Is Dog Whisperer methods too harsh?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I know I shouldn't humanize my dogs, and their behavior is so much better in three days I shouldn't complain. In fact, my two male dogs used to mark constantly and haven't marked once in two days, a miracle. But my most dominant dog is acting mopey and depressed. I feel terrible. I wonder if he thinks I don't like him anymore or if the Dog Whisperer guy who came out scared him. Yet he was such a problem child. The dog was running the house.

    Dog lovers, what would YOU do? There is more gentle training methods, but I don't think Rufus would be very open to them. The methods that use only positive reinforcement don't do squat for my dog. I really DO have to force that I'm in charge. He needs to sit before he can come inside, and I go in first. He needs to be forced to sit if he won't. I am walking him, and jerking my wrist when he tries to pull (this is LOTS of fun--my wrist is getting a workout--however the dogs have never worked so well). I keep hearing that Cesar's methods are abusive and it's making me think I'm abusing my babies. However, I was such a soft touch that they truly were out of control. I watch Victoria Stillwell on Animal Planet too, but I don't think my two cockers would comply with her methods. They are incredibly strong-willed and I don't think treats would be enough to change their behaviors. Yes, I've tried. So far, they'll take the treats, but won't change their behavior. The tough love is working!!!! Am I mean?

    How do you know what's right and wrong? I haven't hurt them, and I won't. I feel guilty. I know, I need a life :tongue:
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I don't think you are being abusive AT ALL. The fact that it's working (so far) tells me it's the right technique for your particular dogs. I have never had an issue with using the various training collars available for dogs. in my opinion they are humane and they get their attention.

    I'm glad to hear your new techniques are working already! You have to remember that as much as you love them, they are dogs and you are the human and it's your house. You have a right to expect them to behave the way you want them to. I think you're doing the right thing. :)
  3. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I've never seen Cesar do anything that I would consider to be abusive. He is very firm and consistent but I would never call his methods abusive.

    I have always heard that dogs, being pack animals, have to know where they fit into their pack - 'pack' being you and your pets. And they say that they don't mind being in a lower status, as long as they know where they stand and how they rank. Supposedly, once they get it through their heads that YOU are the leader, it will all fall in to place.

    That's what they say, anyway. I wouldn't know. Mine still drag me through the yard by their leashes and carry on like rowdy little hooligans!
  4. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    MWM, if someone thinks CM is abusive then what people have done to dogs in the past is almost torture. He is a benevolent dictator. I'm not as consistant as he is but I take what he says to heart as I do Victoria Stillwell. These folks taught us there are good ways to have dogs and people being cohesive. I don't want my dogs to run the house just as I don't want my kids to run the house.
    I noticed that when I worked on my two younger ones to not rush the door, Darcy got very sad at being corrected. He got over it but I made a point of giving him a little more one on one floor time. Now he doesn't seem so crestfallen.
    Keep it up MWM, they need to know that you are there to keep them safe and happy even if they don't want to change their behaviors.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Stick to the new plan. there is always an adjustment period and your dog may be missing being the alpha. But you will NEVER have a happy home if the dog is the alpha. He won't pay the bills, he will leave the toilet seat up, he will always bring home the wrong size maxi pads...

    Oh, wait, that is husbands I was thinking about!

    Seriously, no way is the Dog Whisperer in any way, shape or form abusive. What you are doing is what the dogs NEED you to do. They will need time to adjust to teh new pack order, but you are far less mean about it than other dogs in the wild would be.

    You are having some adjustment worries. But dogs need different things than people do. Dogs need the pack structure and to be held to it.

    Stay the new course and keep up with what is working.
  6. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    I also don't think that Cesar or his methods are abusive at all. Dogs are pack animals and it is never a good thing having a dominant dog running your house. Also, dogs don't reason. They don't think, "Gee, I'm miss being the boss". I'm sure this is a period of adjustment, but I think you are totally rocking it!

    I make Goldie wait for me to go through the door first. Also, when I let her, and our other dog, Candi,(very submissive & insecure) outside in the morning, I make Goldie sit and wait at the open door until I give her the hand signal that its okay to go out. She's tends to be dominant and these are good psychological exercises to remind her who is in charge. She has stopped bullying Candi since I have been doing this in the morning.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hang in there. Your dog is moping because he's no longer in charge and he's sulking. If you give way you will lose even more face and your dog will be happy (and uncoontrolled), but you won't be.

    Dogs, like children, appreciate knowing who is in charge and what to expect.

    I suspect the people who say this is abusive, are the people who lack the self-discipline to continue with these measures long enough to get results. They rationalise instead to justify their lack of follow-through.

    Think - if you applied the same techniques to Tony, he would also be sad and mopey, being made to sleep on the floor or out in the kennel. But Tony already knows his place in the household, you don't need to train him in the same way (unless there are things you haven't been telling us...?)

    Just five your dog a bit of extra TLC but always make sure you are maintaining the alpha position.

    This is a big change for him, he has to learn that it's OK. Don't buy in to his passive aggressive emotional blackmail. The dog, I mean. Not Tony.

  8. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    You have got to stop behaving like a human and think like a dog! Pack mentality is what Caesar does with particularly difficult dogs. He takes them out of "human" surroundings and puts them with a pack of dogs, where they learn their place in the "pecking" order. I don't think other dogs give them treats when they behave either....... You are still assigning human feelings to your dog and he isn't stupid.... he wants back what he feels was taken from him...... DON'T GIVE IN! And no methods aren't too harsh, I haven't ever seen him strike a dog.......
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm baffled as to why so many people criticize him. They must have really passive, easy dogs. My pack is stubborn. My cocker alpha needed to be taken down a peg. He tried to bite the trainer. The trainer rolled him over and straddled over him, taking the scruff of his neck. I looked on in horror. MY BABY! The dog has been a good boy ever since the trainer has been here, but I have to work with all three of them every day. They usually bark like wolves when somebody comes to the door, but we worked on making them stay in the living room and not approach visitors. When my daughter's friend dropped by yesterday, rather than barking and growling and jumping on the door, they almost ignored her. It's mindboggling to me. As long as I'm not abusing my dogs, I like this method. It's easy and the dogs settle down fast. They simply would not listen to Victoria's methods. A treat won't entice them. They'll take the treat, but do what they want :D. difficult child dogs and difficult child kids! Gimme a break! :tongue:
  10. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I've heard of that 'scruff of the neck' thing and have even used it on Ragan a few times when she was younger and smaller. It really works if you have a smaller dog, or even with a bigger dog if you grab them that way ... you don't have to lift them all the way up off the floor and it doesn't hurt them a bit. It works because that's what their mothers used to do to them back when they were little and submissive. It's funny but I've had grown male dogs who were twice the size of their mothers, but still were submissive to and a little afraid of the mother dog! You don't mess with "MOM"! Too bad human kids don't see it this way!
  11. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    I know it sounds harsh, but I've rarely found it to not be effective in training large dogs. It doesn't matter the behavior...barking, jumping, biting, blah.

    But, you can buy a short spike collar that has about a 6 inch lead off of it. It is only used as a last measure, but it gets the message to the dog REAL quick who is in charge. It does not hurt's like someone giving you a good pinch.

    When I used to train dogs years ago owners would be horrified to put one of those collars on their dog. Well, ya works. You're not constantly strangling the guy, just a quick jerk and they get the picture. Then you follow up with lots of hugs and playing ball.

    I had a half Huskey/Wolf dog 30 years ago. I loved that dog to death, but he was 120lbs of pure energy. If he didn't learn who was in charge I was in trouble. That's how I connected with the AKC. They helped train my dog, then trained me to train others.

    You're doing your dog and your family a favor.

  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, Abby, and everyone thanks so much!!!

    To Dog Trainer Abby--what type of collar do you suggest for my smaller breed dogs? Remember, the cocker spaniel monster thinks he's a pitbull. However, he is smaller so I don't want to kill him :D. Well, usually I don't. :tongue: The trainer told me to buy choke collars. I don't know if that's good enough. Even on very short lead, they pull. They don't take ME for a walk, like they once did, but they all do pull. And when my border collie mix (see picture) sees a bird or a squirrell, well, forget ME, and she's heavier than the other dogs, and I'm a small person.

    All suggestions welcome. It's so neat that so many CD moms love dogs. I am such a horrible dog mother. Until a few years ago, I had no idea that you actually had to train your dog...DUH!!!! :faint: And I wondered why my dogs had me in tears more than my kids!!!
  13. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen're not going to kill them. You make a point. I'm in charge. Back in the day they called them 'pinch' collars. It's like a normal choke collar, but with spikes. Smaller dog...smaller spikes. I think my husky had about 1 inch spikes. I'll tell you what...after a few weeks on that thing, he was tamed and trained. I'd just have to make the hand motion of a quick jerk and he'd get right in line with no collar on.

    As far as the cocker - they are nose to the ground dogs. It is what they are bred for. There are times you can sniff every inch of the ground, but there are times you need to listen to me. But, you can respect that and also have them obey you. Small collar, small jerk.

    As I said, you don't use it constantly. They can wear it all the time, but only give it the yank when it is really necessary. Pick one behavior at a time. Learn one and then on to another. Once you move on to a different behavior they're like...oh, geez...collar time. I guess I'll just behave.:tongue:

    Eye contact is also a training tool. Hard to describe, but if you train your dog to make eye contact with you, they will learn to look to you for what they should be doing. One of the more tough ones to train, but it usually involves a small jerk, then a treat when they look at you. After the look you give them a command. Just watch any video on shepards and such that are police dogs. They NEVER take their eyes off their owners.

    Hope this helps. Now if I could get Stang's dog off my mind I'd be good.

  14. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Have you only watched the televisions show....or have you actually read Cesar"s book? In the book, you get a real appreciation for his point of view in regards to dogs. I think his methods are wonderful....mostly...

    I have noticed, though, that through time that he is beginning to be ruled a little more by corporate decisions. His first book is great....the second book, in my opinion, is more of an advertisement for the television show. He is beginning to add more product endorsements to his methods. AND he seems to be moving away from really grounded guy who knows what works for dogs toward a more "feel good" spokesman for animal rights.

    So stick to his early methods and advice and I think you'll do just fine...

  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, thanks, thanks! I'll read Cesears first book. Yeah, maybe he's getting more "feel good" to pacify his naysayers. After all, he has a show to promote. I will have to order spike collars for my dogs (sniff). Believe it or not Rufus, the cocker who thinks he's a pitbull, had a shock collar and it didn't faze him. We got it to stop his incessant barking whenever he saw anything human but his human pack members. Didn't even slow him down. Maybe he liked being shocked. We gave up on that one.

    The behaviors we are currently working on the most are I AM THE BOSS OF YOU!!! I do it by refusing to allow them to even go out to potty without sitting, and never letting them go anywhere without me crossing first. I'm trying hard on the walking. If necessary, I put them on a very short lead so that they can't walk ahead of me and think, "Haha, I'm the boss of HER." I'm sure that's not ideal, but it beats them walking ahead of me and pulling, although they are getting better.

    I wish hub could walk them too. He's a good dog leader. But he has bad hips from when he was in the service, he's not getting younger, they're not getting better. He can't walk them too far, so it's up to me.

    The most amazing part to me is that my boys aren't marking. My cockapoo, who is a social climber, used to pee on anything I put in the middle of the room and peed on everything over and over again. The cocker spaniel alpha would follow her as if to say, "Take THAT!"

    They haven't marked in three days now. I'm flabbergasted, truly. There are no words. I never thought I'd go one day without the marking. Now it's all going to be blown to bits because they will be staying at a kennel for two nights while we go out of town. I hope I don't have to start from scratch after that. :faint:
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    When I was a kid and we had dogs, the chain you describe (without the spikes - I don't think we have them in Australia) was called a choke chain. These days it's called a check chain because that is a more accurate label. It's not supposed to choke the dog, it's supposed to CHECK the doh, to make it stop what it's doing wrong and pay attention.

    You shouldn't be pulling back to choke the dog. Instead, if the dog pulls ahead it will be causing the chain to pull on itself and tighten. The chain should he in position so as the dog stops pulling, the chain releases and relaxes so the dog doesn't feel it so tight.

    I would suggest you get a lesson in detail on how to use the chain properly - I never learned properly and as a result it didn't work like it should for me. I've been shown since and I've also seen people walking their dogs on these since and getting it wrong. Very frustrating. You can hear the dogs that are pulling and choking themselves - I hear neighbours being walked by their out of control odgs, they're using a chdeck chain and the dog runs past coughing and wheezing but ignoring the choke effect, while the owner is dragged along in the wake and feeling like their arm is being wrenched out of the socket.

    Mostly though, when used properly, they work brilliantly. The dog should learn fast, and also learn that it's their own doing if tey are disobedient.

    Get another lesson if you can budget for it, on using the check chain as a means of teaching them good manners when going walkies.

    These days I go walkies when dog-sitting for neighbours, and I generally have to use my electric mobility scooter because I can't walk fast enough or far enough for the dog. But it means I can exercise the dog better, but if they run ahead too fast for me - too bad. The leash and chain controls them for me. Because my scooter weighs a lot more than I do, there is no way the dog can pull my scooter off course into the middle of the road!

    Last edited: Aug 9, 2009
  17. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    I just wanted to add my nope, don't think his methods are too harsh or abusive. His methods are based on how dogs interact with each other in a pack. My sis is huge into dogs, breeds & shows for both confirmation and obedience, and she's had to roll and scruff dogs a time or two. To a person not used to a "dog pack" method of training it looks harsh and scary, but it doesn't hurt the dog, just puts them in their place letting them know you are the boss and stronger. At a dog show with her once, a friend of hers was there with an Irish Wolfhound, and my sis told me her friend had to roll and scruff that dog because they can be dominant and you have to be boss. LOL yeah, the dog was a HORSE. I think dogs are like teens, they'll test the boundaries to see if you're still boss of them or not.
  18. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Ps MWM, on the spikey pinch collar...adjust it to fit your upper arm, and put it on yourself, and then give yourself a jerk so you know what it feels like. You will be surprised that it is not nearly as painful as it appears. Its more pressure and grabbing than actual pinching.

    I wasn't convinced until a former trainer had me do that....then I felt much better about using it.
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have tried Victoria's method on my stubborn and obviously very highly intelligent difficult child dog Buddy. He loves the treats but couldnt care less about learning a darned thing! I have just started watching a show called In the Dog House which may be the method you are talking about and am going to see if his methods work. Buddy is pretty well trained for most things but he is just quirky. I dont know if he thinks he is boss or not. Well, I know he thinks Tony is over Im just not sure where I stand.
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Janet, it's a man thing with dogs. Tom is their alpha, but then there's me and I'm so darn SHORT that I'm sure they think I'm a human chihuahua!!! And I doubt my voice is as imposing as Tom's either. But We're making progress.

    Victoria's methods do NOT work for my dogs. They are happy to take the treats and will behave better if I'm feeding them, however I can't stuff their faces every time I want them to do something. And if all I did was change direction when they pulled on the leash, I'd be walking zigzag and falling on my face. The dogs wouldn't learn that I didn't want them to pull at all. They just adjust and pull in the other direction. Victoria is for less stubborn dogs than mine.

    I'm checking into collars, but the dogs are walking sooooooooooo much better. It's amazing how just walking well helps their whole attitude.