|Barked: Tue Dec 7, '10 10:24am PST |
|I'm not sure the specifics of what you're doing here. In general, though, keep in mind that dogs can only associate consequences with whatever JUST happened. So if you are ignoring him for hours on end, or starting the punishment cycle at any moment other than the EXACT moment when he is in the actual act of going in the wrong place, then he has no idea why you're upset. All he knows is that he needs to avoid you when you're upset, which is probably why he immediately slinks away when you become upset about something. He may also understand that you get angry when you find poop on the ground, but he likely is not extending that connection to the action of pooping there.
As for treats and punishment, I wouldn't worry about it too much. I will try to give you a brief, objective run-down of the schools of thought here. Basically, improperly used, treats-only training can be ineffective and possibly even contribute to obesity or guarding behaviors. And improperly used, punishment-based training can be ineffective and lead to aggression, fearfulness, guarding issues, and avoidance behaviors. You will therefore hear terrible terrible things about each from proponents of the other. Just know that both methods can be very effective, and so in the end what it really comes down to is your preference, based on what type of relationship you want with your dog and how you like to train. Personally I don't use much punishment at all, and what I do use is based mostly on what's called "negative punishment," where you take something away from a dog in order to punish it (usually attention) rather than add something in order to punish it (like discomfort/leash pops - this is called "positive punishment"). I use a lot of rewards (praise/treats/toys) in order to teach the dog what to do, since I find it more useful than trying to teach what not to do, as well as for personal preference reasons I can get into further if you want. I think you'll find a lot of Dogsters (at least those who post in the forums) train in some variation of this general method. However, other people train differently and they have their reasons for that too. If you want some research materials on different training styles, ask and I'm sure we'd all be happy to provide.
As for pack rankings, I wouldn't worry about it. The way I see it, of course the dog isn't on par with the children. That's because they're different species, and also because one is a pet. They aren't even in the same ranking system. There's no reason to compare the two. The dog knows this, and he also knows you aren't the "alpha/beta/gamma/omega dog." He knows that you're a human. Now he needs to know how to relate to you. So teach him.
Edited by author Tue Dec 7, '10 10:30am PST
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