I came home armed with an excellent Puppy Pack compiled by the breeder, which confirmed my impression, gleaned from other preparatory reading (about which more later), that Dog Training Ain't What It Used to Be. Like other species (e.g. human beings), dogs apparently respond better to reward than to punishment -- the old Yank and Stomp School, to which I subjected my first dog (we both survived it, but only just), seems to have been relegated to the dustbin, along with choke chains and electric collars. And Barbara Woodhouse, who put the fear of God into two generations of dog owners.
BUT nor is reward to be confused with pampering. Be The Pack Leader is the new mantra, indeed the title of a best-selling book by Cesar Millan, the original Dog Whisperer. The Pack Leader takes no nonsense, and always takes the lead -- first out of the door, first to eat, first at everything. This is actually quite a difficult state of mind for naturally unassertive people to cultivate, which may mean that naturally unassertive people should not acquire Dobermanns. Or become assertive. Be bloody, bold and resolute, the witches urged Macbeth (and see where that got him). Apparently it's all a matter of body language -- but learning a new language at an advanced age is notoriously difficult.
But all this is just talk. Here's a picture (or two)::
It'll be clear from these picture that the process of reward is well under way. Watch this space for developments.
And what about books? Well, the Puppy Pack is a sizeable book, and I have mentioned the Dog Whisperer's book. And Macbeth, of course (there's plenty to be said about Shakespeare and Dogs, and I may yet say it). But here's a poem. It's by Philip Larkin, and it's about cattle, not dogs, but mutatis mutandis it applies to all animals, including and especially humans. And it's about what could be called Training Methods, though the poem is called
The widest prairies have electric fences,Ouch. But fortunately such methods, as I've said, are now history. Watch this space for what happens when we take down the wires.
For though old cattle know they must not stray
Young steers are always scenting purer water
Not here but anywhere. Beyond the wires
Leads them to blunder up against the wires
Whose muscle-shredding violence gives no quarter.
Young steers become old cattle from that day,
Electric limits to their widest senses.