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I can't get my head round this. 30+ years ago I was doing one to one consultations, and setting remedial programmes, for people who had problems/issues with their dogs. Back then we had John Fisher, John Rogerson, Roger Mugford, Gail whose surname I've forgotten, and we worked on a pack hierarchy-based theory. This was applied to everything from resource guarding to lack of recall and everything in between. The only thing I didn't deal with, at that time, was dogs who were people-aggressive....these I referred.
Owners were often given a list of rules for their dog, based on a pack/pack-leader system...all the 'through doors first, eat first, no access to the whole house' stuff. I don't think any of this is used now and, like lots of things that were acceptable then and not now, training and behavioural understanding has moved on.
However, nearly every time.......it worked.
Has anybody out there got any idea why, even though it was based on loads of total misconceptions. It's driving me nuts....WHY???
 

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In very few cases that type of training "works" in the long term. In the vast majority of dogs that are trained that way, you will see a suppression of the behavior in question, which isn't "working". (I keep using parethesis because how you define working is the whole point). There is a sticky on these forums http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/suppression-modification-shutdown-fallout-4776/ that outlines how dogs progress with this kind of training.

While dominance based techniques may suppress the behavior trying to be trained, it almost always leads to other, more serious, problems in the long term.
 

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Just a knee jerk reaction. Dogs like structure in their lives, can they live without it, sure but they are creatures of habit. Obedience is obedience but the methods used to train have greatly changed over the years as you have noted but the end result is still obedience, just a different way to get there, which might be more due to the palatable methods of today's human not necessarily better results as evidenced by all the problem dogs people deal with today. Could be as simple as crappy breeding practices over the decades, could be a lot of things. The question you pose is a great one and could be discussed for hours on end as dogs in certain ways remain a mystery to humans, probably part of their allure. I will offer another question to your question. Is it the dog which has changed or is it the human and our society which has changed? I'm guessing a dog is somewhat truer to its nature but yet is adaptable. There are so many variables to sift through regarding the question you ask. This much I can say with certainty: What the accepted protocols are in today's dog science and training industry will not be the same in 20 years from now. I feel very confident in this assertion. Today's practices will be treated the same as yesteryear's training methodologies, they will be thrown aside just as you suggested "misconceptions".

I pick and choose from many different protocols, some new and some old. Even though a dog is a dog is a dog, all the dogs I have had and have are unique therefore it's difficult to reject what WORKS and accept something newer which doesn't.

Wow ! Once again, you asked such a great question.

ETA Oh, Mugford is not an advocate of pack theory and pack leader or at least any more.
 

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In very few cases that type of training "works" in the long term. In the vast majority of dogs that are trained that way, you will see a suppression of the behavior in question, which isn't "working". (I keep using parethesis because how you define working is the whole point). There is a sticky on these forums http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/suppression-modification-shutdown-fallout-4776/ that outlines how dogs progress with this kind of training.

While dominance based techniques may suppress the behavior trying to be trained, it almost always leads to other, more serious, problems in the long term.
Then why are there more problem dogs than ever?
 

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Just a knee jerk reaction. Dogs like structure in their lives, can they live without it, sure but they are creatures of habit. Obedience is obedience but the methods used to train have greatly changed over the years as you have noted but the end result is still obedience, just a different way to get there, which might be more due to the palatable methods of today's human not necessarily better results as evidenced by all the problem dogs people deal with today. Could be as simple as crappy breeding practices over the decades, could be a lot of things. The question you pose is a great one and could be discussed for hours on end as dogs in certain ways remain a mystery to humans, probably part of their allure. I will offer another question to your question. Is it the dog which has changed or is it the human and our society which has changed? I'm guessing a dog is somewhat truer to its nature but yet is adaptable. There are so many variables to sift through regarding the question you ask. This much I can say with certainty: What the accepted protocols are in today's dog science and training industry will not be the same in 20 years from now. I feel very confident in this assertion. Today's practices will be treated the same as yesteryear's training methodologies, they will be thrown aside just as you suggested "misconceptions".

I pick and choose from many different protocols, some new and some old. Even though a dog is a dog is a dog, all the dogs I have had and have are unique therefore it's difficult to reject what WORKS and accept something newer which doesn't.

Wow ! Once again, you asked such a great question.
None of this is actually true. Dog science/psychology has shown, without question, that force/dominance/negative reinforcement hurt dogs more than they help.

What you are referring to as "working" did not, nor has ever, worked in terms of the long term mental health of the dogs that is supposedly worked on. There is a difference between forcing a dog to stop doing something and teaching him to stop doing something. In one you suppress the behavior and it either comes back later, or the dog develops other, more serious(most of the time), problems as a result. A perfect example is a dog that is corrected by force when pottying in the house. 99% of those dogs begin to hide their accidents, rather than learning to go outside.

In short dominance training has never really "worked" in the sense being used by the OP. Force free methods are grounded in functional science(both human psychology and animal behavior) and it has been shown, repeatedly, to be a method that achieves far better and more effective results than any other form of force based training.
 

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I smell an incoming argument :D

I don't use the pack theory, but I do use corrections when necessary. I have seen no dog "shut down" when they are corrected appropriately. Sensitive dogs require very subtle corrections (sometimes a harsh "no" will suffice) while harder or more dominant dogs may need a stronger correction which is often achieved through training collars or other devices.
I have always worked with positive reinforcement until it doesn't work anymore or if the dog is supposed to be a protection or otherwise working dog where 100% obedience is a must. Using these tools without making sure the dog knows what to do is animal abuse, simply as that.
Corrections are only as harsh as the handler makes them in my opinion.
 

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Then why are there more problem dogs than ever?
There is exactly the same amount of problem dogs now than there has ever been. Just because a training method is effective doesnt mean that everyone uses it, or cares to use it.

One doesn't have anything to do with the other. The only reason why I could see that it may seem like there are more problem dogs is that we hear about them more(thanks internet) and that there are just more dogs in the world then there have ever been before.
 

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None of this is actually true. Dog science/psychology has shown, without question, that force/dominance/negative reinforcement hurt dogs more than they help.

What you are referring to as "working" did not, nor has ever, worked in terms of the long term mental health of the dogs that is supposedly worked on. There is a difference between forcing a dog to stop doing something and teaching him to stop doing something. In one you suppress the behavior and it either comes back later, or the dog develops other, more serious(most of the time), problems as a result. A perfect example is a dog that is corrected by force when pottying in the house. 99% of those dogs begin to hide their accidents, rather than learning to go outside.

In short dominance training has never really "worked" in the sense being used by the OP. Force free methods are grounded in functional science(both human psychology and animal behavior) and it has been shown, repeatedly, to be a method that achieves far better and more effective results than any other form of force based training.
For the common pet yes, force free methods are usually all that is needed unless a dog has serious behavior issues. However, you will notice that "elite" protection and working dogs are hardly ever trained with 100% positive methods, corrections nearly always play a role.
 

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None of this is actually true. Dog science/psychology has shown, without question, that force/dominance/negative reinforcement hurt dogs more than they help.

What you are referring to as "working" did not, nor has ever, worked in terms of the long term mental health of the dogs that is supposedly worked on. There is a difference between forcing a dog to stop doing something and teaching him to stop doing something. In one you suppress the behavior and it either comes back later, or the dog develops other, more serious(most of the time), problems as a result. A perfect example is a dog that is corrected by force when pottying in the house. 99% of those dogs begin to hide their accidents, rather than learning to go outside.

In short dominance training has never really "worked" in the sense being used by the OP. Force free methods are grounded in functional science(both human psychology and animal behavior) and it has been shown, repeatedly, to be a method that achieves far better and more effective results than any other form of force based training.

Like I said, stick around for a decade or two and what you are promoting will be considered bunk. I appreciate it is difficult for humans to respect history and acknowledge the evolution of our practices as we live in the moment. I do not object to "force free" as I utilize this approach at many times. BUT, if you honestly believe that today's training methods will be the same in 20 years, I believe you are fooling yourself.
 

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For the common pet yes, force free methods are usually all that is needed unless a dog has serious behavior issues. However, you will notice that "elite" protection and working dogs are hardly ever trained with 100% positive methods, corrections nearly always play a role.
I can't speak intelligently to how elite dogs are trained(never seen or done it before) but I can't imagine that the same results couldn't be achieved with 100% positive reinforcement(again just my opinion, not based in any experience or anything)

Either way though, I'm confident in asserting that those programs are largely based in positive reinforcement techniques given the current research that's out there.
 

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Like I said, stick around for a decade or two and what you are promoting will be considered bunk. I appreciate it is difficult for humans to respect history and acknowledge the evolution of our practices as we live in the moment. I do not object to "force free" as I utilize this approach at many times. BUT, if you honestly believe that today's training methods will be the same in 20 years, I believe you are fooling yourself.
I have no doubt that training techniques will be unrecognizably different in 20 years time, but I have no doubt that those techniques will be based in following positive reinforcement practices either.
 

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I can't speak intelligently to how elite dogs are trained(never seen or done it before) but I can't imagine that the same results couldn't be achieved with 100% positive reinforcement(again just my opinion, not based in any experience or anything)

Either way though, I'm confident in asserting that those programs are largely based in positive reinforcement techniques given the current research that's out there.

Research Victoria Stillwell's latest episode with the LE dogs.
 

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Dominance/pack leader training works because it utilizes stress reduction as the primary motivation for learning.

The dominance model is based primarily on stress-related behaviors found mostly in captive wolves and sometimes in wild wolves, depending on the size and composition of the pack. The idea is that when a dog or wolf recognizes his subordinate position in the pack’s pecking order, he or she will feel more relaxed and less stressed because there’s no longer any need to expend unnecessary energy by trying to take over the pack’s leadership role. And, since the human owner is supposedly seen as the dog’s pack leader, the same thing would theoretically apply to the dog/owner relationship.

Actually positive reinforcement works also on stress reduction, but of course, there are major differences in approach.

There is a third method of training which I am currently studying as a trainer/behaviorist and that is drive training which knowingly utilizes flow, stress reduction and thermodynamics in the training methods. This kind of training predates both of the other methods and was created by Max Von Stephanitz (originator of the GSD) in the early 1900s and developed in a new form (which I am studying) by Kevin Behan in the 1990s.
 

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I can't speak intelligently to how elite dogs are trained(never seen or done it before) but I can't imagine that the same results couldn't be achieved with 100% positive reinforcement(again just my opinion, not based in any experience or anything)

Either way though, I'm confident in asserting that those programs are largely based in positive reinforcement techniques given the current research that's out there.
Police, military, bomb squad dogs, search and rescue dogs are taught with drive training.
 

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Research Victoria Stillwell's latest episode with the LE dogs.
When she got bit by a dog, that she wasn't training, when it was getting into a helicopter? She issued a press release about the incident. Apparently the incident was grossly misreported by the media/internet.

As far as the law enforcement/military training programs, I find it really hard to believe that dog's expected to be in top physical and mental condition would be subjected to methods that were wholly from the dominance/negative reinforcement brand. Would like to see some articles/resources on it though. I suspect that if that is the case, there are a lot of dogs that wash out and end up having severe behavioral issues.
 

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Yup, I have a Mal. While I do not train protection dogs, I am involved in IPO. If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting or watching a working bred Mal or GSD work, you will see the amount of drive these dogs have. While a lot is done with positive reinforcement, (I'd say, I do about 90% of training +R) I like to enforce the behaviors with corrections to make them 100% reliable.
So basically, I teach the behavior, add distractions, and then start correcting if necessary.
For example, when I am working on the heel, which my dog knows very well, and she gets distracted, I will quickly change directions and the prong collar will quickly get my dog back on track. I do not like using treats to much especially since they are not allowed in the ring. While my girl has an intense toy drive as well, I can't have her ignore me when I am not carrying treats or toys. Electric collars are often used in distance work, were the dog is too far away to use a long line.

So to sum it up, working dogs are trained primarily with food and toys, but they need to be able to work as well without these.
 
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