Hi MDC moms - We are getting a puppy in a couple of weeks. We had our last dog for 14 years and he was a delightful sweet boy and so good around the kids, but we were so young when we got him that we really didn't train him much beyond housebreaking. As a result of our failures, he was a bit out of control for years....he would never do anything mean, but he pulled on the leash and crowded people when they would come to the house. This time - we want to do it right and really put the time in and teach the dog how to be a pleasure upfront.
I have done a bunch of reading and am looking at the Love That Dog Training Program because it seems to be all positive training - it actually leans a bit towards some
attachment "parenting" concepts, but I wondered if anyone has had experience with it and whether it works? The puppy that we are getting is considered a "soft breed" and will wilt around any aggression/negativity so I want to go with only positive training strategies, but also have a well trained dog.
As for comparing AP to dog training, that's not a good idea Dogs do not think in the same way that children do. I would almost say dogs need to be trained in the opposite way that AP children would be treated. If a dog is uncomfortable or frightened in a situation, you wouldn't comfort them, to the dog that is a reward. Also, crate training and solitude are important (in proper doses). They're still animals and need to know they have a safe place if they're hurt or scared. You can't always take them with you and dogs do truly need to learn to "cry it out".
My parents APed their dogs, coslept and didn't crate train them. They now have to leave the house in shifts. Someone always has to be home or the dogs go mental. They said crate training is cruel, and that dogs are pack animals so they allowed them to sleep in their bed, so the dogs go into a nuclear meltdown when they have the house to themselves. They comforted their dogs when lightning storms scared them, now they're at the point of requiring medication if they even see rain.
They don't seem to mind these things and it works for them so who am I to judge, but the average family has to leave the house at some point.
My dogs can be left anywhere, I have soft crates for them that they could easily break out of if they wanted to but will wait quietly inside no matter where they are because that's their safe place. I even sneak them into hotels! Lol... Nothing scares them because they were taught early that acting timid was not desirable behaviour. (I didn't beat them, I just acted like nothing happened and their fears were invalid).
Sometimes it's hard to make the mental leap from AP to dog training but it's important to remember that validating fears and insecurity is not going to make them any more confident and independent.
That said, compulsion training isn't as awful as it sounds, you still have to work within your dog's limits and be in tune with when they're willing to work and when they're just not into it. I personally believe it's less confusing to the dog. If they do something wrong, it takes them 10 times more time to figure it out with positive reinforcement training than had they just received a correction.
I've amazed people who only do positive reinforcement when my dog tries a new agility track he's never seen before. (We don't really do agility but sometimes I try out a run just for fun). I can show him the run, tell him with an "uh-uh!" that he's doing it wrong and he'll backtrack and go back and do it right. With positive reinforcement it takes people half an hour of dancing and pointing and throwing hotdogs all over the place to get them to figure out that they should be jumping over an obstacle. I think we just have a clearer communication. He knows "uh-uh" is bad and "click" from a clicker is good, and can identify the moment of the right or wrong behaviour. With positive training they have to keep guessing and maybe they'll get a treat, maybe they won't. If they don't feel like a treat anyway, they'll do whatever they want.
Well maybe I stated it wrong - I meant AP for DOGS rather than treating the dog like a child. It does involve crate training and not comforting them when they whine in the crate. It does not involve letting them be timid or comforting them about unrealistic fears. I already have children and I will quickly teach this dog that they are at the bottom of our pack.
I guess what seemed "AP" about it to me is that it involves hand feeding leading to hand/bowl combo feeding, leading to taking food out of the bowl while the puppy is eating to prevent any food aggression from developing. It also involves keeping a new puppy on a leash and with you all the time in the house (unless it is crate time or "play time") while you are doing small chores until the dog is house trained. It involves actively ignoring negative behavior (like jumping) and requiring a dog to sit to get the things they want - dinner, going for a walk, etc. It also doesn't involve things like putting its nose in its poop, using a choker chain, etc.
So, I am not saying that it is a good program, but what you are talking with your parents dogs seems very different - they sound untrained and spoiled. This a a training program that leads to a dog that is trained to follow commands, be left quietly in a crate, not jump, heel on the leash, etc. Again, I don't know if this is a good program, but I wasn't considering NOT training the dog.