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Stress in obedience.

18046 Views 85 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Lyn Chen
My view is that if you can get a puppy to obey while it is under stress (measured according to the pups ability, not age, and progressing accordingly), you will end up with a stable and very obedient dog.

An excellent example is what you can see in Al Reanto's dogs.

As very significant by products, dogs trained in this fashion are also VERY self-confident, very focused and VERY agile and surefooted.

This "way" is directly opposed to the treats and rewards "way", because in the latter the dog works FOR HIMSELF, and in the former the dog works because of the bond between himself and the handler, and thus FOR THE HANDLER.

This "way" is not for sport dogs; at least not for sport programmes as they are currently configured, as you will not see the artificial "animation" that is so well liked in competition.

What you do see though, is a strong work ethic.
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Jeff, have you ever trained a dog that has worked under live fire, very close up, of the 5.56 or 7.62 mm variety? With a bunch of other people around? In the dark? Loud voices everywhere? Stuff on the ground everywhere?

If you have, you can bash me all you want. If not...and more so, if you wonder why your pup breaks a down stay, or cannot control himself enough to NOT go up on tables UNSOLICITED... :lol: then, please evaluate alternative training methods with an open mind. :lol:

By artificial, I mean...a dog is not supposed to heel looking at you in the face...
If he does that where there are holes in the ground, or obstacles, he'll be trippin'.

A dogs "focus" should not be on the should be on the TASK. His "attention" should be on the handler. Focus and attention being two different animals. Focus should translate into concentration ON THE TASK.

A dog can be born agile, but if he does not experience obstacles, he WILL BE clumsy on them. A dog's particular area of difficulty in this is REAR PAW PLACEMENT.

Regarding "piece of crap" statements, I have no comment.

And regarding my "call off" or my return to handler off a bite, I agree fully that my dog or the ones I train with, do not return in a flashy way. They all want the man. I have no problem with that, but I posted because I try to keep an open mind. I'm always willing to learn something new...

Working dogs on a field differs significantly from working them in the real world. If most of your training is field work, where you know what distractions you will face, you must experience with at least 30 or 40 different dogs, what working in street conditions is about.

Dogs that work for food, bites or tugs, as a PRIMARY REINFORCER are a bit too hectic for my taste.

The reason I posted this, is to enrich and be the discussion...not the bashing. If we can keep the bashing and ridicule to a low roar, and concentrate on the technical stuff, we will all be better served.

Woody, Stress in obedience...obstacles, positions, confinement, the dark, noise, smell, discomfort, subordination...and IMO it does not preclude sport dogs at all...but the high points in competition perhaps won't be there, as the responses will be less flashy.

Connie, if you used treats for teaching, and the obedience is still there for the most part after a while...but when the attention falters, you go back to reinforcing with treats and tugs...then it was always treats and tugs, and you've simply been reaping the benefits of a Variable Reward Schedule.
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Connie, what do you do when obedience slacks after it's been taught?

Also, If possible it would be great to stay on topic...specifically: What's at work, that makes stress in obedience so valuable to some trainers and dogs?
Ah! OK... 8) 8) 8)

So Jeff, what do you think of stress in obedience? In the teaching phase?

Lynn, what excellent quotes.

Connie, the reward for stress* in obedience is stress relief, doled out by the handler.

By the way, I'm NOT posting about the undesirability of treats or tugs. I'm posting to examine the method and benefits - if any - of stress in obedience. It not something discussed frequently, yet it may be useful...or at least enriching, if we get it discussed properly.

* The handler is NOT the source of the stress. :wink:
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would you guys consider it 'stress' if you start throwing food around and the puppy absolutely has to sit still until you tell him to? No corrections involve if the pup decides to get up and get the food...just remove them completely. I don't know how stressful this is (unless the pup is really hungry) but...I've found it's better for obedience then just say, putting the pup back in place, because they learn to control themselves.
That's not what I mean at all, as far as stress goes because, first, if the dog does well, you let him eat, therefore allowing him to reward himself; second, a pup should not be thinking that food on the ground means he has to "do something" to get it; and third, stress is not a DISTRACTION...rather, it is a situation or context that causes insecurity, which YOU as the HANDLER alleviate, thus becoming the "alleviator", which assists in establishing leadership and trust.
As a point of interest, how do workingdogforum members view their dog's trust towards them?

How do you know your dog trusts you?
I think a puppy or dog trusts you, when it will do your bidding even if contrary to ITS perception AT THAT MOMENT that your bidding threatens its SELF PRESERVATION.

This varies from dog to dog, as a function of genetics, of time, and specially as a function of shared exercises. Some that are very confident will not balk at helicopters, yet perhaps will stress at a herd of cows milling about; others will feel very insecure with a little elevation. This type of trust building must start low, slow and easy for puppies...and continue advancing for the life of the dog.

The work is individualized, the dog is carefully observed, and if he's stressing, he's either reassured or taken back a notch, and the attempts repeated until his task is done. Repetition is not, "Hey, dog, do this again!"...It's actually a shared activity or task. The handler must sweat it out WITH the dog...exactly as it is in real life.

This produces dogs that really see their handler as a pack leader, and will really engage on his behalf. Dogs raised in this fashion cue off other stimuli, besides commands...they also cue off "stress" and "will" from their handler.
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Ideally this type of "raising working dogs" is started when pups are a few weeks old. If the genetics are good, "weaknesses" are very transitory.

Mind you, there are huge benefits to be reaped for adult dogs, though, and also when these methods are "combined" with other stuff...for sure.
Al...good post. By stressing one is constantly expanding the pup's comfort zone, which in turn allows the pup to DO more in more PLACES.

Some wild animals are examples of bonds and cooperation, without IMMEDIATE reward. They are in it for the benefit of the pack; and in this case, the handler is the "pack". My conclusion, is that SOME dog/handler relationships are much, much more than OC; and that many canine behaviors are hardwired, and can be harnessed by sharing with them.

The dog should not hesitate if the handler doesn't. And I'm not referring to tactical pauses, obviously. I'm referring to the fact that a courageous dog does well under the tutelage of a courageous, intelligent and AWARE handler.

For example, we teach our dogs (when they're very young) to be pulled up into trees, upper floor windows, catwalks in factories, by pulling up on their harness. When they get "up there" they should be at ease. This part is easy, because of the following instinct. But what happens when you need to send them back down - say 10 meters - from a perfectly safe catwalk? Will the pup need to be pushed into the open, because he's grabbing on FOR DEAR LIFE? Will the pup want to grab whatever he can ON THE WAY down, because he doesn't trust you? Or will he just keep going down until you place him where you indicate, by listening for your command? Will he wait quietly for you to come down?

This is simply food for thought. It's different, and I think more natural. I AM NOT SAYING EASIER.

Even if you disagree with much, little or everything...go do stressful things with - WITH - your dog. You'll reap great rewards.
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I agree with you, and my dog and those that I work...all go down looking forward to continuing to work.
I was actually asking the question, so readers would understand the practical need to teach this to working dogs. To overcome the environmental stress, and to be able to obey within it.
What you recomend was what I have done. Gradually.
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