>Thanks for your advice...so far I've taken a few things
>and I'm happy to inform that I've signed him up for a class
>dogs starting next week. He's already been through training
>following up with a group class rather than a one on one
>I was glad to hear it may be an adolescence thing...we were
>prepared for it as some people told us it would come at
>months...talk about an unexpected find!!!
>I am a bit confused however because the training to which we
took him too
>in the first place consisted of positive reinforcement
(without treat) and
>a "no! and a jerk with the choke collar" if he
didn't respond. This
>worked great for him. He ended up being able to heel without
>sit, down, stay all the good stuff...is he now
"mad" at us because of this
>negative training??? (I don't know what else to call it)
>Just in case, we're going to another trainer this time...a
lab breeder so
>hopefully she'll know more about this breed. I can't find a
>behavior-person in t his area so I'll give this a shot.
>again thanks!! I hope I have better news next week....
Lynn gave you a brilliant reply to your earlier message. I
hesitate to add anything since she already addressed the issues
you raise in this post. First, its clear you do not understand
canine "psychology". I would seriously recommend
purchasing or obtaining from the library, Brian Kilcommon's book,
"Good Owners, Great Dogs". Part 1, in particular,
addresses canine communication, the teamwork aspect of training,
including use of tone of voice, emotion, attitude, movement, etc.
Part 3 also touches upon the puppy adolescence phase. The book is
extremely well illustrated and will reinforce the commands that
you learn in dog (actually owner) training classes.
Dog's as individuals vary. However, in general they require
(thrive on) structure, exercise and active/intelligent play to be
happy. The "negative" training you refer to was
definitely (based on your description) NOT negative. It sounds
just right for a normal, healthy, intelligent dog. Based on your
puppy's quick learning response, it appears he is quite
intelligent. Combine that with might be a certain level of
aggressiveness due to your mishandling and you have quite a
challenge on your hands. The good news is that your dog probably
has unlimited potential. The bad news is you will have to be
creative and persistent/firm in helping him realize it.
The so-called "negative" training that you describe
should be reinforced/applied multiple times throughout the day
until the dog obeys consistently and perfectly on first command,
regardless of voice tone. However, you should learn to use your
tone of voice to convey mood, pleasure and displeasure. Remember,
tone of voice is ONE of the key ways your dog understands YOUR
mood (owner feedback).
Continued training and reinforcement will not make your dog
"mad" IF done properly and firmly. Rather it will calm
your dog, eliminate his whining (insecurity), give him greater
confidence and will increase the love and respect he holds for
you. When you attempted to control your dog by
"closing" his muzzle, it naturally generated resentment
and only taught your dog to challenge you in order to get rid of
YOUR unwanted behavior. His success doing this actually rewarded
and reinforced his own aggression. It is however possible your
dog is significantly more aggressive than others of his breed. If
so, then you may need professional help. I am unqualified to make
this assessment and the details in your earlier post are
One of the "advantages" dogs have over humans is that
humans almost always underestimate their dog's native
intelligence. This allows the average canine to literally and
figuratively lead his owner by the leash. Conversely, a dogs
"burden" is a master who lacks the patience, creativity
and intelligence to effective communicate his desires. For
example, if you accept that your dog will not obey instantly on
first command regardless of circumstance and distraction, he most
certainly won't, even though he CAN. However, he would be much
happier and less confused in the long run if you insisted on it.
Anything less will only generate further confusion and
disappointment for you and your dog.
If nothing else remember this. Your dog's potential is limited by
you, NOT him. Your goal is to have a dog whose supreme desire is
to please and serve you. Just as in humans the greatest purpose
in life is to serve, so it is with your dog.
Finally, don't be concerned about your dog becoming a
"mindless robot" who merely obeys. Your dog will always
be figuring out ways to surprise and please you at the same time.
The more intelligent and committed the owner/dog pair, the more
exciting the adventure.