Main > Female handlers weakening the breed?!? (107 replies)
Female handlers weakening the breed?!?
by hexe on 16 March 2012 - 17:50
|During the course of the conversation in the "A discussion on 'kennel blindness'" thread, Jeff Oehlson made some remarks that most would describe as 'inflammatory' at the very least--it's been my observation that Jeff's pretty good at that, and since truth and inflammatory are often found hand-in-hand, I respect him for that. Rather than take darylehret's thread down a different rabbit-hole altogether, I thought it best to start a new thread so I can jump Jeff's shit about his comments on female handlers in dogsport [which I define as any of the activities that include bitework]...|
First, he said:
I do see it as a business practice, strong dogs are not going to sell, as there are so many more girls doing sport, and nothing, NOTHING, cracks me up more than hearing of some high scoring dog being handled by a girl described as POWERFUL ! STRONG ! INTENSE ! ! ! ! But that is just me, as I have seen these dogs and no. Not any of the things they said they were, just an average dog made stronger by a weak handler. Which takes us back to Kennel blindness.
Then, when Bob McKown challenged that comment, Jeff said:
We have a different idea of what a strong dog is. At some point, no matter the training a strong dog says "make me" then it is over. Strong prey drive is maybe what you are thinking I said ?
I concede the point that one person's idea of a strong dog may not be the same as another's person strong dog--that's a given. But really--strong dogs aren't going to sell because there's so many GIRLS doing sport??? WTH? Jeff, if you really believe that the training and handling of a strong [as in strongly aggressive, as well as physically powerful] animal of ANY species can ONLY be managed successfully by BRUTE HUMAN STRENGTH, you've been out in the training field too long and have missed a lot of advances in our understanding of animal behavior and training methods that don't rely on physical combat between handler and dog.
When that strong dog says, 'make me' during training, are you suggesting that it is then necessary for you to physically manhandle (pun intended) the dog into doing your bidding? Is that the only way there is to convince a strong dog to comply???
Before you suggest that I'm a product of the cookies-and-clicker brigade, I'll tell you that I'm an old-school training girl--Koehler and Strickland wrote the 'manuals' I was raised on--and I'm not ashamed to admit that I've had to "string up" a dog in my day when it came up the leash intending to take me down in response to a correction when it wouldn't comply...because in that situation there's nothing else you can do to protect yourself. [Disclaimer: I never did, and never would, use stringing up a dog as a routine training technique, mind you--it is solely a defensive action used in response to a direct attack upon the handler when no other option to avoid injury exists.]
So, Jeff, would you please elaborate as to why the increase in the number of women in dogsport is resulting in the decline of the strong dog?
by Bob McKown on 16 March 2012 - 18:18
And I quote myself from the original thread:
This has nothing to do with the topic but really needs said. I know there are many very good strong handlers that are women working strong dogs. It doesn,t take a set of balls to be a STRONG handler but it does take brains to be a GOOD handler.
I,ll stand behind this statement.
My opinion is a GOOD handler would never let it get to that point. JMHO.
by ltsgsd on 16 March 2012 - 18:25
I too, would love to hear what Jeff has to say regarding what a strong dog is to him. I have had the pleasure of witnessing a female handler take a "stong dog" that a male handler did not keep since it was a handler aggressive stong minded dog, and it has been transformed onto a beautiful working machine that will eat your ass up if you mess with its handler. In bitework it does not care if you have equipment or not. It lives for the bitework.
by Jenni78 on 16 March 2012 - 18:35
|Sometimes "those" kinds of dogs do better with female handlers BECAUSE most women don't use the brute strength, "let's get the yardstick out..." kind of approach as SOME men do, when they allow egos to seep into training. I certainly wouldn't consider myself a phenomenal handler, but I'm pretty... adequate, I guess, and I've been very surprised at dogs I had zero issues with, ever, being said to be uncontrollable, overly aggressive, flat-out dangerous. I'm thinking "are we talking about the same dog" while person X (man) is saying the dog belongs in a prison and nowhere else. Environment is very important and the approach you take toward the dog is crucial. |
I have to agree with Jeff, however, in that it is most definitely a business matter when it comes to breeding what sells, and that is weak, pretty dogs, often times. I have had several dogs I was thrilled with that were next to impossible to find qualified homes for. If you're trying to break even or make a buck, you aren't breeding dogs like that.
Ok, back to work in my 90% male position;-)
by hexe on 16 March 2012 - 18:37
|I agree with you, Bob. And I appreciate that you stepped up right away and disputed his claim, especially when you had to know he would then reply that you, too, don't actually know what really constitutes a strong dog.|
The ONLY time I've ever had to rely on physical strength (I'm assuming that's what Jeff thinks is lacking in the female handlers--unless he really DOES think that it's a testosterone issue) has been with client dogs who were in the training program precisely because they had never been trained correctly and would come up the lead at anyone who attempted to stop them from doing something, or make them do something they didn't want to do. Generally only took one encounter with the dog for him (or her) to realize that I was not like their owner, and wouldn't tolerate such nonsense. Always took a lot longer to train the OWNERS than it ever took to train the dog...maybe THAT part would have been easier if I'd been a big, strong guy!
A good handler creates a relationship with their dog based on cooperation, respect and understanding, and if the foundation is laid correctly, there never will come a time when the dog says, 'make me' in such a way as to require physical conflict to gain compliance.
by Sunsilver on 16 March 2012 - 18:43
|I believe the hallmark of a REALLY excellent trainer is their abilty to get the dog to obey with the absolute minimum amount of physical force or compulsion.|
My male is nearly 26" and around 83 lbs. When I adopted him, he'd never even been walked on a leash before. He's a good natured dog, and most of the time, he wants to please me. But he does have a stubborn streak, and we hit it in spades when I tried to teach him the down!
The more force I used, the more he seemed to resist. He wasn't happy, and neither was I. So, I spoke to a trainer I respected, a lady who used to train dobes. She said to lure him into a down by holding a treat underneath a chair or other obstacle, which would make him have to down in order to reach it.
Brains triumphed where brute force failed....
Mind you, he still doesn't down as quickly or readily as my females, beacause, of course he's a guy, and guys hate to put themselves in a submissive position....
by vithala on 16 March 2012 - 18:44
|I am simply commenting on the Topic, as I am not at all certain of who said what.|
My comment is simply this- LOL Has anyone ever heard of Martina Mosdorf? This ideaology is not new. Martina admitted in her interviews with me, about Yoschy v.d Doellenwiese, that even Jorg Sauer had tried his hand at managing Yoschy. the dog was strong as hell, and it didn't matter to the dog, if the handler was male or female or even a man like Jorg Sauer, who's reputation as a strong-dog handler is well known. And it should be noted, that whilst most of the GSD lovers in the US and some accross Europe may never have even seen these dogs, alot of people only see the one video of Yoschy at the BSP. People have no idea the level of successful handling Martina executed in the LGA and other trials to get there.
So althought the mentality is not new, I think there are enough instances, to show otherwise.
by zdog on 16 March 2012 - 18:44
|I have no idea how women are affecting the breed. I've seen good and bad in both sexes. I do however know that I have a different definition of a strong dog than most it seems. There's been a number of times i've worked trials or just training and people come along with their comments of how hard or strong a dog is, or how awesome or whatever adjective they can think of and I wonder if they're looking at the same dog that 's on my arm or a different one. Still haven't figured out if my eyes are bad or their's :)|
by Q Man on 16 March 2012 - 19:00
|Actually I think the best Handlers are women...They have more patience and this goes a long ways in bonding and working with a dog...|
There's a difference in Handling a dog...and...Training a dog... ...Women are better handlers...Men many times are better at training a dog if you think of training as doing Protection work...and this is simply because men are stronger then women and can do more of the physical work that's required to do Helper work...
Old School training involves a lot of Compulsion...
Newer School involves more Motivational Techniques...
In the Newer School/Motivational Techniques...It takes a bit longer to train a dog but I feel it creates a better bond between you and your dog...
Some people will then argue that we all end up the same place...Compulsion... ...but I feel that it's how you use it more then what you use...
I feel that most men will...when really pushed...will revert back to using muscle...
Whereas women...on the whole...can't use the same strength to rely on...So they revert or rely on what they can do and that's be patient and learn technique...
So I still fell that women are better handlers then men...
by Q Man on 16 March 2012 - 19:05
|As for Strong Dogs...I think that more women are wanting Stronger Dogs...Not idiot...stupid dogs...But Stronger dogs...|
Your definition of a "Strong Dog" is comparable to everyone's definition of "Ball Drive"...Everyone has a different definition but they know what they're talking about...So I think you have to know each person's definition before you can compare...
by oregontnt2007 on 16 March 2012 - 19:36
|HECKL NO! If we "girls" are going into a "MAN SPORT" PLEASE by all means, dont alter/weaken the breed for us! That just gives you guys a chance to shoot women down!|
Same rules, same dogs for ALL
If a woman can't handle it then they dont belong!
by Sunsilver on 16 March 2012 - 20:05
|Men and women compete on an equal footing in the Olympic equestrian sports. Even the strongest man can't control a horse just with brute strength, so I'm afraid Jeff's argument doesn't hold water AT ALL!|
"One can never, through violence, cause the horse to perfect the manner in which it expresses its skill, but only by delicate alternation between coaxing and demanding, between much praise and little punishment."
Alois Podhajsky, director of the Spanish Riding School, 1939-1965
by desertstorm3115 on 16 March 2012 - 21:03
|Yet in the Military, a man's PT test is not equal to a woman's PT test. I see no need to produce "softer" dogs unless those that produce these dogs are using it as an excuse maybe?|
by BlackthornGSD on 16 March 2012 - 21:07
|This is scarcely a new accusation. I think I've heard similar whining in other sports that are being rejuvenated or kept alive by the influx of women who like to train and compete with their dogs. My first response is, too bad, so sad, get over it. *ahem*|
It doesn't take a "man's strength" to operate an ecollar, which is what many trainers/handlers turn to with a truly hard dog. So, this is more about people preferring a dog who is more flexible and easier to work with.... I'd have to say that that demand is scarcely female driven--I think it is points-driven--and there are as many or more point-seeking male trainers out there as female.
Additionally, a truly hard dog is not best managed by the brutal handler who uses all of his physical strength against a dog. If a dog is truly hard and dealing with a hard/harsh handler, then human and dog just end up in a constant conflict--a battle of wills and strength--and there will be more fighting than learning and seldom will any sort of true teamwork be achieved. Far better for any human--male or female--to use their brains and act with confidence rather than force.
There are a few dogs out there who refuse to respect a female handler--they absolutely won't work for them, no matter how motivational or no matter the force. One of these dogs I witnessed was Dak v Kirchweital -- and it had nothing to do with handler skill or handler strength. Interestingly, although this dog was plenty hard and strong, he wasn't one of the first dogs I think of when I think of the hard, strong dogs I have known.
As far as old-fashioned "harsh" training methods back in the days when dogs were "really hard" .... does anyone really think it's a good idea to return to the days of using a high-speed winch to teach the go out?
by brynjulf on 16 March 2012 - 22:15
|It is my opinion ( notice I said opinion not fact or actuality) that GSD are being weaked because we no longer have the need for a super strong working dog. True working homes are few and far between, breeders are breeding for more of a pet/home guardian market or they bred for themselves. Alot of these purchasers have little or no dog experience and are ill equiped to handle a strong working animal. No choice really as in this day of I sue you you sue me, strong dogs are a liability not an asset. In other countries this may not be the case but in North America we have to be aware of this when producing litters. Has zippo to do with female handlers. We all know how I feel about Handler aggressive animals. They should not be bred period. Handler aggression does not mean a hard dog, it means the dog is a dink. German shepherds were bred to work WITH a handler. To me this is a huge temperment fault. In other breeds it doesnt bother me as much as in the GSD.|
by yellowrose of Texas on 16 March 2012 - 22:17
How about I go dig up Frei v d Guggi and turn him loose in a ring of women...lol
We have some great women in dog handling who do know how to handle the HOT ones.,but I would not want to try soft handling with any of Frei's progheny...
I know of a women handler in Germany who one of Frei's sons ate her face out and an American trainer, male, took him and 15 days later put a Schutz 1 on that male dog. in Germany, .while she lay in a hospital..
That dog came to America to live...and still had to learn ALPHA...took a heavy hand to teach him and to get him civil but oh what a powerhaus with nerves of steel and later ran together with 20 other gsd daily.. I had a grgr grand son of Frei and it never stopped showing in all the progheny .out of Dona sur Steinbeck Burg.
It can be done by women but sometimes the soft touch won't work. Sometimes you have to get that dogs attention...
by workingdogz on 16 March 2012 - 23:41
|This has got to be without a doubt one of the most|
ridiculous things anyone has posted here in ages:
"I do see it as a business practice, strong dogs are not going to sell, as there are so many more girls doing sport, and nothing, NOTHING, cracks me up more than hearing of some high scoring dog being handled by a girl described as POWERFUL ! STRONG ! INTENSE ! ! ! ! But that is just me, as I have seen these dogs and no. Not any of the things they said they were, just an average dog made stronger by a weak handler. Which takes us back to Kennel blindness. "
I don't even know where to begin to start, and quite frankly,
reading this kind of stupidity shows me there will be nothing
but wasted time answering a comment like that.
I can hardly wait to see the superior super-duper-way-better-than-
everyone-elses-dogs this one is producing.
by desertstorm3115 on 16 March 2012 - 23:58
|@ brynjulf, I am going to have to agree with your statement.|
by Gustav on 17 March 2012 - 00:09
|I think as with anything; A lot has to do with the forum examined. I honestly think that the ASL dog has been negatively impacted in terms of "strong dog" in the past 40 years by the women who are dominate in handling, judging, and breeding. But that's just my honest opinion.|
by Slamdunc on 17 March 2012 - 00:24
|I agree with Workingdogz.|
I know of several woman that work, breed, compete and train hard dogs and have accomplished things he never will. World class female trainers that can actually breed, train and handle dogs at the highest level.