Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Being a responsible dog owner and backpacker - Dog training books/sites and advice.
Display Avatars Sort By:
Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Being a responsible dog owner and backpacker - Dog training books/sites and advice. on 09/08/2011 15:00:23 MDT Print View

I'm +1 on Caesar Millan's techniques. I've watched all his DVD series and I can't think if anything he did that I would call abuse. I watched him restrain dogs that were being too aggressive, but other than that, he uses voice commands, notably his hissing "SHHHH" with a tug on the leash. He is a good observer of pack behavior, regardless of formal training in behavioral psychology.

I definitely use praise, toys and food for positive reinforcement, but Millan's techniques for distracting the dog when they are initiating unwanted behaviors has worked for me. Ultimately, it is getting out there and working with your dog and being the alpha, and getting to be a working team. If your dog never gets out and you don't work with them, they don't have a clue and they go crazy with the new environment.


I presently hike with an Aussie and he is a complete gentleman on the trail. I have him on a lead if there are others in the area and really make an effort keep others from being annoyed by my dog's presence. I love dogs, but that doesn't mean everyone does, or needs to. If there are other hikers coming towards us, I pull him off the trail and have him sit while the others pass. If they want to initiate contact with my dog, I have no problem with it at all, but I do want it to be obvious to everyone else that it is their choice and they can pass by safely, knowing my dog is under control. It is just plain good manners and responsible pet ownership. Some people are just not used to dogs or fear them and I want to give them a positive experience, not to mention setting an example for other owners. I have demanded that people with unleashed dogs that are not behaving appropriately to get them under control. I wouldn't be above giving a good lecture as well. That goes in town too.

PLEASE clean up after your dog and pack it out or dispose of it properly. I constantly find poo in bags left on the side of the trail, which I really don't get. I'd rather they just tossed it into the brush than leave it sealed in plastic. What ARE they thinking?

Toby with pack

Edited by dwambaugh on 09/08/2011 15:02:43 MDT.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
that's his problem on 09/08/2011 22:38:48 MDT Print View

the 'be the alpha/pack leader' is just sheer hocus pocus. dogs simply don't view us as other dogs. milan has be video taped choking dogs to the point of having blue gums. sad that people don't really know the truth about it but simply follow his lead b/c he's on TV.

again no formal training. no background routed in science. viewed negatviely by every sort of veterinary behavioral group of importance. ask your local vet about him. mine told me they showed some videos of him at Penn.

last post from me on this thread. i've said all i have to say.

Steven Adeff
(TinCanFury) - F

Locale: Boston
training vs understanding on 09/08/2011 22:54:47 MDT Print View

there's training dogs, then there's understanding dogs.

the best training books I've read are dog psychology books (The Other End of the Leash, etc). the biggest issue I see in other dog owners is they do not understand that dogs think differently than humans, and don't understand how they think. Taking what I've learned from dog Psych books I've found that I can "train" a dog, any dog, that I meet on the street better than their owners. It's not that I'm special, it's that I've learned how dogs view the world and cater how I interact with them.

I'm a big fan of Patricia B. McConnell's books, specifically the one I reference above I feel is her best consolidated work on the subject. She also has a few books geared more towards actual training methods which are also excellent.

Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz is also a good read after TOEOTL, mostly the same info but an interesting read. Also, Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin, which is not dog specific, but does talk a lot about how animals are wired differently and gives some specific examples that I've found have helped me understand why dogs behave like they do in certain situations.

edit
Forgot to mention, Sophia Yin's books are supposed to be excellent as well, more training geared, but I haven't had a chance to read any yet.

As for trail specific training, I think all you need to do is get them to be a good "walker", a dog that can walk around the city with you properly will also be good on the trail. Part of this is proper socialization with humans and other dogs. Young dog's don't bark at other dogs in anger, they bark to get their attention, to play, etc. When owners misread this and don't socialize their dogs with other dogs, they grow up to think other dogs are bad/mean and then they become aggressive towards them. It always saddens me when I'm walking my dog and other dog owners go out of their way to avoid us, then their dog starts to go berserk because it wants to play but the owner is forcibly preventing this. I consider this animal abuse, let your dog play with other dogs!

I walk my dog off leash, I hike with him off leash, I've never had him be an issue with other people or start issues with other dogs. He greets people on the trails with his tail in full wag and always gets a good response from other hikers.

Society would be much better if people better understood dogs.

Edited by TinCanFury on 09/08/2011 23:10:12 MDT.

Antti Peltola
(anttipeltola) - F
Re: Being a responsible dog owner and backpacker - Dog training books/sites and advice. on 09/09/2011 04:47:03 MDT Print View

"I consider this animal abuse, let your dog play with other dogs!"

In my opinion, life is easier and dogs are happier if everything is black and white. Something is either allowed always or never allowed. I consider it being fair: the rules are simple, the dog knows them, and the rules are not changing. This also makes it much easier for me to be consistent with them. So, since there are some dogs that are not social, I could allow my dogs to play with somebody but not everybody. Black and white version of "not everybody" = nobody.

Jeremy Osburn
(earn_my_turns)

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Being a responsible dog owner and backpacker - Dog training books/sites and advice. on 09/09/2011 06:35:32 MDT Print View

"So, since there are some dogs that are not social, I could allow my dogs to play with somebody but not everybody. Black and white version of "not everybody" = nobody."

So you have one of those unsocial dogs that my dog is always confused why he can't just sniff its butt and say hello?

If your rules are black and white and no means no. Then you should be able to pick and chose which dogs your dog interacts with and when you say no, your dog should know that it isn't allowed. The rules for dogs have to be black and white but this isn't a black and white world so you have to make the grey decisions and give the dog black and white directions.

Edited by earn_my_turns on 09/09/2011 06:41:07 MDT.

Steven Adeff
(TinCanFury) - F

Locale: Boston
Re: Re: Being a responsible dog owner and backpacker - Dog training books/sites and advice. on 09/09/2011 07:12:28 MDT Print View

"In my opinion, life is easier and dogs are happier if everything is black and white. Something is either allowed always or never allowed. I consider it being fair: the rules are simple, the dog knows them, and the rules are not changing. This also makes it much easier for me to be consistent with them. So, since there are some dogs that are not social, I could allow my dogs to play with somebody but not everybody. Black and white version of "not everybody" = nobody."

this is one of the very rare times I will ever say this to someone, but your opinion is wrong. your dog is very maladjusted if you do not let it play with other dogs. you've essentially removed one of the necessary natural development activities from your dog's life. would you treat a human child this way, by not letting it play and interact with other human children? fear is not something that you should allow to dictate your life.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: Being a responsible dog owner and backpacker - Dog training books/sites and advice. on 09/09/2011 07:48:52 MDT Print View

"In my opinion, life is easier and dogs are happier if everything is black and white"

Life is easier when everything is black and white ....yes but but so much of it is lost..... Since you got all philosophycal about it...
Other than that, consistent rules for dog are a good Idea.

Antti Peltola
(anttipeltola) - F
Re: Being a responsible dog owner and backpacker - Dog training books/sites and advice. on 09/09/2011 08:50:37 MDT Print View

I see I have missed a few things in my writing :D Please be gentle, english isn't my first language.

"So you have one of those unsocial dogs that my dog is always confused why he can't just sniff its butt and say hello?"

What if I would have really antisocial dogs? Would you be happy if I would let them "socialize" with your dogs in that case? I can tell that I would not be happy.

They are actually social enough. One of them isn't trustworthy with males, she's a female that has some hormonal thing, smells like she would be in heat all the time. She's a real B if someone tries to mount her. Until the mount part, she's ok. It's the others walkers dogs that I cannot trust, so we keep on walking.

Besides, when my dogs have backpack on, it means they are working and we just walk by.

They see enough other dogs while I train 'em, as they get to run and play with others after the training. Of course they see usually the same dogs, but nevertheless they say hello to approx 20 dogs in a week that do not belong to their own pack. In our neighborhood we see several dogs on regular basis that they can hello with. On both occasions, they can socialize -after there is permission from me & other owner- as there is no backpack on their back.

Edited by anttipeltola on 09/09/2011 08:55:55 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: packs and behavior on 09/09/2011 09:47:32 MDT Print View

Antti,

I like the idea of training to trail manners with the backpack on. My dog knows what is going to happen when I get the backpack out and he watches me loading treats and food, so he has that connection understood. Interesting idea!

Michael Oppegaard
(mike_o) - F

Locale: Coastal NC
Trail Dogs on 09/09/2011 11:50:11 MDT Print View

I haven't read every post but can give you my opinion. I train and run Labs in field trials and hunt test so remember that I'm coming at this as a hunter/trainer as opposed to a Obed/Agility person.

The first thing you can do with a farm dog is socialize. While it may seem that the dog has been exposed to all sorts of aminals and farm stuff you may want to spend some time walking around town and exposing it to cars, strange people, and all the other noises and smells that come with living in town. More the dog is exposed to the less he will be afraid of unfamiliar things.

Take a class. I am a huge fan of structured classes with a qualified teacher. Ask around, I'm sure that you can find dogs that you think are well behaved, see where they went for training. A class is good for socialization and it keeps you honest with your obed training. Having a dog that will sit is alot different than having a SOLID SIT with distractions.

I am a huge fan of the E Collar, my dogs are rarely outside without one.(Tri Tronics Pro 200) If you want to PM me and discuss Positve vs Adversive reinforcement and behavior shaping I'll be glad to talk about it but for the purpose of this I won't go into details. An E Collar is just an extension of your hand nothing more nothing less.

The most important thing is to have fun and "enjoy the journey"

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
E collar on 09/10/2011 09:46:18 MDT Print View

"An E Collar is just an extension of your hand nothing more nothing less."

I guess that would be true if your hand was capable of delivering an electric shock.

I understand why people training field dogs use them although I've also seen videos of ranchers in New Zealand directing their dogs over a mile away on a hillside using only whistles. So an E collar is not the only way to train a dog to respond remotely. I trained my dogs to go left or right the easy way. On switchbacks I just call out the direction change and they picked it up pretty quickly. Now that can be applied elsewhere. I also understand that there are some dogs who will respond to nothing else. But the great majority of dogs can be trained, at least for non-field use, without one.

However you train your dogs is up to you. But my dogs are my buddies. I don't want to shock them. Other methods have done fine with my dogs for over 40 years. I'd highly recommend to anyone to try non-shock methods first.

One of my buddies (named Buddy) and I are heading out to do the 4 Pass Loop. I'll check in when I get back.

Edited by rlnunix on 09/10/2011 10:21:36 MDT.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Extension of hand on 09/10/2011 16:32:38 MDT Print View

Hi Mike O. If a E-collar is just an extension of your hand and I think everyone knows what an e-collar does, what do you do with your hand that simulates an electrical shock or is the equivilant of an electric shock? Im just a little puzzled by your statement. In my mind the only thing a e-collar can do is deliver a punishment or "well timed correction" if that sounds better. A hand can deliver a treat or a pat on the head or toy or start a game in other words give something a dog wants a reward. A hand can hit, poke, choke (with hand or various collars) or push a button that sends a signal that zaps a dog or grab various other weapons to inflict pain or punish. This is just a small list of what a hand can do. So in saying that "an e-collar is an extension of a hand nothing more or nothing less" that is not a good statement. It is more than a hand on its own cause it can zap. It is less that a hand cause it cant reward. All this said I am not totally against E-collars, if I needed to apply positive punishment in training but I have never used one I have used a bark collar though

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Being a responsible dog owner and backpacker - Dog training books/sites and advice. on 09/10/2011 17:58:24 MDT Print View

I also recommend Jean Donaldson's Train Your Dog Like A Pro.

Cesar Milan is interesting psychology to read but I found him really lacking in concrete training advice (at least in the book Cesar's Way). Energy projection, being the pack leader, etc. are all fine and good...but I really need quick, effective steps to train my dog to lay down and stay until I call her. Simply "being the pack leader" in itself doesn't teach a dog specific tasks that they have to know to be safe and fun to be around. I honestly found that book more beneficial as a high school teacher teacher than a dog owner.

Donaldson couldn't be more clear and concise. Her book has a pretty straightforward, step by step training curriculum that you can jump right into. I've got a REALLY high energy 8 month old dog and her methods have been working fast so far.

Steven Adeff
(TinCanFury) - F

Locale: Boston
Re: Re: Being a responsible dog owner and backpacker - Dog training books/sites and advice. on 09/12/2011 13:38:35 MDT Print View

Antti, Ah, yes, language barriers, always an issue online.

Very antisocial dogs can still be socialized, it's really never too late. The difference of course is who they are allowed to socialize with and where. They should socialize with dogs their own size who can also "take care of themselves". I would not let a large unsocialized dog attempt to learn socialization with smaller dogs. They need to be with dogs (plural, ie multiple other well socialized dogs of the same size or larger) that can teach them the proper socialized play and manners. This is essentially how young dogs learn, from the older generally larger dogs. These older dogs teach them through example and by maintaining their proper behavior in play. As for where, it should always be "neutral" play space. A park or field that no dog feels the "home space" attachment to as this can change the psychology of how a dog reacts.

Many of my friends have asked me to help them with their dogs, knowing that I know what I'm doing, but also that they can trust their dog with my dog, and my dog will help the socialization of theirs by properly correcting their dog. Granted, my dog is 70lbs so he has a size advantage over most other dogs, and other than stronger dogs like Rottweilers and Pitbulls, has the strength and speed to more than take care of himself with others. That said, my friends that have those types of dogs are also excellent trainers and so he has a few friends of those breeds and they get along great (actually, my one good friend has a Rottweiler who I like to say I "cheat" on my dog with, whenever I'm able to spend time with him I can't help but want to only play with his dog...).

When you have this combination of size and proper socialization, you need to let the dogs play out on their own. They know their behavior better than humans, they know how to read dogs better than us, they are quicker to react than us, etc. Yes, there is always the chance of harm, but if you have, say, 3 well socialized dogs with one that still needs to learn, the numbers will favor the socialization behavior and they will keep the unsocialized dog from being overly aggressive in play. This is the most difficult part for most people, as they really don't understand what constitutes play and what constitutes real aggression. Most people think many of the play behaviors are aggressive and mistakenly remove their dog from the situation, this is obviously bad.

One way the owner of the unsocialized dog can help the situation is to tire the dog out before these play times. Take them for a long run, get them very tired. Their lowered energy level will make it hard for them to mount much of any true aggressive behavior as the other dogs will be both physically and mentally much faster comparatively.

Mounting is part of play. Humans see it as a sexual thing (at least in America), but in the dog world it is part of play, this becomes obvious when you see that in the dog play world mounting is done by and to both sexes in every imaginable combination. Yes, some dogs are less responsive to it and so when mounted react in a fiercer manner to remove the other dog, but in proper open field play this should not be discouraged! But again, out on walks on the street is not a place for proper socialization, take the dog to a park! Perhaps find other owners willing to help you socialize your dog in the proper way, arrange to meet at a park for at least an hour where the dogs can have open space to play and run. Make sure they understand what your goal is and why you are asking them (similar to larger than your dog, well socialized and well behaved, and under the control of their masters in off-leash situations), this will help assure them that your intent is not to hurt their dogs but to have their dogs teach yours.

Some final comments on what you've said, just an in case, and no worries if they come from the language issue...

Dogs do not form "packs" in the same sense as we think of in the wild animal world. Yes, they recognize familiar dogs and can be happy to see them, but to a socialized dog, there is no exclusivity. To a dog, all other dogs are part of their "pack". Humans are not, cats and squirrels are not, but all other dogs are. This is one of the reasons Caesar Milan is successful, he allows his well trained and socialized dogs do do the work. Have 40 "good" dogs and one "bad" dog then of course you will have a high success rate, you don't even really have to do anything at that point!

You mention the use of the backpack as a signal to the dog of sorts, so you see the power that something as simple as that (or the exact leash or collar they are wearing) can affect their behavior. The problem is when you allow some behaviors to become linked to those objects. You've trained your dog to behave differently whether it is wearing it's pack or not. While this is fine and can be extremely useful, certain behaviors should be unconditional, ie whether or not the dog is wearing this specific item it should always maintain certain behaviors. This is why, for example, the advice when using certain types of behavior correction collars, that the dog should be allowed to wear it when it is not being used, so it being worn is not associated with those behavior modifications.

Finally, you mention that you train separate from playtime. This is fine, but it should not always be the case. Many things should be trained *during* play time as well so that the dog knows those behaviors are expected no matter what the situation. Plenty of times I am with my dog at the park and people call for their dogs expecting them to go to them as when they are at home and the dog will not. My dog however, since I trained him to do so in play time, always comes when I call him, in fact, many times, he will go to the other owners when *they* say "come!" expecting their dog but instead having mine arrive at their side.

Steven Adeff
(TinCanFury) - F

Locale: Boston
e-collars on 09/12/2011 13:50:32 MDT Print View

Folks, the electric "shock" from an e-collar is nowhere near the area of harming a dog. It is why so many also have a vibrate or audible noise as well.

the point of these collars is to send a "break" signal to your dog's "brain" (ie to break it out of the mental mode that is causing it's current behavior), the same idea as the leash flick. The reason they have various settings with stronger and stronger levels of "shock" has more to do with the variety of sizes, breeds and skin/fur thicknesses.

Proper use of these collars involves figuring out which level you need to begin at to properly affect your dog without going too "strong". As you train your dog with one you can then lower the level of "break" signal being provided. As well, in the end, the better you are at using the collar and training your dog the shorter the time you will need to use the collar.

Kendall Clement
(socalpacker) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
RE: "Being a responsible dog owner and backpacker - Dog training books/sites and advice." on 09/12/2011 14:12:49 MDT Print View

William,

Forgive me for not reading all of the responses, but +1 for the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan on the Animal Planet channel. If your dog is not accustomed to being on a leash, she might be a challenge for you. Cesar has some great leash training techniques and leash training products you can find in your local Petco. Walking her everyday for about 1/2 an hour on a short leash (about 1 foot) with her collar up by her ears, holding her head up, will really help. She will likely pull on the leash at first, but this technique really helps and puts you in control.

Here's a pic of my trail dog, Abigail. I raised her from the day she was born and she is great on the leash on trail or off. On the trail I give her more leash length than around the neighborhood. In fact, when I'm walking her around the neighborhood I still keep her on a short leash. It also helps so that should I drop the leash for any reason she stays right next to me.

Congratulation! And, enjoy your new companion. :)

Abigail

Edited by socalpacker on 09/12/2011 14:13:51 MDT.