>Our different philosophies lead to some discrepancies in training practices. For example:

> --My trainers completely prohibit a dog's licking a person -- for any reason. They believe this leads to mouthiness and that it makes biting all that much more
>likely. I, on the other hand, believe that licking is one of the few ways a dog has of expressing affection, and I encourage it in Duffy.

> --They completely ban a dog's sleeping on its owners' bed on the theory that this encourages him to believe that he is our equal. We permit him to sleep on
>our bed with us since we believe it is consistent with wild pack behavior.

> --They TOTALLY ban treats as a reward, believing only in praise. I don't really see the harm in a random treat reward, and I occasionally offer this when
>Duffy and I train on our own at home.

>I'm worried that our differing philosophies will lead to a problem in the future.

>Are my ideas way off-base? Are they compatible with a well-behaved, loving, loyal, respectful canine companion?

All of the above practices may be appropriate depending on the dog's temperament, intelligence and dominance level. They key, in my opinion, is that the owner is in complete control at all times. For example, if the owner wants to be licked, fine. But the instant the owner gives the command to stop licking, the dog must stop. In this way the dog is able to express affection and yet is being subordinate. Ditto for sleeping in the owners bed. Personally, I do not use treats for training or reinforcement except for a very young puppy. However, if I give my adult dog a treat, she must earn it in some way (obey a simple command, etc.)

Actually by allowing your dog the above "luxuries" (within the constraints mentioned), the "removal" of these "treats" for unacceptable behavior will be all the more felt.

Dogs are happiest while obeying. They need structure and prefer to be subordinate. They can exhibit thoughtful, independent behavior. However, they are most happy being free within the structure provided by their Alpha or Alphas.

 

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