Just got back from Week 1 of doggie manners class. Most of the things they talked about we knew, whether we were actually doing it or not, but there were a couple of things I learned.
All of the students in the class introduced themselves and talked about their dogs. We heard a lot of the same issues from other pet parents, so we all shared a few laughs and some “I’ve Been There” nods.
One of the things I learned is that there is no such thing as an “alpha dog.” The original study on which the theory was formed was built on a faulty premise that wolves live in randomly assembled packs. In actuality, the wolves live in nuclear families and, much like humans, the children naturally follow the mother and father. Based on that, dogs should not be training using dominance, but rather using positive reinforcement when they perform the desired behavior.
This class uses the clickers as a means to train. When a dog performs the requested behavior you click and immediately give the dog a treat. Josh and I practiced with Mara a little bit after class and she seems to respond pretty well and has picked up the routine pretty quickly.
I am excited for next week where we actually get to bring Mara.