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Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 3:30 pm
Ok in order to understand whats going on I need to establish my experience with the breed. I have had chows since I was around 6. I am now 33. Grizzly will be 7 next year. He is highly socialized around both children and adults. He is a very good boy, in all aspects of life and I next to never have any issues with him, in fact he's quite the opposite. He never shows aggression in normal situations except, he does food guard.So now to the question. The only problem areas I have with him is teaching him barriers in regards to staying in his own yard. He's allowed out back all the time, but that's a fenced in yard. I want him to be able to roam and play in the front yard, but he will immediately go into the street or others yards when a person or other dog are in the area. At that point he does not respond to verbal queues of me telling him to immediately come home. This is where I fail. I immediately become worried and extremely concerned, that he will get hit by a car or will run off and to his lack of obedience and I go into my routine of expressing my dominance to remind him who is the alpha and that he needs to listen. Today this happened and I did something that I know is one of the worst things you can do with a already potentially aggressive breed and that is to get physical. I don't mean I beat him or hurt him. But I attempt to grab him by his mane and turn him over to a position of submission and today when I did this, he bit me and left several nasty punctures in the back and palm of my hand. I know out of adrenaline I probably did this with some force to which he responded in kind to defend himself (like I said I do understand the breed and where I screwed up, by showing aggression) I guess I am writing this to ask how to get the desired result I am looking for without this kind of result reoccurring. So I guess help in this area is what Im looking for. Thanks Grizzlys Dad
Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:03 pm
Well as you already know it is pointless and completely harmful to try and physically dominate a Chow! The worst thing you can do! It seems very simple to me so I apologize for stating the obvious but he isn't a dog that you can allow off leash in the front yard. I would never allow any dog off leash in a yard that wasn't fenced, especially in front of a road. What is the point? It's dangerous regardless of the breed. Too many distractions and risk. If you want him out front with you I suggest using a long leash tie out. As far as all this alpha stuff and dominance I see no point to any of that either except destroying trust and your relationship. Chows respond to love, trust, and positive training. I will never understand where all of this you must be the 'alpha', you must be 'dominant' to own chows. Trust me I've never tried to dominate any chow I've ever owned and I currently have two very sweet and well behaved 8 year old babies laying at my feet. Would I trust them to come when called in the front yard when a squirrel ran by? Heck no but I wouldn't put them in that unsafe position either. Just love him, be sweet to him, and when you want to train him please use only positive reward based training techniques. Buy a secure tie out for the front yard. Problem solved. Recall is never 100% and always a risk. Every single day I read some story about a dog that got loose and is now facing a death penalty for killing a cat, bunny, chicken, or fighting another dog. It is your job to keep him safe, not dominate him.
Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:19 pm
I agree with Laura 100%. Never trust any dog, let alone a Chow to recall. It's just not likely to happen when you need it most.
I do think you have to establish an 'alpha' position though. But my take on this is more who is the pack leader rather than dominance. To convey this properly, I believe you need to have the dog understand that you control his resources. It's not enough to have a bowl of food magically appear at his feeding spot so he can eat. The dog should see you preparing the food, place it in the bowl, and then wait patiently until you place it down for him. He needs to know that you gave him the food and he has earned it.
I've seen way to much Caesar Milan method on wrestling a dog to submission. This creates an unhealthy atmosphere and is really just begging for a negative response. Basic recall training shows you to attract the dog to within your reach. Whether it be treats or praise, the dog needs to come to you. When you go to hold the collar there should be no pull or escape attempt. This requires a calm dog who is comfortable. Grabbing, pulling, wrestling, pinning is never going to accomplish that.
I have three Chows at the moment, 2 males and a female. We use a trolley run for the back yard even though the yard is gated. Let's face it, dogs dig and can wiggle out of the smallest gap. Extra security I guess. They go 1 at a time, since (like recall), I don't trust them to be unsupervised together...males can fight, none are altered, female goes into heat...etc. They can stand at the open door and will wait until the trolley lead clicks before heading off. So, they are well trained, but I still wouldn't risk leaving that door open for any period of time.
Posted: Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:42 pm
Thank you both for your help, although I do not agree in regards to the dominance issue. No dog pack in nature is without a rank structure. It is essential to the pack on who is the alpha (who leads and controls the direction of the pack) and who is not. The biggest problem over and over again that I have seen in potential chow owners is that because they are cute and cuddly, that as pups they are not shown who runs the pack and once they feel they are in charge there is no way to break them of this. And your family construct is certainly regarded by them as their pack. Furthermore any time in nature that the position of alpha is challenged, if not defended the opposer takes this as a sign of weakness and he or she asserts them selves as the alpha male or female in the pack. This could not be more true of chows in that they are so ancient a breed that they are some of the closest to the wolf and therefore they are extremely close to a primal pack mentality. Thank you both so much for your help. I was simply hoping that someone might have better insight on training a chow for recall, as other breeds certainly are capable of this. I now understand this is just not within the scope of this breed and will forgo any further attempts to train him to do so. Once again thank you.
Posted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 5:12 pm
Based on recent studies, alpha dogs do not exist.
Scientists prefer to call them the breeding male and breeding female.
Just like in a human pack.
So alpha rolls and such do not occur in the wild within a pack of wolves.
This might happen in captivity between non pack members like in a human prison. (Where all previous studies have been made)
So this is not the norm.
Here is an interesting read regarding dominance in wolves by Dr David Mech.https://www.google.com.lb/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://4pawsu.com/267alphastatus_english.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwjQoJWstMPJAhVB8A4KHe98Dp8QFggZMAA&usg=AFQjCNERi3Wq-gPJMmJSmrYMHcPPhctsrA&sig2=SKAARfGZPWF6IFe4UrThBA
And here is him talking a bit about it. https://youtu.be/tNtFgdwTsbU
As you can watch this presentation by Stanley Coren https://youtu.be/wqGMCyoG4iA
It is a bit lengthy but very informative and he discusses dominance and alpha rolls a couple of times in it. (Sorry i forgot where he talks about it)
And regarding recall, my dogs also do not respond everytime when distracted either.
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