Friday, May 30, 2008

Leader of the Pack - Part 2

I had such great feedback from Xsara and Snout Beagle (who also shared a post on clicker training) when I wrote the post on Leader of the Pack a few weeks back. They presented alternative views on this matter which I felt were reasonable and made a lot of sense. So, with their permission, I would like to share it so that we can all learn from each other's experience.

Barby: "When I first took Xsara to the doggy pre-school, the instructors there also followed these principles, but it didn't work for us. I worked with Xsara a lot, and she still behaved badly. Until I started clicker training, teaching tricks and agility and forgot about leadership - only then we became a team. And I have to say that with positive reinforcement her behavior improved 100%. Dogs were bred to work with their people. Give them some work and they'll forget about everything else. Just make sure that the work you're giving them is interesting enough - if it's not, then you have to make it more interesting for the dog. It's hard work, much harder than remembering to enter the door first and feed the dog last and so on. But it's really worth it."

Jackie "... when we started Manners Class with Diesel at our local humane society we were introduced to clicker training. Diesel was always an easy dog, plus we adopted him after his naughty puppy stage, but the communication between us while clicker training was so clear, kind, and precise that Diesel learned behaviors and tricks amazingly fast. And he LOVED it! We both do! ... Beagles respond so well to positive training and the treats that go with it ... it's natural! In fact, if my husband or I get stressed or try to force Marvin too quickly he just shuts down. He'll do anything with you if you stay fun and cheerful, they both will. The dominating them thing doesn't work for me, that's not the type of relationship I care to have with my dogs, nor do I believe they naturally want to be my "boss". I work with the notion that we're partners. I do believe in setting bounderies of course, we all need that, and they get lots and lots of exercise."

Mum & I totally agree with Barby and Jackie on positive reinforcement and channeling doggie energies to positive and fun things. At the end of the day, our humans only want what's best for us. We haven't tried out clicker training but the principle behind it sounds logical. We haven't come across this type of training in Malaysia yet but will definitely keep my nose to the ground for any whiffs of it... It would be interesting to test it out. As for the leader of the pack principle, my human hasn't abandoned her belief in it as yet. She reckons it comes down to different leadership styles. She doesn't practice "I'm the boss and you're the slave" style...Instead, it's more of "I'm the parent and I'll set the boundaries" leadership basis. After all, our humans do all this for the love of their dogs.


Lorenza said...

Hi, Kess!
Sounds like you are getting a good training.
Here in my house I am the boss and my mom is my slave!
Have a great weekend
Kisses and hugs


Sharing ideas and info like this is a great way for all of us to learn. We haven't heard of any clicker training classes around here. But we surely agree with Xsara and Snoutbeagle's mums about making things fun for beagles and rewarding them with treats. Beagles are fun loving dogs who love attention and being with people. We didn't really have any leader of the pack issues here. jazz being the older dog is of course is higher on the ladder than Dixie but she doesn't seem to mind.
Jazz and Dixie's Mum

Kess And Her Mama said...

Hi Lorenza, You've got it made, buddy. Kess

Kess And Her Mama said...

J&D, Ditto! So great to see the both of you enjoying each other's company!

Xsara and Tani said...

I think that dogs need directions more than boundaries (but yes, sometimes setting limits is necessary). However I really believe that the lack of directions is one of the main problems in dog-training.

Thank you for the post, I hope you can find a clicker-training class in your area and see for yourself if it suits you.

Thanks again for sharing, this is a very nice debate, isn't it?!
love from Xsara

Kess And Her Mama said...

Thanks for your thought provoking comments. I do enjoy the sharing of ideas. Still thinking about the direction theory. Thanks again.

Thanks for signing my guest book.