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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, well ever since I could remember my daughter has had a special gift when it comes to animals. She's 12 now and has so far stuck with her dream of becoming a vet. She spends more time reading and learning about animals then I even consider to be normal. But of course, it's not an unhealthy little hobby so I'm not complaining.<br><br>
This brings us to our dog. He's a lovable English bulldog that has his best years far behind him. The thing is though, my daughter does all the training with him. She feeds him, walks him, and plays with him. I am very proud of her when it comes to this since it shows such great responsibility and real maturity, but at the same time we've gotten into a few arguments (most recent being a few moments ago <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll">...hence the post).<br><br>
The thing that bothers me is that she gives him so many rules to follow. She makes him sit and wait for his food, and do a lot of tricks just for a pat on the head, (she learned to phase out the treats). Of course, when he doesn't comply she gives him a quick verbal and sometimes physical correction (usually a tap on the nose).<br><br>
My argument whenever I see her training him is that she should take it easy on him, he doesn't need to be doing those dumb (and they really are dumb) tricks anyways. She retorts with the argument that it helps to exercise his mind and body and that dogs generally love to please the alphas in the pack. He just pants and looks around while we argue <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"> I'll admit though, she knows a lot more about dogs than I do, since I never had one growing up.<br><br>
Our most recent argument was started because he was laying with me while I surf the net and she called him telling him to get in his cage where he sleeps. Me, being the softie that I am, stood up for him telling her he's keeping my feet comfy <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> Anyhow, I told her he'd sleep in his crate when I go upstairs but I might just sneak him into my bed <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
Wow, that turned out longer than I intended. So, am I being all worked up over nothing, since our dog is not abused and is clearly loved? Or is she being overbearing and he should be given more leeway?
 

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I wouldn't be that strict with a dog. It's there to be a pet, a part of the family...a member of the family infact. So yeah I would agree with you and find her actions with him far too intense.<br><br>
It's not like he's being used as a working dog...then maybe it would be more okay with me, but i'd still find it hard to watch that and think it was being cruel.<br><br>
I could also see it being beneficial if the dog had problems in the past, and needed to be treated that way to keep him reminded of his place, but other than that I don't think it's necessary at all.<br><br>
She might read a lot of dog books, but she's still only a 12 year old child.
 

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She's not wrong at all. She's doing the Nothing in Life is Free method of dog training, from what I glean, and she's learning to be a really good trainer.<br><br>
And... you are not wrong at all. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> You should be able to enjoy the dog the way that you want to, also. But... there should really be a consensus in the family as to what is expected of the dog and then everyone needs to follow that model.<br><br>
I know you are, but you can be very proud of your daughter, she is learning to be a great trainer and will have much success!
 

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Part of it she is right on, part of it she is not. Having him sit and do things for what he wants is good, but it is NOT about her being alpha...alpha is a term that is misunderstood by many.<br><br>
And your daughter should NOT be physically correcting the dog, especially with a hand to the face. At best there is no need for it, at worst it can cause some dogs to become fearful of humans and fear can quickly turn to aggression.<br><br>
There is no reason for him not to sleep with you in your bed. Actually as packs all sleep together, that is much more natural anyways<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> But seriously, a lot of outdated advice was that if a dog sleeps with you or in your bed that it thinks its "above" you blah blah blah...and thats just not true. Now, there are some cases where if the dog get guardy of the bed or wont move when asked, the right to sleep on the bed may need to be restricted, but that does not sound like the case here.<br><br>
I am not sure where your daughter has gotten a lot of her information, but some of it is outdated and has been proven wrong. If she wants to continue in this area (which it sounds like a wonderful natural spot for her<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy">) I would expose her to more modern thoughts on dog behavior. It would probably be good for you to read up a bit on it as well too.<br><br>
Since she wants to be a vet, perhaps she would like <a href="http://www.askdryin.com/" target="_blank">Dr. Yin's site</a>, she is a vet but has a ton of info on behavior. Dogstardaily.com has a ton of great info, articles, videos, etc as well. And then if she likes books, check out Patricia McConnell's <i>The Other End of the Leash</i> and <i>For the Love of a Dog</i>, Suzanne Clothier's <i>Bones Would Rain from the Sky</i>, Karen Pryor's <i>Dont Shoot the Dog</i> and <i>Reaching the Animal Mind</i>, Jean Donaldson's <i>Culture Clash</i>....and there are many more. Those are all general behavior books.<br><br>
eta: PBS just ran a great documentary on service dogs as well, called <a href="http://www.pbs.org/dogs-eyes/#1" target="_blank">Through the Eyes of a Dog</a>...it is a good watch!
 

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Just wanted to add also, if he is older, she definitely needs to lessen her expectations...and while phasing out treats is good, there is no reason not to use them sometimes. Older dogs are going to be slower and stiffer, so some tricks may no longer be appropriate, or at least should not be done often. Of course this depends on age and physical ability, but thought it was worth mentioning.
 

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I will say the the comment about her exercising his mind is correct, but there are other ways to do it. Teach him to search for his toys or treats, or teach him to play hide and seek. I have a dog that is starting to decline a bit mentally in her older years and my vet's recommendation is to teach her new games and do whatever it takes to stimulate her brain. Your DD just needs a new way to go about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I forgot to mention the Nothing In Life is Free, she keeps blabbering about how that is the greatest system ever invented for dogs. He's quite old but his physical condition is just fine. The physical correction is usually nothing more than a little tap to get his attention, I've seen her do it and she doesn't hurt him. The only other time she corrects him is when he's on the leash and doesn't follow the sit or down command.<br><br>
I really don't know where she gets her info from but I will definitely pass on those great sources, thank you. Oh and I forgot to mention that she taught him plenty of his tricks through the use of a clicker. She doesn't make him do his tricks all the time, but sometimes when she's playing with him she'll decide to have him roll over or some other trick and although she has no treats in her hand, she usually spoils him with cheese and biscuits. But she doesn't offer them while he's doing the trick.<br><br>
The main thing that bothers me though, is that she makes him sit and wait for his food and also the names of the tricks she uses. He gets fed breakfast and dinner, and she'll put him in a sit/stay in front of his food while we eat ours. I guess I just feel bad looking over and seeing that pathetic look in his eyes as he patiently waits. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br><br>
Don't even get me started on the tricks, she has this one trick called "give me your dignity". When she says this, I've yet to say it, he flops over on his back, reaches up with his paws and then is promptly rewarded with a belly rub. I tell her that's kinda mean and she says to relax, it's a cute trick and he loves it.<br><br>
He loves her though, even more than me. Follows her around everywhere when she's home and always sits by the door when he senses her coming back. Her word is law above mine to him too. In fact, the only real time me and him bond is when he's sleeping and I use him as my personal footrest! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>SW1975</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15394494"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">she'll put him in a sit/stay in front of his food while we eat ours. I guess I just feel bad looking over and seeing that pathetic look in his eyes as he patiently waits. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"></div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/jaw2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="jaw2"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> She's going too far! That's flat out cruel imo...poor dog...plz make her stop doing that at least. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shake.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shake"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/mecry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="crying">
 

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Nvm, missed the bit about physically correcting. Lots of commands are a good thing, setting the dog up for failure and punishing failure not so hot.
 

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Suggest some reading for her and you:<br><br>
Temple Grandin's "Animals Make Us Human"<br><br>
I am reading this book and it's absolutely fascinating! It's about animal (and human) emotions and has separate sections for dogs, cats, pigs, cattle, horses, chicken and wildlife. She talks about how different behaviors are motivated by different 'blue-ribbon" emotional systems (such as seeking, fear, panic,care and play) and how using knowledge of these systems can assist with animal handling.<br><br>
She also explains very well how negative reinforcement and positive reinforcement are different and how they both work.<br><br>
I think anyone who wants to be a vet would find this book to be a valuable resource. The dog section is fascinating. Your daughter sounds like she is trying to keep your dog's seeking system engaged with the training. The book may give her some new ideas or at least some food for thought. It's not a how-to book for training but rather a book that explains motivations of animals. She also talks a lot about healthy environments for animals.<br><br>
I was surprised to learn about new animal behavior research I'd not heard about previously.<br><br>
Warning: there are descriptions of slaughter houses in the sections about farm animals. The author has devoted her life to working with animals and improving animal welfare on farms and in the animal industry.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>samy23</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15394734"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/jaw2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="jaw2"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> She's going too far! That's flat out cruel imo...poor dog...plz make her stop doing that at least. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shake.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shake"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/mecry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="crying"></div>
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While I wouldn't do such an extended sit/stay/wait every night at dinner, I certainly don't think it's <i>cruel</i>. Kicking him in the ribs or throwing him out of a moving vehicle is cruel. Waiting for a bowl of kibble? Not cruel.<br><br>
However, the fact that she has accomplished such an advanced obedience command is really commendable. He CAN do it, which is good. Commands like that can save a dog's life, and EVERY dog, in IMO, should be <i>able</i> to do some sort of extended sit/down/stay/wait. Everyone one of my dogs can halt, and do extended stays (with the exception of the pup.. which we're working on). It requires some regular practice to keep it functional, but would I do it every night at dinner? Probably not. Not unless I was working toward a rally or something. But would I do it regularly while practicing other obedience work? Absolutely.<br><br>
This is the kind of long term attention span and patience that service dogs are expected to develop. They didn't learn to sit patiently while their handler eats dinner in a restaurant by being able to do what ever they pleased because the training process was "cruel".<br><br>
And she's write about it exercising his mind. Dogs naturally want to please. The dog is doing this because somewhere, somehow, he has found the motivation to WAIT for as long as it takes to get his food. I assure you, if he didn't want to do it, he wouldn't.
 

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I also wanted to add that she doesn't need to use physical corrections. I do love NILIF, though.
 

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LOL, do you have any idea how much money I've paid to have dogs trained HALF as well? Mine are still a work in progress <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
It' not going to hurt your dog to wait for dinner. We only feed our puppy (4.5 months old) out of interactive treat toys (we have a tug-a-jug, a TreatStik, and a Busy Dog Ball) because he needs the mental stimulation. He NEVER gets a free meal. Our 4.5 year old dog is a very calm and stable dog. He gets his meals for free because his true love is the tennis ball and he works for his tennis ball.<br><br>
I'd ask her to stop the corrections and stick with only positive training. I'd also ask her to respect your time with the dog and let you spend your time with him as you wish.<br><br>
However, all in all I don't think she's doing anything WRONG, there should just be some boundaries so everyone can interact happily with the dog. I don't think you are wrong either, you share a dog and you should have your time to cuddle if that's what you want to do with your share of the dog time.
 

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I don't understand why you'd make him sit in front of his food the whole time you're eating. I think it's a great idea to have the dog sit and wait while you put the food down, so that they are not jumping at the bowl while you're lowering it. I've also had my dogs wait for a few seconds before giving them the "ok" to eat. But sitting there the whole time we're having dinner? That seems quite excessive to me.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>North_Of_60</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15394933"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">While I wouldn't do such an extended sit/stay/wait every night at dinner, I certainly don't think it's <i>cruel</i>. Kicking him in the ribs or throwing him out of a moving vehicle is cruel. Waiting for a bowl of kibble? Not cruel.<br><br>
However, the fact that she has accomplished such an advanced obedience command is really commendable. He CAN do it, which is good. Commands like that can save a dog's life, and EVERY dog, in IMO, should be <i>able</i> to do some sort of extended sit/down/stay/wait. Everyone one of my dogs can halt, and do extended stays (with the exception of the pup.. which we're working on). It requires some regular practice to keep it functional, but would I do it every night at dinner? Probably not. Not unless I was working toward a rally or something. But would I do it regularly while practicing other obedience work? Absolutely.<br><br>
This is the kind of long term attention span and patience that service dogs are expected to develop. They didn't learn to sit patiently while their handler eats dinner in a restaurant by being able to do what ever they pleased because the training process was "cruel".<br><br>
And she's write about it exercising his mind. Dogs naturally want to please. The dog is doing this because somewhere, somehow, he has found the motivation to WAIT for as long as it takes to get his food. I assure you, if he didn't want to do it, he wouldn't.</div>
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This.<br><br>
Also, I don't think it's cruel to make him sit or wait for his dinner. My dogs all do it. They start getting rowdy while dinner is being made, I walk away calmly for 10 minutes, and then go back and try again. I will not feed them if they're swarming and panting and pawing at me for dinner; they sit calmly in the kitchen, I put the food down, touch their heads and say "Go eat" and then they eat. Anything less, and I pick the food up and start over again.<br><br>
We've taken our dogs to restraunts (We're in Germany) and they NEED to be able to sit/stay/wait for long periods of time, calmly. Especially with noise and people all around them. I think it's a good thing.<br><br>
I do think you should sit your DD down with a trainer so that she can be steered away from some outdated info, but I do disagree with the others here, we still use the Alpha theory, but not in a dominant way, just in a way that shows us as their pack leader, and builds their trust and confidence in us.<br><br>
But, truthfully, you should all be the leaders in your home, not just one person. It does the dog nor the family no good to have only one person that the dog will listen to; what happens when that person isn't home and something happens where you need the dog to listen? We go to training classes, and we trade out with the dog so that we're all learning what we need to do, and so that our dog sees us all as her leaders.<br><br>
We don't allow our pets on the furniture, but we have some dominance/aggression/fear issues with our Mastiff, so that was more for her benefit than anything else (And I won't lie, mine too. I hate sleeping with 200+ lbs of dog on top of me).<br><br>
It sounds like your DD has the right idea, but she's ascribing a lot of ideas to your dog that may not even be necessary for him. I really think that you all need to be on the same page with the training, and t hat it's not something that she is the only one doing, you know?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>SquishyKitty</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15397605"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Also, I don't think it's cruel to make him sit or wait for his dinner. My dogs all do it. They start getting rowdy while dinner is being made, I walk away calmly for 10 minutes, and then go back and try again. I will not feed them if they're swarming and panting and pawing at me for dinner; they sit calmly in the kitchen, I put the food down, touch their heads and say "Go eat" and then they eat. Anything less, and I pick the food up and start over again.</div>
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Yes I agree with that, but it's going too far to actually have them wait with their food right infront of them, being hungry and wanting to eat it, but being made to wait until their owners have finished eating their own entire meal. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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I have my prevet degree and LOVE Temple Grandin. I'd have her get involved with 4-H if you have that in your area...and you might consider getting her involved with a dog club that does activities. Maybe the obstacle courses? (I can't remember what that is called...but it might be a good way to her to work with the dog.) I can't see that she is doing anything wrong, but I'd have her lay off having him wait all thru your dinner to eat his. Remind her about respect and love and that they do go a long way farther than dominance.
 

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I have a 4 month old boxer puppy and from day 1 have taught her to sit and wait for her food. I do not however make her sit there for more than the time it takes me to stand up after sitting the food down. Doing so dosnt prove a point at all since dogs live in the moment.<br><br>
I would allow the sit for food but he should be allowed to eat as soon as he has shown he is sitting there waiting for the OK.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you all for the feedback and all of the wonderful advice. Sorry I haven't been on in a while, life has been hectic.<br><br>
Sadly our dog passed away peacefully early last week. He died as he lived most of his life, on his back with my feet on his belly. I was doing work on the computer at the time and then I realized I didn't hear any snoring or feel any breathing. I completely denied it for seemed to be about a half hour or so, casually petting him and playing with his floppy tongue with my toes. Once I realized how unreceptive he was, the truth slowly washed over me and I just there sobbing for what seemed like forever. A part of my soul died under my soles that night.
 

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