Since posting my webinar series on Dealing With Your Dog Training Challenges where I shared the challenges trying to live life in “Do-Land” I have gotten some really thought provoking questions about what I am suggesting. Thanks for those.
First of all, let me be clear. I am no saint. My goal is to live this lifestyle but like all of you I get frustrated and will occassionally holler at my dogs. However, I immediately realize that is not “teaching” anything. And it brings me back to my quest for a complete “Do-Land” lifestyle. It is possible, even if I don’t have all of the answers just yet:).
This comment was left here on my blog this week:
While I completely agree that dogs learn better in the “land of Do” they have an understanding of the “land of Don’t” also. Encore’s resource guarding is a “Don’t come closer” and your “No biting” is a Don’t which may currently be getting a blank look now but as you say it’s definitely improving.
In the natural world “Don’t” is a survival tactic. Don’t piss the lion/rhino/gator off.
Should our relationships with our dogs be defined by their relationship with other dogs?
This may actually seem reasonable thought until you investigate it further. First of all, dogs are weird. They also sniff each others butt’s something I have no desire to do. Let’s face it Encore has different motives than I do in her interactions with Swagger.
There will never be a time when Encore will ever want to work on building Swagger’s enthusiasm for working with her or get him to drive into Reinforcement Zone when she handles him around an agility course. She being a dog, will be completely happy if Swagger just bowed to her and showed her the proper higher-ranking respect she thinks she deserves.
Me, on the other hand, I want to be Swagger’s team leader not pack leader. I have rules I want him to respect but I will inspire him to follow those rules rather than intimidate him to think he “must” follow them or else . . . I don’t ever want Swagger to be afraid of me or to be afraid to be himself around me. I want him to know I will always be consistent with my expectations and I want his interactions with me to be joyous.
I am sure Encore’s expectations are far less noble. She would want him to always defer any thrown toy in the yard to her and for him to leave the area at dinner time allowing her to eat both her portion and his ration as well. Beyond that she has no immediate use for the puppy.
This video shows that it may not be a wise to look towards dog on dog interactions as a role model for our relationships with our dogs.
Dog to dog interactions are not always kind or even fair. I think we all want more than that for our relationship with our pets don’t we?
I will follow this up tomorrow with looking mixing methodologies in dog training.
Today I am grateful for all of the help I am getting from our current Puppy Peakers sharing their insight into my new project. Keep it up guys, you are all a big help to those that need more answers!
And wow, has Swagger ever grown! 🙂
Thanks Susan for sharing..and only 50 and yet so wise…margie
Wow, I thank for writing this.
I love the video, too! I will share this with as many people as I can, especially the type of handler who is still believing you can choose to punish with corrections rather than reinforcing your criteria… and switch methods as they feel like!
I’d rather continue to learn about training in “Do-Land” than punishing in “What Dogs do-Land”
Well put, thank you again!
Loved seeing the video, but I was particularly taken with the still photo at the beginning of the article. What an interesting moment in time you captured. Encore appears to be focusing her gaze on Feature. Swagger is focused on Encore, and I see different emotions – the white of the eye and downturned closed mouth show some stress and nervousness, but I also see that to some extent (staring at Encore and leaning forward) he is standing up to Encore. Fascinating.
The learning just never stops…and this one is so timely. Thanks for sharing these thoughts. I am going to video the interactions of my 3. I have been giving it a lot of thought lately – how they are with one another, why the youngest feels she has to kind of take charge of her momma & great aunt! Since reading Ruff Love & doing both Recallers
and PP I have changed my routines quite a bit. Happy 50th – still remember the day, 10 years back now! Ha!
How do you deal with excessive barking at bicycles, skateboards, a strange noise or person?
Excellent video. I have 6 Yorkshire terriers, a German Shepherd Dog, and a South African Boerboel Mastiff. They all live free in the house ( 4 males 4 females) , and I found it the most difficult
when hormones came into play. Bitches are called bitches for a reason. I almost always try to let the pack work things out, but I would have to intervene when the bitches came into season which is when fighting would occur.
Very interesting. Would you say that Feature is a little “permissive” with Swagger while Encore is “positive”?
Thanks for sharing. This is great!
A very interesting video but in my opinion it totally misses the point 😉
I don`t know any of the dogs in the video but clearly at least the last one does not have any leader potential – and who would want to have a dog like this as a role model?
If we look towards a dog as a role model, it should be the one-in-a-hundred dog with natural leading abilities. Show a video of that kind of dog and its interactions with the puppy and you will see something worth going for 😉
Just my two cents.
WOW! This is SO true!! Old methods of training do tell us to treat our dogs like other dogs would . . . this is so not fair! I want a relationship that is fun and fair! Thanks so much for sharing this very open clip!!
FANTASTIC!!! I hope anyone who dares have an opinion on methods of dogtraining could keep these simple facts in the back of their minds!
Beautifully illustrated! Thank you so much for sharing.
What a WONDERFUL post! If only we could play it before the Dog Whisperer… You paint such a clear picture of what I try to tell uneducated pet people. This is phenomenal!
I guess I am lucky with Cavaliers. I have never had any problems with new dogs (even the ones I board) or the Dat. I introduced the latest addition a year ago on neutral ground and though my oldest dog (10), who has a bad heart and lung cancer, thought she was a little too hyper, she learned to leave him alone if he showed no interest in playing, and she has the cat and me to play with, and she has learned to amuse herself too.
There are routines in the house, and everyone has to get along for them to continue.
But, I guess that is the trade-off.. Cavaliers might never make it to the World Agility trials, but a happy home is the trade off.
Greetings from the 4 Cavaliers and the Dat.
“Do Land” is a wonderful concept. I wholeheartedly embrace it. However, I have had difficulty applying it for every situation with my rescue Aussie. She came to me (one year old) with a built in uncertainty/aggression towards some people. I have worked very diligently with positive training (two years worth!!! We became the official meeter and greeter at every grocery, school, coffee shop, agility trial in my small town… )and yet she still wanted to bark at and/or charge certain people. Finally my trainer (VERY positive trainer) insisted that I give her a physical correction for the aggression. In less than two months, she has calmed down and seems to accept that aggression towards humans has no place in my world. Do I wish I could have accomplished the same thing using only positive training? Of course. There is always some sort of fallout using physical punishment. (I can count the times I used it on one hand.) But my dog now seems so much more peaceful about her boundaries. Any thoughts?
What was your physical correction? The recording that plays in my ear all the time now, with my rescue dogs, is “stop the reinforcement!” So maybe it’s just semantics.
One thing I saw at Susan’s is how sometimes stopping the reinforcement can sort of look like don’t land (I’m thinking of how I was working to stop Bee from rubbing off her head halter). That was a hard one for me to get, and even more difficult for Bee to figure it out. I found I really had to combine a lot of reinforcement for the appropriate behavior WITH stopping her from collecting inappropriate reinforcement (rubbing off the head halter). Having a little spice of “Don’t steal the treat” along with the meat and potatoes of “Do Do Do” did finally support Bee to choose my reinforcement over her self-reinforcement. It sounds like you are experiencing this as well. Congrats on progress! It’s quite a journey with rescue dogs I know!! But gosh, doesn’t it make you proud when they figure it out?! Worth the journey!
Great video – thanks for sharing.
Susan, your creativity and talent in creating these videos is superb. I burst out laughing at the use of the “Jaws” music when the Great White was coming into the picture.
Thanks for your insights, but, even more, thank you for making it *fun* to read your posts.
Awesome video! I share life with a housefull of Min Pins, and I could make a REALLY crazy video about their interactions! I have to say I do agree with the post on your blog that perhaps promted this video; There are ‘don’ts’ in everyone’s life. For example; is there a ‘positive’ way to break up a fight? If so, I would really love to know it!!( please read that in a ‘good tone of voice’, not a sarcastic or judgemental one!) I absolutely agree, however, that we are NOT dogs, and therefore should NOT try to ‘act’ like they do with each other. That’s where the entire flawed ( and sorry, have to say it, STUPID) ‘pack leader’ mentality got it’s start. I am definitly working my way farther into do-land every day; yelling at the half-dozen Min Pins who are barking at the grass growing is becoming a less common event…HA!and teaching them to manage their behaviors at the door, etc. in a positive way ( sit quietly, as people enter while getting rewarded for IYC) is ongoing. I am intergrating my Recaller work and adding the Puppy peaks work…WHEW! lots of work!…but my DOGS are the winners. And, in the end, so am I. The email from an acquiantance that led me to you, Susan, was the best email I ever received. I can’t WAIT to see what I can learn tomorrow!
Wow! Pretty fascinating/heady stuff, to which you’re only scratching the surface, I think! Your message is clear, however, it’s about the relationship YOU have with your dog. One thing I’ve learned to do (finally) is whenever I get frustrated or irritated and am about to use a verbal correction (just simmering under the surface from days gone by), I use this “feeling” as a trigger to zip it and make note of something I need to fix with training, bringing me hopefully back into Do-Land with my dog. Not easy sometimes, so glad my dogs understand, not sure they would if I “corrected” them all the time. In the 4 or 5 odd years I’ve known/trained with you, your Puppy Peaks and Struggle webinars are your best work to date – it exemplifies the heart of dog training, taking it to new heights – inspirational – full of wow moments (love the sun-shower/hurricane/iceberg analogy!) and do moments (just do something – so true!). And applies to everyone who’s life has been touched by a dog!
Thanks for putting this on. I totally agree and my three dogs will show similar behavior. If you like you can see and tape in Parma.
We humans often do want very unnatural things. In natur it always goes for saving the species. e.g. with my recallers training I also want my dog to behave around a bitch in season and on mating days and we did thanks to Recallers and your blog have success. When my friend had to visit with her female in heat on mating days we could walk the dogs always one on retractable leash. They showed they knew what nature acpected but my 20 month old intact male would come when called and free and behave, as he is no saint he would try to mate when we were distracted.
I found this trully amazing from a so young dog that is easily distracted and had a hard start in life and a human dog mum with far too little time for a working breed dog.
Christine and Pappnasen
Thank you for this posting! It was informative and had great examples in the video.
Really interesting to see!
I have a 14 week pup, who is alos recovering after breaking his leg, so has not had a ‘normal’ start by any means. I also have a 7 y-o bitch, Star, who is not interested in other dogs, and distances herself, expecting the same from other dogs. Star resource guards if pup is nearby, & airsnaps/growls if he gets too close. Pup Zen has learned quickly to stay away from the red girl- she has no happy for him!
I also have a 13 y-o boy who isn’t particularly enthused by a new puppy in the house- he wasn’t when the red girl arrived either. He never told Star off as a pup, but it seems he doesn’t want to make the same mistake twice. After some ignoring behaviour, a few tellings off- he is now playing/teaching with Zen. Zen for his part is playing back, but also respecting the growls when he has gone too far. It is fascintating to watch how all this different dog interaction is developing- it is really teaching me something every day 🙂
Interesting … when I brought my BC puppy home 4 years ago I knew I had to be careful in introductions to my Brittany (ADHD, OCD, touch-senstive, reactive, vocal, no dog friends except our JRT). It took 2.5 months before the BC and the Brittany were ever out of a kennel or X-pen together. I added value to the presence of the new puppy daily. When I could tell the Brittany had accepted the new puppy as a member of our household I started to work them together and gradually moved to unrestricted access. They became great great friends and there was never one instance of trouble between them. It took 2.5 months of careful introductions though, but was worth it. I credit my BCs great dog manners and dog tolerance to the time he spent around the Brittany with all of those issues – the BC knows the difference between bluster and the serious stuff. – Joan
Very interesting video of Swagger’s reactions to the different dogs. He’s a clever boy, knowing to back down from the dogs that don’t want to put up with his puppy antics.
It has been interesting watching the interactions between my young dog, a 14-mos-old border collie, with my two older dogs, Annie, a 10-yr-old bc mix and Jack, an approx. 5-yr-old bc/aussie mix rescue. Annie is a leash-reactive dog to other dogs and people, but she was raised with two other dogs that we lost (passed away) in 2008. She does okay with other dogs off leash, mainly because we raised her using positive reinforcement methods and I have been working with her all her life with counter-conditioning and desensitization. She still does not like strangers to touch her, but she will listen to me, and through good management (don’t touch my dog!) she has never bitten anyone or another dog. Pete, my bc puppy is very friendly, very outgoing, loves everybody and everything. Watching him and Annie together has been amazing stuff; I wish I had used a video camera so many time. There was one instance when Annie had a bone. All 3 dogs had had their after-dinner bone, but Annie likes to keep chewing long after the other two are finished. She was lying on the floor with the bone between her front paws. Pete was lying on the floor, facing her, right in front of her. She gave him a little growl and curled her lip. He didn’t move, but he did give calming signals, looking away, pinned back ears, licking his lips, but instead of backing away, he scooted closer. She continued to growl and curl her lip, but her body language was still relaxed. He actually reached forward and very gently, took the bone in his mouth, lifted it out of her paws and moved away with it. She did nothing! As soon as he took the bone, she totally relaxed and acted like, well, I didn’t really want that bone anymore anyway. I was amazed. I was holding my breath, thinking I was going to be jumping up to prevent Pete’s nose from being removed.
It’s been very cool watching Pete interact with my dogs and other dogs he has met in classes and while out in parks, but I have also realized that this sort of relationship is totally different from the dog/human relationship. Unfortunately, at the same time while I’ve been in awe of Pete’s sweet nature, enthusiasm and exuberance, I have also been way too indulgent with him. Now, I find that I am having to incorporate your Ruff Love system to bring his attention back to me rather than with all those other dogs that he loves to play with so much. He is much too talented a dog to allow to be wasted by my spoiling him.
Thanks for sharing your insights with us all, Susan.
This was a great video showing the different and unique relationships in a large dog family group.
Funny thing just this week I am caring for my son’s 4 1/2 mo old pup for a week. Since Monday I have seen just how the different roles have played out in just my group. They don’t know if he is staying or going and since he was just recently rescued by my son not much training.
My oldest 14 1/2 checked him out and ignored him until he jumped on her. Not acceptable but it was a gentle correction. My younger and only other bitch has ripped him a new one several times. The other boys are fine with him. One will play the other two ignore. Singe snarls although that has reduced throughout the week.
Good news for them he is going home Monday.
This has really made me think about my 2 dogs. Rufus (the unfair) at 5 is now mostly a great playmate to Doug. Doug, however,at 2 can still be reduced to terror by a glance from Rufus. If he misses the glance, he is severely disciplined by this little sheltie who is half Doug’s oversized height. But Rufus was brought up by two much older dogs. Lachlan was mostly fair but, being old and arthritic, he was explosive and volatile if he felt threatened by a tiny active puppy. As Rufus grew up and settled, Lachlan played gently with him – they used to lay on their sides and paw at each other in play. Fraser on the other hand had always been 2IC to Lachlan. As Lachlan’s strength and leadership faded, Fraser seemed to try to slot into that role. In the process of this he became extremely ‘unfair’ to puppy Rufus. Rufus responded, initially, fearfully but as he became a young strong dog he took on Fraser – not with teeth but by flipping him. Everytime there was an exchange between them Fraser would end up ‘flipped’. Fraser was aging as well and I think Rufus found his balance was his weakness. I think this whole process moulded Rufus’s personality. Interestingly Doug is the most benign dog – he adores puppies and is the ultimate favourite uncle. It makes me wonder about the effect the two of them will have when we one day get the next pup.
When I adopted my fourth dog back in 2000, I had a hard time finding anything on multiple dog households. Few people I knew had as many as four dogs. There was very little information in print about managing more than one dog as a pet and just a little more on line in the way of articles, but no video. !!! WOW!!! Your video is quite informative just seeing the body language when your dogs interact with Swagger. My favorite was of Encore’s lip curl in an earlier clip. I have learned so much from your Recallers 1.0 and 2.0 and now am on Puppypeaks more for of the Extreme Maintenance as my “puppy” is three years old. So glad you are including the interactions of Swagger with your other dogs.
I love the Jaws music for DeCaff!
What a brilliant post Susan! The video says it all!!!
As you know, we live in our RV full time with 8 dogs (6 standard Poodles, a BC and a feral dog we adopted). The feral dog is ALWAYS fair in her interaction with our other dogs. She is low in the pack order yet she is the keeper of the peace. If dogs are interacting appropriately, she watches with a very pleased look on her face. If, however, she senses danger, the interaction is immediately broken up with no regard for her own safety. She is particularly protective of the youngsters she has “raised” here.
Our oldest dog, Josephine (an almost 12 SP) is totally unfair in her interactions with the other dogs. She may play nice for a bit but then strike with no warning or provocation. Our feral dog hates her guts for this and is always swearing at her under her breath.
The feral dog and our BC both protect our puppies (now 25″ tall and 22 months old) from Josephine.
It is fascinating to watch our pack and I can tell you that if I treated my agility dog the way Josephine treats the other dogs here, they would be crawling around the course waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Thank you so much for writing this blog! I have heard so many people use dog interaction as justification for the use of punishment in training.
Wow Susan, another topic so well presented. Thanks!!
Great post Susan! You mentioned something I haven’t heard mentioned before regarding our relationship with our dogs vs their relationship with other dogs – that our goals and expectations are so different.
OMG you crack me up! Funny music score! I so enjoy watching dog-dog interactions, you’re so right, they are not always fair. Whenever anyone says they “let the dogs work it out for themselves,” I think, you’ve got to be kidding!
I’ve been managing Bee a lot more closely but she still managed to pee on a rug today (first time in a few weeks, so it’s trending in the right direction), and she clobbers Tigerlily in an off-handed unfair way whenever she gets a chance (too often) and Tigerlily seems to respond to this with a general “I’m on strike” sort of attitude. I’m trying to pay more attention to that, and not let Bee be a bully. She does it in such a cheerful, happy way that sometimes she makes it really look like play, but I don’t think Tigerlily thinks it is QUITE so funny!
I have a predatory white dog as well, and I’m interested to know if you as a trainer receive criticism about your handling of DeCaff.
Even after discovering Ruff Love and Crate Games, my goal with my own “Jaws” dog is management so that nobody gets hurt. We live in a fairly peaceful household, everyone can interact on a basic level (all adult canines) without incident most of the time. However, I still feel guilty sometimes that I cannot “change” him 100% and feel like management is somehow a cop out.
Management is a cop-out? I’ve never actually seen those words lined up before, but it makes me think of people who say food is a cop-out. I always think, how are you going to NOT use food? You are using food whether you know it or not. So how are you going to NOT use management? You are managing or else you are mismanaging your dog. A cue is management. It’s all either management or mismanagement. It’s your dog.
That’s one thing that separates us from the animal world…sniffing butts! Yuck! LOL. Most excellent post, Susan! So very true. Interactions with dogs to dogs are very much different than dogs to humans.
Excellent, excellent post.
I would like to pose a question prompted by your comment that hollering at a dog is not teaching anything. Could you address the use of “don’t” in the context of redirecting? It’s not hollering per se, but at times I use a quiet “ah ah” to initiate a redirect. It seems like redirecting begins with a don’t, no matter how you look at it. The don’t message can be a hand in the collar or a tug on the head halter or a verbal attention signal, but aren’t those all “don’t” messages”…or am I lumping dissimilar things here?
Of course, “don’t” is not the whole message in a redirect but just the prefix. I do understand that the main focus of the redirect message is on the “do” part that follows.
Unrelated, but I hope in Puppy Peaks you will continue to provide insight about how you manage and train your older dogs’ relationships with Swagger, as well as vice versa. Puppy training in isolation is definitely interesting, but puppy-raising insights in the context of the whole family is what I’m REALLY benefiting from. Thanks!
There you go again…..saying and showing the things that are true and need to be heard and seen! I hope folks are listening/watching!!
Nice to know that some of your dogs have the same dog to dog “issues” that others do!
Excellent post and vid Susan….thank you!!
Thanks for that video Susan. It is great. I have a 13.5 week old puppy that I brought home when he was 9 weeks old. I have 3 older dogs and I am seeing some of the same behaviors from them as you have with your pack. How do you deal with Encore wanting to be the fun police? I have mostly tried to stay out of the dog-dog interactions and let them work it out except for when my fun police dog thinks she should break up the fun. Then I separate her from the others.
Wow, that is a great perspective!
We have such similar goings on in our house, with various degrees of tolerance for my 5 month old puppy. Interesting stuff. 🙂
Love the video clip! My 1 year old aussie pup still reacts the same way as Swagger to my 14 year old westie. Beware of the white dog! My border collie will only interact with the pup if I’m NOT watching.
Fascinating video! Thanks for sharing it. Swagger stick with ya Mum!
I SO agree with your comment on different worlds. Just as in clicker training with horses, they don’t expect us to act like a horse, just respect and understand them. Our dogs work to find out what we reward them for doing: licking us, running to us, etc. They know we are not dogs, but do want to communicate.
Wow, what a different way to look at this. I agree that although dogs reactions to other dogs will change the relationship and behavior of the puppy I definitely don’t want to evoke that same change with my puppy. These videos have changed the advice that I give to friends and family members regardig how they react with their new puppies.
Thanks you SO much for sharing the video of your dogs interacting. Very helpful to me. We have recently added a 3rd dog and for the first time I am concerned about the whole pack mentality/interaction. I have lots to learn! Love seeing how the puppy interacts with the various dogs.
This is a wonderful post. Thank you for writing it!