|Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M|
I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
|Barked: Wed Nov 28, '12 1:00pm PST |
|I personally would be more impressed by a trainer whose dog clearly had an over the top issue but was still managing to give that dog a good, full life. Coming to mind is a friend from a few years back who had a Pit who was DA of the highest regarded....that sorta wacko "happy" aggression where he just wanted to tear dogs apart. They were his playthings. Very drive-y, intense. This was a dog you lock in your basement. But he was so dead trained, he could go anywhere. She took him to PetSmart twice a month...a battering ram of sorts to proof and practice. Always a gentleman. That is what ethical Pit culture promotes...that control is the paramount, vs expecting your dog to be something he isn't.
I think interesting to me, and why there might be these differences of perspectives, is that what I want from training is a dead trained dog. A dog I can bring anywhere and not worry that there is going to be some problem. Just whatever that scenario out there that I don't expect, and due to him being so rock solid, he is safe.
In all my years of owning dogs, that is what matters most to me. It has saved the life of my dogs on a few occasions, and the number of unhappy circumstances it averted likely are countless.
Dogs are going to be who they are. Tiller is very territorial and gets pissed off when people are on his property. He's a Giant Schnauzer...it's not as if that is unexpected. It's appreciated, actually, perhaps some pain in my butt but it would be FAR from such if a stranger wandered into my house. I don't care if he doesn't like strangers. I cared with Onion....because I was near phobic about Giant Schnauzer fallout...and had the frakking funniest result! I conditioned him *perfectly* He was an awesome greeter! Celebrity of his neighborhood! Onion loved everyone. Ummm, for like the "less than five minutes" that usually meant getting a treat or a good love slap. But this beautifully greeting dog...I mean, how funny is THIS ....if I had people over, BIG greeting, BIG love fest, and once that timer clicked, he'd be in the room with a low growl. "Ok, I said hi, now get OUT!" So really, what was that conditioning work for? It was totally against who he was. It WORKED....I mean, greeting people was great fun. It did not CHANGE that he did not want people on his property. Which is not abnormal for a Giant. It's normal. Now I have Tiller, who I much prefer in that aspect. He'll be normal for his pedigree and warn strangers he sees coming onto his property. He's controllable...he's trained...but he's pissed and that's ok. He's a Giant. But as you know, Duncan, after ten minutes or so he sees you are invited and will rub up against you. I'd far prefer that than the friendly greeter I built in Onion, who was just flat out confused. Good stuff happens when people come to me! Ok fine....give me my goodie and now WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?
They are Giants, so now I let them be that. Onion taught me a lot through that. What conditioning is and its value, and limitations. It doesn't rescript the world, if the dog is balanced. I could have shown up at Petco, and he would have been so lovely for you. You would have been over the moon with this spectacular greeter! And then if I had you over for tea, by your fifth sip he'd have been saying, "look lady, you don't get how this stuff works! now beat it!" Whereas if I bring Tiller, at a place like PetSmart, he'll ignore you. That's training. Maybe you don't like that....that is not a friendly dog! But if you then you follow me home, by that fifth sip of tea, he will say "oh, the master seems to like you, my name is Tiller, and yours would be?"
In the end, neither of these boys were thrilled with strangers. One was conditioned so that he looked good on the surface, but it didn't change who he was. And I felt bad about that, as he didn't like strangers any better in any extended sense. By DEFINING strangers as "good things come from" rather than letting him simply appreciate their company for the sake of it, I actually decreased his tolerance. Tiller, far less socially inclined, is more naturally receptive and appreciative of strangers once they have my clearance. Going for that exterior result was a flaw and a well learned lesson. Which brings me back to why 18,000 hours of direct training dog experience with 200+ individuals trumps 800 hours of direct dog training experience on three pets anytime.
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