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Ehh I dunno… I just took on a waist-height GSD that I could probably ride and he is (and has been) working quite well with treats. 30 minutes into our first walk today he was very in-tune with my cues and looking to me for my say whenever we encountered people, dogs, really noisy trucks, etc. It established a rapport with the dog a lot faster than waiting for him to screw up and then 'dominating' him.

When you involve reward in training, you get a dog that is interested in you and the commands you have to issue 24/7. When you rely only on being 'assertive' you get a dog that begins to think 'The heck with you, I need look out for myself here!'
 

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Is this GSD aggressive? Treats do work great for some dogs, but I don't think I could put all of my trust into a treat when working with an aggressive dog.
FTR the GSD is not the least bit aggressive. He is very confident and friendly around people, extremely calm and affable around dogs of all sizes... Because, well... He has had very positive experiences with them from the get-go! If he encounters something that he is unsure about, he heels a little closer and lends half an ear to me as we pass. He does not fixate; he is very mentally 'checked-in' and engaged with me.

As Foresthund said, a dog that struggles with that needs to be steered away from situations where he sinks in over his head and forgets your presence. A dog in this state is in the 'The hell with you, I'm looking out for me, me, me mode' any attempts you make to gain his attention are ultimately a distraction from what he feels that he has to do: treat the situation as though he is facing all alone, because his 'backup' is not to be trusted. This is an attitude that can be worked out of the dog by something like BAT, not vying with ever-decreasing effectiveness for their attention through leash-jerks and 'Hey... Hey! Hey dog..."
 

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I guess you could then say that dogs love to please us because it makes the relationship work in their favor lol...pretty much the same thing IMO. And i do use treats exclusively during early training with a new dog, I think treats are wonderful for learning and building a trust relationship. But there should come a point where your dog will obey you without a treat. And if so why do people walk around with bags of treats tied to their waists? My dog and I have a wonderful bond and relationship, and I don't HAVE to carry around a bag of goodies.
From an evolutionary standpoint... This is pretty much what all animals (yes, humans included) do!

The point where a dog does not need the treat comes because he has been conditioned... Very much like Pavlov's Dogs. In laymans terms... You basically brainwash the animal.
 

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It really should be said here that you can be assertive (establish boundaries with the dog without intimidating / scaring them) but that really has no application in getting your dog to roll over, stop barking his head off or come when called!

In fact, with training/socializing Lexy, the only time my 'assertive' voice has come into play is when she is getting goofy and invading personal space boundaries. Jumping up, putting her paws on me, tugging at things attached to me like clothes, treat-bag etc. It's only then where it works to stiffen up, give a serious (not loud) "Hay!" and refuse to engage her until she backs off and makes a more appropriate "Play with me" signal.

But for something like pulling on the leash… how could a dog consider that a personal affront to you? They're moving away from you. Or they're trying to protect you from a threat but losing it over that other dog across the street. They can't comprehend that in terms of boundaries, because… well, dogs don't walk each other on leashes in the wild!!!
 

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I used to think that 'No' and 'Stop it' were the most effective thing out there until I applied what I have learned about managing behaviour in children to managing behaviour in dogs:

It is far easier to convince any social animal to do something than not to do something.

From the training and experience I received over the years as a camp counsellor over the years this lesson came up over and over again: Kids will listen to "Get your feet on the ground" over "Don't stand on that chair , "Sit on your hands" over "Stop poking that kid", and "Eyes on me" over "Stop zoning out". That is just how intelligent creatures work.

And for a dog that instruction that you give in place of your discouragement can be as simple as 'sit' or 'leave it' or 'off'.

You can tell a dog 'no no no' but to them it is...

a) Unclear: They have to figure out what the undesired behaviour is.
b) Unrewarding: Dogs are logical creatures, and they know a good deal from a bad one. They're not going to be happy settling for 'not biting' (the boring thing) over 'rough play' (the fun thing). Trading up the rough play for a fun non-contact thing like fetch, on the other hand… they might consider that!
c) Pesky: When a behaviour is unclear and unrewarding… it becomes useless to the animal. So… what do they do? They become desensitized to it! They learn to tune it out in the same way that a horse might learn to tune out traffic if it's not of any consequence to him. Of course you can keep turning up the volume… but each 'No' is a step closer to a dog that you need a megaphone and some cymbals to communicate with. And when you're continually having to so strengthen your aversives, you're creeping onto fearful dog territory.

So for that reason, I dropped 'No' altogether from my vocabulary. If a dog ain't impressing me, my response is to give them an opportunity to do so. I don't play the stuffy librarian game with kids, and I certainly don't do it with dogs. On the contrary, I want them to be alert and listening for my instructions, whether they're at speaking level, or even quieter and subtler than that.
 

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It seems like you think that treat training is the "cure all" magic training trick. Do you think that there are dogs who are too dangerous and too much of a liability to be rehabbed? I'm just asking this question out of curiosity.
Ask inkii, or some of our positive trainers that foster difficult and problematic dogs all the time. OR flip on a show like Pitbulls and Parolees where clickers and treats come out quite often.
 

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My reason for the question is because I was wondering if everyone thinks that treat training or any type of training for that matter works in ALL situations, just out of curiosity.
We are telling you that positive reinforcement (any type of reward) works in all situations. Except, as most would agree, in the case of something like snake aversion training where any fallout towards the snake is desired anyways.
 

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Now… negative reinforcement on the other hand over and over and over again and if the drive of the animal to do the undesired behaviour is strong enough, repeated positive punishment will result in 'callousness' to the punishment.

For example... I knew of someone on another forum (recently) who also owned an Alapaha Blue-Blooded Bulldog (a very rare breed, I'm told, there are less than 1000 worldwide), and was skeptical of positive training despite the time and effort members extended them to answer all of their questions, repeatedly. The same aversives (arguments from positive trainers) were posted over and over and over again, but this particular poster only seemed to grow callous to the counterarguments, until they grew so strong that the person in question (and a few of the more blunt members arguing against them) were banned.

Yet somehow I never quite got the feeling that this positive punishment (the argument and ultimately the banning) was really ever effective :ponder:

Aaand because of this, I'm just going to stop wasting my time posting in this thread.
 
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