Hot dogs

Vote in the polls below to have your say in today’s hotly debated dog issues and to help show opinion trends on these subjects.

After voting, you can also leave a comment to expand your view on Dogs: my philosophical position. I really value your views on these passion-stirring debates.

1. The pack theory

The theory goes something like this: dogs come from wolves, wolves are pack animals, dominant dogs try to be the alpha wolf, must keep dog from becoming alpha wolf.

Soooo, what’s your take on this: a load of boloni, or hard fact?

The pack theory: fact or fiction?

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2. Offleash dogs in public places

Would you like a world where dogs are allowed off-leash pretty much everywhere?

Offleash dogs in public places: good or bad?

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3. Halti (Gentle Leader)

Halti/Gentle Leaders

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4. Food lures in training 

Using food lure to place dog in desired position for first few times you are trying to put another behaviour on cue.

Food lures in training

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5. Allowing rough-housing

Courtesy of Judy Sebesta Photography

Play-fighting with your dog. Allowing him to (gently) mouth you during the game.

Is play-fighting with your dog OK?

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6. Dog parks

Dog parks

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7. Shelter adoption vs. breeder dog

In your opinion, are the risks and uncertainties of shelter adoption too much?

Would you rather get a dog from a shelter or a (good) breeder?

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8. Standard certification for canine behaviour therapists

Would you welcome a legislation reserving the profession of behaviour therapists to only people with a standard qualification?

Standard, compulsory certification for behaviour therapists

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9. Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)

In response to media reports of pitbull attacks, many jurisdictions are putting breed bans in place. Where do you stand on the idea?

Breed-specific legislation

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10. Punishing growling

The approach that is increasingly advised by professionals is to refrain from punishing the dog for growling, for fear the dog might bite without warning in the future. With this approach, the owners are of course advised to immediately address the root cause.

Where do you stand on this issue?

Would you punish your dog for growling

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2 Comments

  1. Nita McGuinness
    Posted 25 March 2014 at 10:40 | Permalink

    I am in my late 60’s have owned dogs all my life and presently live with 15. I was originally taught the traditional methods of training but my own experience and observations of my own motley crew has led me to believe that there are no rules set in stone. Dogs vary between breeds and between individuals within those breeds. The dog may have developed from the wolf and albeit there are still IMO similarities between dogs and wolves, the domestic dog has evolved and any training has to be individually adapted to suit ones particular dog. I believe that one should train with the least amount of stress to the dog that is possible. Training/education should be a pleasurable exercise for man and dog – trained in such a way most dogs get immense pleasure from pleasing their owner. I do however believe that there are times that call for more severe methods. Situations where changing the dog’s behaviour can be the difference between life and death. I was recently posting on a Modern Dog Training Group and I posted a hypothetical question: how would members of the group cope with a dog that had decided to get out of the yard (1 acre in size + other dogs so not alone) by jumping a 6ft gate which meant that he jumped straight out into the road (the gate being higher from the road – meant he could have landed on a passing car!). I do not like tying a dog or confining to a small area if I can avoid it. My solution was to extend and electric stock fence so it passed over the gate. The dog never jumped the gate again and lived until he was fourteen. The flack that I got plus the totally unrealistic answers was frightening – the contributors seemed far more concerned with behaving in a perceived politically correct way than looking at my solution for what it was – a way of keeping the dog + road users safe with immediate effect! My experience with this group – has led me to examine “Modern Dog Training” methods from others perspectives. There I have had my say. Good luck with your project.

    • Posted 25 March 2014 at 13:07 | Permalink

      Hi Nita. Thank you so much for your comment. You’ve taken the time to write in enough details and I really appreciate that.

      These political points are certainly very difficult, particularly when you are choosing for a short-term pain which will deliver life-long safety. I was chatting to a friend about aversion training too. We are lucky in the Netherlands that we do not have snakes, but I wondered how my Californian colleagues managed to teach aversion training using positive methods.

      It’s one thing to declare oneself against what you suggest, but if their responses were this vehement, they owed you sensible alternatives.

      I am sorry you experienced that side of modern training, and I have to say you are not alone. Sometimes our convictions are so strong that we fail to treat people with genuine questions with intelligent and respectful answers.

      Sometimes I wish the positive crowds – of which I consider myself to be a member – treated people as well as they treat dogs.

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