Snow Angel

Snow Angel

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday Talk: Positive Reinforcent Training Vs. Alpha (Dominance) Dog Training

 Hey furiends! The topic of today's Tuesday is Positive Reinforcent Training vs. Alpha (Dominance) Dog training.  Aka:  Victoria Stillwell from "It's Me or the Dog" vs. Cesar Millan from "Dog Whisperer." 

Alpha Training, also known as dominance training, is based on a study of wolves.  The idea of Alpha training is to establish a "pack order" within your household, with yourself (the human) as the pack leader.  Alpha trainers believe the most important part of leading the pack is attitude.  The attitude is usually referred to as 'calm and confident.'  The dog will then be worked into a submissive state, where the mind is capable of doing what the human is asking the dog to do. 

Positive Reinforcement Training is shown in detail on Victoria's show "It's Me or the Dog," featured on Animal Planet.  Positive Reinforcement Training is about rewarding your dog for correct action, rather than punishing your dog for incorrect action.  With this kind of training, you need to find something that motivates your dog.  Whether it's treats, affection, or his/her favorite toy. 

They both sound good, you say?  Many dog enthusiasts would say otherwise. 
Many dog enthusiasts in the United States are upset at the fact that "Dog Whisperer," a television series shown on the Nat. Geo Wild channel, is gaining viewers in exponential magnitude. WHY? Many trainers feel that Cesar Millan's approach to training is detrimental to the progress humans have made in training their canine companions.   The overall technique used by trainers today is positive reinforcement training.  Many animal enthusiasts feel that Cesar's method of Alpha training can lead the dog to be punished and act aggressively toward their human.  Most critics argue that Cesar's show makes the viewer feel the dog can be fixed in a matter of minutes, when in real life, it takes multiple days of work to fix a dog's bad behavior.  Some say that dogs are not wolves.  They say that the domestic dog is an entire animal apart from the wolf, and wolves do things domestic dogs don't, and domestic dogs do things that wolves don't.  Therefore, the study on wolves has been thrown out as a way to manage and train the domestic dog. 

This is an interesting and controversial topic in the dog world today.  Mom liked to watch both shows and idolizes both trainers.  She uses the positive reinforcement method herself, but has met many trainers that are very successful with the Alpha training.  Mom even had to use alpha training on my once because she tried and tried with the positive reinforcement idea with my food aggression, but it just didn't work.  She tried so many different approaches, but none of them resulted in less growling or snarling.  The first time I was flipped on my back was quite startling.  She had to do it a couple of times, but I did stop growling at her.  Now she uses the positive reinforcement to keep me from growling, but I did have to get shook up a little bit to understand that mom meant business. 

What about you furiends?  What are your likes and dislikes about these two training methods?  Do we have any furiends that view both shows, like I do?  Can't wait to hear your thoughts today!