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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For the past week, Finn has started jumping up and biting me while on walks. He has always had a problem with biting the leash and playing tug of war with it. I haven't broke him of that yet. I've tried stepping on the leash - that doesn't work, doing a leash pop - that doesn't work, and bitter apple - which only works when I spray it on and he bites right away. Now he has progressed to jumping on me and biting. I've done the whole sit and down command, which he does, but as soon as I release him he is back to biting. The biting and tug of war thing was manageable with the bitter apple, but the jumping on me and biting is something I don't know how to fix. I am just not sure how to respond to this behavior. He is 11 months old and we use a gentle leader. I am thinking about the halti, but I'm not sure if that will help the problem. These are some things that seem to set off the biting on leash and tug of war: grass cuttings, hay, walking across a street, and sticks. Though, it is not limited to these incidents. I can't really pinpoint what happens prior to the jumping and biting me. The only two incidents I can think of is when I wanted to walk across the road and he didn't want to. I pulled him halfway and he jumped up and got my arm that had the leash in it. The other time was today. We were at the park and I leashed him up. I turn to walk out the gate and he jumps and gets my upper arm. I'm not sure what the next step should be. Any suggestions? I hope this makes sense.
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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He may have figured out that by jumping up... you stop moving forward...
I worked with a friends dog that would have a hissy fit if he saw something that he wanted to get to...his handlers also had a tendency to 'stroll' rather then walk at a brisk pace...the guy was just really frustrated.

What happens if you totally ignore the behavior...dont 'jerk' the leash but shorten his leash (short enough so he cant jump) anchor your hands at your 'belt buckle' (so you dont subconsciously give him varying lengths of leash or jerk his leash) and continue to keep moving forward at a pretty brisk pace until his protesting stops..dog on your left, walking some 10' diameter, clock wise, circles so he has to take more steps then you do to be able to keep up....when he starts falling into line offer him a bit more leash and tons of praise and break the circle pattern.
 

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Griff's a Muffin Thief!
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Griff used to do something similar out in the yard - somewhere between 7-9 months - he may have tried it a bit longer. He would do it when he wanted to play - and when he knew I was done and wanted to go in.

He was a trial but I would tell him to sit and down - and WAIT. And make him stay for however long it took him to settle down. Be stern - do not tolerate that behavior - especially the mouthing part. You know him - you'll see that glint in the eye start - do your best to change the subject - pull a toy or ball out of your pocket to distract him a bit.

It does sound like he may need more "zoomie" time - let him run out that energy at home before walks or make sure you have enough time to really let him get his fill at the dog park.

While it's not something you want him to continue and make a habit of.. he's still a pup and maturity will help that quite a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the advice. I have tried to shorten the length of the leash before and he grabbed the leash and got my hand. I do tend to "stroll" . I have been trying to be more conscious about the pace of my step. Actually, the other day I was walking at a brisker pace and he was lagging behind trying to bite his harness. I will try to get some energy out before we go for walks. The problem is we live in an apartment complex and have to walk to the dog park the apartment complex provides. I have had incidents with him biting the leash on our was to the park. I will try to make him do a sit/down before he gets to the biting tug of war thing. Sometimes I don't catch it until he is already biting the leash. I also like the idea of bringing a toy with us. I do try to grab a stick when he starts acting crazy but they are not always available.
The problem with the jumping and biting me is I didn't have time to react or he was behind me and I didn't see him. I guess I need to make him stay at my side so I can observe him.
Any other suggestions or advice is always welcomed. Please tell me if these idea that I just said sound like they won't work.
 

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I don't allow my dogs to bite me, even if it's meant in play. When a dog's teeth come in contact with my skin, I will firmly hold their muzzle closed for a few seconds. They quickly get the idea.

For the leash, I would teach a command that means he can grab it, and a command that means he has to let go. You can practice with toys first. Once he knows these commands, he should not grab anything that you are holding without your permission, and should immediately let go when you ask. I do allow my dogs to play tug with their leashes, but I should be the one in charge of the game, not them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've tried holding his muzzle when he was younger. It didn't work b/c as soon as I let go he would come back. So, if I try to do that while on a walk, I have a feeling he will just lunge again.... not in a mean way. I could totally try the commands. We are working on 'drop it' anyway. He isn't consistent with that at all, but we are still working on it.
 

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I would love some advice on this as well. I have a very much alpha male who is 6 months old still intact. He snarls up his nose and keeps biting when he lunges, it's usually when he wants to do something that we won't allow. I have puncture wounds and raised teeth marks on my arms. I try to fold my arms and turn my back on him and then he starts at my calves, ankles, etc. Whatever he can get his teeth into. I am at my wits end because it hurts. I've tried holding his muzzle closed and he just comes back more and harder. I've tried distracting him but it doesn't last long, I've tried walking away but get my legs attacked and we do a time out in his kennel. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't....he'll come out and be calm but then start again not long after being out. We wanted to wait a few more months to neuter but I don't know if I can take it. He is getting really aggressive and it hurts.
 

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Others will not agree with me, but I do not think ignoring him is going to help the situation. It sounds like he is trying to show his dominance over you when he doesn't like what's happening. When a dog puts teeth on me, I will very firmly hold his muzzle until I hear a gentle whine from him (note I am not saying hurt him; the whine just lets me know he is not happy with this). Once I hear the whine I let go, but if he comes back at me I will repeat holding the muzzle. If I need to repeat 5 times in a row I will. My next step, once the biting has stopped, would be to hold him tightly in a hug against your body. Be prepared for him to struggle. The harder he struggles, the tighter you bind him to you. Once he starts to relax and submit to you, you can loosen up on him, and gently praise and pet.
 

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I will for sure try the muzzle holding, I did it a couple times tonight but not to the point of him whining. I hope this works bc it is dangerous at this point. I'm sure I will
be black and blue tomorrow. Is it normal for them to one minute be so loving and the next a complete pyscho? I just don't understand sometimes how he all of a sudden doesn't know what NO BITE means. It's like his brain turns to mush. This is my first LB dog/puppy. He's a big boy already at 53lbs so we need to get this nipped in the bud.
 

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My first golden was very much like that when she was a puppy. Beside the direct approach that I described above, you need to instill some control into the dog's everyday life. Some basic obedience training, and the dog must obey the first time told (I would not recommend pure positive, clicker style training for a dog like this - start with positive methods, but once the dog knows what the command means but chooses to ignore it, it must face some sort of consequence). Other lifestyle changes that show you are in charge would be things like not being allow to come out of the crate without your permission (this is taught by shutting the crate door in the dog's face everytime he attempts to come out, and when you see the dog finally give up you give a word that means he can come out), not allowing him on the furniture (this can be viewed by a dog as being elevated in status when he is allowed to relax in an elevated position), and making him do a sit stay while he watches you prepare his food.

As I mentioned, I had a puppy that started out like this. It was to the point that I was scared to be around her. Once we started some serious obedience training on her and made the above lifestyle changes, she turned into a completely different dog. Today she is a total sweetheart, and people who didn't know her as a puppy can not believe she was ever aggressive.
 

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Thanks. I've been doing the muzzle holding. It's almost like he thinks we're playing. He starts biting and I try to grab him and he gets in his playbow and goes nuts but still jumps and bites. Once I get a hold of him I do the muzzle hold but sometimes I have to lay on top of him to get to him. I'm not putting all my weight on him. He whines a little and I let go and hold him tight like you said and talk in a calm low voice to him until he finally gives a big sigh, if I let him go before that sigh we're back at it again. It's working. He has to sit while I get his food ready but sometimes I can't stop the barking especially when I'm mixing pumpkin in. He goes nuts for the stuff. So we're working on "wait" and once he's quiet I give him his food. Even if it's only for a little bit, we have to work up to a little longer of a quiet. At this point I'm glad when he thinks about barking but instead its a huff or a "whisper". He does get up on our furniture, not sure how we'll stop that, bad habit we started when he was even smaller but he's not allowed to sleep in our bed, he can easily get in it but he gets put back on the floor and finally gives up and sleeps on his own bed. I'm sure it's not as comfy! :)
 

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Keep it up, I hope you see improvements. For the barking, one thing that a very popular trainer recommends is holding the muzzle with one hand, other hand on the rear, and spinning the dog in a circle once. Do this EVERY time the dog is barking when he shouldn't. I'm currently using this on my puppy, who thinks he should bark if I don't treat him immediately while training. Not sure exactly why this works, but it does.
 

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Others will not agree with me, but I do not think ignoring him is going to help the situation. It sounds like he is trying to show his dominance over you when he doesn't like what's happening. When a dog puts teeth on me, I will very firmly hold his muzzle until I hear a gentle whine from him (note I am not saying hurt him; the whine just lets me know he is not happy with this). Once I hear the whine I let go, but if he comes back at me I will repeat holding the muzzle. If I need to repeat 5 times in a row I will. My next step, once the biting has stopped, would be to hold him tightly in a hug against your body. Be prepared for him to struggle. The harder he struggles, the tighter you bind him to you. Once he starts to relax and submit to you, you can loosen up on him, and gently praise and pet.
LOL I am meaner then you. In an older dog that knows better I like to curl their top lips over there top teeth and give a good squeeze. I often repeat if needed. This fixes the nipping real quick. With jumping up I would put my knee into his chest and give him a sharp snap on the leash and movement forward. It may take you a few tries to get all coordinated but you will get. That’s unacceptable!! With the problems you are mentioning you may want to consult a trainer in your area. Someone that is there to see exactly whats happening and help you through. I always reccomend the breeder/trainers or experienced trainers - no Petsmart crap!
 

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Louisiana, I really don't want it to seem like I'm attacking you personally... there's nothing personal about it.... but seriously, I think you're giving poor advice. What, exactly, about "this type of dog" do you think warrants coercive training? Have you ever tried sticking to negative punishment (i.e. ignoring) and seen the results? How much pure clicker training have you done with any dog? You seem to stick to an old fashioned, physical style of training... so I'm curious if you've actually tried more positive methods, or if you're just convinced that they won't work? I'm not trying to suggest that you shouldn't offer you opinion on anything you choose... it's our differences of opinion that allow us to learn... but to write off effective training methods with no viable reason doesn't really help anyone.

afauth: Muzzle holding, in my experience, tends to turn into a really fun game for the dog. Based on your post, bruises and all, your dog agrees. Honestly, it's just a quick and easy way to get yourself bit and tends to amp up the dog's excitement and the human's anger/frustration to the point that the dog isn't learning anything (except that you can be kind of scary).

Honestly, this all sounds a lot like attention seeking behavior + a bit too much pent up energy + plain ol' adolescent brattiness. A gentle leader, like anything else, is a training tool... there are more and less effective ways of using it, but just putting it on the dog isn't enough. I would highly suggest you enroll in some obedience classes with your pup as soon as possible... and yes, I highly recommend a class based in positive methods (be it clicker training specifically or not). Owning a dog requires quite a bit of "on the job training," but everyone needs some guidance now and then from someone who has been there and done that. Also, get your dog more exercise... including mental stimulation from frequent, short training sessions throughout the day. There's lots of great puzzle type toys out there for dogs as well. Thinking can do wonders for tiring a dog out when space is tight and outside time is limited. Best of luck!

Julie and Jersey
 

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I personally don't agree with a "pure positive" approach with training any dog. For those who are happy with it, that's great, but it's not for me and has never given me the results I am looking for.When I say there is a correction or a consequence, I don't necessarily mean a painful one. If I tell a dog to sit, he knows what sits means, but he doesn't sit, I am going to put my hand on his rear and put him in a sit. I don't see anything wrong with that. If I say "come" and he decides what he is doing is more interesting than coming, I will go out and get the dog by the collar and bring him in. It just clarifies in the dog's mind that he has to comply whether he feels like it or not. It doesn't hurt him in any way. But this does not meet the definition of pure positive training.Yes, I have tried pure positive, clicker syle training. I did not like the results. Now keep in mind, all my initial teaching is very positive (although I do not use pure shaping, I will lure a dog to get what I want), I just add a bit of "have to" once the dogs understands what it should do and chooses not to. I don't go out and beat him, but I will put him into the position I requested.I'm currently taking a pure positive class with my puppy, mostly so I can get him used to working around other dogs. Before class we let the pups play together. When play time is over, the other owners call their dogs, and the dogs ignore them. The instructor told the owners to keep calling the dogs until they came. That is the fastest way to teach a dog he doesn't have to come until he feels like it. I don't want my dog to have to make that decision at this age, so right now I just go get him. But at some point I will expect to be able to call my dog off of anything, and if he ignores me there will be a consequence of me either going and getting him by the collar, or if he is on a long line, pulling him in on the line. Again, this isn't hurting the dog, just reminding him that he must obey, even when he doens't feel like it.In my experience, dogs are much happier when things are cut and dry for them. They don't have to decide if they should do something in this set of circumstances, they know that if I told them to do it, they should. That makes for a more confident dog, and that is what I am after, a happy, confident working dog.
 

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I forgot to mention verbal corrections. I will also tell my dog when he is not right. Again, I think it makes it clearer to the dog when we explain that something he is doing is not right. I actually think that there are fewer pure positives trainers out there than there claim to be. As I said, I have taken pure positive clases, where you are not supposed to touch a dog or tell him no. But I know a lot of people taking those classes do not follow through with that method when they get out in the real world. When faced with distractions, many people will find they have to use some sort of correction to be successfull. That or else they will have to pull out a treat and dangle in front of the dog to bribe him. I dont bribe dogs, I train them.I think it is similar to children. I teach sixth grade. While positive reinforcement can do a lot for children's behavior, it only goes so far. Children have to also be told when they are wrong and eventually must face other consequences. If we just ignored the bad behavior and rewarded the good, our schools would be in even worse shape than they are.
 

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I apologize that it took me so long to get back to your post. Long day at work, obedience club meeting, and a somewhat rough night... but better late then never I figure.

It strikes me that you left out a few of the corrections you use.... and I don't think that gives a full picture of what I was responding to. I saw no mention of a "pop" on the muzzle, or your earlier advice in this thread to grab the muzzle, or that bear hug thing (that really just sounds like a modified alpha roll, where you confine the dog until he "submits" to your "dominance"). I would also imagine, from personal experience, that collar corrections are a part of the training picture. No, I'm not accusing you of going out and beating your dog... and I highly doubt that any of your corrections are physically harmful to him or her. But the risk of backlash or backfire from these types of techniques is very real... and evidenced by another poster's bumps and bruises. Sure, the risk with pushing your dog into a sit is minimal (unless he has issues with his rear being handled), but when you get into the really murky waters -- separation anxiety, other anxiety issues, resource guarding, aggression -- that risk is even greater. Or what about the bear hug you suggested? If a dog truly lashes out against it, the risk of a bite to the face is remarkable... and what would an incident like that mean for most dogs?

But really, the biggest thing that struck me about your post is that I think you have a misunderstanding of what I was referring to by positive based training.

Let me clear up a few misconceptions here:

There is no such thing as "pure positive" training. My mistake for phrasing it as I did, but I've yet to find a good, all-encompassing name that everyone has agreed on. In real life, there is a duality to the quadrants... with positive reinforcement comes negative punishment. There is a consequence to making the wrong choice.

There's nothing inherently wrong with letting your dog know verbally that he made the wrong choice. In modern/positive/clicker/whatever-you-want-to-call-it training, the most common form of this is the No Reward Marker (NRM)... essentially it says to the dog "wrong, try again." There are plenty that do use the word "No" under certain circumstances, though the ways of reinforcing it generally differ from coercive training.

Calling a dog over and over and over again until he decides to stroll over and figure out why the record is skipping isn't "positive" training... it's poor training and really, really bad advice. It's unfortunate that the "positive" class you've enrolled in has an ineffective trainer leading the class, but that does not speak to what other trainers are doing.

The focus in this kind of training is asking the dog only for what he is capable of giving you. I often cringe when I hear phrases like "he knows what that means," or "she's just blowing me off," because they're so frequently untrue. Sure, your dog may know what come or sit or down means in the kitchen, but that doesn't mean he knows it in the back yard. He may know it in the back yard, but that doesn't mean he knows it in a training facility. He may know it at class but that doesn't mean he knows it at the dog park.

This type of training requires a large initial investment in helping the dog to generalize tasks... you may have to take a few steps back when changing a major criterion such as location... and when people are unwilling to put in that initial investment, they never do see the results. The good news is, the more behaviors you generalize, the easier and quicker each subsequent one becomes... but how many people never make it that far? People would rather assume that once a dog has learned a command in one place that they will naturally understand it under any conditions... and when the dog doesn't respond, they give a "correction." From then on out, all teaching that occurs in the new environment is coercive... so, I'm sorry, but the "I always initially teach positively" claim doesn't really fly.

Ignoring a dog for behavior, such as jumping, that has been previously rewarded (sometimes intentionally, usually not) isn't an easy row to hoe either. The nitty gritty reasons for this would likely double the length of an already long post, so I'll try to put it as succinctly as possible. Initially the dog will redouble his efforts looking for that reward (even if it's just a verbal correction or pushing him away, or whatever he is interpretting as the attention he craves). If you give in then, you've only reinforced that longer, harder effort and dug your hole deeper. If one decides to take this route, they have to absolutely commit to 100% consistency, because each falter only strengthens the behavior. It does work, but only if the person is committed to making it work even as the behavior hits a fever pitch (known as an extinction burst). If you can make it through that, you've won the war... and if the behavior does re-emerge at any point down the line (sure, it happens at times), as long as the person remains consistent, it is an easy fix. And yes, that was the short version, LOL.

Look, I'm not just someone who drank the Kool-aid and has no idea what's on the other side of the coin. I've trained my current dog both ways. I grew up with your typical dominance, physical, coercive training (complete with happy, friendly initial teaching stages). When I got Jersey, I just figured that was how you trained a dog. And then I found myself with a dog who was very outgoing, and yet lacked the confidence needed for upper level obedience tasks. When faced with a puzzle he didn't know the answer to, he would shut down.. because he knew the wrong answer would be met with something unpleasant (despite the fact that were were still in that "initial positive" phase... he was just waiting for the other shoe to drop, because inevitably it always did). So I decided to do something different.... I threw out everything I knew, or thought I knew.... and I started from scratch. A dog's confidence is built by giving him the tools to solve the puzzle, by allowing him to be successful, by not asking more than he is capable of giving. Yes, there are still rules, yes there still need to be cut-and-dry rules... I'm not advocating a free for all. I just see a different way of getting there, and only wish I had found it sooner. I now have a dog confident enough to think things through, to risk making an error, and to try again if he is wrong. Almost 4 years in, it's like owning a new dog.

Honestly, if your methods work for you and you have no interest in changing, then that's your prerogative. But to off-handedly state that this training won't work for a particular type of dog (or as you later stated - any dog) is a disservice to those looking for ways to modify their dog's behavior. This training does work and it fosters a relationship built on trust between dog and handler. But as with any training, timing is key... some methods are more effective than others.... and most people need guidance to understand how to implement it effectively. With the information and tools available to people today, thanks to the internet, this "do no harm" type of training should be the first line of defense in any behavioral snafu.... especially with the inherent risks involved in using physical force.

At the risk of making this longer, I do want to clarify that I am in no way suggesting that you should not offer training advice to people simply because I disagree with you. I wouldn't dream of it, and in fact I hope you do continue to do so. Truthfully, telling more specifically how particular methods didn't work for you (whether it's you talking about positive methods or me talking about coercive ones) is probably the best learning tool on this forum. It helps to keep others from making the same mistakes we have and allows everyone to clarify with tips and tools to make each suggestion better. But I do take exception to those types of blanket statements and will continue to answer to them when given the opportunity.

I'll now end just as I began... with an apololgy. I'm sorry this post is like 16 pages long... but the effect of having to sit on this all day until I could get to my computer is that I had way too much time to think about things I wanted to say. :p: Hope you have (crap... had) a good night!! Thanks for the lively debate!

Julie and Jersey
 

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When I say I don't recommend pure positive training, I do mean pure positive. There are trainers out there that don't use no reward markers, don't believe in leashes because if the dog reaches the end of the leash he has self corrected, and say handlers should never touch a dog at all when training. It's the absolutes (you should NEVER) that I have the most problem with. I stand by my opinion that that is not the most effective way to train (but that's all that it is, my opinion).Now, do I recommend training based on mostly positive methods? Absolutely. But I do also recommend something to let the dog know when he is wrong. What that consequence is depends completely with the handler and the dog. If it is nothing more than a NRM, that is fine, but again that makes it not fit the definition of pure positive that some are trying for.If someone is using pure positive and it is working for them, I have nothing against them using it.The type of corrections I use in training don't really have anything to do with me saying I don't recommend pure positive. I never told the poster to go find a class that trains using choke chains (which, btw, I don't use) and leash pops. As for sharing what I do for behavioral problems, that's what I was doing, sharing what works for me. It greatly annoys me when you go to a trainer for advice, they give all this great theory to you, but then you find out later that they actually do something else with their own dogs. I am just offering what I do and what works for me. I'm not saying they should do that. I don't think anyone should tell what someone absolutely should try over the internet without meeting the person and the dog. I find that often people are scared to offer what has worked for them because they are afraid other people might jump on them.I have no qualms with the way I train my dogs. I do a lot of hand-on training, and my dogs view it as a big game. They are taught from a young age to view my hands on them or in their collars as "fun time." I honestly think that if we trained together for a day you wouldn't have much problem with what I do. But I don't think everyone has to train that way to be successful.
 

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Now that I'm off work I have time to go back and clarify the "bear hug" concept. First, let me start by saying this is not something I use on a dog that is in an aggressive state of mind. Instead, it is for a dog saying "I don't really want to go along with what you're doing." My puppy does not like to be restrained and sometimes while training and he is either on leash or I'm holding him by the collar, he will begin to thrash around like a crazy dog trying to get away. So I sit on the ground, put him in my lap (a position he is used to being in for cuddling in my lap) and hold him there. At first he will continue to thrash around, but he will begin to realize that is not getting him anywhere. As he stops moving, I loosen my hold. Start moving again, tighten the hold again. He quickly makes the connection that stillness is the key to me letting go. Once he is still, he is in a much better frame of mind (he will at that point usually choose to stay on my lap on his own, so we can have some cuddle time), and we are able to go back to training. This is another idea that would not work for every dog, but it's an idea that has helped me a lot with this dog. It's up to each individual owner to decide if it is something they should attempt with their dog.
 

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You can continue to debate the merits of some theoretical "pure positive" training, but the simple fact is it doesn't exist. A trainer that is proclaiming themselves to be "pure positive" is not one I would go to... because it says to me that they do not fully understand the concepts they are teaching. Positive reinforcement cannot exist in a vacuum without negative punishment. I also wouldn't choose to train under a hypocrite... though I'm not sure where that insinuation came from or how it's relevant.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to keep your hands off a dog during training that have nothing to do with some fictional ideal of "pure positive." Most notably, that physically manipulating the dog (for example, pushing or guiding him into a sit) interferes with the learning process. The physical touch becomes the cue (rather than the verbal command), and so the process begins to retrain the dog to "sit" on voice alone... generally accomplished by corrections for non-compliance in coercive training, or perhaps a switch of tactics to luring, but in either case it's a matter of going back to the beginning and teaching in a new way. Nowhere is this more obvious than people who use leash corrections to teach heeling (I know, you said you don't... but it's the clearest example I have off the top of my head to illustrate the point). Dogs come to view the tightening of the leash (either because the person has started walking or because the person begins with a light pop to get the dog moving) as the cue to move forward. Take this dog off leash, keep your hands still, say heel and move forward... and the dog will continue to sit there a vast majority of the time because they have no idea what that word means. Allowing the dog to successfully perform the motor task (sitting, downing, heeling) without physical manipulation is the path of least resistance, the straight line between two points... there are no extraneous cues to phase out as long as you're mindful of your posture, gestures, and position relative to the dog.

Even those you call "pure positive" advocate using a leash when the dog's safety demands it (i.e. outside in a non-fenced area), though they are likely to suggest you tie it around your waist as to avoid giving extraneous cues with your hands. It's a matter of consistency for the dog. The leash in this case should be incidental, and not any more likely to "make" the dog comply. After all, the goal is a dog who will follow your commands/cues regardless of whether or not he's wearing a leash, isn't it?

Yes, there are trainers who choose not to use NRMs. In the long run, they aren't necessary... the dog is fully capable of learning without them. The choice of whether to use them greatly rests on the personality of the dog and the talent for timing of the trainer. The NRM is a cue, not a punishment or a correction... it tells the dog that he did something wrong and that he should try a different route. The positive training I am referencing does avoid the use of positive punishment, so that is an important distinction.

Though the types of corrections you use have no bearing on whether or not you recommend positive training, they are not insignificant. The corrections you failed to mention also happen to be the ones you've offered as advice to other posters and are the ones that spurred me to respond. Though you state support for training with "mostly positive" methods, your advice in this thread and the one on resource guarding give no "mostly positive" alternatives... rather you suggest that those methods, as offered by others, won't work and jump straight to very physical (not violent, not abusive, not any charged word you might think I'm implying... simply physical) corrections. The problem with those particular corrections, the reason I jumped into the conversation at all, is that those particular corrections have an elevated risk of backfiring in a way that endangers the handler, and ultimately the dog as well.

And that's really the crux of the issue here. You say that you don't feel you should give definitive advice on a forum like this without meeting the dog and seeing the behavior... but you're essentially doing just that in your posts. One poster came right back stating she attempted your suggestion (holding the dog's muzzle) and has the bruises to prove it. So you have to know on some level that the poster saw it as "do try this at home" advice, especially as you continued to advise her and encourage her to "keep it up."

To an extent I do agree with your point, execution aside, about giving advice over the internet... which is why I would never offer someone a confrontational approach that puts anyone at any greater risk than before I spoke to them and will actively discourage posters from attempting techniques with the potential to make matters worse. When one's advice does not carry that risk there is no reason not to offer it, much less deny having offered it after the fact. That is the advice I will continue to promote on this, and any, forum... along with encouragement to seek the guidance of a qualified trainer who can teach them how to implement said suggestions effectively and/or come up with a more specified plan geared toward the individual dog.

And let me to assure you that if I saw you "pop" a dog on the muzzle, amp them up trying to grab their muzzle, or bear hugging a dog into "submission" (read: learned helplessness) that I would take issue with it.... whether you were a stranger in the park, a friend I met there to train, or a person standing around offering it as advice to another person. Would I think you're a mean or abusive person? Absolutely not. But I would do exactly as I am here and now.

One other side note: I'm more than a little curious how your dog's can see you handling them and their collars as some big fun happy game and a correction at the same time. One or the other has to hold ground... either the dog sees it as a game, and your "correction" is actually some level of reinforcement spurning the misbehavior to continue longer... or the correction is a correction, and you are thus undermining the positive association you want your dog to have with being handled. I can't answer which it is, but I don't see any plausible way both could be true... though I welcome you to explain it to me.

Julie and Jersey
 
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