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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Mutual Respect

We were talking in another thread about the concept of mutual respect between dog and handler, as opposed to the idea that one needs to "dominate" the other. A friend forwarded this article to me today, just as happenstance. I thought others might enjoy it as much as I did... Watch the TED video on dolphin communication at the bottom too... Nothing to do with dogs, but fascinating!!!

Enjoy!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nicole...b_4460063.html


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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 08:27 PM
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I think you forgot the link, Karen....

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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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I think you forgot the link, Karen....
i went back and fixed it. Too much cold medicine this evening I think!


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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 09:27 PM
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I think it's important to establish boundaries for a dog I don't think one has to dominate them to do that but the human is in charge of establishing them.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-21-2013, 09:57 AM Thread Starter
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I think it's important to establish boundaries for a dog I don't think one has to dominate them to do that but the human is in charge of establishing them.
But there is nothing in that thought that goes against the idea of a mutually respectful relationship. A mutually respectful relationship is only possible in the context of the "rules" even if unwritten. I expect EVERYONE in my household; animals, children and adults, to treat each other with respect. That HAS to include respecting boundaries and household "rules". Children, animals and even spouses need to be taught those rules and boundaries.

At the end of the article she says:

"It's about observing the body language of another species and having enough respect that when that being, whether a dog, wolf, or dolphin is clearly uncomfortable, we don't push things to the point that they feel they must defend themselves. In the end, it's not a matter of who's dominant. It's a matter of who's more evolved--and that's supposed to be us. Let's start acting like it."

I think that is the crux of the matter. A lot of dogs get labeled "aggressive", when they are actually defensive, trying to protect themselves, and mis-understood.

An example of respect in our house…


Kodi was given a stuffed toy rabbit by a friend the other day. Last night, he was playing with it, squeaking it wildly. Usually, when he is in that type of playful mood, he enjoys a game of fetch or tug. But as I approached him last night, He started growling wildly… not his typical play growl, but the high-pitched, "I mean it" growl that he VERY RARELY uses, but is ALWAYS used in a situation where he is guarding something he values highly. Now, I know from MANY previous experiences, that if it's something I CAN'T let him have… something that could be dangerous to him, or something he just can
t be allowed to chew up, even when he is in this state, (WAY beyond being willing to trade for a cookie) I CAN go and pry whatever it is out of his mouth, and he won't hurt me. But this was CLEARLY HIS toy, had been given to him but someone he values, and he was very clear that right then he wanted to play alone. So I just said, That's OK, that's Kodi's toy!" and let him be. Later in the evening, he came and offered it to me in play. To me, that's a perfect example of mutual respect.

Some people, especially those who live in fear of their dog becoming "dominant", may have felt the need to force the issue, and "prove" to the dog that he HAD to give up the toy, no matter what. IMO, this was something that was clearly his, and there was no reason to make a federal case out of it. If he had taken something that didn't belong to him, or something that could harm him, my response would have been different, but NOT because I felt the need to show him who was boss, and NOT because I had any concern of him showing "dominant behavior".


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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-21-2013, 05:08 PM
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I didn't entirely disagree with the article and the exchange you had with Kodi turned out okay. A responsible pet owner would keep an eye on that growling behavior and make corrections accordingly.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-21-2013, 05:35 PM
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thanks for that Karen/. As I was reading it sounded familiar. , not because it's now the 80 th article I have on the topic ,but when she was talking about her work with wolfdogs, I knew it might be Nichole. Yeah what can I say that hasn't been said, this topic is still misunderstood by many. Trust is what it's all about, when our dogs are dealt with aversive and adversarial approaches we lose their trust. It's a meme that never seems to die. Nichole writes for the Huff Post, here are a couple of her other articles http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/dog-dominance

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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-21-2013, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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I didn't entirely disagree with the article and the exchange you had with Kodi turned out okay. A responsible pet owner would keep an eye on that growling behavior and make corrections accordingly.
No, actually "correcting" a dog for growing, essentially teaching a dog NOT to growl is one of THE most dangerous mistakes people make. Growling is a dog's early warning system that they are upset, and that if the human continues to push, a bite might ensue. Dogs who are taught not to growl are the dogs that people later say, "He bit with no warning!!!"

If a dog growls, you need to figure out why. Sometimes (and OFTEN with the Havanese I know) they do a lot of "play growling". If you know the dog, you can usually tell if it's play growling pretty easily. Kodi's play growl is a COMPLETELY different tone than if he "means it".

As far as SERIOUS (warning) growling is concerned, it's REALLY important that you work on the underlying CAUSE of the growling, not just try to stop the growling. A lot of growling, and this is the ONLY time Kodi growls, is resource guarding. Now, in Kodi's case, he is NOT a big resource guarder, nor is it a "problem". I can easily put my hand in his food bowl, or take his bowl away to put something else in it, and he won't utter a peep… because he trusts that I'm going to give it back. It's his, and we all know it.

When we have "arguments" is when he takes something he shouldn't, so he thinks I am going to take the item away for good. (most often, this is kleenex. (which I have to take away, because he doesn't just shred it, he EATS it) I know, because I've had to do it from time to time when he was younger, that in spite of the growling, I can pry his jaws open, stuff my fingers in there and remove the offending item. I would NOT suggest that anyone but I do this however. I can't say he WOULDN'T bite another person under those circumstances. That takes a LOT of trust for an animal to allow this. I spent a LOT of time teaching Kodi to "trade" contraband for a cookie. I also spent a HUGE amount of time teaching him to "drop" valued toys, and then immediately handing them back, so that he learned to trust me.

Now, if I see him grabbing something like a kleenex or paper napkin, I can hold out my hand and ask him to drop it. He will come to me, put his chin in my hand, growl and give me the stink-eye, hand then drop the item in my hand with a huff.

If I had felt the need to get that toy away from him last night, he would have given it to me. But for some reason, right then, that toy was EXTREMELY important to him. And he wanted to play with it alone, not with me. It was his, not mine, and not a danger to him. What could I possibly have accomplished by forcing him to give it up? And why should I try to teach him not to express his feelings? I WANT to know if he has a problem with something, so I can address the problem appropriately.


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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-21-2013, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by davetgabby View Post
thanks for that Karen/. As I was reading it sounded familiar. , not because it's now the 80 th article I have on the topic ,but when she was talking about her work with wolfdogs, I knew it might be Nichole. Yeah what can I say that hasn't been said, this topic is still misunderstood by many. Trust is what it's all about, when our dogs are dealt with aversive and adversarial approaches we lose their trust. It's a meme that never seems to die. Nichole writes for the Huff Post, here are a couple of her other articles http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/dog-dominance
Thanks, Dave. Good articles. I hope other people read them too.

The thing that makes me so sad, (and I'm not talking about anyone specific here, it's just things that I've seen and heard over time) especially with this breed is that yes, you can get away with being "heavy handed" in your training, and you probably won't get hurt, and the dog will probably turn out OK in spite of that "training", not because of it. But it's at the expense of the really deep relationship these people COULD have with their dog if they learned to train in a more enlightened way.


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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-21-2013, 09:05 PM
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Karen it's so reassuring reading about Kodi's resource guarding growl. Charlie is like that when he plays with any of his toys. He doesn't play fetch but he chases his toy and then runs back to the rug with it. When I go to take it from him he growls and sometimes runs off with it - part of the game. When I do take it from him I always throw it to play the game again. When I've had enough I leave him with the toy. But I know that I can take it from his mouth and he understands that ultimately if I insist I can take anything from him, including bugs out of his mouth and food out of his bowl. He may growl but I have never been worried about this growl because it's always his play growl. However I have wondered whether ignoring this play growl is OK and by the sound of it I don't need to worry.

Don't think I've ever heard Charlie growl seriously so I really hope I can tell the difference.

We're still working on "leave it" and "drop it" and yes, tissues are the worst. When he knows we're training i.e. he knows we're playing that particular game, I can "drop" and say leave it to almost any food type, small containers, even screwed up paper. But tissues ........ he just can't resist. So I only dare "drop" these right next to my foot so I can cover them before he gets there otherwise there is shredded tissue everywhere and yes I have to fish it out of his mouth before he swallows any.
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