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Victoria Stillwell - it's me or the dog

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Debxan, Mar 24, 2011.


  1. Debxan

    Debxan PetForums Member

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    Has anyone been watching the above series? Think they are repeats but interesting.

    Anyone have any views on V's methods? She seems to make it look so easy! Am thinking of buying a new puppy later in the year (have had two dogs before - one rescue, one from a pup 25 years ago). I can see training ideas have moved on but would be interested to hear what you all think.
     
  2. DirtyGertie

    DirtyGertie PetForums VIP

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    I had my first dog 40 years ago (Barbara Woodhouse era) and yes, training has definitely moved on since then and for the better.

    I have seen VS, the repeats on Sky 3, and I do like her style, I've adopted this method of training with my Bichon.

    She does make it look easy but we only see a very small part of it in the programme and it does make it look like it all happens very quickly but there would be much goes on we don't see and it takes time and lots of reinforcing/practise.

    In a lot of cases these programmes show that the owners need training as much as the dogs!
     
  3. leashedForLife

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    i don't think Victoria is perfect, but she is a heckuvan improvement over the Other Brands of tv-training :lol:
    forcing, coercing, "dominating" physically or emotionally, intimidating the dog, acting scary, confronting the dog
    in an adversarial fashion - it's all dramatic! and exciting!, but is it dog-training?

    dogs need to learn to behave acceptably - manners.
    dogs need to have behaviors on-cue - training.
    dogs need fun, exercise, social contact, enrichment... we can invest as much time as we want in our dogs,
    but we do tend to get out of our dogs as much as we put in: minimal time spent = minimal joy out.

    owners who engage in team-sports with their dogs [disc-dog, ski-jor, freestyle, tracking...]
    get a lot more satisfaction from their dog-relationship than someone who takes the dog for two
    20-minute walks a day [assuming the weather is not 'too' nasty, whatever that might be].
     
  4. Nicky10

    Nicky10 PetForums VIP

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    I think she's pretty good not perfect obviously but she was the first trainer I saw that used positive reinforcement like that and it was back when she was still talking about dominance. She does let the owners know if they're not treating their dogs right be it not walking them or like today letting them toilet all over the house :eek:. She also does take a lot of the dogs to activity classes agility, rally search and rescue with one I think especially the higher energy ones. She talks more sense than a certain "rehabilitator" and the dogs are so much happier when she trains them too. No dramatic macho wrestling or 20 bites
     
  5. newfiesmum

    newfiesmum Banned

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    She is well worth watching and her methods do get things done, and with no harm to the dogs. That is the important thing. Sometimes I wonder about a certain method, when there are easier ways to achieve what you want. For instance, the one that was on last night (pick tv) she was trying to teach a mongrel to sit, but she just held the treat and waited until he had sat down. Personally I would have drawn the treat up till he followed it with his nose, had to sit, then used the treat and command. But that is just nitpicking, really.

    I like the way she tells people off, personally. Usually she is fairly diplomatic about it but sometimes she will have a real go at them and it is usually the man in the family. Once she was trying to teach the owner how to deal with his reactive dachsund, turned round and he was texting on his phone. She went nuts, gave him the dog and marched away.

    At least she points out what the owners can and cannot expect with their dog, and she teaches the owners how to train, not just does it all herself to make herself look good.

    She also seems to care about cats as much as dogs, which is nice. Where she has had a conflict between a dog and a cat, she hasn't forced the poor cat to meet up with the dog. The Other One seems to treat cats like any other object, and it doesn't matter that the poor thing is terrified.

    I think she is great, very helpful for the average dog owner to watch.
     
  6. Nicky10

    Nicky10 PetForums VIP

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    You can train a command either by luring or capturing/shaping. Most clicker trainers use what she did because it gets the dog to think more they have to work out what you want them to do rather than being told. I'm amazed she doesn't shout more I think I'd be in court on assault charges with some of the owners she has to deal with. The woman that ran a weimaraner rescue yet never walked or did anything with her own 4 then used a shock collar to stop one barking rather than realising she was bored out of her mind and prong collars on the rare occasion she did actually walk them.
     
  7. jamie1977

    jamie1977 Banned

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    I like watching her but you need to remember each programme is about 3-4 weeks minimum worth of training.
     
  8. newfiesmum

    newfiesmum Banned

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    Yes, I can see that, but she wasn't using a clicker. I think to capture a behaviour like that it is much easier to use a clicker, whereas just to teach the command it is better to lure. But we all have our different ways and nothing wrong with either.

    As for the Weimaraner woman, I felt like shaking her. She does all this work for Weimy rescue because she is supposed to love them so much, but treats her own with methods bordering on abuse in my opinion. She knows perfectly well that they are very high energy dogs, yet she never walks them, keeps one locked in a crate all day and uses a shock collar on the one that kept barking at the fence. It didn't have any lasting effect, either, did it? He kept going back to the fence. Just goes to prove that aversives are useless for long term training.

    First thing VS did was to get rid of the bloody shock collar. Stupid woman also said she had to keep the one in the crate because he had separation anxiety, though how that is supposed to help I do not know. Turned out he was just bored out of his brain.

    Have you seen any of the UK ones? They are older, and I wouldn't recommend them for new people to watch as there is a lot of pack leader rubbish which she now makes fun of, but there was a woman on one who had bought a chihuaha because he looked like a cat and she thought he would behave like a cat! She couldn't understand why he didn't groom himself:rolleyes::
     
  9. Marley boy

    Marley boy PetForums VIP

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    I love her methods of training and I have got some good tips from the show. I just find her slightly annoying, and i dont know why :D
     
  10. Nicky10

    Nicky10 PetForums VIP

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    The weimaraner with "seperation anxiety" was just bored as well that was the one that broke into the cupboards and got food out right? I'm surprise VS didn't smack her I would have

    That woman I actually couldn't believe that she had bought the chi because it was the same size as a cat and looked similar then tried to treat it like a cat :(. No wonder it had problems. Even when she talked about the pack leader stuff it wasn't pin them to the floor it was eat before them etc but still using treats and positive reinforcement.
     
  11. newfiesmum

    newfiesmum Banned

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    Don't forget the woman with the full grown jr who messed all over the house. She hadn't housetrained him because she thought he would figure it out for himself! I am not sure that is a behaviour you can capture with a clicker, is it?;)

    There was a bloke the other week with four neapolitan mastiffs, destroying the house, hadn't been walked for two years.

    There was girl with a little bichon and a disabled mother. She said she kept the dog in a crate in her room all day, when in fact it was a cat basket, the sort you use for travelling to the vet etc. Poor little thing didn't have a chew toy, or water or anything, but VS put up a baby gate so she at least had the whole room, gave her toys and stuff, and trained her so that the mother in the wheelchair could handle her.

    These people do not deserve to have animals.

    I don't know how she keeps from smashing them, personally.
     
  12. Nicky10

    Nicky10 PetForums VIP

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    The ones today a little chi/pom mix that toileted everywhere. She got that light thing that shows up body fluids and it was everywhere on the kids beds and everything. Had they actually tried to house train him? No :rolleyes:. Or the woman with the bulldog that had scars from a shock collar that had been put on it really high as a puppy :( so that was too harsh she switching to constantly pressing the button on a spray collar spraying citronella into her eyes :(. No wonder the poor thing was dog reactive
     
  13. newfiesmum

    newfiesmum Banned

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    Oh, God yes. I remember the poor little bulldog. She just kept pressing that spray button all the time, for no reason. Victoria did lose patience I think and asked her why she was spraying him when he hadn't actually done anything.

    Some of them are so dense, I just hang my head in my hands.
     
  14. Marley boy

    Marley boy PetForums VIP

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    I do agree with some of the stuff ceaser talks about like being calm and assertive. But i dont like all the pinning them to the floor and the other crap he does. Dogs aint stupid enouth to think we are one of their "pack" just someone to respect and give them boundries. Happy dogs are well trained dogs. It's better to have a dog do as you say because they want to please you rather that because they are scared of you.
     
  15. Nicky10

    Nicky10 PetForums VIP

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    Some of them are clearly trying to do their best but what they're doing is wrong so they take her advice and the dog does better. Others I totally despair of :( and of course some of them know much more than she does :rolleyes:
     
  16. Nicky10

    Nicky10 PetForums VIP

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    Exactly. Would I want a dog to listen to me because it respects me, ie is scared I'm going to yank on a choke chain/prong collar, shock it, kick it in the side, or would I rather have it happy and eager to work because I've trained it kindly. Such a hard choice really. I guess some people just like the power trip of dominating their dogs.

    CM does some good things encourages spaying and neutering, tells people to walk their dogs, the calm assertive energy is a wonderful thing, he does a lot of work for the "demon" breeds and he encourages rescuing. Apart from that no
     
  17. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    The more recent series with her in the US are better than the original UK ones, which featured fair bit of hamming it up in exagerated way with close shots of leather boots, Dominatrix overtones and bad jokes that the Director must have thought were funny.

    They're the best Dog improvement show, I have seen on TV, with a wide range of problems, feasible solutions with realistic prognosis. No magic quick fixes, that don't work later and no wasted time on mystic BS. The shows do portray honestly the likely difficulties the owners face, when they try to implement the advice. The shows are not as tense to watch as the National Geographic show, as she doesn't get bitten or risk confrontation with the dogs so there's less suspense.

    I think there's reasons why she chose the method she did. Luring a sit works quickly, but tends to leave you with a hand signal cue, rather than a verbal "Sit!" command. Clickers are a gizmo, and you need to work on timing, that means there's something to go wrong, the owners are not practiced dog trainers.

    Keeping it totally simple, the clients and audience are seeing a dog that wants to be "good", without the distraction and risk of being mislead in what they think the clicker does. The explanation of the clicker would take a significant chunk out of every show and soon be boring with repetition.

    These dogs on the shows, tend to have had their needs neglected. By using the verbal praise and food rewards, they're working on that in a natural way. Often "Clicker Training" clips on youtube show a rather dry, focussed technical training, which may be very efficient but is not the warmest. People can only focus on improving one thing at a time when they're learning.
     
  18. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Cesar communicates quite well with the people, he doesn't make them feel stupid, and avoids being judgemental. The bottom line is, I think his clients do like him, and even where his methods haven't worked in clip at end of show, they fudge it rather than pin it on him.

    Whilst I think Calm-assertive energy, is better than the frantic, inconsistent, panicy sort of yelling that goes on so often. I'm getting more and more skeptical about the real value of it as a phrase.

    Does anyone who trained and cares for the needs of their dog, really need to be psyching themselves up to project the right "energy"? We all relax and the dogs know it, they don't immediately start a prison riot just because we're not asserting ourselves.

    Cesar, likes the "demon breeds" probably the relative insensitivity of them, means he gets better results. I've seen Cesar looking rather uncomfortable or even frightened with more nerve prone, sensitive breeds, like Collies and once with a very gentle lurcher in the swimming pool.
     
  19. Nicky10

    Nicky10 PetForums VIP

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    When his method haven't worked they blame the owners. I'm sure in some cases it is the owners fault he has his share of completely incompetent bordering on cruel owners the singer with the boerboel springs to mind :( but it can't be all the owners fault. He does seem more happy to train the bully/mastiff types than the akitas or border collies. I noticed when he has to train the mastiffs or the akita/other big fluffy dog mix he never tries to alpha roll them when they're "dominant"
     
  20. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Well having, suggested why a clicker hadn't been used, the very next episode I saw, had one. It featured a Bulldog which had been put in a shock collar as a puppy, and then had an aversive Citronella collar used during walks.

    Clicker training was advised in this household and it was noticeable how sharp the sits were and such, with a huge improvement in the whole deamour of the dog and relationship with owners and their friends.

    It should be obvious to anyone, who sees the after of a dog rehabed this way, the superiority to the Pack Leader based methods. The dog was just visibly more relaxed and happier, rather than kept in thrall to the owners.
     
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