"Dogs, like humans, are in a constant
state of learning. They are learning even if we don't notice.
There are so many variables and subtleties in this process
that it is difficult to explain." -Cinimon
Confrontational Dominance Program (or "no free lunch")
All animals have rules. Dogs are no different.
People can't speed through stop signs and dogs
can't bolt out the front door and run down the
street. In this program, all the dog must do is
place its rear on the ground and defer to its owner.
Saying ‘please' is a simple but powerful behavior.
This program was specifically designed for both dog and owner.
It contains information from the books Clinical
Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals by Dr. Karen L.
Behaving Badly by Dr. Nicholas Dodman as well as Cinimon
Starting immediately, your dog must earn everything it wants
for the rest of his/her life. He does this by quietly sitting
and staying for a few minutes (saying please). This includes
Food and feeding
Love and attention
Being able to go outside and
come back inside
Having a leash and collar put on
Being ‘invited' onto
the bed or couch (if owner wants)
1) Avoid confrontation
If your dog is aggressive
to you, it is vital for the success of the program that you
avoid confrontation. If the dog is continually put into situations
in which it feels the need to defend itself, aggression becomes
a learned behavior.
Example: If your dog attempts to guard a rawhide chew and
you back away, what does the dog learn? It's learned that aggression
works. If it wants you to back off, all it has to do is growl.
-- If your dog guards these things, simply remove them from
its diet all together.
2) Have specific feeding times
who screams the loudest, it's who holds the resources. If your
dog has food in its bowl all the time, it feels in control.
You must be the one to offer food (the bowl coming from your
hand) when and only when the dog sits.
Example: If you ask for a sit and the dog doesn't comply,
you can give a ‘no-reward mark' and walk away. The dog must
wait for the next schedules feeding time for another chance.
(A no-reward mark is not a command. It is a word that lets
your dog know it's chosen the wrong option and the human is
leaving the area. I use, “Too bad”.)
3) Ignore controlling behavior
Example: If your dog comes up while you are on the couch and climbs
into your lap wanting attention, who is the king and who is
the throne? If this happens, simply stand up to get the dog
off of you and then ask for a sit (dog needs to be on the floor
at this point!). If the dog sits, you can pet it. Now you have
just controlled the situation, not the dog.
Praise needs to be earned
praising a dog makes the praise uneventful. It is not appreciated.
If you control and ration all praise and attention, your
dog views you as more authoritative. -- By spoiling a dog,
you do it no favors.
Example: If your dog knows how to sit on command, only praise
when it gives you an exceptionally fast sit or a perfectly
square sit, etc.
are a privilege that must be earned
The dog has access to only one toy at a time. You control the
use of toys and the time spent playing with them.
Example: If your dog has a toy and is insisting that you play
(and you don't want to) give your no-reward mark and leave
the yard or room and return after a few minutes. Now call the
dog to you and ask for a sit. When the dog sits you can begin
play. The dog is only allowed to play with you when invite
it to play. Give a command for playtime such as, “Let's play!”.
Be sure to have a command that ends play as well. (“That's
all” or “All done!” are good ones.) This gives your dog guidelines
to follow. If your dog persists with play after you have requested
the game to end, again give the no-reward mark and leave the
area and do not interact with the dog for a few minutes.
6) No high places
The dog should not be
allowed to get on the bed or couch unless you ask. High places
are a way dominant dogs gain control. Dogs (like people and
other mammals) feel more authoritative when on a higher level.
not cater to demanding behavior
you dog is barking in your face for attention, give the no-reward
mark and walk away. After a few minutes of silence from the
dog, ask it to come to you and sit. Then you can give attention.
for subtle, pushy and defiant behavior
Expect mistakes on your part and your dog's. No one is perfect.
9) Freedom is to be earned
Example: If your dog refuses to sit for being let out, the
dog will not be able to run loose in the yard. It will have
to go out on leash (with you holding the other end!) to relieve
10) Praise your dog!
Remember, fair is fair
and your dog can have as much love and attention as it earns.
This way of interacting with your dog isn't cruel
nor is it too much for you to ask. This is all about mutual
respect. Never ask your dog to do something you wouldn't do.
You have to work, pay taxes and drive the speed limit and your
dog needs rules as well. If you give a human child everything
for free, you're setting them up for failure. They won't learn
valuable lessons needed for interacting with their world. Nothing
in life is free. Children feel loved and safe when rules and
structure are given to them. Dogs are no different. Each time
you want to spoil your dog, think about their mental well being
first. Instant gratification does not equal a confident and
happy individual. Work and a true purpose in life is what it's
all about. If they feel needed and useful, they feel confident
and content and isn‘t that what we all want out of life?
Bulls and Kids - Training Tips
1) Teach the kids to "train" with the puppy ASAP . Even
a very young child, with minimal english can say "sit" and
give a treat.
2) Practice having the puppy "sit" and wait (even if
it is for only a few seconds) at any door, including
a crate door (and DO crate train), then let the child "invite" the
puppy in or out, with an "O.K." or whatever command you
use. The puppy must "wait" for permission from the child.
3) Do NOT allow the puppy to jump on, scratch, bite
or chase (ankle nip) children. Do not allow the puppy
to "chase" scooters, bikes, skateboards or rollerblades
4) Be extremely cautious about granting couch or bed
privileges with kids ( I wouldn't ), especially with
a dog you do not know VERY, VERY, well. If you choose
to do so, first teach an "up" AND an "off", on any elevated
puppy height surface. After you have taught the behavior,
again, have the kids practice those commands.
5) Teach a "give" or "out" command for anything. Teach
that, and make absolutely certain it is reinforced with
every child. Do not allow kids (and believe me, they'll
try) to feed the puppy from the table, or harass them
for unearned food, without first requiring a simple obedience
(like sit) behavior from the dog.
6) Actively involve the kids, let them know you really
need their help as "training partners" to teach your
puppy to be a good dog. Solicit their ideas, and most
importantly, supervise and control ALL interactions.
Indoors and outside.
7) Do not teach (allow) your puppy to do any thing that
you would NOT want an adult 65 lb dog doing. Begin with
the end in mind. Use positve training methods, and teach
the kids how to safely have fun with a dog. It won't
just happen, and "Lassie" is, IMO, one of the most destructive
fantasies ever marketed by the media.
8) Educate yourself, read, research, and train. Then
share what you have learned with the kids. We can't give
to others what we don't ourselves have. Learn to "read" your
dog's temperament and personality, and safely manage
their environment accordingly. Keep it simple, clear,
and consistent. Never "assume" anything regarding your
dog's behavior in a new or different situation (including
people). Always be alert to possible warning signs, or
possible behavior changes from your dog.
I have 9 kids of my own, and have had many adult Pit
Bull fosters in and out of here, plus my resident Pit
Bulls (3). My house is about as busy and chaotic as they
come. I have never had a kid bitten by a Pit Bull.
Pit Bull Owner and Rescuer
& Mother of 9 Children
Your Dog to Walk on a Loose Lead
Written by the Denver
Dumb Friends League Behavior
Department. Copyright owned by the Denver Dumb Friends
DEFINITION: "Walk by my side on a loose
PRACTICAL USES: More fun and relaxed than
the stricter HEEL, this is a useful word to use when you are
giving your dog permission to sniff, explore, and relieve himself...
as long as he stays with you and doesn't put tension on the
HOW TO TEACH: In this method of teaching
your dog to walk on a loose leash, your dog has a job. He must
keep slack in the leash. AS SOON AS he puts tension on the
leash, turn 180 degrees from the direction he is pulling and
walk briskly in the new direction, using the command "with
me". When he turns to follow you, praise him ("good with me")
and give him a treat. As long as he keeps slack in the leash,
praise him. As soon as he begins to pull, turn and go again.
COMMENTS: Timing is everything with this
command. You must turn and go as soon as your dog begins to
pull. DO NOT allow him to pull you for several steps before
you turn and go. Walking quickly, with lots of jolly talk,
will help focus the dog's attention.
This is not the more formal "heel". The idea is to have the
dog walk happily under control, without pulling, so that you
are both comfortable. HEEL means walking directly beside you,
watching you, and should be used in crowds, when crossing streets,
It may take some time to teach this command, especially
if your dog has been pulling you around on the leash for
some time. Be patient and persistent.
In order to be able to walk your dog while you continue to
work on this command, we recommend a head halter. The head
halter will prevent your dog from pulling on the leash, but
will not teach him to walk on a loose leash when he is not
wearing it. Therefore we recommend you use it in conjunction
with this training method. ALWAYS use a flat buckle
collar when you practice this method . Jerking or
yanking on the head halter may cause injury to your dog.
When your dog is walking on a loose leash, make sure you are not raising your
hand and taking up the slack he has created. The loose leash (along with praise
and treats) is, in itself, a reward for not pulling.
> Related Link
A process to help dogs get over their
fears and anxieties. With proper desensitization the
anxiety producing object loses its power.
This can help if your dog reacts to cars, noises,
people, other dogs or animals, or anything your dog
may be uncomfortable with. I'll refer to the above
as 'Scary Object".
You have to start working this at your dog's comfort
distance. This could be 50ft away, 100ft away, or even
more from the Scary Object. You have to be able to
get his attention on you. If you cannot get his attention,
you are too close from the Scary Object.
You will want to use very high-value food treats (liverwurst,
roast beef, teriyaki chicken). Something very delicious,
something your dog doesn't get all the time. Save these
special treats just for your desensitization training.
As soon as Scary Object is in view start feeding your
dog the delicious treats. Little pieces just keep feeding
and feeding do not stop feeding until Scary Object
is out of view. It's very helpful if you can set up
the viewing and the distance from scary object.
You will want to start with only a few minutes, and
keep the exposure to the Scary Object very brief. Today
you see scary object for 1 minute, tomorrow 2 min.,
etc. You'll build up time of exposure as you go along.
Remember to feed while Scary Object is in view and
stop as soon as Scary Object is not in view.
After your few minutes, turn around and go in another
direction away from Scary Object.
Keep doing the above and always work at your dogs
comfort distance. Always look for opportunities to
use the desensitization process. Keep the viewing a
Next you will start reducing the distance to the Scary
Object. Instead of being 100ft away, try only 90ft
away. Never rush !! You always want to be able to maintain
your dogs attention, if you can't keep his attention
then you are moving to fast. It's harder in the beginning
but if taken slowly, things will move faster towards
the end. It can take months to desensitize but is well
worth it when you reach the end.
Eventually, what you're hoping to happen is for your
dog to see the Scary Object and turn to you automatically.
The Scary Object becomes the dogs cue to look at you "Hey,
I see a dog over there, I look at my owner, I get a
treat!" This is a huge breakthrough.
You can help this process along by:
1) Being relaxed. Any anxiety or nervousness you feel
will run right down the leash to your dog.
2) Be Alert and Aware so that YOU notice the scary
object before your dog does.
3) When scary object is in view SMILE at your dog
and feed delicious treats.
4) Feed only when Scary Object is in view.
5) Turn and walk away in a different direction when
dog is agitated or exercise is over.
6) ALWAYS set your dog up to succeed. This means being
prepared and keeping the distance at the dogs comfort
Eventually you will be able to move in closer and
closer to the scary object and extend the amount of
time spent in the vicinity of the scary object.
Written by Cynthia Castillo