Friend's cruel day training tips. Need to vent.

(49 Posts)
startingafresh1 Sat 26-Jan-19 09:15:48

I'm in holiday with a group of friends. I have a two year old Labrador who I've trained using force free reward based methods. IMO he's pretty well behaved: reliable recall, sit, extended stay, no jumping up. We've done some force free gun dog training with him (just for fun, no intention of actually shooting), and he's been brilliant until recently where he's become so obsessed with the dummy that he doesn't reliably wait before fetching it. We are working on this. He's also very excitable around other dogs, but does recall to me when in company and I pop him on the lead if other dogs prefer not to say hello.

Friend has had fun dogs for years. He claims his dogs are impeccably behaved. I sat with him over dinner and he spoke with authority about his methods which include choke chains, twisting dog's ear to force a sit, forcing a Dog onto its back and holding it there as a submission exercise. If recall fails his dogs are given a good hiding.

His recommendation to deal with DDogs failure to wait for the release command before fetching is some sort of narrow wire collar that chokes and hurts if he pulls on it.

I was utterly horrified but I'm ashamed to say I listened and simply told him I had never hurt my dog, and never will, and his methods don't fit with me.

I'm furious this morning. I wish I had told him what I really thought of him. People see him as some sort of dog genius. I'd had a couple of drinks and didn't want to start a big argument.

I'm just ranting really!

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Sat 26-Jan-19 09:23:30

If it is any consolation, telling him what you think of him is the least likely way to get him to rethink his ideas. It will cause him to double down on them, thinking you are an idiot. It would, therefore, also be the worst way to reduce the amount of punishment his dogs get because he is then likely to 'double down' with them also. Just to prove to himself that his beliefs are right.

Your actual response was much better and had the best chance of him reviewing his methods, imo.

ChakiraChakra Sat 26-Jan-19 09:30:09

missbattenburg is right. It takes great personal strength to respond as you did, and it's far more likely to have a positive impact on his thoughts and methods than shouting him down.

His poor dogs though.

startingafresh1 Sat 26-Jan-19 09:41:05

Thank you both for your kind reassurance. I hadn't thought of it like that.

He has four dogs, three black labs (like mine), and a spaniel. I feel so sorry for them.

I think of my lovely boy. All bouncy and happy and eager to please. How someone can take an animal with this mindset and inflict pain to train them I can't fathom.

Other than waiting before fetching a dummy my dog is a well behaved dog, and positive reward based training has worked.

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Sat 26-Jan-19 09:57:34

Reward based training does work. One of the main gundog associations declared last Sept it was moving to support only reward based training.

His views are outdated and - thankfully - starting to die out.

heidiwine Sat 26-Jan-19 10:21:07

A friend of mine told me that the only way to stop my dog jumping up was to ‘knee it hard in the chest every time it jumped up’ sad
I replied as you did. She also told me that she ‘beat’ the dog when it didn’t do what she wanted it to do. I was horrified but knew very little about dogs. Now every time I see her dog I feel so sad because I can recognise all the signs of fear that it displays and although in no way aggressive the dog is certainly never relaxed.
She was told to do this by the gun dog trainer she bought the puppy from. So sad that this was once considered normal angry

startingafresh1 Sat 26-Jan-19 10:24:22

Missbarenburg we had to travel a long way to find a force free gun dog trainer. I really wanted to give it a go as I feel our lab is born to do this type of thing and I had to say he loves it (maybe even a little too much, there is absolutely nothing he wouldn't do for a dummy).

Our trainer felt that the gun Dog World is one of the last doggy areas where positive reward based training is still not very popular. It's great to hear that you've heard of one association supporting it wholeheartedly.

If it's good enough for the police, army and guide dogs than it must work IMO!

OP’s posts: |


startingafresh1 Sat 26-Jan-19 10:26:23

Heidi that's so sad. Apart from the cruelty element I would have thought that inflicting pain on a dog risks them becoming fearful and aggressive.

OP’s posts: |
Doggydoggydoggy Sat 26-Jan-19 12:09:43

Your friend is disgusting, no doubt about that.
What you describe is absolute abuse.
He is extremely lucky that labs and spaniels are such biddable submissive breeds.
Trying that shit with something more dominant and stubborn like a typical livestock guardian for example and he’d be in hospital!

I’m a bit confused by your last comment though.
What is good enough for the police and army?
Positive only training?

As far as I’m aware, the army are so called ‘balanced’ trainers, not positive only.
They use a mix of positive reinforcement and corrections I thought?

Some police forces use positive only but I know of a number of trainers in the security and protection sport sector and they are definately ‘balanced’ not positive only, nearly all the dogs are e collar trained.
Praise for good behaviour, punish for bad.

I don’t think positive only training for police dogs is a good thing at all.
If they are only positive then they are surely training in ‘prey drive’ rather than ‘defence’.

That means that the dog sees bitework as a game and if the dog is confronted with a seriously scary individual who succeeds in intimidating the dog the dog will opt to flee....

Pissedoffdotcom Sat 26-Jan-19 12:17:09

Punishing a dog for something or using fear to get submission is bloody dangerous. You aren't working with an obedient dog that WANTS to work with you, you are bullying a terrified dog who is constantly on edge. He deserves to get his hand mauled the wanker.

I have no time for people who use aggression with animals. Having dealt with the resulting wreck of a dog from homes that still believe in dominance theory i can safely say i wish they'd curl up in a hole & die.

MOD training is done through fun, similarly with most police dog training. Have family that do both (obviously different family members, not one doing the same) and their dogs are not bullied into working.

Detoxpup Sat 26-Jan-19 12:27:35

We really need to go back to pavlo dogs here.

If a behaviour is rewarded it will be repeated -fact.

Before classical conditioning the dog will not respond to a stimulus after classical conditioning the dog will (really have no choice) respond to the stimulus.

eg bell rings and pavlo dogs salivate every time.

So it makes sense to make all training classical conditioned - this can be done easily with recall etc eg from birth say the command and feed the puppies they will be conditioned to respond to their name .

Operant conditioning is used more in training dogs to do specific behaviours and again is based on behaviour that is reinforced will be repeated - so re Police dogs they will train well using positive training what your are training makes no difference .

Interestingly the Police and Army are slowly very slowly catching up with this idea - most now use clickers for most areas of police dog work.

Punishment whether it is negative or positive can stop behaviour BUT it does not teach the behaviour you want so in a training situation is not that effective.

OP respect on your reply to your uneducated friend

Doggydoggydoggy Sat 26-Jan-19 12:28:27

Mostly fun yes, but entirely?

How do you teach the dog that you don’t let go of the bad man if they frighten or hurt you using purely positive training?
Genuine question, not arguing.

I’m not saying they are ‘bullied into working’, not at all.
But my understanding is that it is not 100% purely positive training.

BiteyShark Sat 26-Jan-19 12:31:27

Your response was the best one. Calm and factual.

Detoxpup Sat 26-Jan-19 12:35:08

Equally a genuine guestion how do you get the dog to hold the bad man
without using positive training.

To train it positively it will be the same as training a dog to pull a tuggy - the reward is in the holding of the bad man - that is a game to the dog, no aggression just a game hold on until you are told.

This will be built up by duration distance, the dog will be given a leg protector and the handler will encourage play, they will make it exciting and fun, the protector will be moved around and the dog encouraged to chase.
The dog will be touched as he is holding the protector to add to the fun.

This will then be built on over time

Look at IPO training all done positively

I agree that some protection training is still in the dark ages but it is moving forward and most will now be using positive based training as it works smile A few retired police dog handlers are still pushing the older methods to the general public though

Detoxpup Sat 26-Jan-19 12:37:38

IPO all positively trained

Doggydoggydoggy Sat 26-Jan-19 12:47:51

Exactly Detox, the behaviour is trained through positive training, which is great!
The natural instinct of a dog in fear of its safety is to flee.

While your using the tuggy, sleeve, suit etc the dog is working in prey drive and having a really great, fun time. Basically a game of tuggy with a live target.

If that live target does something to make the dog fearful, hits it too hard or injures it someway that dog will surely be thinking this game is not so fun anymore and will break the bite and flee.

So, surely for real life police/protection work the dog needs to also have training in ‘defence drive’ where a skilled decoy gradually introduces intimidation and the dog learns that the only way to relieve the pressure/discomfort is to maintain the bite and bring the baddy down?

IPO training is game training, a competition. The dog is in no danger.

But a real life police work the dog’s safety may well be in danger, you don’t want it to release the bite and let the criminal get away?

I am aware that army and police training is ‘fun/game/positive BASED but that is not the same as 100% positive.

I don’t think any of the protection sport breeders and trainers I know of are 100% positive and I know a number of them sell pups to police forces and pups and older dogs to security guards and prison staff.

Pissedoffdotcom Sat 26-Jan-19 12:52:22

You don't get that level of devotion & will to please from a dog that has been dragged around on a choke chain & forced into submission. A dog trained using negative reinforcement is constantly on edge because instead of thinking about the reward they are expecting a beating/kick/ear pull etc. Ditto with dogs 'trained' using f**king ecollars. They don't train a dog out of a behaviour, they punish a dog without looking at WHY a behaviour is done.

Re MOD or police training, i would assume they work on the priniciple of if you let go we can do it again. I'd have to ask, but i do know that the handlers i know without doubt are against forceful training. Because it damages their relationship with their dogs

Doggydoggydoggy Sat 26-Jan-19 12:54:44

Re e collars.
This dog is e collar trained, you can see it in the footage.

Pissedoffdotcom Sat 26-Jan-19 12:55:25

I think there's confusion (probably on my part 😂). There is no need to use force to train a dog. Choke chains, e collars, ear pinches etc. A dog needs correcting, of course they do. But you can correct/redirect/encourage without physically knackering a dog.

missbattenburg Sat 26-Jan-19 13:05:16

Detoxpup, surely that's a confusion of principles?

A behaviour that is rewarded, is repeated is Skinner not Pavlov.

Classical: the pairing of a biological stimuli with a neutral stimuli to produce the same biological effect for both. The distinctive point is that the effect is involuntary. Recall is voluntary. Pavlov.

Operant: the pairing of a biological stimulus with a voluntary behaviour to increase/decrease the chances of the behaviour being volunteered again. Skinner.

With regards to MOD etc dogs I would imagine it is the same as training horses? Otherwise, how do you train a horse (a prey animal whose flight instinct is much stronger than a dogs) not to flee? Gradual desensitisation to increasingly intimidating environments. Maybe some counter conditioning thown in for good measure. No punishment needed.

Pissedoffdotcom Sat 26-Jan-19 13:06:07

Doggydoggydoggy had to check but he doesn't use e-collars on his dogs as a rule. I follow him on FB (sad i know). To date i've not seen him use one, his 'navy seal' type training is done without them.

missbattenburg Sat 26-Jan-19 13:07:08

The natural instinct of a dog in fear of its safety is to flee.

This is not the whole story:


Which of these a dog 'chooses' has much to do with genetics and experiences (nature, nurture).

Pissedoffdotcom Sat 26-Jan-19 13:07:35

missbattenburg your last part of your comment is spot on and my stupid brain is going 'der how could you not explain that'

missbattenburg Sat 26-Jan-19 13:12:45

In reality, none of us are 100% reward based trainers.

The withholding of treats or toys while you wait for the right behaviour to be offered could be considered a punishment.

Stopped walking when the dog is pulling on the lead is denying him the ability to walk forward. Could be a punishment.

Ignoring a dog that jumps up is to deny him attention. Maybe a punishment.

It's the dog who decides what is a punishment and reward, not the human.

Worth pondering on. At least to me, it is. But then I am a bit obsessed with this stuff grin

missbattenburg Sat 26-Jan-19 13:20:15

Detoxpup - I think in my keenness to debate my repsonse to you may have come across as rude. Apologies, I defo did not mean it it. I just don't often get a chance to talk this over in my 'real' life grin

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