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Conflicting advice with training my husky x(19 Posts)
So bitey dog is 11 weeks old, she is my 3rd large pup over 25 years and my 2nd sole responsibility. Obviously training dogs has changed loads and and I waited till dcs were teens as I know strong dogs can be difficult with little ones. However I'm being thrown as all my reading and research and dog walking/training at the local center focuses on positive training but all the trainers I've spoke to say as she is husky x malamute dominance is the only way to go ? I think I agree with certain things as she does need to learn her place ( still training the dcs on that) but some things seem conflicting ? Any advice on the best style of training avoiding e collars, prong collars etc. She has a great nature just a little bitey ( she is a puppy ) and bossy with my youngest dc.
Dominance theory is tosh. The person who came up with it also now disputes it. Reward the good, bond with your dog and enjoy. Biting is hard though, mine nearly sent me loopy. We just left the room until she settled a little. It's a cue they're playful. Good luck.
Gosh I got a bit confused there as I call my dog BiteyDog
I got the best training advice from breed specific trainers rather than general trainers (mine is a spaniel).
Are you saying the positive trainers are saying that you need dominance training?
You’ve got a dog that’s going to be large and pretty willfull as an adult, so yep you want to be in charge...
But with dominance theory what you’re actually doing is creating a weird artificial hierarchy that isn’t natural to dogs or people and making a dog unsure and confused so they do what you want.
With positive training you’re teaching them to trust you, to know exactly what it is you want them to do and you’re in charge just by actually being in charge...
So it’s do random controlling things to try and create a hierarchy that doesn’t actually exist vs teaching what you want them to do.
Thank you for the replies, yes it seems as though some of the trainers are trying to mix dominance and positive training if that makes sense ? Some things are just the same as years ago, eat before the dog, walk into a room first etc but that's more respect I think ?
I will say these are breed specific trainers so I may look more general for help.
Dominance is definitely an old school train of thought, discounted through science. Look for a IMDT trainer as they will endorse positive reinforcement and no dominance theory. You cannot beat an elephant into submission and yet they can train them to lift their feet up to be examined and also teach tigers to inject themselves in zoos, all through positive reinforcement!
Eat before the dog etc. is all very outdated nonsense now. I agree with the advice to seek out an IMDT or similar trainer (are APDT and APBC still legit, anyone? COAPE?)
As a husky owner of many years, I beg of you, the second that dog is old enough and mature enough, give it an appropriate job to do - canicross, bikejor, sled dog racing, backpacking. That'll be more than half the battle won when it comes to behaviour.
I think one of the reasons dominance won’t go away is that some of it seems to make sense if you don’t think about it too hard.
But if you actually go, well what am I trying to achieve here? It doesn’t...
So for instance - walking through doors first, well it’s just common sense and manners. But dogs aren’t there going, ooh the human gets access to a room first, they’re important, they’re just there going, they like me to wait here...
Dominance theory is supposed to be based on wolf packs, except wolf packs don’t work like that - it was flawed research based on an artificial pack created in captivity - which is why they were all fighting for food and control.
Wild wolf packs are families, the “pack leaders” are the parents, you’ve got some adult children, occasionally other close relatives and then actual children. So they’re not in charge because they’ve fought their way to the top, they’re in charge because they’re the parents.
three that's the plan as soon as she's 2 we can start training with her but until she's able to go outside we can't do a lot ! 8 days and counting, we are working with frisbees in the garden and football's
I think dogs need boundaries and clear ideas of what is acceptable and what is not tbh.
Especially if they are of a more typical overbearing personality like a malamute.
‘Dominance theory’ has been disproven yes, wolf packs don’t operate in the way originally thought but all social animals have social rules and do discipline for breaking them.
Even teeny social creatures like ants!
I swear if I didn't know better I'd say she was deliberately holding her wee, just to piss on my carpet today she even waits to make sure I'm looking ! It's a good thing she's cute and that carpet is old !
Get your youngest to feed the dog and don't let the kids play on the floor with him. That should help establish the pecking order you want. We had a big mouthy dog too. Keeping them off the couch helps too.
But having boundaries isn't the same as having an alpha and a hierarchy which is what dominance theory advocates.
Our dog has boundaries - he can sit on the sofa if there is space, otherwise he's turfed onto the floor. He knows that. It's not because he's lower in the "pack" than us, it's because he's a dog not a person!
He also knows he can't bark to get what he wants, or jump at people for fuss. Again nothing to do with pack theory but because him jumping up and barking is not desirable behaviour. We use positive reward training and lots of treats - we just cut down his main meals.
He's a beagle and exceedingly stubborn. You can see him sitting and looking at you and deciding whether listening to you is worth his while! If you have cheese, he'll do anything, otherwise it's really a matter of whether he can be bothered or not 😂
I think - having had the debate with quite a few people - it comes down language, in some cases.
People will often use the word discipline and this tends to cause a bit of a reaction in some folks who fear a return to the old days of pack theory. Mainly because the word discipline was used a lot then. I've found a word people can more easily agree on is that there are consequences.
There's plenty of positive training that uses negative consequences to aid, as well as nice ones. For example: battendog jumps up at the kitchen side to see if he can swipe some food. If he does not get anything that is a consequence, and not a nice one. He is left without. However, if he sits nicely in his bed I am likely to praise, pet and, occasionally, drop him a treat. That is also a consequence, but a nice one.
Perhaps another example, I ask him to sit but he lies down. He doesn't get the treat and perhaps was hoping for it - and so there is a consequence to him lying down when asked to sit.
It's an interesting thought, at least to me, that even positive/reward based training has punishments, even if the punishment is nothing harsher than the disappointment of not getting a treat or toy.
missbattenburg I tend to agree. With my dog it is really hard to get him to do something for food and you could be waving steak in front of him if there are distractions and he doesn't care so lots of the positive training I found in classes worked a treat for dogs like labs who would walk to heal for a mere slither of cheese. With my dog he listens if he thinks he might lose something which is either his ball or my company. So removing something is the motivator as he will do things to get it back but then a lot of people get upset because it's a negative action even though he finally gets rewarded when he does something right.
OP can you do a taster class with some of the trainers or do you have to commit to a session of lessons? The best approach I found was to do a lesson and get a feel for whether you and your dog click with the trainer. In my experience you 'know' pretty quickly whether they are the trainer for you or not.
Positive training doesn’t always mean food btw, and it doesn’t mean there aren’t negative reinforcers...
If my dog waits until I tell him he can take the toy from me, he gets it and that’s a positive reinforcement
If he tries to snatch it from my hand, I take the toy away and that’s negative reinforcement
But I’m not adding in punishment... because it’s just not as effective... and I don’t want to.
And I’m definitely not going to do things like stop him sitting on my foot when he’s unsure about something, because he’s then higher than me that’s an actual example of something a dominance trainer once said btw.
All dogs learn in the same way which is repeating rewarded behaviour BUT (before you all shout all dogs are different etc etc).
What however is different for each dog is the motivator - food is the no 1 motivator for many dogs - but many dogs do not get too turned on by food and toys may be a better motivator. ALL dogs do have a motivator so all dogs can learn. Dogs can learn to be motivated by food and it makes our lives much easier if you do work on that.
Interesting what you are saying about removing things Bitey
What you are describing is negative punishment eg removing something a dog wants -this is the only form of punishment that does work.
Positive punishment is adding something so hitting the dog to stop it doing something -the dog may stop but it has learnt nothing so will repeat the inappropriate behaviour (and is completely scare and confused!)
So whatever the dog and what ever the behaviour positive reinforcement is the way to teach a dog something -just make sure you use a motivator that the dogs wants.
I have worked with 10000,s of dogs for many years and I have never found a stubborn dog - the dog has never chosen not to do something if they really want the reward . I have however seen dogs being offered the wrong motivator.
I love the boundary debate - as if dogs are sitting there wondering what boundary can I cross today Dogs like consistency and will repeat rewarded behaviour (have I mentioned that already!) so just stick to what you want your dog to do.
If he allowed on the sofa always let him on the sofa
if he is allowed to jump up let him jump up even if you do have your best coat on etc
Just be consistent.
Thank you for all the advice I have found someone who says pretty much the same as you folks so am booking on to his course for next year. I will get little one to try feeding and yes she is normally laying on the floor in the dogs play area !! ( she's a teen ) I will keep on with the removal of toys /Me when needed and hope the consistency pays off.
biteyshe's also known as biteyshark or land shark in the morning when toes are around.