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So yesterday I had some free time before sleep, and decided to see another episode of Dog Whisperer... (wait this is not another thread about CM!) That was an episode of season 7 in which 2 dogs (one of them was a pitt) were dog reactive. In the first case, the owner took the dog to obedience classes, and then a few trainers and a behaviorist for the dog reactivity... And she was actually told by some of them that her dog was a lost case! But well, I've decided to look further before assuming anything... And what it seemed to be a lost case was actually not that serious?? Well, I'm not sure what was done behind the cameras or whatever, but the dog, after going past the insecure phase, did get along with the dogs after knowing/sniffing them!

What annoyed me was that a dog reactive dog that doesn't seem that bad was actually classified as a lost case by a few trainers. I mean, if it was really as it seems on the episode, then I might sound mean, but the trainers must not be that good at all.

IMO, dog to dog reactivity is not something that uncommon, and if the cases are not extreme, they can be dealt with controlled environment variables in training sessions (at least that's what I believe).

My own dog is worse than this one. He barks and tries to reach and grab the other dogs by mouthing (it seems like he was trying to control and shoo him rather than hard biting), and he's rough and fast with the approach even when the dog is already near (he could slam the other dog). This happens even without leash tension. And if the other dog reacts aggressively then a fight would start.
He just can't get through this phase of suspicion and discomfort, even after sniffing the other dog.

But not even a moment did I think of PTSing him. Before I know about what I've learned over the internet and the possibility of going to trainers, I've always learned that this is not an uncommon problem and that many pet dogs are dog reactive, but somehow the owners manages it anyways.
And while it's a bit hard to have to pay attention to surroundings, avoid other dogs and control my +30kg dog when he goes crazy during a walk, I don't really mind handle it. I'm taking him to a trainer soon (since I can't find other dogs and a controlled environment for training), but even if he might never get cured, I don't mind managing the situation for the next 10~15 years.

Maybe it was coz in this case, the dog would unleash the frustration to the owner by biting her leg? Even so, was that a reason enough for PTS? Can't a basket muzzle during walks help actually?


But well... I'm sorry for this rant guys... it's just, is it really like this? Are trainers really often classifying dog aggressive dogs as lost cases? It's so sad when you think that even professionals are actually not as professionals as expected and then the dogs are the ones that suffers!
 

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First of all, I think people lie to get on TV. But yeah, reactivity is quite workable- with positive methods. Correction based training often makes things worse, and any devotee of CM likely sought out corrective style training.

Also, I've noticed corrective trainers tend to give up on dogs much more quickly and easily than positive trainers.

Anyway, you don't have to PTS any dog that is violent towards other dogs. Just keep them away from other dogs and use training to make walks easier. I did it without any help at all.
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First of all, I think people lie to get on TV. But yeah, reactivity is quite workable- with positive methods. Correction based training often makes things worse, and any devotee of CM likely sought out corrective style training.

Also, I've noticed corrective trainers tend to give up on dogs much more quickly and easily than positive trainers.

Anyway, you don't have to PTS any dog that is violent towards other dogs. Just keep them away from other dogs and use training to make walks easier. I did it without any help at all.
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Actually, I've heard that it was often the positive trainers that are giving up the dogs with aggression, but honestly I don't give much thought about it, as I'd assume that is just the trainer, whether correction based or positive based, that is not doing the job well.

I would worry much more if my dog is aggressive towards humans. Not that I don't care about other dogs, but as long as I manage the situation, I can avoid all the dogs, while with humans, they are everywhere and it makes things much harder.

By the way, did your dog get better without trainer? What did you do for that? Currently, what I do, before getting a trainer, is to avoid dogs when spotting them on distance, and if he reacts crazy, all I do is continue walking and pulling him away as if nothing happened. I've got ham as a high value treat to get his attention lol but I always forget them at home!
The most problematic situation is when off leash dogs runs towards him in a friendly way, and the owners can't call them back!
 

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Watch the series DogTown about the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary on National Geographic Channel (also on NetFlix). They deal with human and dog reactive dogs on several episodes, including one where they rehab Micheal Vick's fighting dogs.
 

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Actually, I've heard that it was often the positive trainers that are giving up the dogs with aggression, but honestly I don't give much thought about it, as I'd assume that is just the trainer, whether correction based or positive based, that is not doing the job !
I totally agree that there are varying qualities of trainer regardless of methodology, but personally, I think that's one of the lines that aversive trainers throw out to discredit positive training. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard 'positive trainers give up on tough cases' (the implication being that they do so because positive training is incapable of dealing with 'real' dog problems).
Personally, I've had a number of dogs come to me as "lost causes" who were reccomended by other trainers for euthanasia. This label was ALWAYS given by an aversive trainer (who's confrontational methods had exacerbated the problem).
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I totally agree that there are varying qualities of trainer regardless of methodology, but personally, I think that's one of the lines that aversive trainers throw out to discredit positive training. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard 'positive trainers give up on tough cases' (the implication being that they do so because positive training is incapable of dealing with 'real' dog problems).
Personally, I've had a number of dogs come to me as "lost causes" who were reccomended by other trainers for euthanasia. This label was ALWAYS given by an aversive trainer (who's confrontational methods had exacerbated the problem).
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Honestly, I think that both sides should stop using arguments to discredit the opposite side and focus on how to help the dog instead. If we are talking about cases that are not extreme, then it's very probably that it was the trainer that wasn't skilled/experienced enough to deal with the problem. We can't just discredit the entire philosophy coz of that.

Positive methods isn't just about shoving the treats in front of the dogs' muzzles. Unfortunately, many people might not have an in depth understanding of this, so that the training can fail. Actually there aren't much requirements to entitle someone as a trainer, that many unskilled people can entitle himself/herself as a trainer and then affect the reputation of the training methods they failed to implement well. This is with correction based methods as well, that many people might just think that it's all about leash jerks and correction collars and dominating the dog and then you can become a trainer.

But well, it's very annoying... Dogs has a series of bad behaviors that are not uncommon, and that is due to living with humans and having to adjust to that kind of lifestyle. Chewing, reactivity, non-listening, RG, and so on are common and not the end of the world (unless extreme cases). But then we have trainers that when they can't deal with it, they simply say that they are lost cases... And then there you have, a bunch of desperate owners that loves their dogs but really thought their dogs are beyond "repair" and that PTS is the solution... Coz instead of helping the owners to accept why that behavior exists naturally, they only helped them to over dramatize it, as if dogs are only fluffy rainbow beings and any dog that can be mean in any ways is deadly serious and beyond help.
 

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I had several trainers and behaviorists tell me my last dane was a lost cause due to the reactiveness she had at a year old. I figured out how to manage her with corrective training (note, not punishment! just letting her know she was doing the wrong thing as soon as she did it and redirecting) since she didn't respond to positive reinforcement/training when reactive. We also learned she was having non-normal seizures that were affecting how strongly she reacted and we put her on anti seizure meds.
She came around rather quickly, about 3 months, and rarely had any issues unless my hubby was walking her. I took her back to the local trainer to show her the improvement and see if she could help me with a few other things.... the first suggestion out of her mouth was telling me she had to be on a prong collar while in her building because she didn't trust the 'voodoo' drugs I had put her on. Yeah, like seizure meds are voodoo. :eyeroll: We didn't go back to that woman again.


I don't buy into the lost case BS. ALL my bassets are lost cases, medically and/or behaviorally.
 

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*shrug* ive seen dogs that were told to be PTS end up in daycare. 3 times actually. so it does happen that it just takes the right trainer to work with them.

i would comment on how i feel about the commentary or the dog being "perfectly fine" when he was done, but i wont.
 

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it's just, is it really like this? Are trainers really often classifying dog aggressive dogs as lost cases? It's so sad when you think that even professionals are actually not as professionals as expected and then the dogs are the ones that suffers!
We are a society that label people and children as lost causes who are anything but - do you really think we would have that much more sympathy for dogs? I know many of us love our dogs and give them allowances that we would never give people (as we should!), but a lot of the general public is not like that.

Still, the best response to folks who believe in lost causes is to be a positive example and demonstrate as often as possible the times when a "lost cause" succeeds the "impossible".
 
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