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Old 11-28-2012, 04:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
 

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New APBT owner. Looking for training philosophy!

We got a 3 month old from a shelter 3 weeks ago. Not even sure if she's purebred or mixed. She's actually a good girl, just alot of nipping (assuming this is standard puppy MO) I was told not to take her to Petsmart for training so I started looking around and found out there are different schools of thought on this. I am used to the treats, moving the treats around to get the body into the position you want... But I've seen videos on dominance training and it's definately more my style. There's Ceasar Millan who uses a more gentle approach, then there's The Perfect Dog which uses a plastic prong collar. But the "dog lady" at my hubby's work says never physically correct a pit.

I'm just kinda nervous having this breed, and I really need to pick a method and get registered for classes. I want complete control over this dog. I have 4 young children, I can have no mistakes! I must be able to trust this dog by the time she is 60lbs! I think she already sees me as alpha, she sits when I approach her most times. But hubby is offering her treats and not being forceful about her nipping. Her teeth are so razor like. I grab the back of her neck and hold her mouth closed like in one video until she calms, and she doesn't bite again for awhile, but she's a baby so she eventually starts up again. I don't do this everytime because hubby and I have not commited to one philosophy and I'm afraid if dominance isn't the right one, I will create danger when there wouldn't have been any. I have tried snapping her leash as well, but without any prongs, she acts like I'm not even doing anything.

So, for pits: Dominance or Positive Reinforcement? Thanks!
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Do not use Cesar Millan techniques,he has no idea what he's doing,before you enroll him in to classes,ask if you can sit in on one of their classes,I would only enroll him in positive reinforcement training(rewarding wanted behavior,correcting unwanted behavior).I personally don't rake my pup to classes,mostly cause the nearest one is over half an hour away,I use a clicker in training,I click right when my pup performs the wanted behavior,I'm pretty sure the other members with many years of experience will give you their insight,I've seen that dogs trained through dominance can only do the basic commands very slowly,Sit,Lie Down,and Stand and a short Stay,but dogs trained through positive reinforcement love training,they want to obey,but with dominance training they do it out of fear.Welcome to GP!
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think Ceaser knows what hes doing LOL....... But i agree and dont suggest dominance training because a pitbull will challenge you and it will cause a bad relationship... I have been looking into sitmeanssit.com , look them up on youtube.... They use e-collar and the results are AMAZING, on top of that if you buy there training you get to attend classes for the entire life of your dog.


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Old 11-28-2012, 09:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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1st things 1st you do not have an APBT. I can promise you that. The pup is a mix. The best advice I can give you is to do what feels best to you. You speak about this pup as if it's a ticking time bomb and although I cannot assure you she won't have problems; I can say that as long as you're willing to put in the time from the beginning until the end you'll never come across a situation you won't be able to address.
Also all dogs are different so I can use a technique with my male dogs that my female won't respond to so aside from doing what makes you comfortable find what works best with your pup.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
You speak about this pup as if it's a ticking time bomb.
This is the feeling I had reading the post. I don't know why anyone would ever get a dog if they are already worried about potentially being afraid of it when it is fully grown. I think it is grossly unfair to the dog, and potentially sets the poor pup up for failure. If you are constantly worried about a dog trying to dominate you or...I don't know what really; every time the dog acts like a dog the potential is there for the owner to over-react or freak out. Dogs do go through developmental stages and learning curves; they bark and growl in play and it can sound scary but it isn't it's play, they can try resource guarding in adolescence to see if it works, they can growl to communicate because they aren't robots...you cannot be fair and effective if you are afraid of your own dog.

I'm sorry for the rant but I see so many posts from people panicked about whether or not their dog is human aggressive and needs to be killed; when in reality...it's pretty much exhibiting normal dog behavior; maybe behavior that needs to be addressed...but pretty much par for the course for a dog; that it just makes me crazy.

I just wonder why a pit bull if there is already fear and concern. Why not a lab or a pug?

Rant aside; I think dominance theory is outdated and debunked. I think you are asking for trouble following this path.

The Dominance Controversy | Philosophy | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS
Forget About Being Alpha in Your Pack: Kathy Sdao - Bright Spot Dog Training
Dominance and Dog Training
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...lpha-dog-valid

I prefer learning theory; with heavy application of positive reinforcement and negative punishment. I'm not completely against positive punishment; but I think, as a last resort and the mildest correction needed to achieve a result.
Operant Conditioning, Part 2

I love clicker and marker training.

And I think this book should be required reading for all dog owners:
http://codeazur.com.br/pix/blogs/CultureClash.pdf

These are all just my opinions and I'm no expert; just very opinionated.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You sound like you are on the right path, but as with any breed, you still don't want to leave your kids and your dogs alone unattended. Ever. No matter the breed of dog. you never know what might happen.

My boy was good with a loud OUCH and stop of all play. He quickly picked up that teeth making contact stopped the fun and now a tie for the ball always goes to me
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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DO NOT sign up for SMS classes! I just spoke to a woman that paid $2000 for this training. They require your dog to use a shock collar. She can't understand why it doesn't work. She said her dog jumps on people and bites. She said she only has it on #4 but the SMS trainer says it needs to be on a higher level for her dog to respond. Look for a trainer that encourages positive reinforcement (high value treats/toys, encouragement and/or clickers) you will get a better response and a happy dogs willing to learn. Plus never leave a child unattended with any type of dog. Also teach your children how to treat a dog properly. Good luck.
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
1st things 1st you do not have an APBT. I can promise you that. The pup is a mix. The best advice I can give you is to do what feels best to you. You speak about this pup as if it's a ticking time bomb and although I cannot assure you she won't have problems; I can say that as long as you're willing to put in the time from the beginning until the end you'll never come across a situation you won't be able to address.
Also all dogs are different so I can use a technique with my male dogs that my female won't respond to so aside from doing what makes you comfortable find what works best with your pup.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzy&Veronica View Post
This is the feeling I had reading the post. I don't know why anyone would ever get a dog if they are already worried about potentially being afraid of it when it is fully grown. I think it is grossly unfair to the dog, and potentially sets the poor pup up for failure. If you are constantly worried about a dog trying to dominate you or...I don't know what really; every time the dog acts like a dog the potential is there for the owner to over-react or freak out. Dogs do go through developmental stages and learning curves; they bark and growl in play and it can sound scary but it isn't it's play, they can try resource guarding in adolescence to see if it works, they can growl to communicate because they aren't robots...you cannot be fair and effective if you are afraid of your own dog.

I'm sorry for the rant but I see so many posts from people panicked about whether or not their dog is human aggressive and needs to be killed; when in reality...it's pretty much exhibiting normal dog behavior; maybe behavior that needs to be addressed...but pretty much par for the course for a dog; that it just makes me crazy.

I just wonder why a pit bull if there is already fear and concern. Why not a lab or a pug?

Rant aside; I think dominance theory is outdated and debunked. I think you are asking for trouble following this path.

The Dominance Controversy | Philosophy | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS
Forget About Being Alpha in Your Pack: Kathy Sdao - Bright Spot Dog Training
Dominance and Dog Training
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...lpha-dog-valid

I prefer learning theory; with heavy application of positive reinforcement and negative punishment. I'm not completely against positive punishment; but I think, as a last resort and the mildest correction needed to achieve a result.
Operant Conditioning, Part 2

I love clicker and marker training.

And I think this book should be required reading for all dog owners:
http://codeazur.com.br/pix/blogs/CultureClash.pdf

These are all just my opinions and I'm no expert; just very opinionated.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ames View Post
You sound like you are on the right path, but as with any breed, you still don't want to leave your kids and your dogs alone unattended. Ever. No matter the breed of dog. you never know what might happen.

My boy was good with a loud OUCH and stop of all play. He quickly picked up that teeth making contact stopped the fun and now a tie for the ball always goes to me
Quote:
Originally Posted by PerfectPit View Post
DO NOT sign up for SMS classes! I just spoke to a woman that paid $2000 for this training. They require your dog to use a shock collar. She can't understand why it doesn't work. She said her dog jumps on people and bites. She said she only has it on #4 but the SMS trainer says it needs to be on a higher level for her dog to respond. Look for a trainer that encourages positive reinforcement (high value treats/toys, encouragement and/or clickers) you will get a better response and a happy dogs willing to learn. Plus never leave a child unattended with any type of dog. Also teach your children how to treat a dog properly. Good luck.
All excellent posts.

OP, I hate to piggy-back on what someone else said, but it does come across as though you're already afraid of the pup just because of what she might have mixed in her. Unless she was an owner-surrender with registration paperwork, she's definitely a mix of some sort.

As rabbit previously stated, it is definitely dependent on the individual dog as to what method will work best. I highly recommend a positive reinforcement method. Using shock or e-collars only works as long as the dog is wearing the collar or device.

It's okay to be dominant, when necessary, but in a positive way. Don't do the "roll over til you submit" thing, as that more often than not is ineffective. I have a male mutt, and yes, I have to be a little more physical with him. My own personal tactic is grabbing the little bit of loose skin directly under the chin and making him look at me when I'm being serious with him. Then he gives me that "poor scolded child who's just been embarrassed, puppy eyes" look. My APBT girl, I simply raise my voice and she's submitting.

I don't mean to pry or come across rude, but do you have any experience with training a dog, or any animal at all? I only ask, because if you don't have any experience, then when you sign your pup up for classes, it should be a learning experience for you as well.

Nipping/Biting

My Puppy Bites Me - Why do puppies bite?

As for the biting/nipping issue, read the threads I linked you to above.

Also, here's a thread with some videos of my personal training with my girl, using positive reinforcement (treats and praise only). I'm not a certified trainer, but at one point in my life, was well on my way to being one. I have been working with training dogs practically all my life, and have lots of experience with different breeds and mixes of dogs. I don't mind helping out where I can, even if it means doing training via Skype, if that's what it takes to help you and your dog both become a success. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. But I beg of you, please do not approach this situation fearfully, as the dog will sense your fear, and will feed off that.
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
 

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Thanks for the replies! I'm not afraid of her, she's only 7lbs LOL. But I have read that this breed needs more training than others. I have limited experience with training. As a child my mother didn't know what to do with dogs so they lived in the backyard. Our last dog was more like a cat and did not want to be pet or loved up at all. But she was very good and quiet and never even put her teeth on the kids, even as a puppy. I wanted another Shar Pei, but after she died at 4 from a genetic disease my husband was unwilling to pay another $2000 for another possibly terminal pet. She knew sit, down, stay, and came from the breeder housbroken, but other than that I simply did not have a need to control her.

I've been reading alot, and thank you for the links. Cassie is already a wonderful dog, she loves to be loved and sleep on our laps and lick us, and romp around with her toys! It's a first for us, and I feel sad that our last dog was so cat-like. I am very excited about her, and from what I've read this breed is very loving and social, and eager to please. I just want to make sure that she stays this way. She probably won't need intensive training or anything. I'm not looking to impress anyone with amazing feats of obedience.

As for the concerns about me freaking out, I am not that type. I am a researcher, and am probably just over thinking this because of all the negative connotations put on this breed. I would not have taken her if my research had shown any merit to it. Everyone I've spoken with before and after the adoption has only positive things to say about this breed. I feel very comfortable right now, but also very conscience of the fact that she will be way too strong for me very soon. Everything I've read implies or flat out says that owning this breed carries far more responsibility for their upbringing and resulting temperment/performance. If something worrisome did come up, I would contact a behaviourist for consultation. I plan on having this family member for over a decade.

And P.S. I only call her an APBT because that's what the shelter called her litter, and everyone who sees her calls her that before I tell them. She must look very close to full bred. I wouldn't know, she's the first one I've seen in person. She looks very much like a Jack Russell to me!
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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These dogs are super smart and very eager to please. You just need to find out what makes them tick. A high value reward. Until my dog was around 2 it was a tug toy or a ball. He was not food motivated. He sure is now though. I use string cheese since its pre packaged and easy to keep in a pocket. Or hot dogs if your pup has belly issues with the cheese. You can start early and be prepared for lots of laughs. Especially when they are just learning a new trick and they don't know what you mean yet and they run through every trick in the book hoping the get it right lol. You will learn her needs an when they are over excited or acting up its usually time for a walk or some fetch or flirt pole or spring pole. Exercise is key.


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Old 11-29-2012, 09:04 AM   #11 (permalink)
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$2000 ??? Out here its $650 and that includes lifetime classes.... Look on youtube at sit means sit chicago darrel hager, guys dog is VERY well trained and its amazing

http://youtu.be/fWh8KpLV-2M


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Old 11-29-2012, 01:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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All excellent posts.

OP, I hate to piggy-back on what someone else said, but it does come across as though you're already afraid of the pup just because of what she might have mixed in her. Unless she was an owner-surrender with registration paperwork, she's definitely a mix of some sort.

As rabbit previously stated, it is definitely dependent on the individual dog as to what method will work best. I highly recommend a positive reinforcement method. Using shock or e-collars only works as long as the dog is wearing the collar or device.

It's okay to be dominant, when necessary, but in a positive way. Don't do the "roll over til you submit" thing, as that more often than not is ineffective. I have a male mutt, and yes, I have to be a little more physical with him. My own personal tactic is grabbing the little bit of loose skin directly under the chin and making him look at me when I'm being serious with him. Then he gives me that "poor scolded child who's just been embarrassed, puppy eyes" look. My APBT girl, I simply raise my voice and she's submitting.

I don't mean to pry or come across rude, but do you have any experience with training a dog, or any animal at all? I only ask, because if you don't have any experience, then when you sign your pup up for classes, it should be a learning experience for you as well.

Nipping/Biting

My Puppy Bites Me - Why do puppies bite?

As for the biting/nipping issue, read the threads I linked you to above.

Also, here's a thread with some videos of my personal training with my girl, using positive reinforcement (treats and praise only). I'm not a certified trainer, but at one point in my life, was well on my way to being one. I have been working with training dogs practically all my life, and have lots of experience with different breeds and mixes of dogs. I don't mind helping out where I can, even if it means doing training via Skype, if that's what it takes to help you and your dog both become a success. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. But I beg of you, please do not approach this situation fearfully, as the dog will sense your fear, and will feed off that.
Somehow, I managed not to share the link of my personal dog working on her own training. So, here's the thread with my dog's training.

Ices working on Obedience/Socialization

I have another thread somewhere demonstrating my mutt boy working on his obedience (I believe I posted on someone else's thread instead of creating my own, as a response to a question). I'll see if I can dig it up and post it here.

I couldn't locate the actual thread I posted on, but here's the direct link to the video on my channel on youtube of Roller demonstrating Sit and Down, working only for a piece of dog food. It's not a really good video, but it'll give you some idea.

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"In this breed, there's no such thing as an expert! The day someone says they're an expert, they need to walk away from the dogs, because someone's going to get hurt. You should be learning something new every day." John Maynard-Circle M Kennels


Last edited by ThaLadyPit; 11-29-2012 at 01:27 PM. Reason: add something
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:39 PM   #13 (permalink)
 

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Working on those videos, thanks. It sounds like everyone is using the standard positive reinforcement training. Good to know. I've worked with her a tiny bit on sit, just using praise, but no treats. I'm a total failure at crate training, Cassie is almost never out of my arms! She's constantly carried, cuddled and kissed, and sleeps in our bed I guess my (probably misguided) attempt at bonding. Despite that, potty training is going fairly well I think, of course not as well I'd wish it to go but I'm sure that's standard.
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:10 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Yeah, sadly carrying her everywhere is going to get tiring for you and her both, and it doesn't really help to create the type of bond you should have with her. You're actually setting the pace for creating separation anxiety for her. Bonding will come better through training and play with her, setting boundaries, and establishing both your and her role in the pack. Also, involve the children (if old enough) in her training, as well as your husband, so that she understands and respects her place in the pack, and the fact that she is to obey everyone, not just you. Potty training and crate training both take time. The easiest way I've found to crate train a dog, is to make it a positive place for the dog to go. Feed her in the crate, put her in there with a good bone or toy to chew on when you can't supervise her, and don't break that habit.
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:29 PM   #15 (permalink)
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We use positive reinforcement. My two thrive off the praise. They love treats too but we seldom use treats.
Cain was carried and cuddled when he was tiny(60 lbs isn't easy to carry haha) but I knew it wouldn't be beneficial in the long run even though I wanted to love him and hold him constantly. He's still a big lap dog and loves to lay with/on me(he's in my lap as I type this) BUT after I stopped carrying him(which I didn't do for long) we bonded, as stated above, through training and play.


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Last edited by Cain's Mom; 11-29-2012 at 06:49 PM.
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