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I've debated a long time about whether to post this or not. I really struggle with this and would like to know if anyone else does too. I feel like everyone I follow and everyone here has this amazing patience and I feel like a terrible trainer. Somehow I'm hoping that talking about it will help.

Does anyone sometimes struggle with having relapse to adverse training when they came from that background? Before coming to the light and really learning about how positive reinforcement works and how much better it works I was a rather adverse trainer. I learned from parents and other trainers to be the alpha, rub their nose in the problem and give them a spanking. I did follow Cesar Milan at the time.

I regret it constantly. I sometimes end up distraught over the idea that my wonderful childhood dog was submitted to rather adverse training techniques. Yet that dog loved me dearly and I hurt so much for it. I am so thankful for this forum and changing how think about training 100%

The thing I struggle with is sometimes I have a knee jerk reaction and react poorly to a situation. I know I'm wrong, I know I've just jeopardized part of my relationship with Aayla, and I instantly feel terrible.

Yesterday I was working with Aayla and dropping socks (probably the closest thing she comes to RG, its her highest value item, she gets a little tense when we move to take them from her. BF has a hard time thinking he should trade for treats.) I asked her to drop the sock, she did and we were at the point when I was taking it from her when she dropped it. This time she choose to lunge at the sock as I grabbed it and bit into me, hard and pulled back hard like playing tug of war. I ended up swatting at her and yelling at her very loudly before she let go. My finger had two torn punctures and swelled up after. I know it was wrong, I felt miserable with what I had done. She had moved several feet away from me and was giving plenty of appeasing behaviors, wagging tail, ears back, avoiding eye contact. I called her to me and she instantly jumped into my lap and I just cried because I knew it was my fault for the timing and taking it too soon.

Sometimes I really hate myself. I don't deserve the dogs I've had. I hate that I was raised believing in Milan and alpha theory. I hate that it still sticks with me and I have to sometimes fight it, as somehow, it seems to be my first response to certain situations. I almost never have slip ups like this. Yet at times I catch myself...thinking first about corrections before ways to positively work around it.
 

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I think most people react negatively in spur of the moment situations like that. Pain doesn't often allow much room for cognitive thinking.

While slapping at a dog is wrong, IMO it is far, far different to have a knee jerk reaction than it is to plan and prepare to use certain methods.

And even if you did in the past, you don't now. We learn, we grow. None of us are perfect.

Personally, I am NOT really a patient person by nature and I don't handle stress well (and I have anxiety so I'm always stressed about something). I also feel overwhelmed easily. So being patient is something that is really hard for me. I also know I've said it before, but I don't always love training for this reason - I never feel like my efforts are good enough or that I'm making any progress.

I never did alpha stuff myself, but I used to be part of an online community that was very pro punishment. Add that to my lack of patience and I've done stuff I'm not proud of - nothing too bad (no e collars!) but I've yelled at dogs that didn't deserve it and even lightly scruffed my terrier mix once.

Now, I try to take a deep breath. Or a walk if I need it. And I settle for any little bit of progress, no matter how small it seems.

Aayla will forgive you. And best of luck with the socks :)
 

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Ohhhhhh girl. I think this happens a lot, especially in your early days as training.

When Heidi was younger, like maybe 3 months, she jumped up on the couch and bit me, hard, on the hand. Like, I'm talking tears in my eyes, instant pain. Totally without thinking I shoved her away, much harder than I would have liked, and I think yelled some profanity. Well, she hid under the bed from me. She wouldn't come out, for all the treats and coaxing in the world. I sat down on the floor and cried.

I felt so stupid. I know BCs are soft dogs, but I just reacted without thinking. I called my husband, a total mess, and somehow he understood that I was saying she'd never come near me again, etc. etc. She got over it (quickly, she actually fell asleep under there more than avoiding me) and now she still loves training with me. When she sees the bait bag she is throwing all kinds of behaviors at me.

I've also lost my cool and yelled at my dogs. Levi once ran behind me on leash to get a squirrel, and caused me to punch myself in the stomach. I yelled, loudly and the look on his face broke my heart. I spent the rest of the day beating myself up.

They are pretty resilient I think, or at least that's what I hope. I don't think I've ever swatted at them, but I've yelled, way more than I want to. Levi is so soft that even an annoyed sigh causes him to display appeasement gestures, and kind of slink around, so when I yell, I see him crumble.

I think it's very normal to beat yourself up about training issues. I was also raised with the idea, that you discipline your dogs. My dogs growing up were smacked, punished for growling, punished for chewing/potty accidents in the house/and nipping. So it's hard to completely ignore what you've grown up with.

I feel you 100%, try not to get too upset. =)
 
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I know this happens more then anyone probably admits. I think it's natural human reaction, especially in a spur of the moment situation. And especially when there is pain being turned on you.

Don't beat yourself up about it. You are a great trainer, and a great owner.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you guys.

I had a rough night thinking about this while trying to sleep. Your kind words help. I just want to be better. I just want to be the best for Aayla. Sometimes it is so hard knowing I did something I don't even believe in. I really wish they never aired the DW so I wouldn't have learned as much about dominating and people don't follow down the same path I did. Luckily, Aayla is very forgiving and is now laying upside down next to me while chewing on a toy.

I think the sock stealing is not something thats going to end anytime soon. With a BF that must be caused pain when puts socks in the laundry basket to her just loving them. Luckily, because I play the trading game constantly, she brings the socks straight to me and is proud about it. If I grab on and tell her to drop it she thinks about it for a solid 15 seconds before letting it go so we can go get her a treat. I'm just hoping that I didn't turn her willingly bringing socks to me into a mild defensive behavior with her running away with it. I'm going to try working on it again later today.
 
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I revert to yelling and adversives way less then I used to, but way more then I want to. Mostly now I have to be feeling sick or exhausted and so more impatient and sensitive then usual before I will yell or do something like yank on the leash but it still happens, and I always feel horrid when I do resort to that type of behavior. What makes it worse is that most of the time I know I'm reacting to stuff that I'd handle very differently if I was feeling alright or wasn't so exhausted. When I think about how I used to train I shudder, am ashamed, and wish I had known then what I know now. At least I've learned and am willing to continue to try and do better, be a better trainer, and a better owner.

If I grab on and tell her to drop it she thinks about it for a solid 15 seconds before letting it go so we can go get her a treat. I'm just hoping that I didn't turn her willingly bringing socks to me into a mild defensive behavior with her running away with it. I'm going to try working on it again later today.
How soon after she drops it does she get her treat, and do you also try and engage her in some other type of play? What I think I'd do is keep something like Tuna Fudge in a small container where I am, and as soon as she dropped the sock mark the behavior, give her the fudge, then play with her for a few minutes. Yes, you may end up with a dog that actively searches out socks to bring to you, but that's better then one who hoards socks and mounts guard over the stash, or even worse one who eats socks and ends up needing surgery to remove them.
 
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I know I was raised in the era of choke collars, no treats, etc. My dogs were well trained and got obedience degrees and had good manners. I was probably without a dog for about 20 years as we were racing horses.

When I got my first dog again it was 12 years ago and dog training had certainly changed, for the better I might add. I think it really helped me that I had not kept up the old way of training for those 20 years so it was a lot easier to switch over. I still have my moments but I think everybody does and luckily dogs are very forgiving if they have learned to trust you.
 

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I was raised on the alpha negative reinforcement training. I even started Rocky's training in this way. Until I found this forum and my eyes where opened. When I first switched I had more relapses back to that training and I felt horrible for it! It was mostly knee jerk when dealing with his resource guarding. I have not had a relapse for almost a year!!

After every relapse I would feel horrible and like the worst dog owner ever. So I totally understand how you feel but it does get better and easier.

I am not the most patient person so I have learned to take a walk or go back to something he knows. I have found no lasting effects from my earlier training or my relapses in how Rocky behaves. I still get this sick feeling in my gut when I think about it though. He defiantly forgave me sooner than I forgave myself!!
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Discussion Starter #9
I guess I am really not alone. I do know that I need to take more breaks and walk away from certain situations. I have been known to redirect frustrations in the past as well. I have gotten better about that. Stopping and just remembering that dogs are a lot simpler than we are and are not devious or 'know better' than to do something.

Like @Samson5261 said. I just have a hard time forgiving myself even though Aayla has forgotten.
@Rain It kind of varies how I handle it. I don't always want to snatch it from her immediately because it isn't something that is going to harm her and I can really work on her happily dropping things she loves. Typically when she brings the sock to me I will give her pets and scratches for 'bringing it to me' then we will walk over to where I have the treats, she will follow and carry the sock. Then I will trade the sock almost immediately with the treat. Typically after I do play with her and get really excited that she dropped the sock. Sometimes if she seems more into tearing at the sock then just carrying it I will ask her to drop it immediately, then when she does, have a happy party, run over to the treats and give her one.

Most of the time now she brings everything that is not a toy to me. If its harmless like a stick or leaf I let her have it and just give her pets and scratches while telling her what a good girl she is.
 

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Keep reinforcing her for bringing socks. That was a lifesaver with tigger. He eventually started bringing things to me automatically because it was just so much more reinforcing then deciding to chew on it. He got attention, treats, an appropriate chew, and more praise for chewing on that. It was a great deal!

The plus to using that technique to deal with chewing is that your dog will have a rock solid retrieve by the time they're a year old!
 

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I constantly finding myself yelling at my cat when we first brought her home. She was going potty all over the house and since I was raised thinking that was the "right" thing to do, it just came kind of a habit. Though that didn't mean I didn't feel guilty right after when she would take off to hiding and then not come near me for 2-3 hours. With the dogs it was pretty similar, though it was just on the rare occasion for accidents since they were both fairly good.

With our new puppy that we are getting, I'm definitely not taking that same route of punishment. It may be hard, but in the long run, positive reinforcement is much better.
 

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This is kind of embarrassing but.. my family and everyone around me was for the dominance theory. I had met no one that had used mostly just positive reinforcement. So I started off on that dominance mindset, which I do immensely regret, but right from the start I liked reading material online and from the library about training dogs. I found I liked the positive reinforcement much better than the negative and trying it out myself I found I liked the results. I love my dog, and using any other method seems wrong. Thankfully not much damage had been done, and I can say that Chester has been trained and will continue to be trained on posting reinforcement. I think it takes a bit of education first, but most people come to realize that it works well and they can have a relationship with their dog in the process of training.

I also must admit.. I had a similar experience to yours recently. I was playing tug of war with Chester, and he accidently bit my hand and without thinking, my hand shot out and slapped Chester. I was surprised at myself, and sat down petting and saying "sorry" to him. He seemed quite forgiving thankfully. But that was purely reflex.. unless reflex can be changed then there is nothing to be done about such reactions. I think to avoid this reflex in the future I should just be more safe with my play with Chester.

Don't feel guilty, most of us were formally trained to think that way and it is good we realize are mistakes. I wish you good luck with training the sock thing.
 

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I too will admit that I've reverted back, especially when Tessa was younger. She was a little butthead when she was a puppy, she has a very large stubborn streak, and there were a few times when I yelled at her and yes, I've spanked her when she was younger. I immediately regretted it and felt guilty, but it happens. To err is human.

She's a very sensitive dog too, and till this day will hide when I yell - either out of frustration or at a hockey game playing. I feel bad every time.
 

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Sometimes your lizard brain just reacts before your thinking brain can. I think we've all been there at some point. Like a previous poster said, there's a difference between reacting to pain and setting a situation up to use a technique purposefully.

Be easy on yourself, and try to do better next time. You're human, that's all you can do.
 
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