dog isn't even really a retriever breed (I know of a handful of people who have used them for ducks or small fowl- my boy would eat the game before he got back ), so I would imagine similar behavior might be more common in dogs who have been selected for retrieving skills. I know that gundog trainers use e-collars extensively, even to train behaviors that many would train by +R means, but I'm still not convinced that what you described is necessarily one of them.

This would be pretty typical of my dog's water behavior- he starts swimming out to get my Dad's fishing line/bobber a couple times, strongly considers trying to drag out the christmas tree after accidentally (?) running into it, and digs around in the boat ramp for rocks (he normally doesn't sneeze that much after). The water was very low when I took this so he was able to touch the bottom (mud) quite a bit: https://youtu.be/JM9ncIYptE0
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Old 09-30-2017, 09:27 PM
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busannie,

Great video. His tail action above the water caught my attention as well as your dog responding to your voice commands while he's out having fun swimming. Determined little dude at times I would guess.
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Old 10-01-2017, 01:46 AM
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A couple years ago I was visiting someone who's dog was trained with the use of a shock collar. As he had the dog doing the cues I could see just how stressed the dog was and how fearful he was of getting something wrong and having to suffer the consequences. As I was watching I couldn't help but think of Zody who knew all of the cues that dog was doing, but who's attitude while doing the cues was completely different. Zody loves to train, to him it is a joy and an opportunity to have fun and get treats. My heart broke for the other dog.

I just can't understand how anyone can justify the use of a shock collar for everyday training, for that type of use there's not even the excuse of it's a life or death situation.
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Old 10-01-2017, 04:34 AM
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Arrow OCD & / or heritable behaviors: Rock-chew, -swallow, -fetch / -carry

re "rock fetching" -
our farm's nearest neighbor, when i was a kid, had 3 dogs by choice [a white GSD who was delightful, & his rotten Lab-X offspring the woman felt duty-bound to adopt when the bitch's owner couldn't give them away].

Then they got dogs 4 & 5, who arrived walkabout, & were trouble from the day each separately arrived: an Irish Wolfhound came 1st, he coursed deer & chased livestock & lay down refusing to move for his owner's elderly blind sister... & a GSD, who also chased / killed game & stock, plus was a cat-killer, & an obsessive rock-fetcher who'd chew them if U didn't get 'em out of his mouth quick-enuf..

I did not know it then, but have learned since that rock-chewing / rock-swallowing are, like "paper-products shredding", heritable near-OCD behaviors; the rocks fetish is more common in GSDs, the paper-towel/ toilet-tissue / facial-tissue ripping/ shredding / sometimes-swallowing compulsion is mostly seen in Labs.
The rock-chew/ swallow obsession can cause godawful medical problems, from cracked or broken teeth & abscesses, to major surgery to remove pounds of landscape stone or driveway gravel from the stomach.
Thankfully, the paper-products-shredding mania mostly just causes higher grocery bills - when someone forgets to latch the bathroom door, & every roll of TP is stripped & ripped into snowdrifts of confetti, to be found when they return home.

@busannie -
is Ur dog a GSD or GSD-mix?
I've seen compulsive rock-fetching or rock-chewing in a few other breeds [Labs, a PWD, a BSD-Mal, & one buff Cocker who had both rage-syndrome & rock-eating as hobbies]; all of them needed anti-anxiety meds to calm the compulsion.

I also met one dog, another GSD, who had the rock fetch / chew habit pretty badly, & the owner was inspired to try a shock-collar to stop it - this OCD is most-often associated with stressy individuals, & zapping him didn't fix the rock-chewing but it did start the dog snapping at non-family. He grew paranoid & defensive; had to be sedated for any vet-appt, even a simple exam.

- terry

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Old 10-01-2017, 02:25 PM
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I think you are wrong, and ecollars are the best training tool that we have! It is saving many dogs lives from shelters and a life of being chained up in the back yard or kept in a cage ( managed).


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Old 10-01-2017, 05:02 PM
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That's interesting about the rock and paper shredding ocd info for labs and gsds . My dog is supposedly a lab gsd mix according to the shelter I got him from and he eats aND chews everything off the ground in public. Paper towels, napkins, receipts cigarette butts. And I've pulled rocks and pits and twigs out of his mouth too. He doesn't do it at home as much but anywhere out of the house I have to watch him like a hawk. He's an anxious dog in general with serious separation anxiety but has calmed down a lot since I've had him.
My last dog was an Akita pit bull mix and was obsessed with fetching things. Balls, sticks, anything. He'd literally run until he collapsed. I've never used a shock collar to train any animal. And i never punished my last dog for not fetching either and he wasnt a retriever breed either he jusr loved to fetch.
But my horses are turned out with electric fences so they don't eat the wood and get themselves sick, which they like to do. Or run through the fence and hurt themselves or get loose in the road and hit by a car or get people killed in a car accident. What about invisible fences? My younger horse will still run through an electric fence to get loose so the shock obviously isn't that bad to him. Where's the line?
I know people that use shock collars who say they've never progressed beyond the first stage of a bell and never actually shocked their dogs and don't at all feel abusive. Watching my horse raise her newborn foal, aND other horses interacting in the herd of 20 mares, foals and geldings he grew up in his first few years, the mare's and adults disciplined the foals and socialized them to how to act respectfully. When my colt started biting my mare too hard whIle nursing, she jumped in pain and showed him angry body language and bit him hard. When he and the other goals harassed the adults too roughly they got bitten or kicked and put in their place. In the dog park, socialized dogs punished my unsocialized dog when he was young and too rambunctious. He quickly learned that he couldn't run at other dogs and jump on them to wrestle or start humping every dog he met or he'd get growled at or bitten. So he learned to approach and sniff and meet politely first. Animals punish each other for negative or abusive behavior, not extremely, but everything's not 100% positive all the time.
I have a friend that only used a shock collar on her dog when we went riding in the woods and fields together on the horses with the dogs. It was a great way to exercise the dogs and horses all at once with us having busy schedules. Without the collar her dog woukd take off and not come back and kill all the neighbors chickens and small farm animals and be at risk for being eaten himself by the many coyotes in the area as he was a mini schnauzer. My large dog stayed close with us and even tried to keep his little buddy dog with us. But she only used the collar in that one situation to safely exercise this highly energetic dog who needed to run that many miles each day and keep him safe from predators and keep the neighborhood chickens and farm animals safe as well. Without the use of the shock collar he would have been eaten by coyotes or put down for killing other people's animals. She was working full time, running a boarding barn and in school as well and doing the best she could to take good care of this energetic dog. I don't see her as abusive at all.
I think like everything, extremes are never good and there's a time and a place for each training tool. If you don't have the luxury of raising a perfectly bred expensive puppy from birth with perfect genetics you can wind up with behavior problems no matter how wonderful of an owner you are. If you take in large problem rescue dogs with issues and past homes, there's going to be training and problem behaviors to fix. At some point they're going to do something dangerous that's going to require an immediate correction to save their or your or someone's safety. Yes positive training is great but it too can be an extreme when it's all that's allowed and anything else is considered abuse.
When I first got my dog and he jumped out of my car into traffic, my luckily catching him and grabbing his collar was saving his life. Saying no, bad was not abuse it was hopefully timed right in the moment to make an impression that was a bad idea. Same thing when still early on out of nowhere he randomly lunged at a bicycle rider, dragging both of us into the street and nearly knocking us and the surprised bike rider right in front of an oncoming speeding truck. He did NOT get positive reinforcement for that. Got a strong negative response, say what you want but my dog is not allowed to kill me and someone else. He didn't try that again for at least a year, and frankly as much as I love him that behavior needs to permanently stop and I don't care if it stops from fear or trauma or whatever motivates him. I'd rather he be afraid of the consequences of attacking another bike rider than risk that happening again. If that makes me an awful person, oh well. For the record I don't hit or abuse any of my animals. That was an extreme dangerous situation. I say it was out of nowhere because in the several months I'd had him until then, he'd never once even looked at the many bike riders in my area, and there's tons of them every day. I do proactively say leave it whenever one approaches now and say good leave it whenever they pass without incident.

In the horse riding world, all disciplines use whips and spurs and some form of pressure to teach the horse to move faster at the riders urging. To even exercise the horse in the ground you carry a long whip. You're supposed to use as little exertion as possible, light touch of leg rather than a kick, etc, but it's still pressure. Metal bit's in horses mouths cause pressure to slow, stop and turn the horse. Some competitors are required to wear spurs. People who don't put bits on horses mouth but use "bitless bridles" still use fastenings made of rope that exert painful pressure on television sensit I've nerve endings on the noses and chins of horses. My old horse hates those much more than a gentle but and reacts violently to pressure on her face. People try to be positive with horses now too bit the whole premise of riding and handling is applying pressure and releasing it when the horse does what you want it to. When you train a dog to follow commands you're basically doin the same thing. Just as working or show dogs.
Any one technique in training isn't perfect and if hailed as the only right way for all dogs, cats, horses, people, is too extreme. Pr isn't going to work 100% on every dog in the world all the time on every situation. Neither is any other training method. I'm not advocating that everyone should go out and get shock collars, I think they're risky and too popular and people who use them need more training and need perfect timing. I have good timing and won't try one with my anxious dog. Never needed it with my last dog. But I will use a correction or reprimand in a dangerous situation if I can't otherwise prevent it. I do spend a lot of time and effort trying to be positive and prevent dangerous or negative situations from happening. Occasionally my fast smart dog sees a bunny or biker or whatever before I do. I'm not perfect.
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Old 10-01-2017, 06:07 PM
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@busannie -
is Ur dog a GSD or GSD-mix?


Huh ???? Unless I am completely missing something here, the video busannie posted showed a dog that could hardly be mistaken for a GSD or any GSD-mix.

My own personal experience with 3 GSDs netted not a single rock obsessed fetcher or chewer, nothing remotely close, I'm guessing mine were abnormal most likely. Where do you find this information regarding certain breeds having a proclivity for fetching rocks and/or chewing on them?
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Old 10-01-2017, 07:15 PM
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Arrow We plan ahead for training, & we *choose* our tools.

Rationalizations for the use of pain are always going to be around, just as some parents or other authorities will always defend spanking under SOME circs. That's never-ending.

As far as those examples go, no one expects an owner, handler, or trainer to "reward" lunging into traffic, snapping at passing strangers, etc.
But those are not training situations - training is planned, has a goal behavior, & so on - it need not be at a set time, it can be done as circs arise; for instance, at the local farmers' market one day, a vendor brought his draft-horse & a carriage - great for DS/CC & for habituation to a 1500# animal. Why not take the opp?

but EMERGENCIES are not "training". Emergencies happen; life is not entirely under our control, cats run out from under parked cars, a rabbit is crouched under the shrub by the driveway, a bicyclist comes around a corner of the shared-use path, a loose dog runs headlong into a dog-reactive dog on leash.
That's not training.
Abruptly yanking my dog out of the path of a hurtling dirt-bike on the dune footpath is just preventing a serious accident - U do what U do, in that moment, but it's not TRAINING. It's at best, management - at worst, whatever we think of that we can do, in the immediate circs. :shrug:


As for horses, i grew up with them, had my 1st pony at 8, broke my own completely-unhandled 3-YO mare when i was 15, & boarded horses for neighbors.
I never used a whip other than a buggy-whip as a visual cue, when i had the horse on a lunge-line. I never wore spurs, i often rode bareback, i used an exercise pad with no stirrups for my 2-YO to get used to carrying something, with weights on it to give him some mild back pressure.
I broke my already-saddle-broke POA mare in college to harness with a sulky -
no whip, no slapping the reins, i ground-drove her & then added the sulky, which was light & easy-rolling.
The "strongest" bit i ever used was a solid-copper broken snaffle, for a moist mouth & minimal pressure.
I also broke my Morgan-hunter cross colt as a yearling, with no aversives -I rode my Arab-Welsh cross mare bareback with a bridle & broken snaffle all over the county.

I rode a retired-roper that belonged to my mother's friend - Gunsmoke was a massive quarter-horse, but had an easygoing disposition, & his only bad habit was that if U moved yer foot in the stirrup, HE STOPPED - a tail-planting, skidding, forefeet-in-the-air STOP.
If U weren't ready for that, U could land on yer head. I never punished him for it - someone had already punished it "into" him. I just made a deliberate point of NOT lifting my feet while we were moving.

Tradition can be a good thing; other traditions are not worth keeping, IMO.
I'd say spurs are among them - any rider who can't give good leg-aids to communicate without a spur is, again IMO, a poor rider.

- terry

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Old 10-02-2017, 07:08 AM
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I personally won't wear spurs, on even a lazy horse just carrying a whip or crop is enough for me. But if you compete at dressage or eventing which I did, at certain levels you're required to wear spurs. They always gave my thin skinned thoroughbred mare sores even if I never consciously touched her with them. Top level Olympic riders who instructed me rode her in lessons wearing spurs and did not use them and also she'd get sores. My younger horse will not go forward either lunging or riding without at least a whio, he's on the lazy side. He knows how far the whip reaches as well. There's many school horses out there who are not very sensitive to aids anymore after years of being ridden by beginners and being given confusing signals who won't move unless a rider is carrying a whip. Not that you use it more than once to prove to them that you really do want them to go.
I've always ridden my horses in light easy snaffle bits but again in certain levels of dressage and eventing competition competitors are required to use double bridles which have curb chains and stronger bits. I used oNE once on my very first horse after he kept running away with me in the woods and litreally bolting for home and not stopping at a gallop. Too out of control and dangerous so I used drastic measures for control. I has to and it worked. More of managing an emergency at the time I guess.
But I don't train or manage any of my animals with pain or fear as a habit, I will yank or give a light tap to pull off a biker or out of a fight or out of the road or similar dangerous situation when immediate intervention is required. But yelling or even a quick yank or tug or a tap to get attention and saying no or bad is not abuse. No marks, my animals are not scared of me and maybe notice long enough for me to get their attention in that moment. But go right back to being their cheerful happy defiant little selves. No fear or cowering and running tight back off to another misadvenrure.
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