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Thread: Leader of the Pack?

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    Member floridascuba's Avatar
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    Default Leader of the Pack?

    While enhancing my knowledge on dog training, I ran across don'ts. One of them was in regards to leader of the pack. It mentions do not wrestle and excessively pet the dog because it will cause "bad habits" and will be a problem in the blind. Problem is, my girl won't like that too much since she likes playing with the dog. Do i have a big problem letting the woman play with the dog outside of retrieving or is it more of an inconvenience?

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    Senior Member BonMallari's Avatar
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    I would much rather wrestle with a woman and have them scratch behind my ears too...seriously though half the fun of hunting with your dog is talking to him/her because some dogs get so wound up in a blind that when you start calling or stand up to shoot they break because of a lot of pent up energy, among other factors...I will always talk to my dog dog in the blind and reassure him every thing is ok but when I see his ears perk up I know he sees birds that I dont...
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    Senior Member Fowl Play WA's Avatar
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    I don't know about your labs, but mine pretty much make you pet them. They'll stick their head under your hand and move around if you don't pet them. I can't imagine not petting my dog. What is excessively anyways?
    Joni
    I don't wear black because it makes me look slim, I wear black because it hides the dog hair.

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    Member floridascuba's Avatar
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    I wouldn't know. Thats why I am calling on the wise. I was watching UK Labs The Wildrose Way Retiever Training video with Mike Stewart.

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    Senior Member i_willie12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bandj View Post
    I don't know about your labs, but mine pretty much make you pet them. They'll stick their head under your hand and move around if you don't pet them.
    Mine do this as well. Playing with your dogs is one of the reasons we all have dogs!!! They just have to learn when its play time and fun time and they do figure this out.
    "Some people pride themselves on how far they can shoot ducks, others pride themselves on how close they can get them. I'm an other!!! "
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    Member floridascuba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_willie12 View Post
    Mine do this as well. Playing with your dogs is one of the reasons we all have dogs!!! They just have to learn when its play time and fun time and they do figure this out.
    that was the answer I was hoping to hear.

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    www.leerburg.com

    They train GSDs and do Schutzhund and protection dog work. They work predominantly with dominant breeds. They have a few articles on being the pack leader and such. BUT, I personally feel they are extreme for our retrievers.

    Basically it boils down to the dog needs to see you as the leader. Really good, easy ways to do this are to make sure you go up and down stairs first, through doors first, dog sits for food, gets off furniture when told and allowed up only when told.

    When the dog comes to you and forces you to pet it and nudges you, etc. it is displaying a degree of dominance.

    This is all up to you how far you want to go. I've had an aggressive dog in the past and these are my rules for my dogs from now on. My dog now is allowed on the bed and couch when I allow her and must listen when I tell her to get off. We wrestle around and when I say "no more" or "enough" that means we're done. I also play tug with my dogs, another supposed "no, no." But there are rules, the dog must give or drop on command. If the dog can't do that, no tugging. I'm also, constantly, working on going through doors and up/down stairs before her, she likes to try to shove me out of the way. Lately she's been being pushy for attention/petting and if she does that I tell her no and ignore her until she stops, after she's stopped for a few minutes I'll call her to me and give her attention.

    It's all up to you but you will have a carry over of respect, IMO, from the house to the field.

    But I agree, I spoil my dog and she gets tons of attention and play time because it's fun for both of us. I don't want to have a dog that stays outside or is just a "work" dog, it's not good for them and as someone said, not why I got a dog.

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    Member Polarsled's Avatar
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    Hey guys, new posting here on the board, but have been reading it quite a bit. As stated by some of you, most of this is a dominance issue. It is all the little things that add up that can make the dog place himself on the same level as you in the "Pack". When the dog nudges you to pet, that is one, when the dog lays down at your feet and places his over yours, that is another, winning at tug of war, placing his paws on you, there are many more.

    I also don't like to be too strict, and am probably not as dominant as I should be. One way to tell if it is a problem is if the dog does what you say, but only when convenient for him. He may come when you call, except for the time he decides he does not want to, because you are not the pack leader and he does not feel like coming. When you start to see these signs, it is time to re-establish yourself as the pack leader.

    Easy thing to do, if he puts his paws over your feet, move yours and place them over his. If he nudges you to pet him, tell him to sit, say "good dog" or whatever it is you say, and then pet him. He now thinks he is being petted for doing what was asked, not on his terms by nudging you. Make sure you eat before him, go through doors before him, etc. etc.

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    Oh my gosh, the doors thing is my nemesis. I can train labs to climb 6 foot ladders at a steep angle and crawl through a window into a dark apartment, tunnel underneath a ton of rubble and locate a trapped person (and bark to let me know they've found someone) and yes...do long marks over terrain features while being steady and delivering to hand. But come time to let them out the front door, if they have the slightest inklng that we're going outside, they climb the door and cry like I was twisting their legs off, not letting me through to open the dang door.

    I know, I know. I really do work on this. And yes, I can make them sit and wait if I really get after them. But geez...who has 20 minutes to work with the dogs every time they need to go outside? I need to get after them again...tho their obedience is pretty good otherwise.

    So many training opportunities...so little time...

    Vickie

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    Senior Member rmilner's Avatar
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    Over the past 10 years I have gone from traditional compulsion training to a large amount of operant conditioning with reward training. I have found that the more reward based my training is the less that dominance is an issue.

    Best Regards,
    Robert Milner
    www.duckhillkennels.com

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