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Punishment Bad!? What Are My Options? My Rambling Answers


The dogs in the background came back to me as "failed" dogs and dangerous to livestock after being subjected to more than a year of correction-based handling. As you can see, they are gaining confidence and doing well.

Recently, on a Facebook page that I am an admin on (Maremma Sheepdog Open Forum) several questions were posed to me by members interested to know what a positive reinforcement response might be to change the behavior of their dogs in these specific situations.


Because of time constraints for me, I know I don’t have time to give these members fully-developed typed answers, so I attempted to address some of them through this video included here.




When I recorded this video, it was a snowy, cold day. I set up my camera in my barn, the only place I could think of where I had enough light and somewhere interesting to point the camera while I talked that was out of the snowfall. I had the questions asked in front of me in the form of notes but had no other preparation for this video. So, it is not my best work, I don’t think, but maybe someone will find it helpful. I hope so.


I am currently making good progress on writing my book about marker training for LGDs, so what I touched on in this video will be well explored in the book.


In summary, these are some of the questions I was asked to address:


How to deal with muddy paws already on the person, the behavior having already happened, and what the owner’s positive reinforcement response could be.


That dogs mirror behavior, and how can that be used in training.


What an appropriate positive reinforcement response could be to dogs fighting.


A positive reinforcement training response for a dog developing resource guarding behavior and why he may be showing this behavior now.


The advice below is that of another member on our page. It does not fall within our page’s guidelines for advocating only non-aversive training methods, so I ended the comments for this post. But I talk about my issues with this correction-based advice in the video.


This is dangerous advice indeed!


“Correct every time and don’t let them eat alone for a while. My male is 8/9 months old and was a bully with all my other dogs and it took a few weeks of being consistent and correcting him. I personally would make a noise Iike ah ah when he started to show he was about to react towards the other dog and I’d make him wait and sit.

Having them wait and sit before eating can be helpful too for a bit. Now he’s good and can be free fed again.”

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