Whatever Happened To…?

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Whatever Happened To…

 

 

 

 

“Obedience trials are a sport, and all participants should be guided by the principles of good sportsmanship both in and out of the ring.”

“Obedience trials demonstrate the dog’s ability to follow specified routines in the obedience ring and emphasize the usefulness of the dog as a companion to man.”

“The basic objective of obedience trials, however, is to recognize dogs that have been trained to behave in the home, in public places and in the presence of other dogs in a manner that will reflect credit on the sport of obedience at all times and under all conditions.”

 

All three of the above statements are taken from the Obedience Regulations Purpose page of the AKC Obedience Regulations.  After two long days at my obedience club’s obedience and rally trials that were held in conjunction with an all breed show I have to wonder what happened to those purposes.  I love my dog people friends.  They are the most generous people and we help out our own.  Sometimes I think we also need to smack the shit out of our own.

Obedience trials don’t take place in a bubble.  They are put on by those of us that pay back our sport by donating our time and effort so that all of us can play at this game. A game, not rocket science or brain surgery.  When something goes wrong you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again another time.   Win or lose you get to go home with your dog.  So when things don’t go your way don’t take it out on the volunteers. Do you go over to the other rings and scream at people when they are moving jumps or throwing a dumbbell? I seriously doubt it.  So don’t have a freaking hissy fit when someone is sweeping mats or prepping ring equipment to be put on the truck.  Yeah, your dog might be distracted and not qualify and that sucks.  Proof for distractions in the other rings. My current dog is dumbbell crazy.  Guess what I’ve done?  I’ve trained him to not lose his mind when dumbbells are flying around him. Yes it took time and effort but it was worth it. I’m not going to blame another handler if their dumbbell is thrown while my dog is in the next ring.

The flip side of this is to be considerate.  Don’t walk into a trial site and start loudly dropping gear.  Don’t park your mastiff near the ring gate.  Instead leave enough room for the next competitor to enter without having to squeeze by you and your dog. Pay attention to where your dog is when you have him out of his crate.  Many dogs don’t appreciate your dog’s nose up their butts or in their faces.  Would you?

Train, don’t complain but also practice common courtesy.

 

Forks over Knives

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I recently heard from an Internet friend that she lost 12 pounds by following the recipes in the Forks over Knives cookbook.  I started looking at the recipes thinking maybe they would work for me.  Who was I kidding?  I could never give up real cheese.

I did make the mistake in reading reviews and critiques of the Forks over Knives program.  One of my pet peeves is when science is only partially presented in order to try and sway people to a particular side.  Forks over Knives, Creationism and “Positive reinforcement” training I’m talkin’ to you.

As we all know there are lies, damned lies and statistics.  Use the statistics to try and sway people and leave the science alone.

Once again I’ve managed to frustrate myself by

Once again I’ve managed to frustrate myself by reading and commenting on a trainer’s blog that leans heavily to one side of the training spectrum.  It is amazing to me the worry about “fallout” when positive punishment is used incorrectly though many people on the R+/P- would never admit that P+ can be used correctly.  Why don’t these same trainers worry about the incorrect use of P-? 

I’ve seen dogs that were trained by people trying to use only two of the four quadrants of operant conditioning.  And I must run into some really suck ass practitioners of the limited quadrants because I see a lot of fallout from poorly applied R+ and P-.  Dogs that ignore their owners while they run off willy-nilly, lag horribly on heeling because they don’t understand their position if a cookie isn’t  right there, taking the sound of the clicker to mean to jump on another dog, biting because no one ever told them, “No.” And I’ve seen the same results from people that misuse P+ so don’t get your panties in a knot because I’m not discussing them.

 I freely admit that I tried to use just those two quadrants and ruined a dog.  Now, this particular dog had what schutzhund people refer to as weak nerves and needed very set rules which wasn’t what I did in my romancing of the cookie.  She taught me more than probably any other dog ever will.  And I’ve made other mistakes with other dogs but she is the only one that my mistakes cost her her life.

There are certain quarters in the dog training game where letters after a trainer’s name is held in thrall.  I’m not one to totally dismiss advanced degrees but my years at the university taught me that just because a person has a master’s degree or a doctorate doesn’t mean that they are the be all and end all in their field.  And that goes double for a soft science field.  I would rather see the letters after their students’ dogs’ names as well as their own dogs’ names.

When I am queen of the universe what will matter is that dogs are trained and stay in their homes and live full lives.  Until then I will frustrate myself on occasion by reading the tripe that is spewed by the unbalanced. 

Something that I wrote a few months ago when I had had it.

As the bad novels say, I tried, God knows I tried.  I tried to understand the dog trainers that label themselves as positive reinforcement, force free, cross over trainers and so on.  I’ve read their blogs, tried to participate on the occasional Facebook page, been kicked off email lists though I’ve posted nothing but an intro without mentioning my training style, attempted to read their books and now I must tell the truth.  These people are nuts. 

I have had it with the lack of reading comprehension, intellectual dishonesty and taking quotes out of context.  This is my catharsis.

I reached my frustration overflow point when these “keyboard trainers” pulled quotes out of the Koehler Method of Dog Training, specifically from the Problems chapter.  Particularly without mentioning that the chapter starts with reminding the reader to spend the time to do the obedience program first.  To pull random quotes without mentioning the proceeding 2-3 pages that go into detail on why one needs to be sure the dog is not nutritionally deprived before attempting a particular fix. To neglect mentioning that the drastic measures are for dogs that must mend their ways or die.  Now, one of the big name authors that these people worship has said that she prefers to kill a dog rather than use what she considers harsh methods.  If anyone doubts this, I have saved the email in which she said this.

It is bad enough when these women, and they are almost exclusively women, get together behind their keyboards and pass judgment on competitive obedience performances.  A beautiful run by Denise Fenzi and one of her Tervs was picked apart for the dog not looking natural, for the heads up heeling style, for being “shut down” and I have honestly forgotten what else. Never mind that this was 199.5 run.  But, wait, there’s more! The collective tune changed as soon as they found out that Denise Fenzi trains for AKC obedience using positive reinforcement almost exclusively.  (She may use no corrections at all for it, but I don’t know for certain.  I do know that she is an awesome trainer and that people I respect take lessons from her and that she accepts that others will use tools that she won’t use.) (More power to her.)

I threw up in my mouth a little when every and any picture of a dog wearing a collar that isn’t an “approved pozzie nazi training device” was dissected and found wanting.  The dog is licking his lips, oh my!  Yawning, I see yawning!  Calming signals, the dogs are throwing out calming signals! And a group of dogs on down stays are the ultimate in shut down.  They aren’t dogs doing down stays, they are exhibiting learned helplessness, oh my!

Now that that little bit of sarcasm is out of my system, I seriously question if these people have ever seen a true example of learned helplessness. I would suggest that they read the real scientific literature but these self righteous boobs wouldn’t recognize real science if it jumped up and bit them on their collective asses.  Science based, whatever the frack that means, is not science.  Real science doesn’t throw out half of the equation because it might be unpleasant.  Real scientists admit when they goofed and revise their theories.  They don’t let a shrill minority dictate their work and writing.  (I love you Neil deGrasse Tyson.)

Black or White

I’m working on some posts that are my response to those that think dog training and trainers are either black or white.  Hopefully I’ll have them up tomorrow.