Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Discipline? Taboo? Not in My Lifetime

Being on the receiving end of discipline in my household isn't a bad thing. Mum and Dad are very clear about what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior in our daily life. Here are some facts explained by my Mum. She isn't an expert, but this is fairly common sense.
  1. Effective discipline and Cruelty are two entirely different things.
  2. Discipline does not require the use of force, beatings, rolled up newspapers or harsh curse words.
  3. A dog is like a human child. They need to know what is right and wrong. They should be rewarded when a behavior is desired, and corrected when an unwanted behavior has happened.
  4. Discipline through corrections must be acted on the spot immediately when a bad behavior is witnessed. Any correction dispensed after the mistake is pointless. Dogs live in the moment, and do not relate consequences to behaviors committed 5 mins ago.
  5. When giving out corrections, a stern glare, a quick vocal "hey", a firm finger touch to the side of the neck/under the chin, or a more severe 'check' on the prong collar is sufficient.
  6. The ultimate correction given out in my house is the roll-over or pin down.
  7. A dog that is only praised and given treats when it does something good, but does not receive any negative reinforcement when doing something bad, will most likely turn out to be a brat. Brats are not tolerated in my home.
  8. A lot of humans spoil their dogs because they have the misconception that discipline is a bad thing, and if a dog is disciplined, it'd break the dog's spirit, or the dog might hate the parent, or it might damage the bond between parent and dog. This is not the case, when the parents are well-informed about what discipline is, or how to dispense discipline in a healthy way.
  9. It is crucial that during corrections, the parent must remain calm, fair, assertive and firm, but not impatient, angry, emotional or fed-up. Sometimes, Mum or Dad don't utter a single word when they correct me. All they need to do is project the energy and I understand.
  10. In Asia, and in many other parts of the world, discipline is meted out regularly when necessary, in a fair and correct way, so that children understand what the world expects of them, how they should be, and they in turn grow up to be balanced human beings, not selfish, or unbalanced but caring and generous. Dogs and puppies are just the same.
  11. There is a Chinese saying, "Spare the rod, spoil the child". Of course, they don't mean to beat the child with a rod to show discipline, but sometimes, a light spanking may be needed for very naughty actions. Mummy's been spanked many times when she was growing up, she told me that she was a very naughty child.
Here are some actions that I've done that are considered unacceptable, and the consequences that come with it. The consequence from either Mummy or Daddy is the same, even before I came to the home, they had agreed that they will be a united front, no discrepancies.
  1. Going in through the door before parent -> I get called back out, and have to wait till parent goes through, and then I enter.
  2. Putting front paws on parent when they are eating -> I get told "Down" in a single word, calm tone, and I have to be in a "Down" position until I am freed.
  3. Jumping down from the back of the SUV before I am allowed to -> I am told to get back up, and have to wait for a "Free" command.
  4. Answering back "Ruff Ruff" when told to do something and then I run around in defiance -> Parent goes and grabs me, puts me in a "Down" position, with their palm holding me down on my neck (pin-down). Parent squats over me and won't let me move until I calm down. Then I hear "Free" and then I can move again.
  5. Playbiting too roughly, and my teeth accidentally touch parent's skin -> Parent says "No Bite" in a low growling voice, their hands holding my muzzle tight and looking me in the eye. Play stops. Normally I only play rough with Dad, I never play wrestle with Mum. She's the Alpha bitch in my household.
  6. Jumping onto the couch or bed without being invited -> Parent says "Off" and I have to get off. If I jump up again, I will be put in a pin-down.
There are some techniques that Mum and Dad will employ to remind me I am their puppy-dogson, and they are my pack leaders.
  1. I am not allowed to start eating my meals until Mum says "Free".
  2. When Mum says "Out", I must drop any toy or thing in my mouth while in the middle of playing.
  3. When told to "Leave it", I have to ignore anything Mum is tempting me with, even while we are playing. She takes it, teases me with it, and puts it around me, but I'm not allowed to even look at it. When she says "Free", then we resume our games. If I disobey, Mum says "No, Leave it" and she takes the toy away, no more game.
  4. She does these mental practices with me. She tells me to move from my current position, and makes me go lie somewhere else. She makes me give up my toy in the peak of playing. She stands over my things. She makes me wait. She touches me all over my body, including the insides of my ears, tip of my tail, buttocks, feet, flicks my nails, presses down on my paw pads firmly.
  5. She puts me in a "Stand" command, and then touch me all over to de-sensitize me.
  6. When I am in my crate, about to get out, I am not allowed to step out, until parent says "Free".
All these methods are working because I am a good boy. Mum and Dad are continuously working with me everyday, to ensure that I will be a good boy forever. They read books, learn from experts, and open their minds to new approaches that make sense. It is all about evolving to make ourselves better. Thank you Mummy and Daddy.


At 4:50 AM, Blogger Amber-Mae said...

Very good explanation here about discipline. My mommy used to whack me to discipline me but that made me fearful of her & everytime she raises my hand(not unnecessarily to beat me, but just to pat me)I'll put my head down & close my eyes becoz I'm already expecting her to whack me. She always whacks my muzzle. Not so hard ofcourse but sometimes I don understand why. I disobey her sometimes & even she raises her voice, I refuse to listen. So much for a well trained dog huh?! Sometimes dogs need to be whacked especially those tough dogs like Rotties, Dobbies & German Shepperds. Those dogs are not made to be handle softly like us Goldens or you Airedales. What would you do if a dog suddenyl lunges out & attacks another dog or person? The 1st think I know the hoomans would do is pick up an object & whack the dog or kick it. No way, the dog will stop & let go just by shouting. Different people have different ways of disciplining a dog. Some may be cruel but that's just the way. Have you heard of this saying before? "Sometimes we have to be cruel to be kind." If we have to whack then we have to but not to the extend of using baseball bats or metal rods for hitting! That's ofcourse cruelty... There's a difference of them both. Whacking the butt, body or muzzle is not cruelty. So like I said earlier on, if you have to then you just have to. It's for the dog's own good... My mommy has stopped whacking me nowadays becoz she loves me too much &* she doesn't want me to be scared of her like before. So now, she just calls my name & points a finger at me. I understand what that means everytime...

Love licks,
Solid Gold Dancer

At 9:16 AM, Blogger Maggie & Mitch said...

You must be a very mannerly doggie, Kimi! You can come to our house anytime!

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

At 11:25 PM, Blogger Opy - the Original GruffPuppy said...

Hey Kimi,

Welcome to www.dogswithblogs.com.au - it is great to meet you and I am sure you make lots of new friends here :-)


At 1:00 AM, Blogger Kimi Wagner said...

Hi Maggie and Mitch, Thanks for opening your house to me. I love to do road trips, so you may someday meet me, who knows? I've been to your blog too. COngrats on winning blog of the world.


At 7:57 AM, Blogger Harry said...

Your ma and pa sound very sensible Kimi. I was adopted by my ma and pa earlier this year aged 10 abnd a half. I didn't have much structure in my old family and consequently had rather bad manners. I would not wait to be told when I could eat my dinner or take a treat, I would charge at the door as soon as it was opened, bark lots in impatience, pull like a trooper when on the lead. I was not a bad dog, I had simply been allowed to get away with it. I am as loving and gentle as you could imagine, I just wasn't disciplined. Since moving here I have learned that I have to sit and wait calmly when the front door opens and can go out when given the command, same as when we come home, that I have to wait once my food bowl is on the floor until released, and that barking does not get me anywhere. if I can learn this and more at nearly 11, any dog can! Cassidy my little sister has learned like this since she came home at 8 weeks old. Although she's still a crazy young pup, she generally knows what is accepted behavious and what isn't. Ma and pa only use voice corrections or tugs on the lead. We have recently started watching "The Dog Whisperer" (Cassidy is always transfixed and sits and watches in awe!!), and agree with a lot of what he says.

Toodle pip,
Harry x

At 1:41 PM, Blogger Lacy said...

woofies Kimi, nice to meeteded u....me trwys to mind me mama and daddy...

b safe,

At 1:54 PM, Blogger Hercules said...

Hey there Kimi! I like your doggles. I have a pair also...Well, I used to. Mom stepped on them and broke them...Come this summer I will get a new pair.

Just wanted to say hello to a fellow Airedale! Come visit anytime!

Love, Hercules

At 7:49 PM, Blogger Ferndoggle said...

Oh, Kimi...you live in a crazy household!! My DoGness!

"Discipline does not require the use of force, beatings, rolled up newspapers or harsh curse words"...what do your pawrents think a roll-over or pin-down are??? That is force in the plainest sense!

Anyone can force a dog to respect them, but a true leader doesn't need force to gain respect. There are WAY too many rules in our house than we'd prefer...but our Mom is a PITA and is very consistant with all of them and we have no choice but to listen. There are no free lunches here. But there are also no pin downs, prong corrections or smacks. There is no need b/c we respect our people and do what they ask.

Kimi, your pawrents need to lighten up. You're not gonna take over the house if they don't let you. And one day, they're gonna nail you to the ground & you're gonna bite 'em! Happened to our Mom's BFF who thought alpha rolls were the way to go with his GSD. 20 stitches and 1/2 a face gone later...those rolls aren't so smart.

Just thinkin' aloud.

Shermie, CGC, TDI
Penny CGC, TDI
Lola CGC, working on TDI

At 4:50 AM, Blogger Kimi Wagner said...

Hello Ferndoggle,

My Mum wants to tell you that we do NOT live in a crazy household, and it is inappropriate and rude for you, as a stranger, to come to my blog and assume that you know us, and pass judgment and say we're 'crazy'.

Every pack is unique and special, every household has their own rules. What works for one, does not necessarily have to work for all. To assume this is so, reflects narrow-mindedness and an attitude which is "I know better than you" which is not healthy.

Just so you know, I am a very spoilt Airedale, and greatly loved by my parents. I have the best of everything (really), and though I am well-behaved 99% of the time, I do test my limits and boundaries every couple of months to see if I can outrank either of my parents. They are not forcing 'respect', it is earned and Mummy and Daddy are my gods, but that doesn't mean I can't test them!! This is a normal thing, and even back home when I was a teeny puppy, my dam would not hesitate to slam me to the ground if I overstepped my boundaries. Or she may hold my muzzle in her mouth to discipline me. All senior dogs do that to naughty puppies like myself and this fact is widely documented. If you don't believe me, go watch a documentary on wolves on Discovery Channel.

Also, I do get prong corrections in my pack. If you are unaware, I will share with you that the prong is similar to my dam's teeth, warning me I've done something wrong. A quick pop is uncomfortable, but not painful. Also, Mum has said the prong is like 'power steering'. I have never pulled on a leash, and even when I have no prong collar on, I have formed the habit to walk nicely on the left, and I don't get corrected unnecessarily. Timing is everything. And I NEVER get "smacks".

Don't imagine the pin down as something brutal and forceful. All my parents do is hold my muzzle in a down position and lay me on my side till I relax. The moment I surrender, all is well again. We go for a walk or resume normal activity. I think you should cut other people some slack, especially since it is all in your imagination, and you really don't know us at all.

Nonetheless, you have a right to your own opinions (and you should keep them in your head), but please don't assume that you know what is best for me or my family. That is not very polite at all. Thank you very much.


At 12:37 PM, Blogger Noah the Airedale said...

Hi Kimi,
We've just found your blog. It's fantastic,we love it. You and your folks have so much fun together. We love the pics of you all at the snow and the hiking shots too.
We are four airedales living in the Blue Mts Australia. It's really good to meet you.

Hugs and tail wags
Noah Willow Tess & Lucy


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