Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

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Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby rhill14 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:10 pm

Need some advice and wisdom. Have a 7 month old black lab (male). My plan is for him to be a hunting buddy and pet. Not currently planning on doing field/hunt trials but not out of question. Am very busy at work and I know that is a conflict but am trying to make the best of it. I got him from a great local breeder/trainer with good bloodlines. Not necessarily all titled in his lineage but does have some and both parents are trained and great retrievers. He is a great dog has great natural retrieving instincts and is as sweet of a dog as i have ever seen. Loves retrieving the bumper and brings it back drops it and sits right by my side without me really teaching him that. Have been trying to work mainly on basic obedience. He has a lot of energy and has trouble with stay but we are working on it. He's classic lab and getting into and chewing everything and when i tell him no sternly or have to get on him hard he just cowers and is as soft as I have seen. He's my second lab (had one growing up, she's passed away but was just a pet) and currently also have a boxer. my current lab (bubba) is my first dog that I plan on training as a retriever. Ive gotten Sound beginnings and am starting that. I know I am behind on time but the plan was for the breeder who is also a great trainer to do most of his training but he had some health issues come up and that has been put on hold/delayed. He was with the trainer for about 2-3 weeks and he ran into the same problems as I have with him being very soft and sensitive and said lets hold off and let him mature a little more and try again to as not break him or anything. Im really struggling with what and how to help him because he has to listen and have discipline but I feel like when I get onto him sometimes i am just making it worse. Any of y'all with dogs like him or have trained dogs like him have any advice or wisdom? He will honestly be a phenomenal duck dog I think because of drive and natural instincts but reeling him in and focusing him and training him with his soft/sensitive nature is giving me all kinds of trouble. Any help on directions to move forward or advice would be greatly appreciated as I am admittedly very green. Thanks
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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby hailyeah56 » Fri Jan 10, 2020 6:30 am

I also have a very sensitive male. I used positive reinforcement with him and he has turned into a real nice dog. He will be 2 next month. He is very hot when it comes to retrieving. I used little to no praise for the retrieving and lots of quite praise for being calm and steady. (But each dog is different, of course.) I never worry about his desire, so there is little need to try and increase that. But I know he would be out of control if I used happy bumpers and got him all wound up for retrieving. I pick up most of the hand thrown bumpers for this one and let him "honor" me while I do it.

You can work a sensitive dog just a few times a week and get good results. Robert Milner's Absolutely Positive Gundog Training will work for a sensitive dog and is easy to follow for a new trainer. Watching Bill Hillman videos are good too, as are many others these days.
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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby HNTFSH » Fri Jan 10, 2020 6:41 am

Personally, I think there's some flags in what you describe. Normally, severely soft and sensitive dogs don't come out of a true working dog breeding or can be that way if the pup was totally mishandled at some point after birth in the formidable months.

So there's more questions than answers at this point IMO. Glad you're trying to do the right thing for the pup.

A little more on this trainer/breeder would be helpful. Just hearing "great" a lot doesn't mean much to most here that can help.

Do you have a pedigree for the pup you can post? At what age did you get the pup? At what age was the trainer "helping" train the pup? How well obedience trained is your Boxer? How'd the Boxer adapt to a new pup? Have you crate trained the lab? What does "getting on him" mean?

It's like most things: prescription before diagnosis is malpractice.
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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby rhill14 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:21 pm

HNTFSH wrote:Personally, I think there's some flags in what you describe. Normally, severely soft and sensitive dogs don't come out of a true working dog breeding or can be that way if the pup was totally mishandled at some point after birth in the formidable months.

So there's more questions than answers at this point IMO. Glad you're trying to do the right thing for the pup.

A little more on this trainer/breeder would be helpful. Just hearing "great" a lot doesn't mean much to most here that can help.

Do you have a pedigree for the pup you can post? At what age did you get the pup? At what age was the trainer "helping" train the pup? How well obedience trained is your Boxer? How'd the Boxer adapt to a new pup? Have you crate trained the lab? What does "getting on him" mean?

It's like most things: prescription before diagnosis is malpractice.



The breeder and trainer has over 30 years experience breeding and training labs for everything from hunting to service dogs. Has had dogs at every major natural disaster since before 9/11 to medical alert dogs. Started off training for hunting dogs before service dogs and still does both. Also trains every breed of dog for general obedience etc. We got the puppy at 7 weeks, he had normal stimulation and interaction before. Never been mishandled or anything. Always just been a little softer, almost just sensitive. The trainer was going to start with the dog about 4 months, got delayed to about 5.5 - 6 months and thats when we decided to hold off and let him mature a little more. Boxer is just general obedience trained and is pretty good. He and the new pup love each other too much want to play and wrestle all the time. I know this is a no no and we work nightly on being together and being calm. Doesn't help me and wife both work but i come home everyday for lunch and let them each out individually. The lab pup has actually come along the last weeks so im hopeful we are on the right track. Kinda changed our approach with him to more calm and gentle and he seems to be responding well. By getting on him i mean talking sternly, little pop on the butt not hit just so he knows it happened. He would almost cower and crawl over to you to "apologize". Both dogs are crate trained and are in their crates unless in the backyard or in the house under our supervision. Will get a pedigree, its in my paperwork somewhere just have to find it
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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby rhill14 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:24 pm

hailyeah56 wrote:I also have a very sensitive male. I used positive reinforcement with him and he has turned into a real nice dog. He will be 2 next month. He is very hot when it comes to retrieving. I used little to no praise for the retrieving and lots of quite praise for being calm and steady. (But each dog is different, of course.) I never worry about his desire, so there is little need to try and increase that. But I know he would be out of control if I used happy bumpers and got him all wound up for retrieving. I pick up most of the hand thrown bumpers for this one and let him "honor" me while I do it.

You can work a sensitive dog just a few times a week and get good results. Robert Milner's Absolutely Positive Gundog Training will work for a sensitive dog and is easy to follow for a new trainer. Watching Bill Hillman videos are good too, as are many others these days.



Have been trying to go with only positive reinforcement being extra gentle and calm and he seems to be responding well, thanks for the advice. I also purchased Milners book and plan on diving in this weekend. If you or anyone has the Hillman Training a retriever Puppy DVD set and would like to sell it let me know. Thanks again for the advice, definitely seem to be on a better track
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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby kbooger » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:27 am

I'll echo what's already been said. Positive reinforcement, specifically treats and a clicker worked better for my dog.

IMO the pedigree doesn't matter, you likely aren't giving the dog back and even if you find the sensitive dog in the pedigree what help is that for training? You already described the behaviors, they aren't uncommon, you have a soft dog (as do I).

You can still punish (voice, pinch or e-collar, bops), just know that with soft dogs if they shut down, nothing will be learned. So stop training. What IMO defines a soft dog is how long it takes for them to recover after a correction. They tend to take a long time and hold onto it longer (than average). Don't be hesitant to back up your training to a known command (like moving closer to the dog for stay).
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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby crackerd » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:53 am

kbooger wrote:I'll echo what's already been said. Positive reinforcement, specifically treats and a clicker worked better for my dog.

IMO the pedigree doesn't matter, you likely aren't giving the dog back and even if you find the sensitive dog in the pedigree what help is that for training? You already described the behaviors, they aren't uncommon, you have a soft dog (as do I).

You can still punish (voice, pinch or e-collar, bops), just know that with soft dogs if they shut down, nothing will be learned. So stop training. What IMO defines a soft dog is how long it takes for them to recover after a correction. They tend to take a long time and hold onto it longer (than average). Don't be hesitant to back up your training to a known command (like moving closer to the dog for stay).


Somewhat au contraire - the soft and sensitive (and/or British Lab) is the perfect candidate to be trained with the e-collar, just not as punishment but via the Carr-Lardy method that links e-collar use to obedience and the basic commands of sit, heel, here. Also takes you, the handler/owner/feeder, largely out of the equation.

Let's go to the videotape for how you (OP) described your dog's behaviour:

when i tell him no sternly or have to get on him hard he just cowers and is as soft as I have seen.


With the collar, you're not getting on him or tell him no sternly, the e-collar is speaking for you (but only if correctly used, as opposed to directly applied without an obedience foundation for its use). Whether you ever run a hunt test or walk your dog in a 5K Paws Parade, you (OP) would be advised to follow a collar-based training program in bringing out the best in your dog instead of its shy, soft, sensitive side.

Good luck,

MG
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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby HNTFSH » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:54 am

X2 MG

The reason on pedigree is to potentially learn about a dog you've never seen, trained, or seen behavior from.

Prescription before diagnosis is malpractice.

Some pretty smart dogs can act better than Tom Hanks.
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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby kbooger » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:59 pm

crackerd wrote:
kbooger wrote:I'll echo what's already been said. Positive reinforcement, specifically treats and a clicker worked better for my dog.

IMO the pedigree doesn't matter, you likely aren't giving the dog back and even if you find the sensitive dog in the pedigree what help is that for training? You already described the behaviors, they aren't uncommon, you have a soft dog (as do I).

You can still punish (voice, pinch or e-collar, bops), just know that with soft dogs if they shut down, nothing will be learned. So stop training. What IMO defines a soft dog is how long it takes for them to recover after a correction. They tend to take a long time and hold onto it longer (than average). Don't be hesitant to back up your training to a known command (like moving closer to the dog for stay).


Somewhat au contraire - the soft and sensitive (and/or British Lab) is the perfect candidate to be trained with the e-collar, just not as punishment but via the Carr-Lardy method that links e-collar use to obedience and the basic commands of sit, heel, here. Also takes you, the handler/owner/feeder, largely out of the equation.

Let's go to the videotape for how you (OP) described your dog's behaviour:

when i tell him no sternly or have to get on him hard he just cowers and is as soft as I have seen.


With the collar, you're not getting on him or tell him no sternly, the e-collar is speaking for you (but only if correctly used, as opposed to directly applied without an obedience foundation for its use). Whether you ever run a hunt test or walk your dog in a 5K Paws Parade, you (OP) would be advised to follow a collar-based training program in bringing out the best in your dog instead of its shy, soft, sensitive side.

Good luck,

MG


Stimulation on the ecollar IS punishment. Not sure how it could be seen any other way, do you reward your dog with stim on the collar? Of course not. "Good boy"nick"Good boy"?

The person pushing the buttons is a giant part of the equation. There is no taking the handler out of the equation.

Plenty of dogs hate the electricity also, probably moreso with soft dogs. The OP obviously is not in a position to start using an ecollar, which I think you were getting at.
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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby crackerd » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:58 pm

Ever followed a program, or trained a retriever or gundog nonslip? I'm hazarding a guess for Not. And I'm not talking about pointing dogs and zap! methodology - direct pressure if you want to sugarcoat it - I mean step-by sequential training, with the collar used as foundational to training, and which refutes everything you've put forward in your previous post.

"Dogs hat(ing) electricity, probably moreso with soft dogs" is a non sequitur - and while some people refer to e-collar training with indirect pressure as "positive punishment," it's more accurate to say that the dog, in responding to a command followed by the nick, then repeating of the command, extrapolates (and I didn't say "ex-ZAP!-olates"): I did it right - and that second command laid on is my reward for doing it right."

kbooger wrote:Stimulation on the ecollar IS punishment. Not sure how it could be seen any other way, do you reward your dog with stim on the collar? Of course not. "Good boy"nick"Good boy"?

The person pushing the buttons is a giant part of the equation. There is no taking the handler out of the equation.

Plenty of dogs hate the electricity also, probably moreso with soft dogs. The OP obviously is not in a position to start using an ecollar, which I think you were getting at.


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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby crackerd » Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:50 am

rhill14, are you getting the answers you're looking for from having made this same posting @rtf? Before other posters here chime in with "all pro trainers are not created equal" and/or "great breeders do not necessarily make great trainers," I would ask at what age was your pup when your trainer-breeder called a halt/delay to the proceedings in training him (your Lab)? Many pro trainers love nothing better than getting a soft, sensitive dog to work with, as has been pointed out to you on rtf, precisely because they are great e-collar candidates that - I repeat myself here - prosper when the collar enables them to take human emotion out of the training equation (minus the cowering, etc.). Whereabouts are you located, by the way - may be someone on here who will take you and your pup into a training group and bring both of you along toward a blessed partnership afield.

rhill14 wrote:Need some advice and wisdom. Have a 7 month old black lab (male). My plan is for him to be a hunting buddy and pet. Not currently planning on doing field/hunt trials but not out of question. Am very busy at work and I know that is a conflict but am trying to make the best of it. I got him from a great local breeder/trainer with good bloodlines. Not necessarily all titled in his lineage but does have some and both parents are trained and great retrievers. He is a great dog has great natural retrieving instincts and is as sweet of a dog as i have ever seen. Loves retrieving the bumper and brings it back drops it and sits right by my side without me really teaching him that. Have been trying to work mainly on basic obedience. He has a lot of energy and has trouble with stay but we are working on it. He's classic lab and getting into and chewing everything and when i tell him no sternly or have to get on him hard he just cowers and is as soft as I have seen. He's my second lab (had one growing up, she's passed away but was just a pet) and currently also have a boxer. my current lab (bubba) is my first dog that I plan on training as a retriever. Ive gotten Sound beginnings and am starting that. I know I am behind on time but the plan was for the breeder who is also a great trainer to do most of his training but he had some health issues come up and that has been put on hold/delayed. He was with the trainer for about 2-3 weeks and he ran into the same problems as I have with him being very soft and sensitive and said lets hold off and let him mature a little more and try again to as not break him or anything. Im really struggling with what and how to help him because he has to listen and have discipline but I feel like when I get onto him sometimes i am just making it worse. Any of y'all with dogs like him or have trained dogs like him have any advice or wisdom? He will honestly be a phenomenal duck dog I think because of drive and natural instincts but reeling him in and focusing him and training him with his soft/sensitive nature is giving me all kinds of trouble. Any help on directions to move forward or advice would be greatly appreciated as I am admittedly very green. Thanks


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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby kbooger » Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:53 pm

crackerd wrote:Ever followed a program, or trained a retriever or gundog nonslip? I'm hazarding a guess for Not. And I'm not talking about pointing dogs and zap! methodology - direct pressure if you want to sugarcoat it - I mean step-by sequential training, with the collar used as foundational to training, and which refutes everything you've put forward in your previous post.

"Dogs hat(ing) electricity, probably moreso with soft dogs" is a non sequitur - and while some people refer to e-collar training with indirect pressure as "positive punishment," it's more accurate to say that the dog, in responding to a command followed by the nick, then repeating of the command, extrapolates (and I didn't say "ex-ZAP!-olates"): I did it right - and that second command laid on is my reward for doing it right."

kbooger wrote:Stimulation on the ecollar IS punishment. Not sure how it could be seen any other way, do you reward your dog with stim on the collar? Of course not. "Good boy"nick"Good boy"?

The person pushing the buttons is a giant part of the equation. There is no taking the handler out of the equation.

Plenty of dogs hate the electricity also, probably moreso with soft dogs. The OP obviously is not in a position to start using an ecollar, which I think you were getting at.


MG


How is using an e-collar not punishment?
And what program makes it impossible to make mistakes when pushing the buttons?

I'm not a pro trainer, I don't care if you are or not or whether a program is followed, it doesn't change the points I made.
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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby crackerd » Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:48 am

kbooger wrote:How is using an e-collar not punishment?
And what program makes it impossible to make mistakes when pushing the buttons?

I'm not a pro trainer, I don't care if you are or not or whether a program is followed, it doesn't change the points I made.


Yes, they are at least as valid as those made by Father Milner on rtf that "If the dog is too soft for correction, then don't train with correction." (Unstated addendum: "Actually, why train at all? - the puppies I'm peddling are whelped pre-trained" but that's another story.)

As for "And what program makes it impossible to make mistakes when pushing the buttons," you're still throwing a non sequitur around that portends you are new to training a non-slip retriever - with or without corrections...

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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby kbooger » Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:16 am

crackerd wrote:
kbooger wrote:How is using an e-collar not punishment?
And what program makes it impossible to make mistakes when pushing the buttons?

I'm not a pro trainer, I don't care if you are or not or whether a program is followed, it doesn't change the points I made.


Yes, they are at least as valid as those made by Father Milner on rtf that "If the dog is too soft for correction, then don't train with correction." (Unstated addendum: "Actually, why train at all? - the puppies I'm peddling are whelped pre-trained" but that's another story.)

As for "And what program makes it impossible to make mistakes when pushing the buttons," you're still throwing a non sequitur around that portends you are new to training a non-slip retriever - with or without corrections...

MG


I don't understand the point you're trying to make here. I'm not here to argue perceived logical fallacies. I believe the info you gave to the OP is confusing and flat out wrong. I was hoping you'd provide detail that clarified your points, but that hope is now gone.
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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby HNTFSH » Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:59 pm

What program makes it impossible to make a mistake without any buttons? :huh:
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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby crackerd » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:24 pm

HNTFSH wrote:What program makes it impossible to make a mistake without any buttons? :huh:


Why, the Star Trek 21st century holodeck program, Capt. Picard! "Make it so."

If somebody would check their non sequiturs at the door, particularly those about electro-centric canine sensitivity and push-button punishment - why, hope could be "born again." All it takes is a little understanding of the basic commands - sit, heel, here - which the dog has learned through treating, clicker, tantric yoga, whatever, before it's collar-conditioned to the same known commands, and voila!, somebody could give up spreading falsehoods about punishment for Lent! Disclaimer: I am not a paid professional, or professional anything in making this public service announcement, just pro toward and a proponent of a proven program for training retrievers and retrieving gundogs.

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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby HNTFSH » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:29 pm

crackerd wrote:
HNTFSH wrote:What program makes it impossible to make a mistake without any buttons? :huh:


Why, the Star Trek 21st century holodeck program, Capt. Picard! "Make it so."

If somebody would check their non sequiturs at the door, particularly those about electro-centric canine sensitivity and push-button punishment - why, hope could be "born again." All it takes is a little understanding of the basic commands - sit, heel, here - which the dog has learned through treating, clicker, tantric yoga, whatever, before it's collar-conditioned to the same known commands, and voila!, somebody could give up spreading falsehoods about punishment for Lent! Disclaimer: I am not a paid professional, or professional anything in making this public service announcement, just pro toward and a proponent of a proven program for training retrievers and retrieving gundogs.

MG


:lol3: Amen. Someone not understanding it is not the fault of those that do.

I did read Robert's post on RTF. God love him, he gave the bums answer.
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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby kbooger » Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:54 am

crackerd wrote:
HNTFSH wrote:What program makes it impossible to make a mistake without any buttons? :huh:


Why, the Star Trek 21st century holodeck program, Capt. Picard! "Make it so."

If somebody would check their non sequiturs at the door, particularly those about electro-centric canine sensitivity and push-button punishment - why, hope could be "born again." All it takes is a little understanding of the basic commands - sit, heel, here - which the dog has learned through treating, clicker, tantric yoga, whatever, before it's collar-conditioned to the same known commands, and voila!, somebody could give up spreading falsehoods about punishment for Lent! Disclaimer: I am not a paid professional, or professional anything in making this public service announcement, just pro toward and a proponent of a proven program for training retrievers and retrieving gundogs.

MG


https://www.gundogsupply.com/ecollars-a ... ollar.html

I'd say they all are, to an extent anyway. That really is the fascinating aspect of learning about remote collars. It is also what can make it a daunting process to the new person trying to train their dog with one. The reality is: how the dog will perceive the sensation of stimulation is entirely dependent on the operator and how he chooses to use the tool.
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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby crackerd » Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:20 am

Yeah, definitely - go by the word of somebody such as yourself who has never trained a retriever or retrieving gundog with the e-collar to tell you how to use it and what the dog's "electrifying thoughts" are about in experiencing it.

As Spock would say, "Logical...live long and prosper, er, no, sorry,I meant, 'Logical...live wires and punish.'"

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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby kbooger » Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:46 am

crackerd wrote:Yeah, definitely - go by the word of somebody such as yourself who has never trained a retriever or retrieving gundog with the e-collar to tell you how to use it and what the dog's "electrifying thoughts" are about in experiencing it.

As Spock would say, "Logical...live long and prosper, er, no, sorry,I meant, 'Logical...live wires and punish.'"

MG

I won't be seeing your posts in the future :hi:
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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby HNTFSH » Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:56 am

kbooger wrote:The reality is: how the dog will perceive the sensation of stimulation is entirely dependent on the operator and how he chooses to use the tool.


Was there a point you were trying to make? :huh:

That sentence is true of any training tool including your voice.
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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby wraithen » Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:58 pm

You have to train by attrition with a truly soft dog. My experience with mastiffs taught me some of this. Great danes can be similar. A harsh correction can shut a dog down. You instead have to remove the opportunity to mess up, and praise when things are done correctly. A truly soft dog will train just as easily with this as a hard dog will train with correction. Soft dogs want to be praised. It's pretty much the same only opposite, with success easily compounded on, and failure requiring a different track.

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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby hailyeah56 » Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:35 am

You have to train by attrition with a truly soft dog. My experience with mastiffs taught me some of this. Great danes can be similar. A harsh correction can shut a dog down. You instead have to remove the opportunity to mess up, and praise when things are done correctly. A truly soft dog will train just as easily with this as a hard dog will train with correction. Soft dogs want to be praised. It's pretty much the same only opposite, with success easily compounded on, and failure requiring a different track.


Totally agree. We have had similar expereinces with Dobermans. I like the adage of "ignore the bad and reward the good." They catch on to that quickly.
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Re: Need help and advice with soft/sensitive dog

Postby HNTFSH » Tue Feb 04, 2020 12:17 pm

I agree that attrition training is valuable and possibly often over looked even with strong dogs and new trainers. That said "ignoring the bad" seems very situational and would have to be put in context. Every dog, hard or soft, will gravitate toward behaviors that suit THEIR OWN best interests. In addition, young dogs need to be brought on the understand they have a JOB. Not too early in their training evolution but seeded as they mature and grow as working dogs.

That's the difference between a working dog and a pet. And why most pets aren't trained at all. If you let them choose their own job, they will always default to be annoying ones that don't fit the owners best interests. :lol3:
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