Working to get my dog to get more serious - Page 11

Pedigree Database


by Centurian on 11 June 2018 - 12:06

First .. I have met people that have trained tigers for the Circus . So I have insight as to what they do . When I studied the Gs and canines years ago , What my mentor had me do first .. was to view the wild animal TV shows and documentaries . THAT is how you understand how an animal thinks , feels and behaves. GS , although domesticated are still an animal . Even the cliche jargon we use i dog training , such as prey , defense.. that is analogous to all predatory animals , is it not ? So , Val the point you make is not a that centered .
BTW , baby tiger cubs live with their trainers - there is a bit of a socialization process that occurs and a bonding ..
So .... people that just love to squabble ... you missed the entire point about that tiger and this topic.
One point : much of what Duke has written is true . In the genetic sense , you cannot make a GS serious. The tiger exhibited that genetic base that .. makes it a tiger and a serious one at that. Irregardless of the fact the the movie was theatrical or not.
Second point : In order to communicate to the tiger Pi first develops a relationship with the tiger and attends to the tiger's need . He fed the tiger , he did not bribe the tiger . Which leads into the third point . BTW , this is what tiger trainers do starting when they first take the the cubs at weeks of age. They build a relationship with the cubs attending to their needs and teach them via communication.
He conditioned the tiger using food and communicated to the tiger using food . The food was not a REWARD.
Fourth point ...The tiger , as a man killer was serious and by its nature had sound aggression and was sound in temperament.
Fifth point.... The tiger learned to channel and control it's aggression and it's innate instincts. As they do with tiger trainers. That tiger , as with tigers in circus acts , learn to control themselves. Not much different than a GS that has the genetic aggression . Do we not have to have normal aggression , the quality and quantity of aggression that allow that dog to be able to control it's aggression ? The more serious the animal , the more the need for these !
The relevance to this thread. If you have a GS , you better understand who and what you have as a dog before you think about t he dog in serious work . . [ I believe Juno knows that his dog has the genetic potential ] . Second , the way you teach and communicate to that dog will make o or break the dog , sort to speak [ that is a fancy way of saying make it super or ruin it ]. And utilizing food does not mean that we automatically bribe that dog. As I have written ad naseum , if you do reward training that is what you get , a reward trained dog. As I have also written , if you do not teach that dog to control itself , then you will have to step in and control it , i mean physically that is. Not to mention that if the dog is unsound , good luck . Even a sound tiger with normal aggression can be taught in it's seriousness , to be taught self control .
Val , yes canines opted for better cooperation but you have this a little wrong. They did not cooperate with us . We cooperated with them . Canids influenced mankind much more in evolutionary terms than we have them . But I was not advocating everyone get a tiger . I They are two entirely different animals .But like us , dogs have similarities with us , so do other animals too. And they have similarities with dogs. The discussion was highlighting the similarity . BTW , they have much more in common with us and a tiger than you listed, but that is beside the point . To talk about the difference in cooperation through evolution has no relevancy in the discussion .

BTW, I think many trainers and posters understand quite well what I just discussed . And how do we think Sigfried and Roy [ who had the famous tiger act in Las Vegas ] taught their tigers , which I assune because of their wild nature were serious ,  to control their impulses  .. I assure you that it was not by lack of understanding them [ their aggression , temperament, capabilities etc ] and by sloppy communication / training /teaching !

by joanro on 11 June 2018 - 13:06

Having worked/ performed with animals in circuses myself, for years, I have been around many different Tiger and Lion trainers....including the legendary Gunther Williams. I even have scars on my arms caused by overzealous leopard cubs inflicted during bottle feeding while helping Gunther and his wife with feeding multiple litters of tigers and leopards. The little cats will claw the crap out of your arms even before their eyes are opened, during feeding.
So I do have first hand knowledge of the Big Cats. I have lived day in and day out with these people and watched and even gave a hand during training sessions of tiger acts. I can tell you unequivocally that even the bottle raised cats are trained by coersion and food as bait and reward.

Food is put on the pedistal so that the cats get imediate reward for leaping onto the pedistal...they are bribed/ lead with a big chunk of meat on a long pole to intice them to jump from pedistal to pedistal and every behavior taught them....meat on a pole is used, even during performances and not just rehearsals.

As for 'self restrait'? That would be suicide for a tiger trainer to rely on such a concept for their safety in the cage with even one tiger, let alone eight or more. That,s why even during rehearsals with cats already trained and seasoned, there is at least one safety person outside the ring with a side arm, another with a fire extinguisher, and when available, a fire hose.

Regardless of how many generations bred and bottle raised in captivity, they are still and always will be wild to believe that these wild animals are going to have 'self ' restrait' is naieve. The restrait' is imposed through coersion, not self of cat!

The consequences for a cat coming off his or her pedistal when they have  not been qued to, is severe punishment. They learn during practice/ rehearsal that unforgettable pain results in behavior other than what is permitted.

Some tigers and lions get to the point where the pressure is too much to bear...that they really would like to kick the " trainer's" azz, and will at sometime find an opening to attack, usually when the trainer becomes complacent. Or they take their frustration out on the other cats in the cage(the cage is the actual area where they perform for the public, also the same place for training for most circuses).

I have witnessed huge gang tiger fights where all the cats are involved before the gates can be opened to run them out of the cage to get them separated...that is the most dangerous time for the trainer.
So. Comaring training dogs, which have been bred/ evolved for the sole purpose of service for human survival is moot and obsured.
Look at all the different breeds of dogs, and what their bred -for purpose originally was, and you can see why there are so many different breeds....all of them created through selective breeding by man, not natural evolution but by 'human need' evolution. Dogs truely will work for their human, for the sake of the tight bond they have with us. They are domesticated, We created the breeds for our use, the dogs live for us and we live through them.
A tiger still lives with the same dna it had from the beginning, regardless of bottle feeding....bottle feeding and captive breeding does not make them " domesticated". Raising the wild cats by hand, away from their mother, is to quell the natural fear for humans so that close contact for training can be accomplished.


by Centurian on 11 June 2018 - 14:06

There exists Similarities and Differences Simultaneously . I am not saying a dog is a tiger and vice a verse, that they are the same .  I am not doing a comparative analysis between the two . I am saying a wild animal , to the degree that it is a wild animal can be taught , can be communicated with , can be to a degree controlled or taught impulse control . I am talking  about  concepts  . You point out the  difference : domesticated vs non domesticated. What I am discussing is similarity as it relates to concepts. I talked about normality of temperament and aggression as we teach our dogs and how that plays a role in our capacity to teach them impulse control . Positive , Negative input ... we use both -

          I was alluding to the fact in previous posts that some dogs are so out of sorts ,out of wack temperament wise they cannot be and they do not have the capacity to control their impulses or instincts . I wasn't addressing soley ,  how we get that accomplished  . I was addressing whether a serious dog can or cannot get to that point of being controlled and how we communicate /teach it  and attributes that it should have . The fact still remains that even the most wild animal , a man eater , can still one way or another be able to taught  , to some degree,  be able to control i's impulses . THAT is the point .

        I had written , some of my friends could not even control a dog with 3 e collars . I am not comparing the two in the manner that you are reading .. But what I am saying is that under certain criteria tigers can be controlled and they are WILD .. Then a canine domesticated for thousand of years and having been selectively bred cannot demonsttrate impilse control  .. what do we have to say about that  ? What does that have to say about a canine , who is serious that we cannot control ? .... Many people think that these dogs with incorrect , abnormal aggression , abnormal temperament , serious dogs , are the cat's meow [ no pun intended] . They cannot recognize that dog for what it is . So the point I make is that if tigers and lions can but put under stimulus control , and I don't care how , but more  so the fact , that it can be done and some dogs can't be , then ...  As far as the thread goes , we better dam well be able to recognize what we have for a dog [ tempermant and all aspects/traits  of it and it better dam well be able to control itself , that is to say , be put under stimulus control .

 I also seconded Duke's commetns as far as the genetics and attributes  a seriuos dog should have.  I also point out that there is a constructive way to teach dogs  that many times create beter peformance. 

         The food  use  in training the tiger that you described , to me that is not a Reward. To me the use of the food in what you described is a communication process to tell that tiger what is expected , where to place itself. That is what is conditioned , the expectations and the mental picture to the tiger . To me what you described is a communication process . Go there on  cue and your needs are filled. There is a difference in reward training verses using food as a tool. Reward training is ony about the dog , in dog training a communication process has to do with a sender and a reciever of infromation and an action.  Rewards come after an action , the food was in sight before the action. Seems the same but it is not for there is a suble difference  between the two. 

Also there is no positive without negative.. One must use both in teaching ... So when a dog is taught what is expected , [ and proofed ] do we not many times , if necessary ,revert to some degree of physical discipline ? [ even of it is a tap on the shoulders]. Requests  at some  point require either enfocement or discipline. [ A non domesticated animal ..  is not out of normal to have to firmly assert your authority ] .. 

  I tried to make points regarding concepts in discussing  serious canines and  aspects they should have , using a tiger as an example . I bring out that  there are similar concepts in communicating ,in  teaching ,in temperament,  in seriousness , in self control , in discipline , aggression etc etc , I could just as well used as an example  dolphins.... BTW dolphins can be extremely  extremely aggressive as well as very very serious !!

by joanro on 11 June 2018 - 15:06

Centurian, the big difference is that the cats, no matter the species, will not perform without food reward and bribery. A dog may have food used by the trainer for ** motivation** during training. But once the behavior is learned by the dog, food is not required anymore.
But with any cat, food must be used as reward...hunger is the motivation for executing the behavior in order to get the's always that way when consistency is mandatory, as in a paid for performance.
Also, the food reward takes the focus of the cat off the human...which is a natural prey for tigers.
Even domestic cat acts are performed using food reward/ bribery during the performance. Training teaches the cat where and what he must do to get the food...that is bribery.
The difference as example between dogs and cats as a species, not as individual exceptions.... All the dogs that learned behaviors for acts I trained them for, I never ever needed food to intice, motivate nor bribe/ reward them to perform. They did it as a joint endeavor between us because we are best friends and they enjoy working with me....jumping rope is an example...all the dogs I trained to jump rope WITH me and not by themselves, did it because it was fun and we were doing something together in unison...those were four different breeds over four decades...a mongrel beagle x, a smooth fox terrier, a husky x, and an Irish terrier. No food. No coersion. And they performed the same, consistently, each and every single performance numerous times a day, day after day, week after week, year after year.

And I am talking about the dog as a species, not individual animals, there are always exceptions in individuals.

No cat, not domesticated tabby nor tiger nor Lion would ever perform that complex a behavior without food bribery and reward in so many performances year in and year out as my dogs did. Cats are not programed to work for and with humans. Period.

by Centurian on 11 June 2018 - 21:06

Jo ... You are misinterpreting what I am trying to say . I am establishing a fact that not all use of food in teaching a dog is' bribery' ... I am not giving a dissotation on training a tiger. I said there were similarities and differences** . If you followed the threads , some of which you posted on also , some posters in the past implied that using food with a GS is bribery ,. Not true , it can be but , however it is not always a bribe. This is the point , repeatedly I make .

cats .. I take your point into consideration , it has merit .. Although I have had house cats.. and some of them I did condition to come when called and to jump on their cat house when cued without the use of rewards. That is not a challenge to what you just posted ,, just saying .. of course a wild animal is a wild animal ! So ... you ought to have a talk with people , some in my state , that think they should have wolves !! And I've been in wolf pack before, so I understand what you write and your intention , - no offense taken by me. !!

'To desire to work with a human' , that is a genetic trait . Not all dogs have this trait in the dog in sufficient quantity that one would need to have a good working dog. Many people don't admit this about their dog. And they wonder why they have to pull a dog off a bite , the only way to get it off , in addition to other factored traits. Some dogs have this trait instinctively/genetically as displayed by their willingness to retrieve something for you , or to heard animals with you . Not all dogs and some GS have more of this trait than others . Again , you established my point !!!! : you have to know your dog before you do serious work with it , and you cannot make the dog what it is not. The temperament , the aggression , the behavioral traits , if you think you are going to teach that dog self control or be able to control it - Your posts back up what I am trying to say !! Ditto for a tiger : you better dam well know about it's aggression , it's temperament , it's ability to follow direction , it's ability to be serious .. etc. That is the point I am making about training the GSs ! As you write about the tiger so it goes with any animal .

Since we are on the subject of 'serious dog training' . What you stated about cats , and the ability to know that aspect of your dog, is quite important. The ability to control the dog is directly proportional to the degree the dog wants to follow your direction and to the degree that it is genetically predisposed to follow your direction. Again , much boils down to genetics . Obviously there is a difference here between a GS and a tiger.


by susie on 12 June 2018 - 20:06

These have been your questions - you did not ask about animal behavior as a whole but solely about behavior of an animal in a certain movie:

1. Do you believe this really happened ?
No, it's fiction, a metapher.  

2. Was that tiger sound / unsound , and did the tiger exhibit / have normal or abnormal aggression .

How shall I know? This tiger never met any actors besides it's trainer. The whole movie was computer animated.

3. Was that tiger serious ?

See my answer to point 3.

4. Did Pi bribe that tiger or did he teach the tiger through using food to communicate to it . [ie train it].

The actor "Pi" never met this tiger.

5. Did that tiger learn self control and to control itself ?

This tiger for sure learned about personal advantages/disadvantages during training.

6. Was the outcome based on developing a relationship with the tiger and did Pi reach his goal with the tiger .. to get the tiger to do / or to not do , what he wanted ?

All of this never happened...Lassie - maybe not the best example for behavior studies of wild animals.

Only for the record: I am with Joanro ( even your well domesticated house kitten will only do what you want in case they are in the mood to do so ).

At the end we could become philosophical: which behavior is based on bribes, and at what point is a behavior the result of free will?

Out of my opinion most behaviors ( even in humans ) is based on bribes, be it food, sex, money, social acceptance, or anything else.

But back to dogs - you are able to train almost all of them - during all those years there have been a single few only I would call "totally outside the norm".
Like in humans dogs do show all kinds of characters.
At the end it's about the handler, and about the environment.

Talking about the GSD, there is a breed standard. Dogs not fitting this standard should not be bred, but most of them for sure can be trained and become a perfect 4legged partner for someone who knows how to train and handle them.

by joanro on 12 June 2018 - 21:06

Dogs are genetically programed to work with/ for humans.
As I said above, not even the domestic Tabby will perform behaviors without food bribery. They will always and forever be dependant on that bribery to perform.
Dogs can be easily trained motivated with food, depending on the individual. And then once learned, will perform the trained behavior for the human without ever needing food reward. As I stated before, I've owned many dogs that never needed reward food to motivate...they learned for the sake of learning.

by Juno on 21 June 2018 - 17:06

Here is an update on our training with the new club. Working towards a PSA as a reminder for reference. This is our 2nd session since we joined (bad weather and my travel schedule slowed us down). Since Zeus was doing fine we decided to work on his "aus". I am posting both training videos - not edited at all as they might be good learning sessions for those with my experience (not high) in training as they are riddled with mistakes - all by me. Also, this was done before the certified decoy showed up who was late and pointed out all the mistakes and worked on the "aus" - unfortunately we did not record that. His final session ended with Zeus winning the sleeve after he did the "aus". I have also started working on the "aus" using postive re-inforcements using the methods mentioned in earlier posts and he is getting the hang of it. Finally, he has a prong collar on along with a regular collar. Luckily for me, I have a dog who can handle all my screw ups and does not kill his drive and still willing to work for me - this last comment came from the certified decoy. Now, it will be interesting to see what else you folks find wrong in these videos.

by Centurian on 22 June 2018 - 14:06

Juno ....
I read your posts and viewed the videos. I understand that you acknowledged your mistakes... But also realize I write this comment for everyone following the thread.

In short .. never try to make the dog 'out' in that manner. If you are going to correct the dog for not outing then either the helper grabs the leash , as he did later or you take the leash ,and go behind the helper . the one holding the leash applies force to the dog in such a way that you pull the dog forward into the the sleeve as he is biting.
Having written that : this is an ' old way ' teaching out . Personally I never ever force the dog to relent on a bite ! Never ever . Before you have gone that route .. you should have taught your dog to out. Out in absolute . Also to out the sleeve ,when told to . This ' outing' concept being taught outside*** the realm of a protection session / exercise. Then when the dog does out when told ... then out the dog with the helper in an exercise.

Also you need to learn how to stand , hold the leash , place your feet and your hands properly onto the leash and handle the dog much much better. If you worked with me I would have instructed you differently . For example .... in the first video , your stance with the dog beside you , wishy washy . I would have right there and then told you stand up , don't be so non challant. The dog reads this , feels this . Stand relaxed but erect projecting to the dog by your body that you are the leader , confident , serious and strong . Leaders do not project themselves wishy washy.You have a strong dog.. project to him that you are in charge . How can I liken this : I don't say to someone in a hokey pokey posture ' will you do your homework '. No, I project myself with authority and I say ' do your homework' . So what is the big deal : I say .. what your dog thinks and feels about you is how your dog is going to respond to you . The same way I ask someone to do something and the way I delegate , that is how a person will respond differently to me. I would tell people in my classes how to hold a leash and at times to keep their hands off the leash . I would teach people to communicate to their dog with their body as well as their mouth : mean what you say and say what you mean. If you are not sure of what to do , then at least to the dog act like you know what you are doing . Remember dogs are visual ... so it is important that we are congruent with our body as we are in our emotion and mind.

by Juno on 22 June 2018 - 15:06


Spot on - agree with you. Also, I am working on the "aus" outside of the protection - with the 2 ball technique (either you or someone else) had suggested - let him get one and tease him with the other so he releases the first and so on and so forth. The decoy suggested the same thing - he said say the word "aus" as he releases the first one and immediately give him the second till he figures it out. Am glad to say have been practicing it and he is learning remarkably fast.


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